This is one of the few surviving films made by the Sigmund Lubin Company of Philadelphia. Lubin, who immigrated to the United States in the 1870s, changed his name from Lubszynski and became the first Jewish-American filmmaker. It is believed that the film contains the first instance of flashback, showing the hero involved in a boyhood street fight 25 years earlier.

In the film, Moses lives on the Lower East Side and helps support his family by selling papers. When one of the other newsboys tries to rob Moses, Ed comes to his rescue. Moses invites Ed over for Shabbat dinner. When Ed is run down by a passing bicycle, Moses visits his friend in the hospital and uses his last pennies to help him. Years later Moses is a successful merchant, and Ed, down on his luck, comes looking for a job. Moses recognizes his old friend and offers him the best job he has.

This film, while somewhat difficult to follow, is remarkable for portraying the religious tradition, concern, and compassion that Jews maintained in the face of the oppressive conditions they experienced in American slums.


“Sigmund "Pop" Lubin presaged the younger immigrants who would come to dominate the movie industry.”
– J. Hoberman, Bridge of Light: Yiddish Film Between Two Worlds

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The Yiddisher Boy

USA, 1909, 3 minutes, B&W
Silent without intertitles
Directed by Sigmund Lubin

by The National Center for Jewish Film

Public Exhibition 16mm, Beta Rental also available





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