The professional Yiddish theatre started in 1876 in Eastern Europe, and with the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881, masses of Eastern European Jews began moving westward, and New York -Manhattan's Bowery and Second Avenue - soon became the world's centre of Yiddish theatre. At first the Yiddish repertoire revolved around comedies, operettas and melodramas, but by the early 1890s America's Yiddish actors were wild about Shakespeare. In this study, Joel Berkowitz constructs the history of this theatrical culture. ""The Jewish King Lear"" of 1892 was a sensation. The year 1893 saw the beginning of a bevy of Yiddish versions of ""Hamlet""; that year also saw the first Yiddish production of ""Othello"". ""Romeo and Juliet"" inspired a wide variety of treatments. ""The Merchant of Venice"" was the first Shakespeare play published in Yiddish, and Jacob Adler received rave reviews as Shylock on Broadway in both 1903 and 1905. Berkowitz focuses on these five plays in his five chapters. His introduction provides an orientation to the Yiddish theatre district in New York as well as the larger picture of Shakespearean production and the American theatre scene, and his conclusion summarizes the significance of Shakespeare's plays in Yiddish culture.