Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Maria Lerner
(Miryam Rabinovitsh)

Born in 1860 in Berdichev, Ukraine (according to her son -- in Bessarabia) into a prominent family. She completed the middle school in Kishinev. When she was very young she married Y.Y. Lerner, settled in Odessa, where she had -- according to her son -- withstood the troubles of a miserable zuug?, even associated with material needs.

In the beginning of the eighties [1880s], a person under the effect of her husband, L. began to write Yiddish, was close to the ideas of Khabas Zion [?] in Jewish Nationalism, and had published a story "Aheym" in the Khubbi-tsion collection book "Der verker" (1887), also under fictional subjects in the supplement to "Yudishes folksblat" (1888) in the theatre piece "Di egunah, a drama in four acts and six scenes," which at first was published in two volumes of "Hoyzfraynd" (pp. 27-78), and then in a separate publication "Ferlag yudishe bihne", Warsaw, Trs'kh [78 pp., 16°].

That play in her time was often performed on the Yiddish stage.

Professor Simon Dubnow had, under the pseudonym of "Kritikus" ("Voskhod", N' 7, 1889), did not respond well to the play He considers it to be a melodrama, clichéd according to [both] theme and form. From one side, operated crooks and murderers; from the other side, a false victim [?], healer and noble, sentimental-mlitshdike speech, melodrama and routine, but in the cause of the drama -- a good idea.

In the theatre museum of YIVO, one finds the manuscript of even several of L.'s plays: "Di khupe un di loyh, a comedy in four acts and six kartines (censured on 10 May 1883), "Der shtrafnoy", a drama in five acts and six scehens, after the subject of A. Rabinowitz, adaptation" (censured on 12 July 1883), and "Der shmalts-grub, a comedy in five acts" (censured on 11 April 1883).

In the same museum one can also find a written exemplar of "Di aguneh" (censured on 9 December 1887), as well as German censorship [blumrsht translated by Y. Y. Lerner] for the play under the name "Libestsoyber", and for "Der shmalts-grub", under the name "Di goldkvele."

Even though the plays were censored and had in that time were very forced into new plays [her husband Y. Y. Lerner had, given over many to Avraham Goldfaden, and with him created a partnership in Odessa]; we don't find anywhere any statements of people who [outside of "Di egunah"] who acted in the plays.

After her husband's conversion to Christianity, L. also went over to Christianity and at the same time also converted her children: Nikolai, the late, famous Russian literary historian and Pushkin researcher, Tina -- a talented pianist, and Vera -- a singer.

In 1905 L. was for several years in Germany, in order to perfect a tour across America, Canada and Europe. During wartime, L. again was in Germany, and then again in America, where she remained until 1923. On the way back to Russia, she was held in Germany, where in 1927 she passed away.

M. had -- according to Esther Rapelskaya -- a sharfetfish,. The bildlekheyt and humor of her talk, the aftekaraveslekh, entirely shtekhedike, over people, who she used to recognize through and through; she had created for a very interesting entertainment, even then when she already old and sick. Not withstanding her deep age, her entire veun?? was something like a powerful source of energy, temperament and imagination. The national question for her was an ongeveytikte. In her conversations, she often used Yiddish proverbs.

The manuscripts of her dramas L. had preserved until her last days.

Sh. E. from Zalmen Reyzen.

  • B. Gorin -- "History of Yiddish Theatre", Vol. II, p. 269.

  • R. Granovski -- Yitzhak yoel linetsky, "Pinkas", N. Y., 1927-28.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1169.

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