Friday 28 October 2016


ELYE TENENHOLTS (ALEX TENENHOLTZ) (February 17, 1890-July 24, 1971)
            He was born in Ozeran (Ozernay), Volhynia district, Ukraine.  In 1904 he moved to join his father in New York.  He was a member of the Progressive Dramatic Club and appeared on stage to give recitations from Yiddish poets and to read aloud Sholem-Aleykhem’s monologues (his readings from Sholem-Aleykhem’s works and others later appeared on record albums).  He later became a professional actor, playing in Maurice Schwartz’s Art Theater and elsewhere.  In the 1920s he performed in several Hollywood films for the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Company.  He debuted in print in 1911 (using the name: Urlik Brender) in Kundes (Prankster) with human-interest theater criticism.  He later moved over to Kibetser (Joker) in which (using the name: Moyshe Mekarti) he published humorous biographies of Yiddish theatrical personalities.  Under the pseudonym Shpigelberg, he wrote several novels for Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal).  In 1916 he became a contributor to Di varhayt (The truth), and there (November 6, 1918) he published: “Dos fraye rusland, a blutiker shpas in eyn akt, fray nokh vilyam proser, fun a. tenenholts” (Free Russia, a bloody gag in one act, freely after William Prosser, by E. Tenenholts).  Sequentially over the years 1915-1916, he published in the newspaper the memoirs of Bessie Tomashefsky, which later appeared in a separate edition under the title Mayn lebns-geshikhte (My life story)—“the suffering and happiness of a Yiddish star actress, by Bessie Tomashefsky, described by her alone and published by E. Tenenboym” (New York, 1916), 304 pp.  In 1923 he edited Idishe teater (Yiddish theater), an anthology dedicated to the fiftieth year of the Yiddish stage.  He spent his last years on a farm not far from Los Angeles where he died.  He also contributed to the periodical Kheshbn (The score) in Los Angeles.  On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Tenenholts’s artistic activities, there was published under the editorship of Y. Fridland: Elye tenenholts yoyvl-bukh (Jubilee volume for Elye Tenenholts) (Los Angeles, 1955), in which was republished, among other items, a number of his sketches and feature pieces.  In 1961 he published in Forverts (New York) a series of descriptions of Yiddish actors.

Sources: Z. Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934); Y. Mestel, in Yidishe kultur (New York) (October 1955); Y. Glants, in Der veg (Mexico City) (March 14, 1959); Tsili adler dertseylt (Celia Adler explains) (New York, 1959), see index; S., in Tog-morgn-zhurnal (New York) (February 4, 1960); Kh. Ehrenraykh, in Forverts (New York) (July 15, 1960).
Borekh Tshubinski

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