Women on the Yiddish Stage

Edited by Alyssa Quint and Amanda Miryem-Khaye Seigel

Studies In Yiddish 19


  31 August 2023  •  348pp

ISBN: 978-1-839541-36-0 (hardback)  •  RRP £85, $115, €99

ISBN: 978-1-839541-37-7 (paperback, forthcoming)

ISBN: 978-1-839541-38-4 (JSTOR ebook)


The integration of women into public Jewish performance (Yiddish-language theater by 1877 and Hebrew-language theater by about 1918) was a revolution in modern Jewish culture. While a great deal of seasoned Yiddish-speaking male talent preexisted theater in the form of cantors, choristers, and tavern singers, East European Jewish women had no experience participating in public Jewish performance. From the theater’s first days, women assumed positions of authority, security, and visibility in great numbers. Rapidly, by the 1890s, when the center of the Yiddish theater shifted from cities throughout Romania and the Russian Empire where it first launched in the late 1870s to cities across the globe — including London, Buenos Aires, and New York City by the turn of the century — substantial numbers of female Yiddish actors enjoyed celebrity on par with their male counterparts. Women on the Yiddish Stage presents an array of scholarly essays that challenge the existing historical accounting of the modern Yiddish theater; highlight pioneering artists, creators, and impresarios; and map sources and methodologies of this rich area of forgotten history.


  • ‘Women and men have shared the stage in equal numbers practically since its inception... Moreover, participation of women extends behind the scenes, where they have also served as directors, impresarios, and creators. The topical, chronological, and geographic scope of the twelve essays in this pioneering collection is quite impressive. The theater personalities treated in this nicely illustrated volume include major stars alongside overlooked figures... Highly recommended for research libraries.’ — Zachary M. Baker, Association of Jewish Libraries Reviews 4.3, January 2024, 38-39


Introduction: A Field is Born
Alyssa Quint
Thomashefsky, Kalich, and Adler: Female Self-Enactment in Memoirs
Nina Warnke
Beyond the Dance of Death: Judith Berg and the Creation of a Jewish Modern Dance Aesthetic
Sonia Gollance
Who’s Wearing the Trousers? Portrayals of Women in London’s Yiddish Music Halls at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
Vivi Lachs
Molly Picon as Lyricist
Ronald Robboy
Miriam Kressyn: From Polish Revolutionary to American Radio Icon
Caraid O’Brien
Women in Lithuanian Yiddish Theatre: Sofia Erdi and Rachel Berger
Ina Pukelytė
Documenting a Voiceless Celebrity Actress: The Case of Sonia Alomis
Debra Caplan
Consider the Source: Applying Feminist Methods to Argentinean Yiddish Theatre History
C. Tova Markenson
Sarah Sylvia and the Yiddish Theatre in South Africa
Veronica Belling
Ida Kaminska’s Muter Kurazh: An Indomitable yidishe mame
Giulia Randone
Diana Blumenfeld: The Voice of the Ghetto
Anna Rozenfeld
Of a Mother and a Daughter on Stage: Dina Koenig, Lya Koenig-Stolper, and Yiddish Theatre in Romania
Corina L. Petrescu

Bibliography entry:

Quint, Alyssa, and Amanda Miryem-Khaye Seigel (eds), Women on the Yiddish Stage, Studies In Yiddish, 19 (Legenda, 2023)

First footnote reference: 35 Women on the Yiddish Stage, ed. by Alyssa Quint and Amanda Miryem-Khaye Seigel, Studies In Yiddish, 19 (Legenda, 2023), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Quint and Seigel, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Quint, Alyssa, and Amanda Miryem-Khaye Seigel (eds). 2023. Women on the Yiddish Stage, Studies In Yiddish, 19 (Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Quint and Seigel 2023: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Quint and Seigel 2023: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

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