Lives in the Yiddish Theatre




Born in Lipkan, Bessarabia. Her father is a cantor. At the age of seven she arrived in Montreal, Canada. She learned in a school. As a child she moved with her family to Philadelphia, United States, where she spent days singing in her father's choir, and a little later debuted with two songs in Siegel's operetta in the "Arch Street Theatre." First when Boris Thomashefsky performed in Sol Dickstein's troupe in the "Gibson" Theatre his operetta, "Bar Mitzvah," she debuted in a role. In the Sholem Aleichem School, where she had the opportunity to participate in the school concerts.

She moved over to New York, where she began to perform on the radio and in concerts, and she joined the troupe of Louis Kremer in the "Amphion" Theatre, where she played for several months.

In fact, she was closely associated with theatrical performances after her marriage to Harold Sternberg, when L. Freiman wrote for her the operetta, "Fraydele's Wedding," Morris Nestor's "Dos chelemer khazendl (The Chelm Cantor)," Jacob Bergreen's "Nebekh a yesoymele," Nestor's "Dem khazn's tokhter (The Cantor's Daughter)," and Abraham Blum's "Goldn meydele (Golden Girl)" (which later was called "A khazn oyf shabes (A Cantor on the Sabbath)," in "A khazn oyf yom tov").

F. became engaged in 1936 to Argentina, where she performed outside in her repertoire, also as "Yitskhokl" in Goldfaden's "The Sacrifice of Isaac," and Thomashefsky's "Bar Mitzvah." She returned to America to play the same repertoire, and also Molly

Picon's repertoire in Chicago's "Douglas" Theatre, in New York's "National" Theatre, and across the province. F. guest-starred also twice in Cuba and several weeks in Los Angeles in "A khazendl oyf shabes."

Sh. Roszhanski writes:

"Fraydele and Aaron Sternberg were still young entertainers, young people according to their years, and young in regard to their acting experience. They were certainly the youngest guest performers, ever, in the Yiddish theatre in Argentina. But when it comes to working on the stage they were different from all the other young entertainers… who confirm the words 'young and wild,' or 'moving around like young goats' (not in reference to Fraydele and Sternberg).

Their story is upside down. Instead of oversalting the meat—they don’t salt anything. They keep their distance. Instead of chasing away—they don’t chase anyone. Before we can accuse them of any faults ...they own up to their own shortcomings. Few Yiddish plays have such fine, tidy, and lyrical musical pieces as can be found in the comedy ‘Fraydele’s Wedding.' And as far as singing goes, there is no better than Fraydele and Aaron Sternberg. Fraydele appears on the stage as a little girl, who is experiencing the first real emotions of coming of age. She reminds us of several of the sopranos and even more of primadonnas. She correctly presents her songs without theatrical mannerisms, or without trying too blatantly to captivate the stage or the audience. She does everything in order to come closer to the performance, especially when it comes to the cantorial pieces, which she sang a few. She sang like a true female cantor, or even better like a cantor. It was exactly as if she was standing facing the Ark. The most striking performance was expressed by Fraydele as the 'Yiddish Lily Pons.'  …Exaggerated expression can be like the two ends of a stick."

T. Bailin (Dr. L. Zhitnitzki) wrote:

Fraydele, that’s the little girl’s name, is the one and only. She’s petite, a pretty girl, Fraydele. She’s tiny, miniscule,  a darling like a plant, Fraydele." Also appearing in the operetta is H. Sternberg and they are authentic; the true description of the guest appearance. Fraydele should have been appearing on her own. She is completely compatible in the wedding scene in the operetta of the same name.  …Fraydele the guest star gives us-- knowing very well what she possess—charm, womanly beauty with a young naïve smile, a svelte figure and a fine counter-alto with which she performs at times cantorial, and at other times "English songs" that are, by the way, more tasteful than the cantorial. The audience, naturally, likes the cantorial offerings more. The reason is because it is closer and more personal for them. However, her musical, singing temperament and sentimentality can be felt more readily in the "English song."  The operetta has one good feature, and that there is really no starring role. All the roles are distributed fairly. Everyone has an equal share. It is an ensemble operetta, but the central focus is this darling couple, played by Fraydele and A. Sternberg. The roles are not overly large, but the operetta allows for the guest performers to be able to show their individuality. (for example; Sternberg was able play without stage effects). … Fraydele comported herself in the same manner. One gets the impression that...there is no stage.  …But rather that we encounter her in ordinary life; a petite gracious woman, who bears herself with thoughtfulness with her charming smile and beauty.

Sh. Zamd wrote:

Fraydele Oysher, who appeared in the "Merry Widow" as the central figure, did not have a leading role here. She played the role of Jewish girl with a darling soul who could very well play the lover and sing a lover’s song. Here she sings several songs ("Hatikvah" was all hers) and also a pair of cantorial prayers of which "Kol Nidre" was sung honestly. In fact it was as if it was sung by a world-famous cantor. She also plays in a couple of scenes as a disguised boy, and even here she is extremely charming.


  • Sh. Roszanski -- Der debut fun fraydele un a. sternberg, "D'a'ts," Buenos Aires, 10 April 1936.

  • T. Beilin -- "Fraydele's khasene," "Di prese," Buenos Aires,  11 April 1936.

  • Wolf Bressler -- Yidish teater in buenos-aires, "Di yidishe velt," Philadelphia, 20 November 1936.

  • Sh. Zamd -- "Eretz yisroel  iz mayns" in nayem doglas park teater, "Forward," Chicago, 13 December 1946.

  • Oscar Ostroff -- Fraydele oysher's tokhter iz itst a groyse tensatsie, "Forward," Province edition, 5 August 1966.

  • Sidney Fields -- Only Human "Daily News," N.Y., Sept. 6, 1967.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 6, page 6119.

Translation by Paul Azaroff and Steven Lasky.

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