Our Stories

Hebron's Stories

If a story is important, then it must be told. We can portray dreams of what the future may hold, or allow introspection on what has occurred in the past. A story is a narrative that can relay lessons and warnings. A story can teach us about hope and remind us how important and meaningful our lives are. We are unearthing stories about those buried at Mount Hebron Cemetery.

Pesach Burstein: Giant in the Yisddsh Theater

Pesach Burstein was just a teenager when he joined a Yiddish Theatrical Troupe in Russia. Shortly after arriving in the USA, he became a major Star in the Yiddish Theatre. Pesach recorded over 300 discs of Yiddish songs and his voice soon became one of the best known in Yiddish music. Pesach was a multi-talented performer. He was a singer, dancer, comedian, coupletist, stage whistler and director. Pesach formed a Troupe with his wife and children called "The Four Burstein's." The group toured internationally and made a name for themselves bringing Yiddish language productions to Yiddish speaking audiences around the world.

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Shifra Lerer: Yiddish Star of Stage and Screen

Shifra got her start in show business at the tender age of 8 when she began to act in children's roles. Around this time, an Actor/ Producer named Boris Thomashefsky was in Buenos Aires looking for a child actor for his touring Yiddish Troup. Miriam Lerer, Shifra's older sister, met with Mr. Thomashefsky and recommended he meet Shifra. Miriam added a caveat saying that their father might object. Mr. Thomashefsky reportedly stated, "You bring the girl, I'll deal with the father later."

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Ralph Lemkin: Coining the Word Genocide

Raphael Lemkin was a Polish lawyer who coined the term genocide. Growing up, he was constantly interested in stories of ethnic and religious discrimination. He was also highly mindful of pogroms committed against Jews. Then, when Lemkin was in his 20s studying law, he discovered that the Ottoman Empire had massacred Armenians during World War I, an event now known as the Armenian Genocide. His conviction that international law should prohibit the annihilation of groups was motivated by his horror at historical and modern instances of group-targeted mass violence. Lemkin believed the suffering of Jews in eastern Poland was a component of a greater pattern of injustice and violence that went back in time and spread around the globe. ~Blog Written by Priya Perumal

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Ida Kaminska: In the Shadow of World War II

Ida Kaminska was born on September 18, 1899, in the Russian Empire in Odessa (modern-day Ukraine) to Ester-Rokhl Kaminska and Avrom-Yitskhok (Abraham Isaac) Kaminski . Her parents were both stage actors of considerable note, with her mother, called by Ida, "the Jewish Eleonora Duse" . Esther was a profound influence on her daughter. Esther began acting in 1888 in her husband's acting company and was well renowned for her performances in the plays of Jacob Gordin. Her impact on Abraham Isaac's company should be understated, in fact,Esther later purchased Abraham's theatre and continued to support his productions . In total, Abraham Isaac and Esther had 3 children, Ida, Regina Kaminska, also an actress, and Joseph Kaminska, a composer. ~Blog Written by Julian Christy

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Jack Gilford: Through the Years

Gilford would become well known for his impressions, comedy routines and physical humor. These skills were no doubt developed while he was working as a Master of Ceremonies and doing Broadway acting. Even into his later career these skills proved useful as a comedic actor. Jack Gilford was known for his unique style of comedy, which was characterized by his distinctive voice, expressive face, and impeccable timing. His humor was often self-deprecating and centered on his own experiences as a Jewish-American, but he also had a talent for finding the humor in everyday situations and human folly. Jacks' roots in the entertainment industry were in Vaudeville, Yiddish theatre, and Burlesque performances. ~Blog Written by Julian Christy

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J. Edward Bromberg & The Era of Blacklisting

Joseph Edward Bromberg was a Hungarian-born American character actor in motion picture and stage productions dating mostly from the 1930s and 1940s.He was involved with the era of blacklisting actors who were accused of communism. He now rests at Mount Hebron Cemetery. ~Blog Written by Julian Christy

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Fred Lebow: Founder of the NYC Marathon

Fred Lebow was a runner, race director, and founder of the New York City Marathon. When the New York City Marathon began in 1970 it only had 55 finishers. Through his innovation and passion, it became one of the biggest marathons in the world, with a record 52,000 finishers in 2018. He now rests with us at Mount Hebron. Post Written by Rene Yaroshevsky

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Bertha Kalich

Bertha Kalich was a Ukrainian-Jewish-American actress. Though she was well-established as an entertainer in Eastern Europe, she is best remembered as one of the several "larger-than-life" figures that dominated New York stages during the "Golden Age" of American Yiddish Theatre during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Historians estimate that, during her career, Kalich performed more than 125 different roles in seven different languages.

