Yiddish Theater Walk of Fame on 2nd Avenue

The Lower East Side was heavily Jewish and German for a long time in the 1800s-1900s.  The people there created their own theater where they spoke and performed in Yiddish.  I don’t know how many theaters there were, but apparently enough to sustain a number of performers throughout their professional lives.

I was on a tour of the LES when, just walking along a part of 2nd Avenue I’ve been on a dozen or more times and the guide pointed out that we were at the Yiddish Theater Walk of Fame.  It’s on the corner of 10th Street right at the Chase Bank.  Apparently it was the site of the famed 2nd Avenue Deli.  Notice the plaques on the ground.

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-on-10th-st-01.jpg

I did some searching on names and couldn’t find a listing of the “famed”.  So, I’ve decided to put them here for a little bit of posterity.  There’s only one performer that I’ve remember having heard of, but all are of importance in NYC theater history.  I’ve done my best to find appropriate links for the names.  When I wasn’t sure, I made a note of it, but I think they’re pretty solid.  Whether the links will change/vanish over time is a different question.

First, Fyvush Finkel is the only one of a few who has a “solo” star.  His is also one of the most readable.

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-on-10th-st-02-fyvush-finkel.jpg

Next is the way the rest of them are:  two names sharing a star.  Here’s Jennie Goldstein and Ida Kaminska (she was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar).  I’m going to do these as thumbnails because of the volume.  Click on the picture to see the actual star.

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-02-jennie-goldstein-ida-kaminska.jpg

Then Lillian Lux and Pesack Burstein (a wife and husband team, respectively).

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-03-lillian-lux-p-burstein.jpg

The next star is for Joseph Buloff and Luba Kadison.

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-04-joseph-buloff-luba-kadison.jpg

The next star is for Abraham Goldfaden and Michal Michalesko:

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-05-abraham-goldfaden-michal-michalesko.jpg

The next star is for Miriam Kressyn and Seymour Rexite (alternative spelling of Seymour Rechzeit):

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-06-miriam-kressyn-seymour-rexite.jpg

Abraham Goldfaden gets a second star, this time for being the founder of the Yiddish Theater in 1876.

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-07-abraham-goldfaden-founder-of-the-yiddish-theatre-1876.jpg

The next star is for “Alt Raymond” and Barry Sisters.  I’m not sure about the spelling of the first name.

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-08-alt-raymond-barry-sisters.jpg

The next star is for Jack Rechtzeit and Mike Burstyn (I couldn’t find anything on Rechtzeit, but Burstyn has his own website).  Of course, it’s possible that “Jack Rechtzeit” and “Seymour Rechtzeit” (cited above) are the same person:

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-09-jack-rechtzeit-mike-burstyn.jpg

The next star is for Max Bozyk and Rose Bozyk:

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-10-max-bozyk-rose-bozyk.jpg

The next star is for Boris Thomashevsky and Bessie Thomashevsky:

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-11-boris-thomashevsky-bessie-thomashevsky.jpg

The next is for Ed Fuchs and Rebecca Richman (I can’t find anything I’m certain is a link for either of them but I suspect this is Rebecca and I wonder about a link I can find for Leo Fuchs and Rebecca Richman and who might “Ed” be if not “Leo”):

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-12-ed-fuchs-rebecca-richman.jpg

The next star is for Shulon Seckoa (possibly Sholum Secunda) and Peretz Sandler:

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-13-shulon-secukoa-peretz-sandler.jpg

This next one was completely unreadable by me:

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-14-unreadable.jpg

The next is for Molly Picon and Jacob Kalich (Jacob was Molly’s husband, but that’s all I know):

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-14-molly-picon-jacob-kalich.jpg

The next star is for Leon Liebgold and Lilly Lilyana (Leon was a Holocaust survivor):

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-15-leon-liebgold-lilly-lilyana.jpg

The next star is for Mary Sureanu (thanks to reader Elise, the spelling is now corrected) Mary Soreanu and Lucy Levine:

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-16-mary-sureanu-lucy-levine.jpg

The next star is for Irving Jacobson and an “unknown” Jacobson:

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-17-irving-jacobson-other-jacobson.jpg

The next star is for Ben Bonas/Ben Donus and Mina Bern (it looks like Ben Bonas was Mina’s husband, but that’s a guess as I can find a “Bonas” link to Mina, but it looks like “Donus” on the star but there was a “Ben Bonus” that is also linked to Bern – this was a man of how many names?!):

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-18-ben-bonas-mina-bern.jpg

The next star is for Ludwig Satz and Moishe Oysher:

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-19-ludwig-satz-moishe-oysher.jpg

The next star is for David Kessler and Zvi Scooler (also spelled Zvee Scooler, at least so it seems):

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-20-david-kessler-zvi-scooler.jpg

The next star is for Herman Yablokoff and Bella Meisel:

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-21-herman-yablokoff-bella-meisel.jpg

