The Mendele Review: Yiddish Literature and Language
(A Companion to MENDELE)

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Contents of Vol. 10.009 [Sequential No. 174]
Date:
31 October 2006

1) This issue of TMR (ed).
2) A colored Yiddish postcard by H. Goldberg, Jehudia Publishers Warsaw (1912-1918) [From the National Library, Warsaw]
3) Berlin-printed Postcard with three verses of a popular folksong "Gey ikh mir shpatsirn" ('I go walking')
4) Vi azoy hob ikh gevunen oyf der loterey? fun B. Yeushzon. [First installment, Yiddish  text]

Click here to enter: http://yiddish.haifa.ac.il/tmr/tmr10/tmr10009.htm

1)----------------------------------------------------------

Date: 31 October 2006
From: ed.
Subject: This issue of TMR.

This issue of TMR returns us to Warsaw of a century ago (which is to say to the most Jewish metropolis in the then world) and introduces us to two genres of popular Yiddish culture: the picture postcard shone toyve and the penny pamphlet. This particular picture postcard can be considered a sub-genre of the shone toyve just as this shone toyve is here a sub-genre of the picture postcard. Our specimen, the work of H.Goldberg of Jehudiah Publishers, radiates ideality. The father is away, a common condition in the immigrant period, but he has provided well for his young matronly wife and two attractive and well-groomed children. The message is warm and conveys a happy domesticity in the face of a surely damaging paternal absence. We are worlds away from "Er iz avek in a vayte medine / Di yunge Khanele iz geblibn an agune" [Ginzburg and Marek, 271] or " A yunge froy iber der velt , / Un nit keyn briv un nit keyn gelt" [G and M, 272]. Briv is the magical word. And, as in the picture postcard, it means a real letter, one that arrives in an envelope [that the daughter holds in her hands] and that contains a personalized message. As in the modern greeting card, versification is employed, the rimes generally of an obvious nature. Some postcards may actually quote known verses, either of folksongs or more literary items. I have come across a postcard (see below) printed in Berlin by Gonzer and Pfeffer Printers which contains only a few verses of one particular version not a happy-ending one of the well known folk song "Gey ikh mir shpatsirn" ['I go walking']. Postcard specialists can perhaps tell us how many such mixed-genre items were produced they are mini-broadsheets in postcard form and I don't recall having seen any others like it.

The penny pamphlet here given straddles several sub-genres. There were innumerable popular science brochures, booklets on how to win a groom, how to avoid tuberculosis, how to get to the Land of Israel, instructional and explanatory elementary texts for wide distribution, cheaply printed and for that reason highly perishable. Many pamphlets, as we know from the history of Yiddish literature were chapbooks and if devoted to fiction were the familiar story books mayse bikhelekh. The famous journalist B. Yeushzon [pen name of Moyshe Yustman (1889-1942)] at an early age was already a consummate satirist. His Vi azoy hob ikh gevunen oyf der loterey? may seem at first to be solely a cautionary tale teaching the lesson great writers like Bashevis deal with in serious novels such as Sotn in Goray the Almighty cannot be manipulated. Henekh in Yeushzon's moshl that is also a mayse shehoyo "nemt dem reboyne shel oylem oyf s'koyekh"! This somewhat gruesome tale is merely the elaborate introduction to the teller's confessions of an addicted lottery-buyer. As the story develops, its comic and satiric potentials are mined and we end on a note of "Mi hu sameakh? HaMeushar bekhelko." The author's firm command of Warsaw street Yiddish of the day coupled with a rich vocabulary from Judaic sources makes this early and scarce Yeushzon production very much worth preserving. The role of night and of dreams in the teller's experience shows us how popular beliefs strayed from normative Judaism.

[I give the text in Yivo-spelling and in a few instances show in red the original text.
A Second Installment will follow in the next issue of TMR.]

2)---------------------------------------------------

Date: 31 October 2006
From: ed.
Subject: A colored Yiddish postcard by H. Goldberg, Jehudia Publishers Warsaw (1912-1918) [From the National Library, Warsaw]

"
, ,
,
!..."

"Your father writes in his letter
That he greets you, dear little children,
That he blesses you, wishes you health and strength
And kisses your every little limb.

 

 

3)---------------------------------------------------

Date: 31 October 2006
From: ed.
Subject: Berlin-printed postcard with three verses of a popular folksong "Gey ikh mir shpatsirn" ('I go walking')

 

 

 

 

4)----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 31 October 2006

From: ed.
Subject: Vi azoy hob ikh gevunen oyf der loterey? fun B. Yeushzon. [First installment, Yiddish text]

 

 

 

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[At this dramatic point close to the end of the second part of this 4-part story, I have chosen to conclude the first installment of a story too long for a single issue of TMR.]

 

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Editor, Leonard Prager

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