[Mendele] Mendele Vol. 20.018

Victor Bers victor.bers at yale.edu
Wed Apr 13 20:53:43 EDT 2011

Mendele: Yiddish literature and language

Contents of Vol. 20.018
April 11, 2011

1) Dos yidishe lid (Harriet Weinstein)
2) Dos yidishe lid (Nadia Dehan-Rotschild)
3) R. Shimen (Fegl Timna)
4) tshipik (Sylvia Liff)
5) Yiddish in the University (Henry Sapoznik)
6) kusher (Eliezer Greisdorf)
7) Eric Byron (Jewish names used on early sound recordings)

Date: March 15
Subject: "Dos yidishe lid"

Re: Scott Meyer's query
The Yiddish song played on the YouTube video is "Dos yidishe lid," sung by 
Mordechai  Hershman (1888-1940). It is over 7 minutes long.

The rest of the soundtrack is largely comprised of music from the Kol 
Nidre service (Eli Eli), as well as music from Simchas Torah, etc.

I hope this helps.

Harriet Weinstein
Date:  March 17
Subject: "Dos yidishe lid"

ot dos iz der titl funem langn lid, durkhgevebt mit shtiklekh khazones, 
vos me derkent  oyfn film. Der zinger iz Mordkhe Hershman.  Der mekhaber 
iz Anshel Schorr un Sholom Secunda hot geshribn di muzik. Me ken gefinen 
di transliteratsye dort : http://

a grus di ale mendelyaners,
Nadia Dehan-Rotschild
Date: April 1
Subject: R. Shimen

In Lesson 24 of "College Yiddish," Rambam's famous Eight-Stepped Ladder of 
Tsedakah is attributed to R. Shimen.

Can anyone explain who is this R. Shimon and why does the textbook 
attribute the teaching to him?

The lesson begins on page 224 of the textbook:

"Mit iber tsvey toyznt yor tsurik hot in erets-yisroel gelebt a groyser 
yidisher lerer.
Geheysn hot er R. Shimen....."

Fegl Timna
Date: March 24
Subject: tshipik

Could anyone inform me of the meaning of the word "tshipik"?  My mother, 
who came from Pinsk, used this word, smiling, when she saw her small grand 
daughters sporting a hair style with a curl clasped by a bow or clip.
Recently, reading a memoir in Yiddish by a writer who also hailed from 
Pinsk, I again encountered this word.  She described her aunts, at a 
festive family dinner, all dressed up with "tshipiks" in their sheitels.

Many thanks,
Sylvia Liff
Date:  March 15
Subject: Yiddish in the University

Can anyone tell me the earliest reference of when and where Yiddish was 
first taught at an American university?

A sheynem dank,
Henry Sapoznik

[Moderator's note: As far as I am aware, the first for-credit courses in 
Yiddish were
taught by Max Weinreich at City College, NY, in 1947. The brochure 
"Deutsch, Polnisch
oder Jiddisch?" by Germano-Judaeus, which was published during the German
occupation of Poland in World War I, translates an article from the 
"Varshever tageblat"
(17 February 1916). According to the article, a Yiddish language course 
was introduced
at Columbia University that year - the first such course at an American 
university. "The
well-known Professor Margullis" was appointed to teach the course.]
Date:  March 15
Subject:  kusher

This word reminds me of  "kutsher." which is the driver of a horse-drawn 
taxi or coachman.  The Harkavi includes it but not Weinreich.

Eliezer (Lazar) Greisdorf

Subject: Jewish names used on early sound recordings
Date: April 10

I am doing research on early sound recordings (1890s-1920s) and their 
relationship to ethnicity and race. Many of the songs and skits of this 
period play on ethnic and racial stereotypes, including the use of certain 
names to specify identity. I have a question about the Jewish names that 
were used on these early sound recording. By far the most common name 
assigned to Jews in recordings about Jews is Cohen. I assume the name was 
because few, if any, non-Jews would have the name Cohen. *Can anybody 
offer any other reason why the name Cohen might have been used to 
designate Jewishness?*

I also have a question about names used in recordings by Jews. It seems 
the two most popular names the authors employed were Mendel and 
Yente/Yenta. Yente/Yenta makes sense since it is associated with a gossip 
or busybody. "The Online Etymology Dictionary" states that Yenta/ Yente is 
a "'gossip, busybody,' 1923, from Yente Telebende, comic strip gossip in 
1920s-1930s writing of Yiddish newspaper humorist B.
Kovner (pen-name of Jacob Adler) in the 'Jewish Daily Forward.' It was a 
common Yiddish fem. proper name, alt, from Yentl and said to be ult, form 
It. gentile 'kind, gentle,' earlier 'noble, high-born.'" I assume that the 
association predates Kovner's use since the Yiddish recordings employ the 
name Yente/ Yenta at least as far back as 1916.
*My questions are: Does anybody have any information about when 
Yente/Yenta became associated with a gossip and busybody? Does anybody 
know whether there is a similar association with Mendel?*

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Eric Byron
End of Mendele Vol. 20.018

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