Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Leah Naomi
(Kigel Eisenberg)


She was born on November 10, 1888 in Odessa, Ukraine.

Her parents owned a sewing-notions store.

She studied in a cheder (a one-room school) and with a teacher of Yiddish writing. She graduated from a professional school and then took education courses in a gymnasium (secondary school). She was enrolled in the university for a year and taught arithmetic and geography.

While studying in the gymnasium she performed in a one-act play at the home of a girl friend. The friend's brother, who was involved in theatre, was very impressed by her acting. From that time on she was often invited to participate in various Russian amateur performances. On one such occasion she was noticed by the director of the drama school Morskoy, and was enrolled in his school, where she studied without her parents' knowledge. She appeared in the performances of the "Absolvents."[?]

During the Russian performance of Peretz Hirshbein's "Oyf yener zayt taykh" (On the Other Side of the River), she became acquainted with Hirshbein and joined the Yiddish troupe which he had organized in Odessa. She appeared in the first performance of "Tekiyas kaf" (Handshake signifying agreement). She remained with the surname Naomi in the Hirshbein troupe until it was dissolved.

Afterwards she appeared in Kaminski's "Fareynigte trupe" (United Troupe) for nine months. Then she studied in a drama school and played for nine months with Lipovski in Vilna and was invited to London to the newly founded Folks Theatre by Feinman. There she performed for some time (under the direction of Jacob Ben-Ami) and afterwards in the Pavilion Theatre.

After her return to Poland she appeared as "Madame Alving" in Ibsen's "Ghosts" in Lodz (directed by H. Yedwab) and joined Clara Young's troupe.

Later she appeared with Ester Rukhl Kaminska in Baku, and during World War I she appeared in Warsaw and Lodz. Afterwards she participated in the European operetta troupe of the Warsaw Central Theatre (director, David Tselmayster) and joined the "Vilna Troupe". She appeared with them in Poland and then toured with them in Germany, Belgium, and England and in America.

On March 31, 1931 Naomi became a member of the Hebrew Actors' Union.

From 1931-1932 she performed in the Arch Street Theatre in Philadelphia.

From 1932-1933 she performed in the Yiddish Art Theatre in New York.

Naomi is the wife of sculptor Abraham Eisenberg.

M. E.

  •  Noah Prilutzki, Yiddish Theatre, Bialystok, 1921, Vol. 1, p. 42.

  •  Dr. A. Mukdony, "Old Acquaintances" Morning Journal, N.Y. 11 January, 1924.

  •  Yosef Lerner, " A talent which has not yet been appreciated," Jewish Voice, Los Angeles, 17 October, 1925.

  •  Amber, "Leah Naomi" Culture, Chicago, 30 October, 1925.

  •  Michael Vaykhert, Theatre and Drama, Volume II, p. 15.

  •  S. Kutner, " Memories of the Hirshbein Troupe" (Theatre Memories, editor, Zalmen Zylbercweig, Vilna, 1928, pp. 86-89)

  •  Dr. A. Mukdony, " Memories of a Yiddish theatre critic," Archives, Vilna, 1930 p. 381.  






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 1427.

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