Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Jack Levy


Born on 10 September 1887 in Warsaw, Poland, to poor, Chasidic parents. He was raised until bar mitzvah by his grandfather. Together with his grandfather traveled as a child to a Chasidic rabbi, and there was a choir boy. Each Purim, with his father in the home or at a rabbinic weddings and simkhas, he represented himself.

At age thirteen he began to read "Trfhpsul" books, took to attending Polish opera and dramatic productions and dreamed of being an actor.

1904 -- went away to Paris, where he worked in a factory. 1905 -- debuted there in Chekov's "Der berg", acted by the "amateurs" of the "Freye yidishe arbeter bine" (director -- Shmuel Keytnmakher) and participated in several "amateur' productions.

1906 -- entered into a professional Yiddish theatre with the up-and-coming actor Manya Trilling and Herman Berman, debuting as "Shlmun" in Gordin's "Mirele Efros". 1907 -- over in the troupe of Bleykhman, who wandered around across Switzerland (Basel and Zurich) and then in Vienna.

Winter 1907 -- acted in Prague and here performed for the first time in a recitation evening, reading in Yiddish from Perets, Nomberg, Frishman, Reyzen, Rozenfeld and Sholem Aleichem.


 1911 -- returned to Warsaw and toured (from Pesakh until Shavuous) across White Russia and Latvia with Libert, Serotsky, Lazar Freed, Trilling and Sonya Edelman, in the repertoire of Gordin, Libin and Kobrin.

1912 -- studied in Frankfurt in a dramatic school.

1913 -- acted for several days in the week in Berlin (in a Yiddish quarter), and several days in Leipzig (Palace Theatre), where he directed Hirshbein's "Gblh".

During the outbreak of war, he acted in Yiddish in Budapest, where he remained until 1919 and acted for a certain time in German, Melchior Lengiel's "Der shotn" (translated and staged by him in Yiddish in Warsaw's Central Theatre in 1921), and Sholem Asch's "God of Vengeance".

1919 -- Arrived in Poland, performed in the Elizeum theatre in a "solo concert" (scenes from Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar", Vildenbrukh's "Mkhshfh-lid", Gogol's "Der meshugener", and Chekov's "Dos shvanen lid"), and later with several programs (scenes from Shakespeare, Moliere, Dickens, St. Tsveig, R. B. Hoffman, Edgar Poe and the Yiddish poets Peretz, Asch, Bialik, Halpern, Nadir, Kulbak, Aaron Zeitlin, et al.), across Poland, acting only from time to time in the professional Yiddish troupes.

1924 -- founded in Warsaw a "Habimah", and here staged in Hebrew Kupe's (?) "Hknur mgrmnih", and Sholem Aleichem's "Doktoyrim"..

  • Jack Levy -- Vi azoy ikh bin gekumen tsu der bine, "Teater-tseytung", Warsaw, 4, 1928.

  • Dr. Ginzburg-Shterman -- Zhak levi, "Brisker vokhnblat", 50, 929.

  • Jack Levy -- A bisl musr, "Unzer ekspres", Warsaw, 7 July 1933.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1139.

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