Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Ruth Zahava


Born in New York, America, to Orthodox parents. She learned Jewish subjects in a Talmud Torah. She completed public and high school. She studied at Hunter College. She was interested in the dance arts, and she studied in the dance school of Burt Larson, thanks to Mary Wigman. She danced in Maurice Schwartz's productions of "Dybuk", "Shabse tsvi", "La tkhmud" and "The Devil Knows What" in the Yiddish Art Theatre, the "Death Dance" in "Dybuk" in David Herman's production in the National Theatre and staged the dance in Menachem Rubin's production of "200,000" in the Rolland Theatre.

1939 -- Z. had a dance recital in the Guild Theatre on Broadway. Performing in dance programs with various social activities, Z. had specialized in dance build on Jewish themes, folk and biblical motifs, had staged dance classes in the Jewish secular schools and performed the choreography in a range of productions for Yitzhak Roitblum.

In 1946 Z. was invited by the Yiddish theatre society in Los Angeles to organize the dance department, and on 25 September performed with the first Yiddish dance ballet in the Philharmonic Auditorium, dedicated to the struggle for the liberation of Eretz Yisrael. 1949 -- performed with dance ballet in the Hollywood Bowl, in honor of the first anniversary of the land of Israel, then in the Greek Theatre, Gilmore Stadium and the Wilshire Ebell Theatre, and on 22 October 1949 in the Shrine Auditorium represented Israel in the International Folk Dance Festival.


Z. staged the dance for the Third Street ceremonials in L. A. with the Arbeter Ring, in the Institute for Yiddish Education and for the ghetto innovations(?), and for the production of Chaver Paver's "Zog nisht keynmol" of the Yiddish children's theatre for the Jewish middle school.

In 1948 the center's society issued in English Z.'s dance book for Jewish folk and Israeli dance, for the center's movement in the country, and in 1950, through "Kilography Publishers" published in English, Z.'s book "Jewish Dances", built on ten Yiddish folksongs, with a foreword by Professor Mordecai Kaplan.

Z. is the dance director for the Jewish Centers Society in Los Angeles.

Z. is the wife of actor Yitzhak Roitblum.

Sh. E.

  • Irving Kolodin -- Two Dancers Give Recitals, "N. Y. Sun," Feb. 1939.

  • Joseph Arnold Kaye -- Dance in Review, "Dance", N. Y., April 1939.

  • D. W. (Weisman) -- Jewish Dances, "B'nai B'rith Messenger", L. A., March 10, 1950.

  • Mildred Morton -- "Daily News", L. A., April 26, 1950.

  • Eleanor Roosevelt -- "Daily News", L. A., April 26, 1950.

  • Moshe Katz -- Tsvey idishe kunst-bikher, "M"f", N. Y., 22 October 1950.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 3, page 2257.

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