Skip to main content

Full text of "The history of Yiddish literature in the nineteenth century"

See other formats


io> 



:lO 



-I 



y^ 



, V ~; 



Ea JHg Mofytt 



PREFACE 

A suggestion to write the present book reached 
me in the spring of 1898. At that time my library 
contained several hundreds of volumes of the best 
Judeo-German (Yiddish) literature, which had been 
brought together by dint of continued attention and, 
frequently, by mere chance, for the transitoriness of its 
works, the absence of any and all bibliographies, the 
almost absolute absence of a guide into its literature, 
and the whimsicalness of its book trade made a syste- 
matic selection of such a library a difficult problem to 
solve. Not satisfied with the meagre details which 
could be gleaned from internal testimonies in the 
works of the Judeo-German writers, I resolved to visit 
the Slavic countries for the sake of gathering data, 
both literary and biographical, from which anything 
like a trustworthy history of its literature could be 
constructed. A recital of my journey will serve as a 
means of orientation to the future investigator in this 
or related fields, and will at the same time indicate my 
obligations to the men and the books that made my 
sketch possible. 

From Liverpool, my place of landing, I proceeded at 
once to Oxford, where I familiarized myself with the 
superb Oppenheim collection of Judeo-German books 
of the older period, stored in the Bodleian Library ; it 
does not contain, however, anything bearing on the 

vii 



v jji PREFACE 

nineteenth century. In London the British Museum 
furnished me with a few modern works which are 
now difficult to procure, especially the periodical Kol- 
mewasser and Warschauer Judisehe Zeitung. Unfortu- 
nately my time was limited, and I was unable to make 
thorough bibliographical notes from these rare publica- 
tions ; besides, I then hoped to be able to discover sets 
of them in Russia. In this I was disappointed hence 
the meagreness of my references to them. The Rosen- 
thaliana in Amsterdam and the Imperial Library in 
Berlin added nothing material to my information. 
Warsaw was my first objective point as regards facts 
and books. The latter I obtained in large numbers 
by rummaging the bookstores of Scheinfinkel and Mor- 
genstern. In a dark and damp cellar, in which Mor- 
genstern kept part of his store, many rare books were 
picked up. In Warsaw I received many valuable data 
from Perez, Dienesohn, Spektor, Freid, Levinsohn, both 
as to the activity which they themselves have devel- 
oped and as to what they knew of some of their con- 
freres. In Bialystok I called on the venerable poet, 
Gottlober ; he is very advanced in years, being above 
ninety, is blind, and no longer in possession of his 
mental faculties, but his daughter gave me some inter- 
esting information about her father. Wilna presented 
nothing noteworthy, except that in a store a few early 
prints were found. 

In St. Petersburg I had hoped to spend usefully a 
week investigating the rich collections of Judeo-German 
in the Asiatic Museum and the Imperial Library. The 
museum was, however, closed for the summer, and the 
restrictions placed on the investigator in the library 
made it impossible to inspect even one-tenth of the 
three or four thousand books contained there. When 



PREFACE i x 

about to abandon that part of my work the assistant 
librarian, Professor Harkavy, under whose charge the 
collection is, most generously presented me with one 
thousand volumes out of his own private library. In 
Kiev I had a long conference with S. Rabinowitsch 
and with A. Schulmann ; the latter informed me that 
he is now at work on a history of Judeo-German 
literature previous to the nineteenth century ; the 
specimen of his work which he published a few years 
ago in the Jildische Volksbibliothek gives hope that it 
will entirely supersede the feeble productions of M. 
Griinbaum. In Odessa I learned many important facts 
from conversations with S. J. Abramowitsch, J. J. Li- 
netzki, J. J. Lerner, P. Samostschin, and depleted the 
bookstores, especially that of Rivkin, of their rarer 
books. Jassy in Roumania and Lemberg in Galicia 
offered little of interest, but in Cracow Faust's book- 
store furnished some needed data by its excellent 
choice of modern works. 

Thus I succeeded in seeing nearly all the living 
writers of any note, and in purchasing or inspecting 
books in all the larger stores and libraries that con- 
tained such material. In spite of all that, the present 
work is of necessity fragmentary ; it is to be hoped 
that by cooperation of several men it will be possible 
to save whatever matter there may still be in existence 
from oblivion ere it be too late. The greatest difficulty 
I encountered in the pursuit of my work was the iden- 
tification of pseudonyms and the settlement of biblio- 
graphical data. As many of the first as could be 
ascertained, in one way or other, are given in an 
appendix ; but the bibliography has remained quite 
imperfect in spite of my efforts to get at facts. A 
complete bibliography can probably never be written, 



x PREFACE 

on account of the peculiar conditions prevailing in the 
Imperial Library, from which by theft and otherwise 
many books have disappeared ; but even under these 
conditions it would not be a hard matter to furnish 
four or five thousand names of works for this century. 
This task must be left to some one resident in St. 
Petersburg who can get access to the libraries. 

