Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


    Leon Schechter

S. was born in 1900 in Czernowitz, Bukovina.

He studied in a cheder and in a Talmud Torah.

In 1910, his family moved to San Remo (Italy), where he took universal studies, while at the same time pursuing his Yiddish studies with his father, who was a rabbi in San Remo.

In 1914, his entire family decided to immigrate to the land of Israel, and in order to do so they first went to Vienna, then they traveled via Trieste. But there his father got sick and died.

On his elder brother Yakov's initiative (now managing Yiddish radio program in Miami), the whole family immigrated to Paris, where S. studied in a local public school, and having a beautiful voice, he entered the chorus of the local Yiddish theatre and from time to time found roles to play.

In 1920 his family immigrated to Montreal and there S. started to play in French variety show theatre. After that he entered the Yiddish theatre managed by Bernard Elving, where he had the opportunity to play with different guest stars, among them Rudolf Schildkraut in "Uriel mazik", "Shylock", "Lokshen", etc.

S. traveled to New York and because of the difficulties he encountered attempting to become a member of the Yiddish Actors Union and play in legitimate Yiddish theatre groups, S. organized a troupe with European Yiddish actors, and together with Max Lasky and Charlotte Goldstein, took the control of the Grand Theatre where they played in the "European Cooperative Troupe", and when the State of New York demolished the building, they took the control of the Lipzin Theatre, and again, when it also was demolished, they started playing in the McKinley Square Theatre.

After having kept this theatre for ten years, S. was able to become a member of the Yiddish Actors Union, and was taken on in 1941 into the National Theatre (with Leo Fuchs as a star), then with the [Yiddish] Art Theatre of Maurice Schwartz with which he traveled throughout the American provinces.

In 1948, S. came to Miami (Florida) and together with his brother Yakov, they opened there the first Yiddish vaudeville theatre, where they brought the greatest stars of the Yiddish stage for short artistic programs.

Since 1948 until 1951, he managed such a program in the Kami Theatre.

Since 1951, he produced this program in the Cinema Theatre on Washington Avenue and 12th Street in Miami Beach.

In this theatre, where he and his wife Gitele Stein performed Yiddish sketches, the programs were performed in two languages, i.e. in Yiddish and in English. With the participation of both Yiddish and English-Yiddish actors, they had very big audiences of local Jewish inhabitants and also of the tourists guests that came from the entire country.

Sh. E. from Harry Weinberg. 






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 6, page 6117.

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