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

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Contents of Vol. 12.017 [Sequential No. 208]
Date: 28 September 2008

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(taken from , click to enlarge)

1) This issue of The Mendele Review
2) Letters to the Editor from Leonard Fox and Meyer Wolf.
3) "The Jerusalem Conference: A Century Of Yiddish 1908-2008"
4) "A mayse iber a mayse" from Dos vintshfingerl (Warsaw, 1866) by Mendele Moykher-Sforim,
bilingual edition edited by Shalom Luria, Haifa: Univ. of Haifa Press, 1994 [Yiddish text] .
5) Portrait of Mendele by H. Inger
6) Mendele's fictive title page of (4) above.
7) Title page of Ayzik-Meyer Dik's Judaized adaptation of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, Vilna: Rom, 1887.
8) Bibliographic Note on Dik's adaptation of Uncle Tom's Cabin.
9) "Der kremer": Lyrics, Score and Notes (ed., Eleanor Mlotek)
10) Sidor Belarsky, Leibele Jinich and Menakhem Bernstein each sing "Der kremer".

1) ---------------------------------------------------
Date: 28 September 2008
From: ed.
Subject: This issue of TMR

***The principal content of this issue of TMR is a too little known early (by scholarly consensus 1866) Sholem-Yankev Abramovitsh [ = Mendele Moykher-Sforim] Yiddish work, Dos vintshfingerl (The Wishing Ring'). Following the history-making serial publication (1864) of the immensely popular Dos kleyne mentshele ('The Little Man'), the author's second Yiddish production looked more like a pamphlet than a story. About 40 pages long, it appeared in the guise of a German book which the teller, an itinerant bookseller, had arranged to be translated into Yiddish. In three parts, the text given here is the first. The Yiddish original has been edited by Shalom Luria to conform to modern spelling standards. The remaining two parts will be given in future issues of TMR.

Dos vintshfingerl is one of several Mendele creations which grew from story to novel, growing in linguistic virtuosity and moral depth as they metamorphosed into major works. From 1888 to 1909, Dos vintshfingerl, like its author, matured, moving from a simplistic maskilic belief in the power of education to transform the backward Jewish masses to a realistic and rational world view in which science figured largely.*** The song featured in this issue of TMR is "Der kremer," a song that both sounds the age-old Zionist hope and paints the storekeeper's pathetic existence. The song condenses Avrom Lyesin's (Abraham Walt's) 25-stanza poem (composed in Minsk in 1896) of the same title. In his reveries, Lyesin's storekeeper cries out:

Oy, volt ikh gehat nor di oytsres!
Ikh volt shoyn gevust fun a tolk,
Ikh volt fun di yidn gemakht shoyn
A rekhtn, a laytishn folk!

 

 

 

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[from Lider un poemen, New York: Forverts, 1938, vol.1, p. 228].

2) ---------------------------------
Date: 28 September 2008
From: Leonard Fox; Meyer Wolf
Subject: Letters to the Editor:

a. Leonard Fox writes:

Readers may be interested to know that 2 copies of the recording of this concert are available on cd from Amazon .

b. Meyer Wolf writes:

A few weeks ago, the lines "vos geyt mikh on di naye kozatske, az tantsn, tants ikh zi nit" began playing in my head and I could not recall where they came from. Thanks to TMR I have now put them to rest. But something about the song "Shvartse karshelekh / karshn" began bothering me -- I recalled it as a children's ditty of some sort, not as part of a waltz-time song. Thanks to Ruth Rubin's Voices of a People, I found the second stanza of the ditty "Kumt der liber zumer":

Shvartse karshn raysn mir,
Royte lozn mir shteyn.
Sheyne bokherim nemen mir,
Miese lozn mir geyn.

She also includes a waltz song, that begins:

Vos toyg mir di polke-mazurke,
Az tantsn, tants ikh zi nit.
Vos toyg mir di sheyne figurke,
Az nemen, nemt zi mikh nit.

With the chorus:

Eyns-tsvey, eyns-tsvey-dray,
Ay, vey iz tsu mir,
Vey iz tsu mayne yor.
A libe hob ikh gefirt
Felike dray fertl yor.

Perhaps the waltz time of the song explains the oddity of a 3/4 year love affair (if that's actually what the words are). Also unexplained is the connection with a song in Mark Slobin's Old Jewish Folk Music which begins:

Vos zhe toyg mir dayn sheyner vayngortn,
Az flantsn kon ikh im nit.
Vos zhe toyg mir mit dir a libe shpiln,
Az nemen konnen mir zikh nit.

It seems that the musical standard "Shvartse karshn" is a pastiche (in a good sense) of folk material.

