Accession consists of materials related primarily to a Yiddish theatre production entitled Shver tzu Zein a Yid (Hard to be a Jew) by Shalom Aleichem co-starring Ben Lennick and Chayele Luxenburg. The play was produced by Sylvia Grimson for the Yiddish Renascence Theatre and opened for a three-day run at the Crest Theatre located at 551 Mount Pleasant Road, in May 1975. Materials include photographs, critiques, letters of support, and reviews. Photographs of ‘The Heritage Players’ actors include Ron Barry, Ben Lennick, Sam Stein, William Pevzner, Reva Ockrant, Paul Orsini (1972), Terry Shonblum, Leib Lensky, Chayele Luxenburg, Jank Zaifman, Shimmy Plener, Danny Freeedman. In addition, there is a publicity still of Golda Meir greeting performers after an unknown stage performance. A selection of photographs by Gadi Hoz and Maurice Seymour, New York.
Sylvia Fistell Grimson was born in Montreal ca. 1920s (she was never registered at birth) and grew up in Toronto. As a single mother of one son, Grimson worked for several years in factories and government offices before opening an antique store at Yonge and Wellesley, which she ran for ten years. Grimson taught ballet and modern dance, wrote poetry, and always had a passion for theatre, Yiddish culture, and the need for Jewish self-expression. Her dream was to bring Yiddish professional theatre to Toronto. In 1972, Grimson founded the Yiddish Renascence Theatre (which later became the Toronto Jewish Arts Theatre), for which she produced the plays Shver tzu Zein a Yid and The Three Lives of Adam. She has also performed in other plays such as Come Blow Your Horn and with The Heritage Players. She continues to live in Toronto, write poetry, and is also working on a book.