Newark’s Yiddish theater

Newark’s Yiddish theater

Lisa Segelman’s “Lernen, laughing, and kibitzing in the mama loshen” (March 7) was a wonderful read. Her story brings to mind that Newark was home to New Jersey’s only successful Yiddish theater, Elving’s Metropolitan Yiddish Theater, open from 1921-47.

The theater was located across the street from Montgomery Street’s City Bath or what was called the “shvitz.” It was customary for its bathers to buy a 5-cent bar of soap, rent a towel, get dressed, and then prepare to cross the street to attend the shows at Elving’s. Yiddish, at this time, was the language heard on the street suggesting that theater founder Bernard Elving had a built-in  audience.

The Jewish Historical Society has a remarkable collection of photographs and artifacts that document Elving’s history. Its exhibit “One More Night at Elving’s Metropolitan Yiddish Theater” will be featured at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Mass. For more information about Elving’s and the Yiddish stars who appeared on the stage, contact 973-929-2994 or

Linda Forgosh
Executive director
Jewish Historical Society of NJ

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