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.
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.
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.
The next star is for Joseph Buloff and Luba Kadison.
Abraham Goldfaden gets a second star, this time for being the founder of the Yiddish Theater in 1876.
The next star is for “Alt Raymond” and Barry Sisters. I’m not sure about the spelling of the first name.
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:
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”):
This next one was completely unreadable by me:
The next is for Molly Picon and Jacob Kalich (Jacob was Molly’s husband, but that’s all I know):
The next star is for Leon Liebgold and Lilly Lilyana (Leon was a Holocaust survivor):
The next star is for Mary Sureanu (thanks to reader Elise, the spelling is now corrected) Mary Soreanu and Lucy Levine:
The next star is for Irving Jacobson and an “unknown” Jacobson:
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?!):
The next star is for Herman Yablokoff and Bella Meisel:
I’m sad to say that I cannot read the next star:
The next star is for Mischa Gehrman and Lucy Gehrman:
The next star is for Jacob Jacobs and Betty Jacobs:
The next star is for Maurice Schwartz and an unreadable person’s name:
The next star was unreadable:
And the one after that was unreadable:
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: