Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Jacob Terr


Born on 30 October 1861 in Neyshtot, near the Polish-Prussian border. His father was a businessman, who until age thirteen had let him learn in cheders, then was sent to the yeshivas of Slonim and Grodno. At the age of seventeen he married and was called to further learning, and then he took to commerce, In 1880 he immigrated to Rostov, and here until 1890 he maintained a Hebrew-Russian school. Later he immigrated to New York, where he also attempted a Hebrew school, but ultimately a .... in the "Montefiore Talmud Torah."

1892 -- T., together with Morris Rosenfeld, issued seven volumes of weekly "Di zun (The Sun)," and in 1898, twelve volumes of a monthly book "Natur und lebn."

T. tried his strength at the Yiddish stage, but the then dramatist, who also was partners in the Yiddish theatres, did not allow him to. At first during a conflict between the actors and the dramatists, T. arrived at the possibility of staging his play in 1892, "Shivs tsion," and "Amon and Tamar, oder, Der gliklikher pastukh" (music -- M. Abramovitsh, staged 18 November in Thalia); in 1893 -- "Di zilberne hokhtsayt"; on 23 February 1894 in the Thalia Theatre "Di karbones fun di shlekhte tsaytn," in 1895 -- "Bustnay, oder, Der letster prints fun mlkhut bit dovid" ("historical operetta in five acts and fourteen scenes"), "Rafael bel monte," and "Mlkhmus hihudim, oder, Di geroybte printsesin," 1899 -- "Ktr mlkhut, oder, Di kroynung fun inay kenig", "Murd bmlkhut, oder,


Di yidn in portugal, a historical, romantic opera" [operetta], "The Bird of Prey, or, the Scandal in the High Window " (a lebnsbild in four acts), 1901 - "Der nayer moshiakh, oder, Dovid alray, a historical operetta. (After Bikonsfield's novel)" and "Di bet-hmlkh, a historical operetta", 1902 -- Regina, oder, Di yidishe grafine," (staged by Kessler in the Thalia Theatre). 1908 -- "Di yidishe neshome (The Jewish Soul)" (staged by Thomashefsky), and together with Thomashefsky "Der sha"kh," oder, Der skhus fun shabes koydesh (Rabbi Sabbathai Cohen, or, The Merits of Holy Sabbath)."

T. also wrote a series of one-acters and two-act vaudevilles and dramas, which were staged in the then Yiddish vaudeville houses in America.

From T.'s plays, there were printed: ""Der ferfaster in kindbet", a comedy in one act, in which T. portrayed in a comical form an episode of Yiddish dramaturgical life [printed in Y. Minikes' "Di idishe bine" N. Y., 1897, later published in a separate edition in the publishing house "Teatre Bibliotek," Warsaw [16 pp., 16], and "Di yidishe neshome, oder, Beril kokhlefel, a musical drama in four acts, adapted by B. Thomashefsky, publisher "Melody," Warsaw, Tr'e, 56 pp., 16 [the play was printed without the knowledge of the author.]

In his collection "Natur und leben" (New York, 1898), there also was printed his drama "Der amerikaner arbeyter, oder, Der kamf fir dos lebens drama fun unzere tsayten, in 5 acts by Jacob Terr." The play was performed by professional Yiddish theatre in America, and also on (28) 15 July 1905 it was staged in Vilna by an "amateur" group, under the name "Di idishe emigrantn in amerike."

Almost all were handwritten by T., written with writing letters(?) and with fartsirungen on the title page, found in the archive of Sholem Perlmutter.

  • Z. Reyzen -- "Lexicon of Yiddish Literature," Vol. I, pp. 1186-7.

  • B. Gorin -- "History of Yiddish Theatre," Vol. II, pp. 66, 203-4, 266.

  • M. Zeifert -- "Di geshikhte fun idishen theater" in Minikes' "Di idshe bine," N. Y., 1897.

  • B. Gorin -- Kritik, "Der theater zhurnal," N. Y., 15, 1902.

  • Bessie Thomashefsky -- "Mayn lebens geshikhte," N. Y., p. 234.

  • Sholem Perlmutter -- Idishe dramturgen "Di idishe velt," Cleveland, 16 December 1928.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 889.

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