Special Issue

Murder, Lust, and Laughter, or, Shund Theater



Murder, Lust, and Laughter, or, Shund Theatre: A Special Issue of In geveb

Joel Berkowitz, Sonia Gollance and Nick Underwood

As the opening of the special issue on shund theater, this introduction situates the four articles and two translations in the history of the study of shund.



“An altogether unusual love and understanding”: The Shomer Sisters and the Gender Politics of Shund Theatre

Sonia Gollance

Examining Rose Shomer Bachelis and Miriam Shomer Zunser in the context of their famous shund-writing family, this article argues that their operetta “Der liebes tants” -- a love triangle with an Apache dance motif -- should be read against the grain to emphasize the importance of sisterhood.


‘Di Yidn Kumen!’: Israeli and Multicultural Identities in Israeli Yiddish Light Entertainment Shows

Roni Cohen and Olga Levitan

While Hebrew cultural discourse tended to treat Yiddish theatre as a kind of “outside” culture, light entertainment shows in Yiddish reveal close engagement with the central icons and themes of Israeli society.


Kol Nidre and the Making of the Jewish Theatre Audience

Ruthie Abeliovich

Focusing on Abraham M. Sharkansky’s 1896 play Kol nidre, oder di geheyme yidn in madrid (Kol Nidre, or the Secret Jews of Madrid), this article examines how, on both sides of the Atlantic, the Kol Nidre prayer performed in the Yiddish theatre reflected profound modern and migratory cultural transgressions, between categories such as high and low, religion and entertainment, the holy and the theatrical.


My Mom Drank Ink: The “Little Negro” and the Performance of Race in Yente Telebende’s Stage Productions

Gil Ribak

The case study of Yente Telebende is merely one example of popular Yiddish culture — theater, pulp fiction, and newspapers — that strove for commercial success by appealing to the tastes of its audience, shaped by American culture’s vocabulary and images of Blackness.


Texts & Translation

The History of “Shund” Literature in Yiddish

Khone Shmeruk

Translation by Tsiona Lida

Edited by Saul Noam Zaritt

A translation of Khone Shmeruk’s foundational article for the study of shund in Yiddish literature.

Texts & Translation



Katie Brown

Translation by Vivi Lachs

Vivi Lachs translates Katie Brown’s Bankrot, a family drama set in London’s East End.