Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Efrayim Fishl Fishelzon

According to Max Erik, F. is the author of the anonymous play, "Teater fin khasidim," which was published in the first volume of the "Historishe shriftn" of YIVO, Warsaw, 1929, pp. 623-693.

Erik built his view on things, which in song after the texts of the play there is an acrostic, which gives one clearly the name and family of Efrayim Fishelzon. He also remarked that in "HaMelitz," 1860, Vol. 5, p. 78, there was published a correspondence with the signature "Efrayim Fishl Fishelzon ish zamushttz," from which one can see that F. was from Zamosc.

From the last line of text in the play there also is -- according to M. Erik -- to see that the play was created in 1839, the piece "Teater fin khasidim in dray akts ingeteylt, performed in Lemberg [1839-1943], was accompanied by two manuscript-photostats from a title page and from the first page of text, with an introduction from the editor and with an "introduction-study" by Dr. Chaim Borodiansky.

In the introduction of the editor it was given:

"The hand-written manuscript of the play, which we published here for the first time (besides the Hebrew introduction), we received from F' Sh. Dubnow. ... The work hadn't in it any one element of an extraordinary theatre-piece -- not according to boy,  not according to his actions, not according to his entire character. It is in truth a debate, in three acts, between an "oyfgeklertn (educated person?)" and his friend -- on one side, and a group of Chasidim on the second. ... It cannot exactly determine in which year the "theatre" became drawn up, but it was clear that the work was written at the end of the thirtieth [year] and begun on the fortieth year. ... We had for ourselves quite an unknown, valuable work, written in a fat, absolutely not Germanized Yiddish, and in an eyngartiker form."

Dr. Chaim Borodiansky writes in his introduction:

"The author had to be one of the learned and prominent maskilim in the first half of the nineteenth century. One who had descended from the Polish maskilim circles and had good knowledge of the conditions of Jewish life, not only in Poland, but also in Galicia. ...He manifested a healthy, artistic sense and employed a popular, rich and simple Yiddish and played with grammar so lightly, that it had him securely placed with the former, beloved folk poets, such as Velvl Zbarzsher and Berl Broder."

Dr. Borodiansky was, also in his opinion, that the significance of "played in Lemberg" is not that the play was performed there, but that the action/plot came before, while in Lemberg.

  • "Teator fin khasidim" -- "Historishe shriftn" fun YIVO, Warsaw, 1929, pp. 623-693.

  • Max Erik -- Vegn dem yidishn visnshaftlekhn institut in vilne, "Morgn frayhayt," N. Y., 28 July 1930.

  • M. E. --- Der mekhaber fun "teator fin khasidim, "Bibliologisher zamlbukh," Minsk, 1931, Vol. 1, pp. 515-16.





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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 3, page 2129.

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