Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Clara Haberman

Born on 8 April 1900 in Kishinev, Bessarabia. As a child of five, she immigrated with her parents to Buenos Aires, where she studied Spanish in a local school, and Yiddish with a teacher. Due to her brother, Adolph Freeman, the actor, she often came to play in children's roles in his Yiddish theatre productions. At the age of thirteen she was taken into the chorus of the troupe in which there guest-starred M.D. Waxman from London. Samuel Goldinburg, who came from London then, guest-starred in the troupe, and became interested in her, and studied a small role with her, which she played. When the troupe left from Argentina in 1914, she went back to her brother's troupe, where she performed as a soubrette. H. toured with the troupe across the Jewish colonies of Argentina and also played in Brazil. She returned to Buenos Aires, where she played in various troupes with the guest-starring Joseph Sherman, Clara Young, Wallerstein and Axelrod, then with Morris Moskovitch, with whom she also toured across the Jewish colonies of Argentina. Returning she played the first soubrette and character-comic roles in the troupes of Karl and Berta Gutentag, Max Marienhof and Aaron Lager.

In 1918 she traveled with Adolph Freeman and a troupe to Santiago (Chile), where she played, for the first time, in the span of two years, theatre in Yiddish, and brought therein guest-stars from Argentina, and Esther Lustig from Warsaw, with whom H. played as a partner in the man's buff roles. She married the actor Joseph Haberman (see "Lexicon," p. 573), and they put together, with Adolph Freeman, a troupe for Brazil, where they played for several Yiddish kibbutzim. Again she returned to Buenos Aires,


[where] she organized with her husband and Isidor Zuckerman a troupe for the "Salon Garibaldi," and after that they again made a tour across the province, later with Max Marienhof, after his return from North Africa, and H. joined the first Yiddish small-arts theatre that brought in the dramatist and stage director Mark Arnstein. The troupe (Clara and Joseph Haberman, Max Marienhof, Miriam Lerer and Joseph Parnes) visited the entire Yiddish province and colonies, later in a tour with Mark Arnstein across the larger cities of Argentina, where she performed, together with M. Arnstein, in his one-acter, "When the Devil Laughs." H. then traveled with her husband to Montevideo (Uruguay), where, for the first time they played Yiddish theatre, performing the operetta, "Song of Songs," and afterwards returned to Argentina, where she traveled with her husband to North Africa. Receiving permission from the Yiddish [Hebrew] Actors' Union, she joined the troupe in Buffalo (New York), then in other provincial cities In 1927 she traveled to Los Angeles, where she played with local troupes (Fannie Reinhardt, Sam Morris, Adolph Freeman and Moshe-Dovid Waxman). In 1929 she traveled with the troupe of Jacob Berlin and Mollie Cohn to San Francisco, then played again in Los Angeles with various troupes, alone put together a troupe and performed in the Gordin play, "Khasye" and "Di shkhithe," and Dymow's "Shema yisroel," and traveled again, returning to San Francisco, where she directed, together with her husband, with the first Yiddish radio program in San Francisco and also played from time to time in Yiddish theatre, and took, with her husband, to performing with word concerts across America and Canada. In 1934 she returned to San Francisco and again revived the Yiddish radio program and participated in productions with the local powers.

Becoming interested and excited for the American actress Cornelia Otis Skinner's monodrama program, she decided to do that in Yiddish. Her husband adapted several dramas for her, as monodramas (plays for one person), and she performed in Kobrin's "Back to his People (Tsurik tsu zayn folk)," Gordin's "Khasye," and "The Oath (Di shkhithe)," and Pinski's "The Mother," as well as in small comedies by Moyshe Nadir, Der tunkler, B. Kovner. H. toured with the repertoire across the larger cities, and the small faraway Jewish communities of North America, Canada, Mexico and Cuba. (Barbizon Plaza in New York, Town Hall in Philadelphia, Embassy in Los Angeles, Jessa [sp] in Montreal, Victory in Toronto, and also in locales such as the Hillel Foundation, universities, at B'nai Brith, Hadassah, Workmen's Circle, Farband, United Jewish Appeal, Israel bonds, Zionist organizations, Pioneer Women and the Council of Jewish Women, also in the "Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim" in Baltimore, where we heard theatre in Yiddish for the first time.)

In 1963 she returned to Los Angeles, where she played during the guest-appearance of Fraydele Oysher, as "the grandmother" in "A Cantoress on the Sabbath," and since then has participated from time to time in performances with various organizations.

Sh. E. from her husband Joseph Haberman.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 6, page 5640.

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