Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Abraham Teitelbaum
(=Sholem, Sam)


T. was born on 1 March 1889 in Warsaw, Poland, to Chasidic, not well-to-do parents, who had a restaurant, where Yiddish actors used to have rehearsals from time to time. Until age sixteen he learned in cheders and yeshivas, and secular studies privately.

He attended at times a Polish theatre and he became so captured by the productions that he soon became a follower of the actors and actresses.

When I. L. Peretz and Dr. Gershon Levin organized the "Hazamir" in Warsaw, T. entered into the chorus and then into the dramatic section of "Hazamir" which was under the direction  of Mark Arnstein and I. L. Peretz.

In 1907 T. was taken in as a prompter for Sam Adler's troupe.

In 1908 he began to act in the troupe of Krause-Spivakovski.

In 1909 he was in Bronstein's troupe, then with Sabsey, Kaminska's "United Troupe" and for Genfer.

Later T. traveled to Paris, London, Buenos Aires, and again to Paris, where he acted in various troupes. In Paris he also participated in a film. 


During the World War, T. acted with Moshkovich in London, and there he acted in English in Richard Cumberland's play "The Jew and (in the English Pavilion Theatre the Yiddish-English one-act "Shabbas tekhter [Sabbath Daughters]") by Gordon.

In 1918 T. traveled to America, where he became the director of the dramatic studio of the Peretz Society, and later the regisseur of the Yiddish dramatic society in Minsk. From there he was invited to the first Yiddish state theatre in Vilna. When the Poles took Vilna, T. performed in the Vilna Troupe and acted with them in Poland. In 1919 he was invited by Schwartz to America, and he acted for him for two seasons. Then he was invited to Chicago as regisseur and actor in Glickman's Palace Theatre. There he also directed with the "Lit. Dram. Gezelshaft", and he directed for them for the first time Sholem Asch's play, "Der toyter mentsh".

In 1920 T. directed and acted in Hebrew in "Dos naye geto (The New Ghetto)" by Dr. Herzl, and in "Dem shmids tekhter (The Blacksmith's Daughters)" by Peretz Hirshbein.

From Chicago T. became engaged by Anshel Schorr in Philadelphia, where he acted for two seasons.

From 1925-7 T. acted in the (Yiddish) Art Theatre in New York, where he was also one of the teachers at the "Free Dramatic Studio" and was director of the "Kunst-Ring".

T. translated Strindberg's "Der foter (The Father)" (acted by Jacob Libert in Russia); "Ludvig der elfter" by Kazimir Delavin (staged by T. in Buenos Aires); "Shimshen" by Anri Bernstein (staged by Moshkovich in London); "Prokuror halers" by Paul Lindau (staged by Moshkovich in London); "Der preyz fun lebn" by Nemirovitch-Dantchenko (staged in Philadelphia; "Di letste maskn (The Last Masks)" by Arthur Schnitzler (staged on 16 December 1920 in New York's Yiddish Art Theatre), and "Sonkin's khlum" by S. Yushkevich (staged in Philadelphia).

In 1928-9 T. guest-starred in Poland where the Vilna Troupe staged his translation from Yiddish of Niel's "Ti tayh unter di ulm boymer" ["Di yidishe velt", Warsaw, 5-7, 1928].

Due to the decree against foreign actors, T. was forced to leave Poland. He handled the press and brought forth an open discussion about the question, which created a sharp conflict within the Yiddish Artists Union in Poland and the Yiddish Actors Union in America.

In the summer of 1929 T. guest-starred in Belgium.

In 1929-30 T. acted in the National Theatre.

In 1930-31 T. was in Chicago's Lawndale Theatre, where he also was active as a regisseur.

In 1931-32 he acted in the Bronx's Prospect Theatre.

In the "Fraye arbayter shtime" (28 May 1931), T. published his translation from the English of the Chinese one-act "Di bagegenish baym brunem" by Su Ming Po.

In the summer of 1932 T. traveled to Eretz Israel and after that published in the "Fraye arbayter shtime" several studio articles about Hebrew theatre in Eretz Israel.

In 1932-33 T. acted in the Bronx's Prospect Theatre. T. was a managing member of the Yiddish Actors Union.

T. also was active as a theatre writer and published many publicity and theatrical articles, assessments, and previews in the "Yidishe velt" (London), "Arbeter fraynt" (London), "Di naye velt" by Sh. Niger (Vilna), "Teater" and "Yidish teater" (Warsaw); "Kultur" (Chicago), "Di feder", "Forward", "Tog", "Frayhayt", "Naye velt", "Kemfer" and "Oyfkum" -- in New York.

He also released a book "Teatralia (publisher Yatshkovski's Bibliotek [Library])", Warsaw -- New York, 1929 [introduction by Dr. Jacob Shatzky, p. 274+4, 16], in which he had the rub tsunoyfneklibn a section of his earlier work in the periodic press.

M. E.

  • Hillel Rogoff -- Notitsen vegen eynige idishe shoyshpiler, "Forward", N. Y., 14 November 1919.

  • Abraham Teitelbaum -- Fun varshever "hazamir" biz der "tauh" in "elizeum", "Teat. tsayt.", Warsaw, 2, 1928.

  • Sh. L. Shneiderman -- Bay avraham teitelbaum, "Literarishe bleter", 32, 1928.

  • N. Mayzel -- Di naye oyffirung bey di vilner, "Literarishe bleter", 38, 1928.

  • Yehoshua Perle -- A naye premiere bay di vilner, "Ilustrirte vokh", Warsaw, 15, 1928.

  • I. M. Neyman -- Der oyffrit fun a. teitelbaum, "Haynt", Warsaw, 14 September 1928.

  • Yechiel Halpern -- "Di tauh unter di ulm-boymer", "Nfl"tsayt", Warsaw, 26 December 1928.

  • Elchanan Zeitlin -- "Der kinstlerisher ani mamin fun a yidishn aktyor, "Teat"tst", Warsaw, 2 (9), 1929.

  • Lebediger -- Kultur un teater, "Morning Journal", N. Y., 1 February 1929.

  • B. Totshinski -- Teater problemen, "Unzer tsayt", Kishinev, 26 May 1929.

  • Jacob Mestel -- Teater bikhr, "Frayhayt", N. Y., 1 July 1929.

  • Tubi -- Artist avraham teitelbaum, "Yidishe tsaytung", Antwerp, 6, 1929.

  • P. Viernik -- Unzer fil--shprakhige literatur, "Morning Journal", 21 April 1929.

  • Dr. A. Mukdoni -- Shoyshpiler un literat, "Morning Journal", N. Y., 25 August 1929.

  • Y. Shayak -- An aktyor-a teater-farsher, "Post", London, 27 August 1930.

  • Jacob Mestel -- Fir yidishe teater-bikher, "Archive", pp. 495-7.

  • Ch. Ehrenreich -- Vos es dertseylen idishe shoyshpiler, velkhe hoben zikh tsurikgekert fun reyes, "Forward", N. Y., 23 September 1932.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 875.

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