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Yiddish Film

Anna Appel

Anna Appel was known for her performance of motherly characters in Yiddish and English roles on stage and screen.

Helen Reddy’s "I Am Woman" tops the charts

December 9, 1972

“I Am Woman” was the only song Reddy would ever write, but it was enough for millions of listeners.

Award for Yiddish actress, Molly Picon

June 28, 1980

Yiddish superstar comedienne Molly Picon received the Creative Achievement Award of the Performing Arts Unit of B'nai B'rith.

Yiddish Film in the United States

During the early half the twentieth century, feature films in the Yiddish language were produced in and around New York City. During the “Golden Age” of Yiddish film, 1936 to 1939, more than two dozen films opened in New York City to encouraging box-office income, only to be curtailed abruptly by the onset of World War II. The films capture the language and life-style, as well as the values, dreams, and myths of the world of Yiddish culture and immortalize some of the greats of the Yiddish theater.

Molly Picon

A drunk’s dare to a five-year-old on a trolley car initiated the career of Molly Picon, the petite darling of the Yiddish musical theater.

Rose Shoshana

The journey from Lodz, Poland, where Rose Shoshana was born on June 25, 1895, to New York was not an unusual one for an Eastern European Jewish woman of her time. This was, however, only one of many journeys Rose Shoshana made in her long career as a Yiddish actor, theater director, dramatist, writer, and translator.

Jennie Goldstein

Jennie Goldstein was one of the foremost Yiddish theater tragediennes, beloved by the public and acclaimed by critics for her ability to make audiences cry and for her outstanding voice.

Berta Gersten

Berta Gersten, a tall, regal, soft-spoken actor, was a highly acclaimed leading lady in the Yiddish art theater movement for fifty years. Her career on the English-language stage, though shorter, was also distinguished.

Film Industry in the United States

The history of Jewish women’s contribution to the Hollywood film industry has been one of gradual progression toward ever higher levels of participation. For most of Hollywood’s history, the dominant tendency was to achieve a universal image that revealed no traces of ethnic heritage. This trend held until the 1960s and affected all ethnic groups. Only a few dozen Jewish actors were able to make their way into stardom under these constraints. Since the 1960s, however, Hollywood films have reflected a higher degree of ethnic diversity. The result of this change is that increasing numbers of Jewish actors have been able to establish careers in Hollywood.

Anna Appel

Anna (Khane) Appel, a highly acclaimed character actor, straddled the Yiddish- and English-language worlds of theater, film, and television. Excelling in both comic and dramatic roles, she was especially acclaimed for the versatility of her mimic art. A tall woman with an expressive round face, Appel became noted for her mother roles.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Yiddish Film." (Viewed on July 31, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/yiddish-film>.

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