The Judaica Sound ArchivesR (JSA) at Florida Atlantic University
Libraries has obtained the rights to offer on its website a major collection
of performances by the Bursteins, one of the most enduring family names in
The JSA, located on FAU’s Boca Raton campus, created the collection
from holdings that had been donated to the archives at different times and
from different sources. It includes 33 albums and features the combined
works of Pesach Burstein, who produced musicals for audiences worldwide in
the 1920s; his wife, Lillian Lux, who joined his troupe when she was 17; and
their twins, Susan Burstein-Roth and Mike (Burstein) Burstyn. One can listen
to the Burstein family audio collection and read about the family’s
accomplishments at www.fau.edu/jsa.
Mike Burstyn, the only member of the popular “Four Bursteins” who is
still performing, said he is delighted to share his family’s legacy with the
world. “There is a resurgence of interest in Yiddish culture, but not many
people are actually able to hear Yiddish the way it was spoken,” said
Burstyn, who lives in Los Angeles. “Being able to listen to these great old
Yiddish songs will ensure that Yiddish will not become a dead language like
Latin. This will be educational and an inspiration to future generations. I
am extremely pleased with what the JSA has been able to accomplish.”
Burstyn’s appearances on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in concert halls
in the United States, Israel, and around the world qualify him as a
cross-over entertainer who is appreciated by both Yiddish-speaking and
The history of the Yiddish musical theater as told through the
experiences of the Bursteins was documented in the 1999 award-winning film,
Die Komediant, which is now on DVD. The film, based on an autobiography that
Pesach Burstein co-authored with his wife, was released after he died in
1986 at age 90. An English translation of Burstein’s memoirs, edited by
Gershon Freidlin, was published by Syracuse University Press in New York in
2003 and was titled: What a Life! The autobiography of Pesach’ke Burstein.
Lillian Lux died in 2005 at age 86.
Susan Burstein-Roth, a successful writer and philanthropist who lives
in New Jersey, praised the JSA’s online collection of recordings, many of
which she herself didn’t know existed. “I am extremely pleased, overjoyed,”
said Burstein-Roth. “I was so overwhelmed that it made me cry. The beauty of
the website is stunning. It is just wonderful.”
Burstein-Roth left the stage at 19 to marry and to raise a family.
She is a passionate supporter of Israel, founder of the Eshet Chayil
Foundation and has become very involved in the Davidic Dynasty project and
the King David Museum.
The JSA has been accumulating recorded music and voices of the early
20th century since 2002. It has become a major center for the collection,
preservation and digitization of Judaica audio recordings.