Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Mordechai Yardeini
(Motl Sherman)


Born on 16 July 1906 [according to his mother's account -- 1908] in Slovechno, Volin Gubernia, Ukraine. On his mother's side -- lumber merchant, footwear and grain trader and contractor. Father -- a merchant, a prayer leader and a Gemora melamed. He was educated in the best cheders and with the best melamdim and teacher in the town, and Tenach, Gemora and Hebrew literature.

In 1922 he immigrated with his family to America and settled in Philadelphia, where he envisaged learning in the yeshiva "Miskhan Yisrael", then in the "Professor Haks's School of Music and Drama".

He debuted in 1929 in the "Forward" with a humoresque, and soon thereafter often writing in the Philadelphia "Idishe velt", reviewing and critiquing about music and theatre. In February 1930 he performed for the first time in the "Gibson Theatre" in the role of a lover in the operetta "Khasidishe yenkis (Chasidic Yankees)" (Director Sol Dickstein(. Later there he staged and participated in his own melodrama "Der eybiker shtrof", then went off to Eretz Yisrael, where he envisaged the role of "Shulamis" in his music studies.

Returning in 1936 to America, he performed in New York as the Palestinian singer Mordechai Yardeini (the name was adopted in 

Israel) as a singer on the radio and concerts, bringing for the first time to America the Israeli song repertoire.

1938-1949 -- was the music critic for the "Tog", where he also published many articles about theatre and actors, film, a series about Hollywood, famous composers and cantors. At the same time, Y. performed in the Yiddish vaudeville houses, such as "Second Avenue", "National Theatre", and in the "Clinton" (earlier with Rovinger, then with Rosenberg), and also had an opportunity to perform in concerts, together with Boris Thomashefsky, Molly Picon, Menasha Skulnik, Samuel Goldenburg et al.)

1949-50 -- over to, as a music critic, to the "Forward", then to the "Morning Journal", and from 1953 to 1955 back to the "Forward".

Besides this, Y. printed frequent articles in the Yiddish periodicals, such as "Kanader odler", "Yidishe kultur', "Fraye arbayter shtime", "Idisher kemfer", "Di shtime", "Di prese", and for a year's time he edited the "Nyu yorker vokhnblat".

In 1951 Y. also had edited the "Khunim-zhurnal".

In 1955 in the New York (publisher "Malke") there was published his book "Inṭerṿyus miṭ idishe shrayber (Interviews with Yiddish Writers)", and in 1960 his book "Leo Liov" (publisher "Nigun"). He prepared to publish two books: "Zayln fun der idisher literatur" and "Interviews with Yiddish Showmen, Dramatists, Composers, Actors, Regisseurs and Theatre Critics".

Y. wrote music for the texts of many prominent Hebrew and Yiddish poets, as well as cantorial recitations that were included in Gershon Efrat's fifth volume "Antulugy khazanim".

Y., as a concert singer and home (emud) artist, visited four times the South- and Central American countries, and also two times was a concertist in England, France, Belgium and Poland.

From 1938 until 1953 Y. (together with Victor Pecker) directed a Yiddish radio program in New York under the name "Di geshikhte fun mayn lid (The History of my Song)" (written by Y., and dramatized by Pecker).

During the 1957-58 season, Y. participated in the production of the play "Di ershte shvalb" in New York's "Educational Alliance".

Y. through the record companies RCA-Victor, Decca, Ash and Famous, issued the records: "Ifim hlilut", "Lmuldti", "Bah mnukhh", "Ab hrkhmim", "Mtrtsh brkhmim", Raytih", "Shir hrueh", "Khanale lernt loshun kodesh", "Zmri li", "Hisrt hkhlil", "Eli, Eli", "Mi sheshh nesim", "Tel Aviv", "Mi ani", "Kiddush", "Di yidishe verter", "Sim Shalom", "Bar mitzvah lid", "Kol mikdosh", "Eud ishme", "Jerusalem" and "Shabbat kodesh".

Y. is a member in the Executive (Committee) of the Yiddish Actors Union, Yiddish Theatrical Alliance, in the committee of the "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre", and former president of the Cantors Association of America and Canada. married to the radio artist Chayele Stromberg.

Sh. and M. E.

  • "Lexicon of the New Yiddish Literature", New York, Vol. 4, pp. 301-302.

  • Jacob Botoshansky -- Tsvishn yo un nayn", "Di prese", Buenos Aires, 15 April 1943.

  • Prof. Solomon Kahan -- A tog iber a tog, yrdnis oyftu, "Der veg", Mexico, 17 February 1948.

  • L. Gruzman -- Der idisher zinger m. yrdni, "Der shpiegel", Buenos Aires, July 1948.

  • Dr. L. Zhitnitsky -- Der ershter oyftrit fun mordechai yrdni, "Di prese", Buenos Aires, 14 July 1948.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 4, page 3296.

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