Bessie Thomashefsky

Second Avenue Redux

Michael Tilson Thomas remembers his grandparents, the Thomashevskys, the first family of Yiddish theater.

05/15/2012
Special to the Jewish Week

The story of Boris and Bessie Thomashefsky is a classic American success narrative. Although they were born only a few miles apart in “the middle of a Ukrainian nowhere,” as their grandson Michael Tilson Thomas puts it, they met in Baltimore when he was performing with a traveling Yiddish theater troupe and she was a star-struck girl working in a tobacco factory. They went on to fame and acclaim, stars of the Yiddish theater from the late-19th Century until the Depression.

Judy Blazer as Bessie and Shuler Hensley as Boris Thomashevsky in new DVD, top. Right, Blazer and Eugene Brancoveanu.
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