Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Israel Freedman


Born on 11 April 1878 in Botosani, Romania. Learned in cheers and a lyceum in Botosani. In his youth he was allowed into the Socialist Movement, going on foot over the villages, propagandizing socialism among the peasants. As a student he began, in Romania, his journalistic activity and published in the large daily newspaper of Bucharest and Iasi, writing songs with Latin letters, also sketches and articles in Yiddish for the Yiddish periodic press in Galicia. He performed in "amateur" theatre Romania and Bukovina. For articles against the Romania government, he was sent out of the country, was arrested in Rueleben, from where he fled and arrived in July 1900 New York. At first he was connected with the German Socialist" Folkstsaytung," but soon however he went over to work in the Yiddish press.

Besides journalistic and publicity articles, he most of the time used the pseudonym "Israel der yanki (Israel the Yankee)," writing theatre critiques, theatre history, also a series of theoretical articles about theatre generally in the "Yidishe togeblat" in the years 1920-22, and feuilletons and stories, mostly about theatre life. F. also may have written a play that was staged around 1904 by Jacob P. Adler.

F. edited "Theatre Moving Pictures, vekhntliber zhurnal fir theater muving piktshurs un shtifels," which was issued in New York on 17 October until 12 December 1913 (9 volumes), in seven volumes here a report that F. no longer was connected with the journal.


F.'s son, David, was employed by Eddie Cantor for whom he wrote parts of his programs. He also composed the novel "Mendel Marantz", which in 1925 was issued in English, translated into many languages, also Yiddish by Mark Rozumni in Riga's "Frimorgn" and "Vilner tog" (1927), and was dramatized and performed as a play and also as a film.

David also wrote Eddie Cantor's life history, which F. printed in Yiddish under the name "Kariere un liebe" in the "Forward" (Dec. 1928 and January 1929).

On 18 March 1934, F. passed away in New York.

  • "Lexicon of the Yiddish Literature", Vilna, 1929, pp. 182-5.

  • "Lexicon of the New Yiddish Literature", New York, Vol. VII, 1928, pp. 482-483.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 7, page 6239.

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