I’m sad to say that I cannot read the next star:

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-22-unreadable.jpg

The next star is for Alexander Olshanetsky and Abe Ellstein:

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-23-alexander-olshanetsky-abe-ellstein.jpg

The next star is for Mischa Gehrman and Lucy Gehrman:

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-24-mischa-gehrman-lucy-gehrman.jpg

The next star is for Joseph Rumshinsky and Arnold Perlmutter:

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-25-joseph-rumshinsky-arnold-perlmutter.jpg

The next star is for Jacob Jacobs and Betty Jacobs:

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-26-jacob-jacobs-betty-jacobs.jpg

The next star is for Maurice Schwartz and an unreadable person’s name:

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-27-maurice-schwartz-unknown.jpg

The next star is for Henrietta Jacobson and Julius Adler  (wife and husband, respectively.  Their son is Bruce Adler who was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor two years in a row):

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-28-henrietta-jacobson-julius-adler.jpg

The next star was unreadable:

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-29-unreadable.jpg

And the one after that was unreadable:

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-30-unreadable.jpg

The final star on the Yiddish Theater Walk of Fame is another single-person-on-a-star, Daniel Libeskind, the architect, with the interesting suffix “Friend of Folksbiene” which was the/a theater:

20080113-yiddish-theater-walk-of-fame-31-daniel-libeskind.jpg

-H

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30 Comments on “Yiddish Theater Walk of Fame on 2nd Avenue”


  1. Very nicely done!
    I live on this street, and I am embarrassed to admit I never read all the stars here. I usually look at one or two as I go by.


  2. [...] Famous Ankles Documenting my wanderings around and about NYC « Yiddish Theater Walk of Fame on 2nd Avenue [...]

  3. Elise Says:

    Hi – thanks so much for posting this!! Just a minor quibble: It’s Mary Soreanu (not Sureanu). I have a personal interest in correcting your spelling – Mary Soreanu’s my mom :)
    I hope you like the ‘new’ 2nd Avenue Deli!
    -elise ariel

    • Arthur Says:

      I saw your mother perform at Town Hall a number of year ago. She was wonderful. What has happened to her? Is she still performing. I am a member of the Yiddish Actors Friends Club and would hope to see there there sometime.

  4. Famous Ankles Says:

    Elise,

    Thank you for the correction. The wear and tear on the star made it difficult for me to read it and I couldn’t find your mom referenced in some of the Wikipedia articles I was looking at so I gave it my best shot.

    I’m happy you appreciate the post. I think of this writeup as one of my key posts in the whole blog. I was just so taken aback by the fact that no one seems to have an Internet post on the Walk of Fame and I wanted to correct that omission. I’ve never been to see Yiddish theater (I’m not Jewish nor do I speak Yiddish so I might not be in their target audience), but it was an important part of NYC history and you can be proud to have that connection.

    -H

  5. Yakov Tsukerman Says:

    I have managed to identify 100% of the names on the stars and got biografical data for almost all of those persons. If anybody is interested please do not hesitate to email.

    • Sabrina B Says:

      Ben Bonus was my grandfather. I’m curious what biographical data you have for him? Thanks. :)

      • richard lenatsky Says:

        Im a singer of yiddish folk,art and theatre songs in phila area. I have two of Ben Bonus’ old lp’s. I love his voice and his delivery of the yiddish repertoire. He was truly a gifted artist. Id be glad to record the records for you. drop me a line, Richard

    • Justin Ferate Says:

      Dear Yakov Tzukerman,

      I would be interested in your list of names of all of those on the Yiddish Walk of Fame.

      Justin Ferate

      • Maija Says:

        sabay win tea knea eng star la 3 la3 tov na os hey pass tea khtay khtay duch karona pich and sotkauhnrayu jeng sot tea khtay and Pech solika nico chay virakyut and star la3 la3 chren teat tov na os hey

    • Joyce Mendelsohn Says:

      Dear Yakov Tsukerman,

      I would very much appreciate obtaining your biographical information on the stars listed on the plaques. Please contact me
      Many thanks, Joyce Mendelsohn

    • Susan Silver Says:

      My name is Susan Bloom Silver. My mother’s grandfather was Isaac A Abraham and he was an actor there. I don’t think he was very good as was made a proctor later. I have a silver engraved three cigar case of his given to him by Ruben Guskin. I looked Mr. Guskin up, and he was an actor, also. How do I find out if anyone out there knew of either one of these men. With both of my parents dead now, I’m finding an interest in their past. Thank you.

