[Mendele] Mendele Vol. 19.008

Victor Bers victor.bers at yale.edu
Sun Aug 9 22:31:56 EDT 2009

Mendele: Yiddish literature and language

Contents of Vol. 19.008
August 8, 2009

1) "Odom Bame Yizake" (Elozor Reich)
2) "Akhtsik er un zibetsik zi" (Chaikey Greenberg)
3) "Akhtsik er un zibetsik zi" (Marjorie Schonhaut Hirshan)
4) "Akhtsik er un zibetsik zi" (Phyllis Selterman)
5) "Akhtsik er un zibetsik zi" (Klaus Rudolf Schell)
6) Shira Gorshman and her "Lebn un likht" (Faith Nomi Jones)
7) Correct spellings for Yizker-bukh translation (Hugh Denman)
8) Correct spellings for Yizker-bukh translation (Mayer (Michael Eric) 
9) zeraze (Lillian Siegfried)

Date:  July 31, 2009
Subject:   "Odom Bame Yizake"

It's in the Selichos for Erev Rosh Hashannah.

Elozor Reich

Date:  July 30, 2009
Subject: "Akhtsik er un zibetsik zi"

Abraham Rotstein requested information regarding the song "Akhtsik er un 
zibetsik zi."
This song, words and music by Mark Warshawsky, was originally titled "Di 
bobe in der zeyde", and can be found in Eleanor  (Chaneh) Mlotek's book 
"Mir Trogn A Gezang" published by the  Workmen's Circle Education 
Department ,1972, pages 62-63.

Hope this is helpful,
Chaikey Greenberg

Date: July 30, 2009
Subject: "Akhtsik er un zibetsik zi"

For A. Rothstein and Mendelyaner iber der velt:

Dos iz azoy sheyn tsu zingen, oder leyenen, a porfolk tsu zeyer fuftsik 
yor khasene-simkhe.

This lively text and music was composed by Mark Warshawsky (who also wrote 
Oyfn Pripetshik).

It can be found in "Mir Trogn a Gezang" compiled by Eleanor Mlotek and 
published by the Education Department of The Workmen's Circle.

S'iz haynt akurat gevorn fuftsik yor,
Vi zey lebn zikh in eynem dos alte por.
Zey hobn zikh geeltert, kukt aykh tsi:
Akhtsik er un zibetsik zi.

Got hot zey mit oysher un koved baglikt,
In lebn hobn zey zikh keyn mol nisht gekrigt.
Nor "Notele," nor "Bobele" rufn zey zikh tsi -
Akhtsik er un zibetsik zi.

Der oylem hot genumen tsu bislekh vayn.
Der zeyde mit der boben in rod arayn.
Di mume iz gegangen antkegn oyf a kni -
Akhtsik er un zibetsik zi.

Azoy hot men gehulyet a halbe nakht,
- Bobele - zogt der zeyde, - A gute nakht
Shlof mir gezunt un dek zikh tsi -
Akhstik er un zibetsik zi.

Di bobe hot ongehoybn dremlen mit a mol,
Ir kholem vel ikh dertseyln an andersh mol,
Lomir zey beydn lozn tsu ri -
Akhtsik er un zibetsik zi.

Marjorie Schonhaut Hirshan

Date:  July 30, 2009
Subject: "Akhtsik er un zibetsik zi"

I know the answer to Abraham Rotstein's question.  The song is on an old 
vinyl record called "Theodore Bikel sings Jewish Folk Songs." It includes 
the words to all the songs in Yiddish with English transliteration.

