[Mendele] Mendele

Victor Bers victor.bers at yale.edu
Sun Feb 2 14:52:29 EST 2014

Mendele: Yiddish literature and language Vol.23.015

Contents of Vol. 23.015
January 29, 2014

1) shabash (Dina Levias)
2) Mendele's "Dos Kelbl" (Hershl Hartman)
3) roundtable at YIVO on Jewish-Lithuanian relations (Leah Falk)
4) tekse (Meyshe Sweet)
5) Yiddish Romanization tool (Paula Grossman)

Date: December 28, 2013
Subject: shabash

In reply to Alexis Monaster Ramer, concerning "shabash":
- "Does anybody know such a word in Yiddish and if so from where?"

Well, Alexis, and Mendelyaner khaverim, the word sounded Turkish to me, but
since I
don't know Turkish, I thought I'd see whether by chance it might have been
adopted in
a wild idea !
And, lo' and behold: it is mentioned in my 1961 edition of Smirnitsky's
dictionary, not once, but twice!
With the tonic accent on the first syllable, SHAbash, it is "sabbath", and
even "witches'
With the tonic accent on the second syllable, shaBASH:
1) colloquially: "no more of this", "enough.." (in Brooklynese: enough
2) Maritime: "ship oars!, way enough!"
3) as a verb, colloquially: "leave off work, knock off work" -(i.e. to play

Best New Year's wishes to you, linguists all!
Dina Levias

Date: December 27
Subject: Mendele's "Dos Kelbl"

In reply to Dov Dukhovny, Mendele frequently revised his works in new
refining the Yiddish and often providing parenthetic explanations of
Talmudic and other
citations from sforim. Yiddish literary critics count these revisions as
among Mendele's
major contributions to the modernization of Yiddish literature.

Based on its selection of a 1930s Warsaw edition of "Shloyme reb Khayims"
digitization, I'm assuming that the Yiddish Book Center selected its copies
of Mendele's
works that were in best condition. The cited edition, for example,
Hebrew/Aramaic words, apparently for the benefit of a secularized
readership. The
library at UCLA has a much earlier edition, the pages of which are yellowed
and the
binding insecure.

Hershl Hartman

Date: January 23
Subject: roundtable at YIVO on Jewish-Lithuanian relations

We are pleased to invite you to YIVO on Thursday, February 13, 2014 for
History: Jews and Lithuanians After the Holocaust," a roundtable with
European Union
Parliament Member, Leonidas Donskis, writer and political dissident, Tomas
and Chair of the Lithuanian Jewish community, Faina Kukliansky, to discuss
controversy surrounding the mainstream perception of the Holocaust in
Lithuania today.

For more details, please visit
We hope to see you at this important event.

Leah Falk

Date: January 8
Subject: tekse

Mendelyaners, I've just read a Sholem Asch story "Di Yatishe Tokhter" with
leynkrayz and there is a word in the last (and crucial) sentence that has
stumped me,
couldn't find it in any dictionary: "tekse" (tes ayin kof ayin samekh
ayin). The context is
a young coachman who has doggedly worked, done well financially, and
married into a
very balebatish family in his shtetl. His upward mobility has distanced him
from his
khevre, and at the story's end he is going back into his house, after
unsuccessfully trying
to socialize with them, and his former best buddy tells the others that "di
tekse geyt."

A sheyem dank in foroys far ayere hilf,

Michael (Meyshe) Sweet

Date: January 26
Subject: Yiddish Romanization tool


I have to transcribe yidishe oysies into Latin letters. Not only one single
word but a lot of
text. I know Yiddish and how it should be transcribed but it's a lot of
text and I'd like to
make life easier. Do you know of any tool available to do this?
Very grateful for an answer.

Paula Grossman
End of Mendele Vol. 23.015

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