Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Jay (Yehoshua) Gruber


Born in 1869 in Strzemilcze, Eastern Galicia, to parents -- landowners, who gave him a good Jewish education. At age nineteen he arrived in New York, where he took up work with cigars and later opened a "cigar store", where various theatre people used to frequent. Here he made friends, especially with theatre manager Harry Levy, who spoke to him about associating with Yiddish theatre.

He traveled to Philadelphia where he became ticket controller in the Arch Street Theatre. He associated himself after that with Moishele Luber, Abraham Bernstein and Emanuel, and together, every two weeks, they brought in other Yiddish troupes into the Academy of Music and the Metropolitan Opera House. Later, for three years, he was the manager for Mike Thomashefsky in the Arch Street Theatre and Columbia Theatre (corner of Third and Green Streets, Philadelphia), where Yiddish vaudeville was performed, and in the second season legitimate theatre. After taking over by himself for a season the National Theatre (corner of Second and Callowhill Streets, Philadelphia). When Mike Thomashefsky left the Arch Street Theatre, G. became the manager -- by himself, but with partners (Anshel Schorr et al.)

G. especially worked to get Yiddish organizations to buy benefits in Yiddish theatre.

On 2 June 1951, G. passed away in Philadelphia.


G.'s only daughter, Mirele, acts on the Yiddish stage.

S. Minesman [Regensberg] writes about G.:

"He in fact comes from the cradle of Yiddish theatre in Philadelphia, where you may not call performers...they acted under Gruber's management; therefore Gruber's name [is known] far and wide in the Yiddish theatre world in America, and with us in the city [Philadelphia] he is popular with the thousands of Jews who over all the years have come to the Yiddish theatre, to benefits and ordinary productions."

M. E. from his daughter Mirele.

  • S. Minesman -- In der higer idisher teater velt, "Idishe velt", Philadelphia, 25 October 1935.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 3, page 2122.

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