Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Itshe Goldberg

Born in Apt (Opatow), Poland. His father was a merchant. During his childhood years he was brought to Warsaw, where he had his Yiddish education, coming partly in a governmental seminary under the leadership of Dr. Poznanski. At a very young age he arrived in Canada and studied in McMaster University in Toronto.

G. began as a teacher in the Workmen's Circle schools in the United States, where he moved to, then, in the progressive secular schools. He also yearlong was the school- and educational director of the Jewish People's Fraternal Order, also for a series of years was the director of Jewish summer camps for children (at the camp "Yungvelt" in Toronto, and the camp "Kinderland" in New York).

G. is the author of a number of textbooks for language and literature, and editor of the learning book for literature and history. He published a truncated and seamless edition for young people from Mendele's "Fishke the Cripple."

In the span of fifteen years, G. edited the children's journal "Yungvarg," and the journal "Heym in dertsyung." He also participated with many articles about culture, education and literary problems in various editions, especially in the "Yiddish Culture." He also wrote many stories for children that were included in anthologies, and some of them were dramatized and staged through the secular schools.


G. dramatically deals with dramatic montages and choral-dramatic narratives that were given in many cities in America. So in 1936 he wrote an adaptation of Mendele's "Takse," under the name, "Dos kestele (The Little Box?)." In 1951, a Peretz montage (which includes "Di frume katz," "Oyb nit nokh hekher," "Baym fakir," "Khasene gehat," and a number of Peretz's children's songs), which on 30 June 1951 was produced by the "Yiddish Theatre Ensemble," under the stage direction of Benjamin Zemach, and in the Fall of 1951, and in the winter of 1952 under the name, "Baym kval," given as a complete play fifteen times in New York's "Barbizon Plaza," giving two new dramatizations, "Moshiakh tsaytn" (published in April 1960 in "Yiddish Culture," built on Peretz's "Moshiakhs tsaytn," "Vos heyst neshome," and part of "In polish oyf der kayt"), and "Nit farmshpat" (both under the stage direction of Peter Frey). On 13 November 1960 in "A String of Pearls," renewed in the "Brooklyn Academy of Music" as a dramatic choral. G. also prepared the choral text of Peretz's "Oyb nit nokh hekher," music by Moshe Rauch, which was sung in many cities.

At the beginning of the fifties, G. wrote a play for young people, "Der shnayder-yung un di fir poetn" (Winchevsky, Edelstadt, Bovshover and Rosenfeld), which was staged in New York's Town Hall.

In the fifties G. wrote a number of ghetto montages, which were staged under the stage direction of Jacob Mestel.

In 1953 G., together with M.A. Suhl, written for the ten-year yahrzeit of the Warsaw Uprising, a spectacle, "Mir fargesn nit," which was staged under the stage direction of Morris Karnovsky.

In 1952 for David Edelstadt's sixtieth yahrzeit, G. wrote "Der yunger odler," a song-play, based on Yuvilar's life, staged by Jacob Mestel.

In 1953 there was staged in a New York middle school, G.'s children's play, "A mayse mit a shtot," based on his children's story.

In 1954, together with M.A. Suhl, for the opportunity of the three hundred year anniversary of Jewish life in America, wrote the dramatic spectacle, "Mir zaynen do," which on 16 October 1954 was staged in Carnegie Hall, under the stage direction of Elias Sullivan, with the participation of  Howard Da Silva and members of a Yiddish theatre ensemble. The spectacle also was played then in other cities. Around the same time there was also performed in English, G.'s spectacle, "Der goldener lamp (The Golden Lamp)," about Emma Lazarus.

In 1957 -- a montage to the opportunity of the twenty-year "Ikuf," staged by Jacob Mestel. In the same year -- "Tsu gast baym zaydn," a great children's play, based on the work of Mendele, which consisted of episodes of "Fishke," "Travels of Benjamin the Third," "Dos Vintshfingerl," and "Di klatshe," staged in New York with the author as the narrator.

In 1959 -- "Der bobes kholem," a choral-dramatic work, based on the songs of M.M. Warshavsky (for Sholem Aleichem's hundred-year birthday), placed in a series of cities in America, as well as in Paris.

In the years 1960-62 -- a number of small montages: "Vifl in oysyes" (fifty-years of Yiddish schools in America), "A mayse mit a mentshn" (about Dr. Chaim Zhitlovski), "Der tana fun mishgale" (about Kalman Marmor).

On 12 November 1961 -- for Morris Rosenfeld's hundredth birthday, "Der operaytor un der poet," a dramatic work about the epoch and the life of Morris Rosenfeld, given in New York's "Brooklyn Academy of Music," and in many cities across the country.

In 1962 -- "A bezem un a ker," a montage about the creation of Morris Winchevsky, staged in New York's Carnegie Hall, and the "Zinger fun noyt," about the life and creations of Mordechai Gebirtig, staged in many cities across the country.

In 1961 G. issued an anthology of the Yiddish drama, "Unzer dramaturgye," which provided one-act sample of twenty-five Yiddish dramas, for the Purimshpiels, until the modern Yiddish dramas, with biographical critique treatments about the authors and an introduction about the manner of the Yiddish drama.


  • N. Buchwald -- Der spektakl "a shnirl perl," "Morgn frayhayt," N.Y., 7 July 1951.

  • R. Yukelson -- A hant-bukh un antalogye vegn yidish teater, "Yidishe kultur," New York, November 1961.

  • R. Yukelson -- Hekher 2 toyznt bay feyerung lkhbud m. rozenfeld's 100th geburtog, "Morgn frayhayt," N.Y., 14 Nov. 1961.






Home       |       Site Map       |      Exhibitions      |      About the Museum       |       Education      |      Contact Us       |       Links

Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 4, page 3630.

Copyright Museum of Family History.  All rights reserved.