VOICES OF THE PAST

Cultural legacies are sustained by music and literature, shared joys and sorrows and celebrated in their presence and their loss. Yiddish culture was the glue that connected millions of Jews across the generations from the old country to the new. We are pleased to share some archival morsels of this legacy as it flourished on South Beach as well as some interviews with giants in the field. We also celebrate parallel cultural legacies that flourished in South Florida at the same time. We owe a debt of gratitude to Gay Block, the Florida Moving Image Archive, Mildred and Morton Nyman and the participants for making this possible.

CULTURAL PROGRAMS/ACTIVITIES

Cinema Theatre

The Cinema Theatre was the longest running Yiddish theater/Yiddish vaudeville house in South Florida and possibly the country. For nearly thirty years, it offered well-known serious Yiddish actors from around the world as well as hundreds of Catskills performers. This footage is the only known to exist. (Please forgive the sound/video quality.

Charlotte Cooper Yiddish Theater Memories

Charlotte Cooper is a third generation Yiddish actress. An essential part of American and South Florida history is the Yiddish cultural legacy. For over fifty years, Miami Beach was a Yiddish cultural mecca. This is a snapshot into that world.

9th Street Lummus Park Performances

For many decades on South Beach, open air/open mike concerts were held nearly everyday featuring snowbirds and permanent residents, which included performances of old Yiddish ballads, Jewish shtick and Yiddish poetry readings.

Oneg Shabbot Celebrations

Cultural celebrations sponsored by local literary organizations and the Workmen’s Circle abounded in Miami Beach.

Friendship Circles

Up and down Lummus Park, which borders Ocean Drive on South Beach, groups of musicians, singers and dancers would gather to perform Yiddish folk and theater songs and celebrate their culture with their fellow landsmen (people from their native towns/countries). These were some of the most popular activities in Miami Beach’s tropical shtetl.

The Feder Sisters (Mimi Sloan and Sylvia Roebuck)

The Feder Sisters, a popular singing duo, were a fixture on New York Yiddish radio and on Second Avenue stages for many years. Both ultimately played an important role in Miami Beach’s Yiddish cultural scene. Here they speak about their early years in New York.

INTERVIEWS

Miami Beach Yiddish Performers speak

Leading Yiddish performers speak about their experiences in South Florida including Yiddish actors Charlotte Cooper, the Feder Sisters, Ari Fuhrman, Howie Pepper and Helen Spitz.

YIDDISH RADIO

Listen to the sounds of New York and Miami Yiddish radio on the Center for Yiddish Culture’s: YIDDISH RADIO PAGE