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Fyvush Finkel Tells His Grandfather’s Best Joke

This article originally appeared in the Yiddish Forverts.

The legendary actor Fyvush Finkel, who got his start in Yiddish theater and later made the transition to the English stage and television, died a little over a year ago. The last surviving star of the heyday of America’s Yiddish theater, he was still performing only weeks before his passing.

Like many of the most important Yiddish cultural figures of our time, Finkel was interviewed as part of the Yiddish Book Center’s Wexler Oral History Project. In the interview, Finkel discusses his many years on the Yiddish stage, the famous actors and directors he worked with, and his thoughts on the future of Yiddish theater. The full interview can be watched here.

In this charming excerpt, told in Yiddish with English subtitles, Finkel recalls his grandfather, who taught him to read and write Yiddish and from whom he inherited his famous sense of humor.


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