Phyllis Selterman


Date: July 31, 2009
Subject: "Akhtsik er un zibetsik zi"

You can find this song in "Lieder aus dem Ghetto. Fuenfzig Lieder jiddisch 
und deutsch" by Elsbeth Janda and Max M. (Meyer/Meir) Sprecher, page 

Klaus Rudolf Schell

Date: July 29, 2009
Subject: Shira Gorshman and her "Lebn un likht"

Perele Shifer asks about Shira Gorshman and her book "Lebn un Likht." 
Gorshman is a wonderful writer, and less well-known than she should be, 
even among Yiddish lovers. I've written a few articles about her:

www.vcn.bc.ca/outlook/current_issue/Mar-Apr 09/MA Gorshman.pdf

(I wasn't totally happy with the editing on this article--I felt the 
editor didn't understand the complexities of Soviet Yiddish culture and 
reverted to simple anticommunism to make it more palatable for American 

There have also been several articles about her in the Forverts in 
Yiddish, but online I can only find one from the English Forward:


And there is also a wonderful documentary film of her made by Boris 
Sandler, available through the Forverts office.

Faith Nomi Jones

[Editor's note: Vincent Homolka offered a similar response to readers.]

Date:  July 31, 2009
Subject: Correct spellings for Yizker-bukh translation

With reference to Steven Lasky's query [19.007:6] concerning the correct 
spelling of Yiddish diminutive anthroponyms, the answer must be, of 
course, that the decision on such matters is anything but "arbitrary." 
There is no other accurate, scientific system for transliterating Yiddish 
personal names, place names or indeed Yiddish text in general other than 
the YIVO-system. This should be clear to all readers of a mailing-list 
whose shamosim append to each issue an appeal for contributors to 
"adhere... to the YIVO rules of transliteration into Latin letters," 
adding a link to a guide to YIVO-Romanization.
Fraynd Lasky offers the following examples for discussion: Shmul'keh, 
Binyom'keh, El'yeh, Shmer'l, Avrem'l, Binyomka, Binyomkeh, Avrumel, 
Avruml, Shmulka, Binyomka, Elya, Shmerel and Avremel.

All of these without exception are inaccurate for a variety of different 
reasons. The correct forms are: Shmuelke, Benyomke, Elye, Shmerl (Shmarye, 
alternative: Shmerke) and Avreml. Incidentally, the Yiddish name of the 
place that is the subject of the yizker-bukh in question is Zambrov(e), 
while the Polish form is Zambrow (with an "acute" accent on the o, just in 
case that gets lost in electronic transmission); the form "Zambrow" 
without an accent (pace Encyclopaedia Judaica, 1972) doesn't exist. 
Although this town is located only 115 km NE of Warsaw it was nevertheless 
in most respects (and certainly with respect to the o/u alternation) just 
inside litvish-yidish (or NEY) territory, so there should be little need 
for attempts to reflect poylish-yidish (or CY) pronunciation. In any case, 
the best practice is for transcriptions to represent the klal-yidish (or 
Standard Yiddish) orthography and pronunciation. In instances where there 
is a need to reproduce regional pronunciations it is preferable to employ 
IPA (the International Phonetic Alphabet) for this purpose to which the 
YIVO-system scarcely lends itself.

Hugh Denman

Date: July 30, 2009
Subject: Correct spellings for Yizker-bukh translation

The YIVO system for transliterating Yiddish into English is the best way 
to transliterate names and any Yiddish, although I do not agree with YIVO 
Yiddish orthography with Hebrew letters. Some Yiddish words end with a 
final "eh" sound which cannot occur in English; final "eh" is spelled with 
a final e and sounds similar to the e in red or the completely unstressed 
mid central vowel in the first syllable of computer. A final vowel + l is 
spelled as "l," even though the sound combination does not occur in 
English.  It is an unstressed mid central vowel when in an unstressed 
position; Shmulke, Binyomke, Elye, Shmerl, and Avreml are correct. 
Binyomke and Avruml are correct; actually, Avruml is a Polish or Central 
Yiddish dialect pronunciation and Avroml is a Lithuanian or Northeast 
Yiddish pronunciation.

Mayer (Michael Eric) Kovnat

Date: July 29, 2009
Subject: zeraze

What does "zeraze" mean?  Is it Yiddish, Polish or Russian?

Lillian Siegfried
End of Mendele Vol. 17.008

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