Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Ida Fein


F. was born in 18.. in Bialystok, Poland.

Her father was a worker in a shawl factory, immigrating to Alsace  [lotringen], where F. was educated, and there she completed a school. In 1898 F. went to America, where she in 1902 through the actor Charles Cohen was entered onto the stage of a Yiddish vaudeville house. In just a short amount of time, thanks to her exceptional temperament, she became one of the popular Yiddish soubrettes.

From vaudeville F. crossed over to the legitimate theatre and acted in Adler's "Grand Street Theatre." In the first production of Leon Kobrin's "Yankel Boyle" in 1913. She acted in the role of "Kheyke", and the critic "Israel the Yankee" [I. I. Freedman] wrote the following about her:

"Ida Fein plays an important fool ("Shmendrik"), soon with the same talent with which Mogulesko acted the menlekhn fool, but if she plays Kheyke is another question. It is a certain fool, but not Kheyke. The audience was so amused to see her act that they couldn't make out whether she was playing."

From soubrette roles F. later crossed over to mother roles, but she became ill, and on 3 Mar 1918* F. died almost on the stage of the "Circle Theatre" in Detroit. F. came to her eternal rest in New York, where a gravestone was erected for her on 6 November 1926.


In the necrology of the "Forward" it was said:

"Ida Fein was one of the best character actresses. Her portrayal of "Kheyke" in Kobrin's "Yankel Boyle" was remarkable and was praised by all the critics. But she didn't have the opportunity to act often in such roles. Due to income, in order to make a living, she mixed in couplets and dancing."

M. E. from H. Rabinovitsh and Charles Cohan.

* -- According to an obituary in the Detroit Free Press, Ida died following an operation on her appendix on 3 November 1917. She had been playing in Detroit since early that September.

  • Israel the Yankee -- "Yankl Boyle", "Theatre and Moving Pictures", New York, 24 October 1913.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 4, page 2522.

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