[Mendele] Mendele Vol. 20.013

Victor Bers victor.bers at yale.edu
Sun Jan 23 21:38:39 EST 2011

Mendele: Yiddish literature and language

Contents of Vol. 20.013
January 23, 2011

1) kushers (Aubrey Jacobus)
2) translation sought of Bashevis' "In der finsternish" (Carole Zemel)
3) Contemporary Yiddish writers from Central and Eastern Europe (Lena 
4) dozik (Mike Koplow)
5) shlang (Norma Brewer)
6) artikl vegn GOSET in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Peter Gutmann)
7) Romanization of names in Zylbercweig's "Leksikon fun yidish teater" 
(Steven Lasky)
8) gas (Al Grand)

Subject:  kushers Date: December 21, 2010

The only time I heard the word "kushers" was at Seder referring to the "ma 

Aubrey Jacobus

Date: January 5, 2011 Subject:  translation sought of Bashevis' "In der 

Can anyone guide me to an English translation of I.B. Singer's story "In 
der finsternish" or "Di finsternish," about a photographer's 

a sheynem dank,

Carol Zemel

Date: December 30, 2010 Subject: Contemporary Yiddish writers from Central 
and Eastern Europe

One of the most prominent authors from the former USSR writing in Yiddish 
(now based in Israel) is Michael (Mikhoel) Felsenbaum. He's very prolific, 
writing novels, short stories, dramas and poems/songs, and has 
encyclopedic knowledge of Yiddish and yiddishkayt. The late Dr. Joseph 
Sherman started working on the translation into English of M. Felsenbaum's 
latest novel, Shabesdike shvebelekh, but sadly passed away before it was 
completed. The first three chapters in English can be found in The Mendele 

Lena Watson

Date:  January 6, 2011 Subject: dozik

Does anybody know whether "dozig/dozik" (always following a definite 
article, and meaning "this") has a German cognate? I found no likely 
candidates in either the Duden or the unabridged Harper-Collins, but I may 
have been barking up the wrong trees in my search. I have two wild guesses 
about the possible origin of the word, each guess wilder than the other.

1. Could it originate from a compound of "do" and some word related to 
"zogn"? This guess was inspired by Uriel Weinreich's dictionary, which 
glosses "der doziker" as "the said" as well as "this."
2. Could it originate from "doz-ige/-ike"--in other words, "the-ish, 
the-esque, the-like"? Keep in mind that in Early Yiddish "dos" was 
sometimes spelled with a zayin as the final consonant.

I'm not a linguist, which is obvious to anyone who read these two guesses. 
Anyhow, if any of you could give me some guidance, it would be much 

Thank you.

Mike Koplow

[Moderator's note: Mike Koplow was kind enough to send us the following 
update, which answers his query. We are printing both the query and the 
update since they will likely interest many readers.]

A few days ago, I wrote to Professor Jerold Frakes with my question about 
"dozig." It was the first time I'd sent a question to a scholar who 
doesn't know me, and I assumed I wouldn't be hearing back. Later in the 
day when I sent the question to Mendele, he did write back; it does indeed 
come from "doz" (the) + "-ig," which I actually thought was the further 
fetched of my two guesses.

Date: December 22, 2010 Subject: shlang

In response to Aubrey Jacobus' question about local terms:

Shlung (i.e. shlang) is certainly snake.

My booba (bobe) used to say, shlekhte shlung.

Yours, Norma Brewer

Date: January 2, 2011 Subject: artikl vegn GOSET in Frankfurter Allgemeine 
Zeitung (Peter Gutmann)

dem 24stn detsember hot di tsaytung "Frankfurter Allgemeine" publikirt a 
groysn artikl (1 zaytl mit a groys bild) vegn dem yidishn teater GOSET. 
Der tekst - deriker vegn dem batayt fun di verter "jiddisch" un "jdisch" 
(beyde far teater, sprakhn, pieses, mentshn!) - iz zeyer interesant. ir 
kent koyfn dem artikl far 1 eyro (iuro?) bay: http://fazarchiv.faz.net/
(zukht nokh "Tragdie mit Gesang und Tanz").

Zayt gezunt, Peter Gutmann

** After my very basic Yiddish, here a slightly more fluent English 
version (to be on the safe side, so to say): The German Newspaper 
"Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeigung" published an article on the GOSET on 
24.12.10. There is no apparent reason why they would have done so, but, I 
think, especially the use of both "jiddisch" and "jdisch" when writing 
about the theatre, the language, the repertoire and the people, make this 
article worth reading. If you read German and have no access to the FAZ 
copy in question, you can buy the article for 1 Euro at their archive 

http://fazarchiv.faz.net/ (search term: "Tragdie mit Gesang und Tanz").

Best wishes, Peter Gutmann

Date: January 17, 2011 Subject: Romanization of names  in Zylbercweig's 
"Leksikon fun yidish teater"

I have taken it upon myself to transliterate from Yiddish into English 
(using for the most part YIVO orthographic standards) the names of 
individuals and  organizations listed within Zalmen Zylbercweig's 
"Leksikon fun yidish teater." The full list comprises more than 2,700 

Not only have I included the surnames, given names and alternate names for 
each person listed in these volumes, but I've also added into my database 
(when available) the individual's dates of birth and death and 
town/city/country of their birth. I also have them arranged by page 
number, i.e. not only the number of the page in the original Yiddish 
language book, but also the pdf page number (which is the easiest way to 
find a particular listing in the book itself.)

Did you know that all six volumes of the "Leksikon" are available for free 
online at www.archive.org ? If you just search this site using the words 
"leksikon fun yidishn," you will arrive at the links to all six volumes.

I hope to have the Leksikon data freely available online within the 
confines of my virtual Museum (www.museumoffamilyhistory.com), searchable 
via a database, sometime in the future. In the meantime, please feel free 
to write to me if you need a lookup.

I am also translating (as best as I can, though I am not a Yiddish 
speaker/translator per se) the nearly four hundred captions listed under 
the other photographs and illustrations included in these six volumes.

Regards, Steven Lasky

Date: January 4, 2011 Subject: gas I would be supremely grateful for a 
gloss on the etymology of "gas" (the Yiddish word for "street").  I see 
some vague Scandinavian resemblances:  Norwegian "gate"; Swedish "gata" 
and Danish "gade" but I doubt if any of these are cognates.  A more likely 
possibility is the Lithuanian "gatve'" but that too seems rather 
far-fetched. I still long for a Yiddish etymological dictionary! Al Grand 
[Moderator's note: The German word "Gasse" is certainly a close cognate.]

End of Mendele Vol. 20.013

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