This history being intended for the general public, 
and not for the linguistic scholar, there was no choice 
left for the transliteration of Judeo-German words but 
to give it in the modified orthography of the German 
language ; for uniformity's sake such words occurring 
in the body of the English text are left in their Ger- 
man form. All Hebrew and Slavic words are given 
phonetically as heard in the mouths of Lithuanian 
Jews ; that dialect was chosen as being least distant 
from the literary German ; for the same reason the 
texts in the Chrestomathy are normalized in the same 
variety of the vernacular. The consonants are read 
as in German, and z is like French j. The vowels are 
nearly all short, so that #, ie, i are equal to German 
i ; similarly a, o, eh, ee are like German short e. The 
German long e is represented by <?, oe, ae, and in Slavic 
and Hebrew words also by ee. Ei and eu are pro- 
nounced like German ei in mein, while ei is equal to 
German ee ; a and o are German short o ; au sounds 
more like German ou, and au and o resemble Ger- 
man oi ; ail is equal to German ai. 

The collection of data on the writers in America has 
been even more difficult than in Russia, and has been 
crowned with less success. Most of the periodicals 
published here have been of an ephemeral nature, and 
the newspapers, of which there have been more than 
forty at one time or other, can no longer be procured ; 



PREFACE x i 

and yet they have contained the bulk of the literary 
productions written in this country. It is to be hoped 
that those who have been active in creating a Judeo- 
German literature will set about to write down their 
reminiscences from which at a later day a just picture 
may be given of the ferment which preceded the absorp- 
tion of the Russian Jews by the American nation. 

The purpose of this work will be attained if it 
throws some light on the mental attitude of a people 
whose literature is less known to the world than that 
of the Gypsy, the Malay, or the North American 
Indian. 

Cambridge, Mass., 
December, 1898. 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Preface vii 