3) ---------------------------------------------------
Date: 28 September 2008
From: ed.
Subject: "The Jerusalem Conference: A Century Of Yiddish 1908-2008"

The Joint Research Conference of the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Israel Science Foundation are pleased, together with Unesco, to invite other universities and foundations dedicated to research and teaching of Yiddish language and culture to be sponsors of the Jerusalem Conference planned for Summer/Autumn 2009. Please send replies to hguys@vms.huji.ac.il.

4) -------------------------------------
Date: 28 September 2008
From: Shalom Luria
Subject: "A mayse iber a mayse" from Dos vintshfingerl (Warsaw, 1866) by Mendele Moykher-Sforim [bilingual edition], edited by Shalom Luria, Haifa: Univ. of Haifa Press, 1994 [Yiddish text].

(left click to enlarge text, and use arrows to turn page)

 

5)----------------------------------

Date: 28 Sepember 2008

From: Shalom Luria

Subject: Portrait of Mendele by H. Inger

 

 

 

6) --------------------------------------

Date: 28 September 2008

From: Shalom Luria

Subject: Mendele's fictive title page of (4) above.

(click to enlarge)

 

7)------------------------------------------------

Date: 28 September 2008

From: ed.

Subject: Title page of Ayzik-Meyer Dik's Judaized adaptation of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, Vilna: Rom, 1887.

 

(click to enlarge)

8)--------------------------------------------
Date: 28 September 2008
From: ed.
Subject: Bibliographic Note on Dik's adaptation of Uncle Tom's Cabin.

The first (Vilna: Rom, 1868) edition [or printing?] of the book whose title page is illustrated above is very scarce but easily traced if one can identify the author. Checking in Berl Kagan's useful Leksikon fun Yidish-Shraybers (New York, 1986) quickly informs us if the anagram of the first professional writer in modern Yiddish literature is not familiar to us that Alef, Mem" Daled is, Ayzik-Meyer Dik. From here we can go to David Roskies' invaluable bibliography of Dik's works (in The Field of Yiddish 4, Philadelphia: Institute for Study of Human Issues) 1980, ITEM 72, p. 151. Roskies writes:

"Di shklaveray oder di laybeygnshaft (podanstvo) (Slavery or Serfdom). Pseud. AMaD. Vilna: Rom, 1868, part I: 88 pp., [part II: ----- pp.] Reprinted, Vilna: Rom, 1887, I: 56 pp., II: 77 pp. (NL)"

Roskies directs us to the repository he has consulted: the National and University Library of the Hebrew University and gives his brief description of the work: "A Judaized adaptation of Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852)."

Are there discrepancies between the 1868 and 1887 issues? My own copy of 1887 has a "forbericht [hakdome]" paginated in Roman numerals III-XIV. If one includes the title page as [I-II] and divides by two, then perhaps we get an "8-page" introduction. Hebrew University 1887 does not specify the number of pages in Parts I and II. Roskies gives the pagination for the main text but omits the page length of the introduction. Roskies and Hebrew University give 88 pp. for 1868, with no pagination given for Part II. These details may seem insignificant, but insofar as they suggest possible discrepancies between 1868 and 1887, they should be looked at carefully. Incidentally, the Hebrew University online catalog lists 170 (Hebrew and Yiddish) Dik items. 1868 is "not for loan."

9)-----------------------------------------------

Date: 28 September 2008

From: Eleanor Mlotek

Subject: "Der kremer": Lyrics, Score and Notes (ed., Eleanor Mlotek)

(left click to enlarge)

 

 

[from Eleanor & Joseph Mlotek, eds. Songs of Generations: New Pearls of Yiddish Song. New York: Workmens's Circle, n.d.]


10)--------------------------------------------------
Date: 28 September 2008
From: Robert Goldenberg
Subject: (1) Sidor Belarsky, (2) Leibele Jinich and (3) Menakhem Bernstein each sing "Der kremer".

 

(1) Sidor Belarsky. About the artist see bio and tribute by daughter. Click on the gramophone to hear Belarsky sing, as recorded in The Jewish Music Archive.

(2) Cantor Leibele Jinich. Click on the gramophone to hear Jinich sing, as recorded in The Jewish Music Archive.

(3) Menakhem Bernshteyn [Menachem Bernstein]. About the artist, see TMR 12.014. Accompanist: Haggai Spokoiny; Recording Technician: Tal Israel; Click on the gramophone to hear Bernstein sing, as recorded in Di velt fun yidish.

 

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End of The Mendele Review Issue 12.017
Editor, Leonard Prager
Editorial Associate, Robert Goldenberg

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