BOREKH TSHEMERINSKI (December 28, 1899-March 21, 1946)
He was born in Murafa, Podolia district, Ukraine, to a father who was a ritual slaughterer, a religious judge, and a scribe for Torah, phylacteries, and mezuzot. He studied in religious primary school and synagogue study hall, and he later was an external student in Vinitse (Vinnytsa), and later still he studied in a painting school in Odessa. From his early years he was devoted to theater, himself writing and staging pieces for the theater, such as: “Purim play” (performed in Mohilev-Podolsk in 1912); Kasrilevke, three acts with a prologue, in accordance with Sholem-Aleykhem (staged in Vinnytsa in 1918); Shlim shlimazl (Really unlucky guy), a comedy in three acts, in accordance with Sholem-Aleykhem (staged in Vinnysta in 1919). From 1919 he was linked to Habima, initially in Moscow, then on tour through the United States (1926), and later in Israel, where, among other works, he staged his own dramatization of Bialik’s “Der kurtser farytog” (The short Friday). He also published articles on theater issues, on Habima, and memoirs about Stanislavsky and Vakhtangov in: Literarishe bleter (Literary leaves) and Bafrayung (Liberation) in Warsaw; Nayer folksblat (New people’s newspaper) in Lodz; Dos naye lebn (The new life) in Bialystok; Frimorgn (Morning) in Riga; Folksblat (People’s newspaper) in Kovno; and the theater magazine Bima (Stage) in Tel Aviv; as well as the Russian magazine Evreiskaia letopis’ (Jewish chronicle) in St. Petersburg. He died in Tel Aviv. On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of his death, there was published Sefer chemerinski (Tshemerinski volume), ed. Shlomo Shenhod (Tel Aviv, 1967), 2 volumes, and Habima designated a prize in his name.
Sources: Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934), with a bibliography; Biblyografishe yorbikher fun yivo (Bibliographic yearbooks from YIVO) (Warsaw, 1928), see index; R. Ben Ari, Habima (Chicago, 1937); Shimon Gan, in Omer (Tel Aviv) (March 21, 1956); R. Ezriya, in Maariv (Tel Aviv) (Nisan 11 [= March 23], 1956); Dr. A. Foyrshteyn, in Hatsofe (Tel Aviv) (Sivan 9 [= March 21], 1956); obituary notices in the Israeli press.
Khayim Leyb Fuks