  6. charles Bonas Says:

    Is Ben Bonus still alive?
    Do you know where he came from?

    thanks
    c

    • M.S. Says:

      BEN BONUS, 63, A YIDDISH ACTOR AND PRODUCER
      SIGN IN TO E-MAIL
      PERMISSIONS
      By (The New York Times); Obituary
      April 9, 1984, Monday
      Late City Final Edition, Section D, Page 14, Column 4, 678 words
      [ DISPLAYING ABSTRACT ]

      C. GERALD FRASER Ben Bonus, an actor, producer and a prominent figure in the American Yiddish Theater, died of a heart attack last Friday on a street in Miami. He was 63 years old and lived in Manhattan. Mrs. Bonus, the actress and director known professionally as Mina Bern, said yesterday that she and her husband were taking a walk. ”He was in good spirits and he said, ‘I would like to sit down.’ I turned to look for a place to sit and he fell and died instantly.”

      For information, Ben was a wonderful man, actor, singer and loved a good life!

  7. Arthur Mayer Says:

    The last star you can’t identify is the great Jacob P. Adler and Sadie I think. The star before that is Menashe Skulnik. Where is Aaron Lebedeff? Perhaps he is another star you can’t read.


  8. [...] erected in only 1984 and yet some stars are already worn down and unreadable: (Video walkthrough / Photographic Walkthrough) The long term survival of the stars is tenuous. The deli owner who built the walk has since died, [...]

  9. Andy Deitsch Says:

    Hi,

    Just a correction. Jack Rechtzeit is not the same person as Seymour. They were brothers. Jack is my grandfather. He passed away in 1988. Jack was the president of the Hebrew Actors Union which is the Yiddish theater equivalent of the Screen Actors Guild.

    My grandmother is still alive and probably knows most the people in the list.

    • Famous Ankles Says:

      Andy,
      Thanks for the information. Looking back at my year of daily blogging, I still view this particular post as the most important one I’ve done. There simply wasn’t anything around that I could find and I’m very pleased to be seeing renewed interest in preserving the Walk of Fame. I really hope that there is action on that as it seems a very valuable bit of NYC history.
      -H

    • Cevat Says:

      carlos batista Posted on Hi dear meembr of Scholarship Online I want to know the sebsite to subscribe me or to apply to this sholarship, could you send me the form application of this career. I will be happy to revive it. Thank you very much!

  10. Alexis Says:

    Hi from PARIS France,
    and thank you so much
    for this article !
    I’m managing a small web site about Jewish Culture,
    (achkenazy most) and this is very
    inttersting for French Jews.
    I must say that i came many times to 2nd Av Deli,
    but it was always in cold winter, and freezing
    in the winting line, i’ve never notice those !
    Would it be possible to translate your article on my
    website and link it ??
    Thanks a lot
    Alexis


  11. [...] Avenue Deli closed.  The Walkway of Yiddish Actors still remains in front of what is now a bank (click here to see each square individually).  It is a lovely reminder of the once-thriving Yiddish Rialto in [...]

  12. Joyce Mendelsohn Says:

    Important that we work to preserve these plaques. Does anyone have info about the current owner of the building?

  13. Jerry Jacobson Says:

    Irving Jacobson had a brother that was well-know in the theater as well. The other name on the star could be Hyman Jacobson. I hope this helps.

  14. Tom Cerone Says:

    Would like to see a star for Mae Shoenfeld, Iriving Jacobsons wife who was also on the yiddish stage. She was a wonderful comedian and great wife to Irving.

  15. Daniel Ajerman Says:

    Thank you so very much for posting these wonderful photos. My uncle was the late Jacob Zanger, star of the National Theater on 2nd Avenue, and such screen hits as “Motel the Operator.” He brought us to America, after my parents were freed from Bergen-Belsen, and I was born in Belgium. My childhood was filled with these wonderful people, and I even got give “command performances” for many of them, on the clarinet and sax, at my uncle’s apartment on East 10th St. He used to take me to Metro Music, and the Yiddish Actors Guild, where they hung out. Thank you again for warming my heart, and bringing a smile to my face!

    • Joyce Mendelsohn Says:

      Hi Susan,

      Please send me the list you compiled of names on the plaques. jamboree_nyc@yahoo.com. They are an important link with the Yiddish theaters of the past and might be elegible for landmark designation. It would be wonderful if a few people got together to work out a Request for Evaluation to the Landmakrs Preservation Commission. In addition it would be a good idea to start a campaign to raise money for restoring the plaques. Unfortunately, I am so overburdened that I cannot take the lead on this, but might be available to help out on a limited basis.
      Alll best wishes,
      Joyce Mendelsohn

  16. Susan Says:

    I hope people still read this wonderful post… so I might get an answer to my question. I just discovered my brother-in-law’s grandmother acted for many years in the Yiddish Theatre in NYC. Her name was Florence Feinstein. Does anyone have any information about her? I have been doing a lot of research and I am wondering if there is a list somewhere? I did find one mention of a Florence Feinstein in a Yiddish operetta. She lived most of her life in NYC and I believe she was married two or three times. Perhaps a name change? Thank you so much.

  17. Spencer Says:

    Finally i quit my day job, now i earn decent money online you should try too, just search in google –
    slabs roulette system


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