A Tale of Two Museums
Ester Rachel Kaminska Theater Museum Collection

The Modern Yiddish Theater is Established in Russia and Romania in 1876

goldfaden death small.jpg


The Modern Yiddish Theater is Established in Russia and Romania in 1876


The modern Yiddish Theater dates back to 1876 when the Russian-Jewish intellectual and impresario Avrom Goldfaden (1840-1908) produced the first Yiddish-language operettas first in Romania and then in Russia. For a short while, Yiddish theater became a boom business. In 1883, the Czar banned the Yiddish theater, causing the emigration of many the theater's actors from the Russian Empire and shifting the center of Yiddish theatrical activity from Eastern Europe to the United States. By the late 1890s, New York emerged as the capital of the Yiddish theater. Goldfaden eventually reached New York City in 1888, but when he arrived he was frozen out of New York's Yiddish theater life by disgruntled ex-actors. He spent most of the rest of his life in Europe, but returned to New York City before his death in 1908.

He was buried in Brooklyn's Washington Cemetery. Above is a photograph taken at the unveiling of his gravestone.


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“The Modern Yiddish Theater is Established in Russia and Romania in 1876 ,” YIVO Online Exhibitions, accessed March 1, 2024, https://ataleoftwomuseums.yivo.org/items/show/3008.
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