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Alan King: Actor & Humanitarian

Alan King was an American actor and comedian known for his biting wit and often angry humorous rants. King became well known as a Jewish comedian and satirist. He was also a serious actor who appeared in a number of movies and television shows. King wrote several books, produced films, and appeared in plays.

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Julius Schwartz: Comic Book Editor

Julius "Julie" Schwartz was a comic book editor, and a science fiction agent and prominent fan. He was born in The Bronx, New York. He is best known as a longtime editor at DC Comics, where at various times he was primary editor over the company's flagship superheroes, Superman and Batman. He now rests with us at Mount Hebron Cemetery.

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Meyer Posner: Virtuoso

Meyer “Meir” Posner (November 6, 1890 – February 8, 1931) was a music director, conductor, composer, choral director, and educator. Posner was a man of many titles. He started young, learned efficiently, and went on to plant his legacy. He lived a young yet fulfilling life. He now rests with us at Mount Hebron Cemetery.

Seymour Rechtzeit: Yiddish Theater Pioneer

Seymour Rexite, also known as Seymour Rechtzeit (Jan 18, 1910, OR 1911 – Oct 14, 2002), was a Polish American actor, singer, and pioneer of the American Yiddish Theater. He began as a child singing wunderkind, dazzling everyone who heard him perform. He starred and performed on radio shows for several decades throughout his career, served on Yiddish airwaves, and even sang for President Calvin Coolidge. Rexite's passion, talent, and ability to reinvent himself led to a legendary career spanning several decades. ~Blog Written by Brandon Castro

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Herman Wohl: Yiddish Theater Composer

Herman Wohl (September 1, 1876 - October 10, 1936) was a prolific Jewish-American composer, director, and songwriter celebrated for his prominence during the early stages of American Yiddish Theater. His work made many people recognize Yiddish Theater. His career followed the rising trends of American Yiddish Theater in the early twentieth century. His life's work continues to influence many future actors and musicians. ~Blog Written by Brandon Castro

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Michael Rabin: American Classical Violinist

Michael Rabin (May 2, 1936 - Jan 19, 1972) was an American classical violinist renowned and remembered for his talent and his tragic and inspiring story. Rabin was a marvel at the violin from a very young age. He dedicated much of his life to get better at his craft. But, unfortunately, his rising stardom, fame, and lifestyle clashed with his waning health. ~Blog Written by Brandon Castro

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Sergi Dovlatov: Writer

Sergei Dovlatov wasa leading Soviet emigre writer noted for the laconic irony and graceful irreverence of his stories about his homeland. He now rests with us at Mount Hebron.

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Herman Yablokoff: A Master of Yiddish Theater

Yablokoff had a fabled career and life. His performances, songs, and plays influenced many generations, and many are still moved by his work today. His performances to over 180,000 Jewish refugees deserve all the praise and celebration in the world. Yablokoff's story and legacy should be shared and remembered forever. ~Written by Brandon Castro

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Alexander Olshanetsky: Second Avenue Composer

Alexander Olshanetsky was one of the most prominent and prolific Second Avenue composers and conductors, and one of the musically most sophisticated exemplars of the Yiddish theater. He now rests with us at Mount Hebron Cemetery. ~Blog Written by Brandon Castro

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Joseph Rumshinsky: Prodigy to Pioneer

Joseph Rumshinsky was a Jewish conductor, lyricist, director, and composer. Rumshinsky is celebrated among the greatest American Yiddish musical composers, even being considered one of the Big Four composers of his period. He transformed Yiddish theater, made it a part of his life, and took it with him. ~Blog Written by Brandon Castro

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Alfred Eisenstaedt: Famous Photojournalist

Alfred Eisenstaedt was a German-born American photographer and photojournalist. He began his career in Germany prior to World War II but achieved prominence as a staff photographer for Life magazine after moving to the U.S.

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Murder, Inc. :

Abraham "Abe" Landau was the chief henchman for New York gangster Dutch Schultz. Landau was Schultz's most trusted employee, often given tasks that required coolness and cunning rather than gunfire and brutality. It is very likely that he never actually killed anyone during his gang years.

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Madeline Lee Gilford

Madeline Lee Gilford was an American film and stage actress and social activist, who later enjoyed a career as a theatrical producer. Gilford was married, secondly, to actor Jack Gilford from 1949 until his death in 1990.

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Temima Gezari

Temima Gezari was an American artist and art educator. Her life's work in painting and sculpture is presented in the photographic retrospective The Art of Temima Gezari, edited by her son, Daniel Gezari.

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