[Mendele] Mendele Volume 18 number 7

Victor Bers victor.bers at yale.edu
Wed Aug 6 17:55:16 EDT 2008

Mendele: Yiddish literature and language

Contents of Vol. 18.007
August 6, 2008

1) Theatrical adaptation of "The Travels of Benjamin the Third" (Yelena 
2) Theatrical adaptation of "The Travels of Benjamin the Third" (Myra 
3) Theatrical adaptation of "The Travels of Benjamin the Third" (Leybl 
4) tsebalavet/tatele (Dina Levias)
5) Shimen Dzhigan routines sought (Daniel Mintz)
6) mukte, bukte (Matt Hoffman)
7) Clara Lemlich speech (Cyril D. Robinson)
8) Film about Jewish life in Lemberg (Roberta Newman)

Date:  July 22, 2008
Subject:  theatrical adaptation of "The Travels of Benjamin the Third"

The most famous one was done in 1927 by the GOSET (Moscow State Yiddish
Theatre) with Shloyme Mikhoels   and Veniamin (Benjamin) Zuskin playing the
two lead characters.

Yidishpil, the Yiddish Theatre in Tel Aviv, presented it in 2007 with
Yaakov Bodo. Here is a link to the article that Zuskin's daughter, Alla,
wrote after seeing the play:


Yelena Shmulenson

Date:  July 18, 2008
Subject: theatrical adaptation of "The Travels of Benjamin the Third"

There was a Soviet Yiddish theatre play--here's a link to an article:

And a film, "The King and the Fool," I believe has film footage of that
play in performance.

Myra Leysorek

Date: July 20, 2008
Subject: theatrical adaptation of "The Travels of Benjamin the Third"

Dakht zikh, az Dora Vasermans theater in Montreal (Saidye Bronfman Centre
Yiddish Theatre) hot mit yorn tsurik adurkhgefirt aza shpil:  Masoyes
Binyomen Hashlishi.

Kontaktirt ir tokhter, di naye direktorin funem teater: Brayne Wasserman

Leybl Botwinik

Date:  July 18, 2008
Subject: tsebalavet/tatele

The word comes from the Russian verb balovat' meaning "to spoil (someone)."
In Yiddish it is probably "tserbalevet," the suffix "tser" stemming from
the German. "zer" (zer-reissen, zer-brechen, etc..) indicates an action
that is negative and also total.  A "tserbaleveter yingl" is a child
spoiled through and through!

As for "tatele," I find Sylvan Beer's explanation less credible than the
simpler one, i.e. both "tatele" and "mamele" are terms of endearment
stemming from the love we bear our fathers and mothers:  as a matter of
fact, I have heard "mamele" addressed to people other than children!
Romanians use the word "mamica" (mommy) as a term of endearment, and will
even use it for boys (or adult men!) in the masculinized form "mamicule"! I
have not heard them use the word for father "taticu" in the same manner.

Dina Levias

Date: July 29, 2008
Subject:  Shimen Dzhigan routines sought

I'm looking for transcripts of several of Shimon Dzigan's comedy routines.
Does anyone know where I could find print versions of:

The Shimon Dzigan Show (Israel Music, released on VHS and DVD: "Vifl ir
farshteyt," "Goldenyu," "Der meylekh Faysl," "A briv tsu rabeynu tam," "Der
oyle fun shankhay," "Nor meshuge tsu vern,"  "Di khasene," "Dray zin," and
"Menakhem Mendl un Tevye")

-Yidishe Humor (Israel Music audio cassette: "Menkhem Mendl shraybt a briv
tsu Sholem Aleykhem," "Vifl ir farshteyt," "Shlimazl," "Mayn
familyen-album," "Mekhile betn," "Dort vu toyre iz khokhme," "Dr. Nebekh,"
"Aynshtayn Vaynshtayn," and "Oy ale, ikh leyg in adome")

-Sh. Dzigan (Audio cassette: "Yom ha'atsmaut," "Oy, der kop," "A naye
klale," and "A levaye fun a klal-tuer")

-Hot a yid a lendele (Galton audio cassette: "Yisroel-arabisher futbol
metsh," "Der yored," "Gest fun pariz, nyu York, rumenye," and "Der
tel-aviver shnorer")

-Dzigan un Shumakher, Sketches and Monologues, v.3 (Israel Music audio
cassette: "A nayer shtayer," "Der nakht-vekhter," "Dr. Nebekh," and "Der
briv treger")

A groysn dank,
Daniel Mintz

Date: July 17, 2008
Subject: mukte, bukte

I am trying to find out more about a Yiddish expression, "mukte, bukte" or
"mukhte, bukhte" or some variation of that supposedly derives from "matke
boga" and refers to the expression on Jesus' face at the time of his death.
I have looked into this phrase before, about 10 years ago, but don't have
any record of what I discovered and don't remember much either. I seem to
remember that the expression is used to describe a strange facial
expression, and that the etymology was the mother of god/Jesus' dying look
explanation. Any insight into this phrase, its origins, usage, spelling
variants, etc. would be appreciated.

Matt Hoffman

Date:  July 18, 2008
Subject: Clara Lemlich speech

Martin Cohen can look at: Gerard Sorin, "The Prophetic Minority" (Indiana
UP 1985) and Kenneth Kann and Joe Rapoport, "The Life of a Jewish Radical"
(Temple UP 1981).

Cyril D. Robinson

Date:  August 3, 2008
Subject:  film about Jewish life in Lemberg

I have very belatedly just now read the query about a film on Jewish life
in Lemberg. Could this possibly be the documentary short produced by the
Goskind brothers in 1939 along with films about four other communities
(Vilna, Krakow, Warsaw, and Bialystok)? (There was supposedly also one
about Lodz, but it has been lost.) These films are available for purchase
on video from both Ergo Media and the National Center for Jewish Film.

Roberta Newman
End of Mendele Vol. 18.007

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