Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Jacob Rechtzeit


Born in 1904 in Pietrkow, Poland. Father -- cantor in the local orthodox synagogue. As a youth he sung with his father as a choir boy and also was "caught" praying from home. He learned  Salfja (?) earlier with his father, then he studied music with a music teacher and by himself "grilled" in books about music.

From the chorus he developed an "amateur" group in which R. debuted in "Vilder mensh" by Jacob Gordin (role of "Elchasnador").

Outside the group, R. soon came into main roles and conductor in the operetta, which they performed, and he performed very often in concert productions, who the Rechtzeit family labeled (his younger brother Seymour) as a "wonder children", and their sister Hinda. A part of their repertoire, such as songs, duets and one-acters, indeed were composed by him. R.'s family participated in the productions of the various troupes of Warsaw and Lodz, which came to perform for them in cities.

In the middle of the First World War, his family moved over to Lodz, and there R. became engaged to study the music of the staged operettas. He became very popular. Moving about, the troupe arrived in Minsk, which was then heard by the Soviets who organized a dramatic Jewish state theatre, and R. went over to dramatic repertoire, but when they took to staging the large

European operettas, "Di tshardash firshtin", "Shoshana di tsnueh", "Dos mark-meydl", "Alma vu vuinstu", etc, R. was appointed as conductor, and the yesektsye prepared him to send to study in the governmental conservatory. However, here he fought the information, that his father with his family had been saved in America, and in 1922 he succeeded in coming to hem.

In New York, R soon was engaged for Jacob Cone in his "Liberty Theatre" in Brownsville, then he spent three years acting in the "National Theatre" (managers -- Max and Louis Goldberg), later acting in Philadelphia's "Arch Street Theatre", becoming very popular by acting with Aaron Lebedeff in the operetta "Kovkazer libe", and with Leon Blank in the melodrama "Di dray khasenes", and some seasons later he became director of the "Hopkinson Theatre", where he directed lebensbilds, melodramas and operettas for which he often wrote the music and the "lyrics" for which many became very popular.

Thus R. composed the "lyrics' and music to the staged operettas "Undzer rabeinu" and "Der freylekher tsigeyner" by S. H Kon, "Der odeser tentser" by Isidore Lash, "Itsikl ganef" by Yitzhak Fridman, and "Goldene blikn" by Seymour Wolf.

From his many "lyrics", etc., there were printed: "Baranovitsh", "Shveyg, hersele", "Tsirele", "Brengt mir mayn mame fun yener zayt" and "Du vest zayn mayn dzhenka".

R. left to guest-star around the world: a visit to Argentina, Brazil, France, Belgium, England, Poland, Romania, Lita (Lithuania) and Lettland (Latvia), where he became warmly taken in by the audience and by the press. After three years, he returned to America, acting here for two years, not tsupasn to the local conditions, and he went again to guest-star for several years in Europe. After a successful tour, he returned to America, acted for several years in the "Yiddish Art Theatre" (Director: Maurice Schwartz), where he created the role of "Sheftele ganef" in Shneur's "Der gezang fun dnieper (The Song of the Dnieper)", ["Noakh Pandere"'] "Segalesko" in Sholem Aleichem's "Blondzhende shtern (Wandering Stars)", and the tile role from "Yoshe Kalb", during a future offering.

In 1962 R. guest-starred in the land of Israel.

R. is a member in the Executive (Committee) of the Yiddish Actors Union, president of the "Yiddish Actors Club", and was occupied recently with organizing troupes, concerts and vaudeville productions across the province.

Sh. E.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 4, page 3673.

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