Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Leibush Lensky


L. was born in 1912 (according to his gravestone in the smaller Yiddish Theatrical Alliance society plot at Mt. Hebron Cemetery in Queens, New York, he was born on 15 December 1903 [and passed away 2 May 1991 -- ed.]) in Shidlov (Szydłów), Poland, to a father -- a small businessman and an artisan. He learned in a cheder, later with a private tutor, and Tenach and Hebrew in evening courses. As an autodidact, he received his gymnasium education.

From childhood on he had a desire to be an itinerant juggler who used to stop in a town: later he participated in dramatic circles.

At the end of 1930 he traveled to Paris, France, where he worked in a factory, attending in the evening a dramatic studio and participated there in productions. In the beginning of 1934 he entered into the semi-professional "Piat" and acted in the roles "Yosele Buchalter" in Bergelson's"Der toyber", "Itsikl" in Sholem Aleichem's "Goldgreber (The Golddiggers)", "Nuki" in Leivick's "Keytn (Chains)", "Burtsev" in "Azef" and excelled in Sholem Aleichem's "Dos farkhshufte shneyderl".

During the Second World War, L. became interned in a camp through the Vichy government of France. But after the second year he was successful in fleeing from there, and after Hitler's


"discrimination", he returned to Paris, where he began to perform in word concerts and acted then in "YIKT" (Yiddish kunst teater), the title role in Mendeles' "Fishke der krumer", "Todrus", in Hirshbein's "Farvorfener vikl (Faraway Corner)", and "Kopl" in Sholem Aleichem's "Dos groyse gevins (The Big Winner)".

In 1948 he arrived in New York, where he graduated later in a Yiddish teacher's seminary as a Hebrew teacher.

L. performed with word concerts and performed (live and in costume) Yiddish folk songs. For several years he was a member of "Stef" in Farband's "Undzer kemp", in three years -- a dramatic director for "Kindervelt" in the same camp.

In New York, L. acted with Turkow-Blumenfeld in "Narkotik", and participated in several productions with Maurice Schwartz's (Yiddish) Art Theatre, and with the "Habima hktnh" in the Hebrew productions ("R' Yisrael" in "Hadmh hzas" in "Mikhl bs saul").

L. is a member of the Yiddish Actors Union.

Sh. E.

  • Y. M. [J. Mestel] -- Kleynkunst-ovntn, "Yidishe kultur", N. Y., January--July, 1955.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 3, page 2211.

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