[Mendele] Mendele Vol. 20.002

Victor Bers victor.bers at yale.edu
Wed Aug 25 07:15:56 EDT 2010

Mendele: Yiddish literature and language

Contents of Vol. 20.002
August 23, 2010

1) David Fram (Hazel Frankel)
2) Bernard Isaacs (Gabriella Safran)
3) shtepnmakher, kholivkes (Martin Jacobs)
4) ayngeshpart (Nicole Taylor)
5) nisim un nefloes (Shimon Frank)

Date: July 30, 2010
Subject: David Fram

My doctoral research concerns the poet Dovid Fram, who left Lithuania in 
1927. He continued to write in Yiddish in South Africa until his death in 
1988. In addition to translating some of his poems, I need to try and set 
them against the traditions of Yiddish poetry. As far as I can ascertain, 
there is very little critical material on his work other than that of the 
late Joseph Sherman.

In order to locate his work, I am especially interested in trying to find 
out whether he was aware of Modernism in either Yiddish and/or English; 
whether he had read the Romantics (the poems seem reminiscent of Keats and 
Wordsworth, but had these been translated into Yiddish?); whether he fits 
into a discernible tradition as regards style, structure and subject 
matter, and whether he was influenced by particular Yiddish poets or 

Any insights from your subscribers would be much appreciated.

With warm wishes,

Hazel Frankel

Date:  July 8, 2010
Subject: shtepnmakher, kholivkes

On a Jewish genealogical forum, someone asked for the meanings of two 
Yiddish words, presumably the names of occupations which a relative who 
died in the Holocaust engaged in. They are: 1) shtepn-makher, 2) kholivkes 
(accent on first syllable). I gave the following answer to the inquiry: I 
could not find these words in any of the standard Yiddish dictionaries 
(Weinreich, Harkavy 1928, Niborski-Vaisbrot), but:  In German, Steppe 
(plural Steppen) means a quilt, so shtepn-makher is presumably a quilt 
maker. 2) In Polish, cholewka is the upper of a shoe, and cholewkarz is a 
craftsman who makes shoe uppers. (There is, however, a word "kholyeve" in 
Yiddish, meaning a boot leg, so this may be someone who makes the leg part 
of the boot.)

I have since received an e-mail in which the writer gives the following 
meanings: 1) slipper or shoemaker 2) a food, like ravioli, with a filling. 
When I asked where he knew these words from, he replied they seem to make 
a connection with the Yiddish-speak in my family of some eighty years ago.
My question: Does any Mendelyaner know either of these words and can 
enlighten us as to their meaning?

(I believe that the Polish word is accented on the second syllable, but if 
the word was borrowed into Yiddish that should not be a problem, as many 
Polish-origin words in Yiddish have a different accent from the word in 
present day Polish.)

Martin Jacobs

Date: August 15, 2010
Subject: ayngeshpart


  I want to use the word "angishpart" (Moderator's note: Standard Yiddish 
"ayngeshpart") in a telegram to be read out at an upcoming wedding in 
Montreal, where there are a lot of Yiddish speakers, but it's a word I 
know from childhood in Scotland, and I fear it is not a real Yiddish word, 
but one of a small bunch of very localized Yiddish words that won't be 
understood outside of my home community.  My parents used it to mean 
someone who is stubborn  - can someone confirm this or suggest a suitable 

  Thank you!
  Nicole Taylor

Date: July 10, 2010
Subject: nisim un nefloes

Dear Mendeleyer,

I recall the rhythm and tune and half of a rhyming couplet of a Yiddish 
song from my childhood days that went:

ay yay yay yay  ay yay yay! nisim un nefloes!
ay yay yay yay  ay yay yay! ?????? ??????????

A search on the web turned up nissim v'niflaot (not relevant), but nothing 
for nisim un nefloes.

I would appreciate help from anyone who remembers this song and knows the 

Thanks in advance,
Shimon Frank

End of Mendele Vol. 20.002

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