ZUNI MOUD (ca. 1891-April 26, 1956)
He was born in Vasilkove (Wasilkowo), Grodno district, Russian Poland. He studied in religious elementary school and Talmud Torah in Bialystok, Belsk, Częstochowa, and Warsaw. In 1905 he joined an uncle in the United States and worked making cigarettes and women’s clothing in New York, while at the same time attending evening school. He later studied at the school of art in Cooper Union as well as at Baron Hirsch’s School of Arts and Crafts and the National Academy of Art in New York. He began his work as an illustrator for Di kibetser (The joker), edited by Der Tunkeler; later, he joined with Yosl Kotler, and the two men painted the decorations and costumes for Maurice Schwartz’s staging of Avrom Goldfaden’s Di kishefmakherin (The sorceress) in 1924. From time to time he published feature pieces in Der kundes (The prankster) and contributed as well to: Forverts (Forward), Di tsayt (The times), Kinderland (Children’s land), Kinder-zhurnal (Children’s magazine), and Frayhayt (Freedom), among others. He illustrated the writings of Dovid Ignatov and a volume of poems by Mani Leyb. He and Y. Kotler founded in 1925 the marionette theater “Modikot” [from “Moud” and “Kot-ler”], where they staged his Purim play in two acts Kenig akhashveyresh (King Ahashverosh)—published in Unzer bukh (Our book) (New York) 4-5 (1928)—with music by Mikhl Gelbart and Moyshe Rapoport. They also put on at the marionette theater his parody Der dibek (The dybbuk) and Der laytisher mentsh (The respectable man). In other programs at the Modikot, in which Moud also performed, he staged his theatrical plays: Der magid (The preacher), Shloyme mit der beheyme (Solomon and the beast), Dzhing tang po (Jing Tangpo), and (with Kotler) the political satire Farn shpil un nokhn shpil (Before the play and after the play). From time to time, he wrote short grotesque, humorous poetry, children’s tales, and lyrical poems. He also participated in a tour put on by Modikot through Eastern and Western Europe. He died in New York.
Sources: Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934); Meylekh Ravitsh, in Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) 50 (1929); N. Bukhvald, in Morgn-frayhayt (New York) (November 30, 1931); R. Aysland, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (October 1955); Sh. Belis, in Folks-shtime (Warsaw) (April 26, 1961).