How did Habima fool its audience

Updated: May 5

Avishai Lubitch


Habima theatre ensemble arrived in a tour in 1926 to Lida. Yehuda Grinhoyz, one of the actors, recounted the following episode:

When we arrived in Lida, Esther, Ben-Ami's wife who is now in America, who was supposed to play the lead role, Leah in "The Eternal Wanderer, , fell ill the day before the premiere for which all tickets were sold.


What to do? The director, Bertonov, addressed Moshkovski "You are playing Leah today!"


We all burst out laughing and Bertonov took it seriously: "This is none of your business. I will dress and make him up so that you do not recognize him" and Moshkovsky, whose role was handed over to another, began to learn the role of Leah.


We began to prepare in fear for this unfortunate show. In the evening I met Moshkovski at the theater and indeed his character matched that of the desperate wandering student Leah. We made sure that none of the organizers noticed this.


And God helped: when the screen went up there was great enthusiasm and cheers until the audience calmed down. Leah's gloomy figure appeared on stage with stretched arms walking towards us. She kisses brother and sister and comes to me giving me a hand:


"Hello, Levit" ...

I took the big hand I felt the male pressure and could not resist. I turned to the wall and laughed to myself. I could not utter a word. The others also turned to the wall and laughed. So we stood for about five minutes, choked with laughter and unable to speak a word; Only


Leah saved us and said:

- What are you crying about?


When we heard this, we all carried handkerchiefs, wiped our eyes, and with strangled tears we began to speak.


And strangely enough: at the end of the first act all admit that the short picture when Leah arrives and all are fossiled and tears in their eyes is the most exciting.


["The Eternal Wanderer", a short essay written by Osip Dimov (pen name of Yosef Perlman) in 1894, and adapted by him for the stage.


An article in "Forverts" from October 23, 2009 in honor of actress Sarah Turkov states that she is the daughter of actor Yehuda Grinhoyz. Grinhoyz was a "theater institution" in Bialystok, which also included his wife Fanya, from the Rivlin family, in theater matters. Grinhoyz traveled with Nahum Tzemach to Vienna, where they appeared before representatives of the Zionist Congress.

On his return, Grinhoyz formed a theater troupe with the best forces at the time, including his 15-year-old daughter Sarah, as well as Israel Becker and Rafael Klachkin.]


Jewish Families from Lida, Belarus [source: Geni]


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