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The Yiddish Theater in Israel:
The 'Rothchilds' Are Coming

by Gad Nahshon

Thanks to 'Yiddispiel' Israel's only Yiddish Theater in this country and thanks to its founder-director, Shmuel Atzmon, the Israeli lovers of Yiddish will be able to enjoy a new production of The Rothchilds, the famous Broadway smash hit. Atzmon casted Dudu Fisher as the mean star together with Anat Atzmon, Carol Markovietz, and Israel Triestman. The music, Jerry Bock; the play, Sheldon Harnick; the director, Derek Goldby, who came to Israel. Choreography, Terry John Bates; translation to Yiddish: Prof. Yoseph Barel, a noted Yiddish scholar; songs in Yiddish, Jacob Halprin.

Israelis who speak only Hebrew will use Lora Sahar translations. Many others contributed to the success of this production. Its premier took place on December 12th, 2000 in Tel-Aviv.

Atzmon has contributed to the survival of Yiddish culture in Israel. Often he fought for support with those who do not understand the contribution of the Yiddish theater to the establishment of the Israeli theater, the Hebrew one. He also wants to let the Hebrew speaking crowd learn about the greatness of the Yiddish culture and theater. This theater already won many prizes and is supported by the Israeli government. Recently, the Knesset established a special Yiddish authority to promote the Yiddish culture in Israel.

Atzmon manages this theater from his office at Bialik Street in Tel Aviv (Tel: 011-972-3-525-4660). He is being helped by an organization of friends headed by Shlomo Lahat and Natan Woloch and others. Atzmon is very zealous of the Yiddish culture in Israel. His theater produced many successful productions. Recently, he produced a play about the life of the compose Mordecai Gvirtag (1877-1942). He is well known for his classic 'sibrent' in Yiddish or 'the shtetl burning.' He was murdered by the Nazis. The play was written by Yehoshoa Sobol. Jacob Bodo and Gadi Yagil were the play's stars.

Another recent production was Shalom Aliechem's, the Magical Tailor, which was adapted by Moti Averbuch, Yacob Alsprin, Dubi Zeltzer, and Gabi Aldor. This play was dedicated to the late Meir Margalit, one of Israel's most distinguished actors.

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