I. Introduction 1 

II. The Judeo-German Language .... 12 

III. Folklore 25 

IV. The Folksong . 53 

V. Printed Popular Poetry 72 

VI. Other Aspects of Poetry before the Eighties 95 

VII. Poetry since the Eighties in Russia. . . 105 

VIII. Poetry since the Eighties in America . . 118 

IX. Prose Writers from 1817-1863 . . . .131 

X. Prose Writers from 1863-1881 : Abramowitsch 148 

XL Prose Writers from 1863-1881 : Linetzki, Dick 161 

XII. Prose Writers since 1881 : Spektor . . . 177 

XIII. Prose Writers since 1881 : Rabinowitsch, Perez 194 

XIV. Prose Writers since 1881 : in America . . 216 

XV. The Jewish Theatre 231 

XVI. Other Aspects of Literature .... 244 

xiii 



x j v CONTENTS 



CHRESTOMATHY 

PAGE 

I. Sseefer Koheles. Ecclesiastes. M. M. Lefin 258 
II. Die Malpe. The Monkey . . S. Ettiuger 260 

III. DAIGES NACH DEM TODT. WORRY AFTER DEATH 

S. Ettiuger 260 

IV. Der Elender sucht die Ruhe. The Forlorn 

Man looking for Rest 

B. W. Ehrenkranz-Zbarzer 261 

V. Diwree Chochmo. Words of Wisdom 

E. Z. Zweifel 264 

VI. Die Stiefmutter. The Stepmother. M. Gordon 264 

VII. Die Mume Sos.te. Aunt Sosie. A. Goldfaden 268 

VIII. Semer le-Ssimchas Tore. Song of the Re- 
joicing of the Law . . J. L. Gordon 272 

IX. Die Klatsche. The Dobbin. S. J. Abramowitsch 276 

X. TUNEJADEWKE. PARASITEVILLE . 

S. J. Abramowitsch 284 

XI. A HARTER BlSSEN. A TOUGH MORSEL 

D. Frischmann 294 

XII. Stempenju's Fiedele. Stempenju's Violin 

S. Rabinowitscb 300 

XIII. Der Talmud. The Talmud . . S. Frug 306 

XIV. Das judische Kind. The Jewish Child . 

S. Frug 308 

XV. Der adeliger Kater. The Noble Tom-cat. 

M. Winchevsky 312 

X\ I. Jonkiper. The Atonement Day. J. Dienesohn 314 



CONTENTS XV 

PAGE 

XVII. Auf'n Busen vun Jam. On the Bosom of the 

Ocean M. Rosenfeld 324 

XVIII. Bonzje Schweig. Bontsie Silent. J. L. Perez 332 



I. Appendix. Bibliography 355 

II. Appendix. Pseudonyms 383 

Index 385 




THE HISTORY OF YIDDISH LITEEATUEE 
IN THE NINETEENTH CENTUEY 

I. INTRODUCTION 

The literatures of the early Middle Ages were bi- 
lingual. The Catholic religion had brought with it the 
use of the Latin language for religious and ethical pur- 
poses, and in proportion as the influence of the clergy 
was exerted on worldly matters, even profane learn- 
ing found its expression through the foreign tongue. 
Only by degrees did the native dialects manage to 
establish themselves independently, and it has been but 
a few centuries since they succeeded in emancipating 
themselves entirely and in ousting the Latin from the 
domain of secular knowledge. As long as the Jews 
have not been arrested in their natural development by 
external pressure, they have fallen into line with the 
conditions prevalent in their permanent homes and 
have added their mite towards the evolution of the 
vernaculars of their respective countries. It would be 
idle to adduce here proofs of this; suffice it only to 
mention Spain, whose literature would be incomplete 
without including in the list of its early writers the 
names of some illustrious Jews active there before the 
expulsion of the Jews in the fifteenth century. But 
the matter everywhere stood quite differently in regard 
to the Latin language. That being the language of the 
Catholic clergy, it could not be cultivated by the Jews 

I 



2 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

without compromising their own faith ; the example of 
the bilingualism was, however, too strong not to affect 
them, and hence they had recourse to the tongue of their 
own sacred scriptures for purposes corresponding to those 
of the Catholic Church. The stronger the influence of 
the latter was in the country, the more did the Jews cling 
to the Hebrew and the Jargon of the Talmud for literary 
purposes. It need not, then, surprise us to find the Jew- 
ish literature of the centuries preceding the invention 
of printing almost exclusively in the ancient tongue. 

As long as the German Jews were living in Germany, 
and the Sephardic Jews in Spain, there was no urgent 
necessity to create a special vernacular literature for 
them : they spoke the language of their Christian fel- 
low-citizens, shared with them the same conception of 
life, the same popular customs, except such as touched 
upon their religious convictions, and the works current 
among their Gentile neighbors were quite intelligible, 
and fully acceptable to them. The extent of common 
intellectual pleasures was much greater than one would 
be inclined to admit without examination. In Germany 
we have the testimony of the first Judeo-German or 
Yiddish works printed in the sixteenth century that 
even at that late time the Jews were deriving pleasure 
from the stories belonging to the cycle of King Arthur 
and similar romances. In 1602 a pious Jew, in order to 
offset these older stories, as he himself mentions in his 
introduction, 1 issued the 4 Maasebuch,' which is a collec- 
tion of Jewish folklore. It is equally impossible, however, 

1 "Drum ir liben Mannen un' Frauen, leient ir oft daraus so wert 
ir drinnen behauen urn nit zu leienen aus dem Bicher von Kuhen un' 
von Ditrich von Bern un' Meister Hildabrant sollt ir ach euch nit tun 
miien, nun es sein warlich eitel Schinitz, sie geben euch nit Warem 
noch Hitz, ach sein sie nit gettlich darbei." (Serapeum, Vol. XXVII. 
p. 3.) 



INTRODUCTION 3 

to discover from early German songs preserved by the 
Jews that they in any way differed from those recited and 
sung by the Gentiles, and they have to be classed among 
the relics of German literature, which has actually been 
done by a scholar who subjected them to a close scru- 
tiny. 1 On the other hand, the Jews who were active 
in German literature, like Susskind, only accidentally 
betray their Jewish origin. Had they not chosen to 
make special mention of the fact in their own works, it 
would not be possible by any criterion to separate them 
from the host of authors of their own time. 

Had there been no disturbing element introduced in 
the national life of the German Jews, there would not 
have developed with them a specifically Judeo-German 
literature, even though they may have used the Hebrew 
characters in the transliteration of German books. Un- 
fortunately, in the beginning of the sixteenth century, 
a large number of Jews, mainly from the region of the 
Middle Rhine, had become permanently settled in Bo- 
hemia, Poland, and Russia. Here they formed compact 
colonies in towns and cities, having been admitted to 
these countries primarily to create the nucleus of a town 
population, as the agricultural Slavs had been averse to 
town life. They had brought with them their patri- 
mony of the German language, their German intel- 
lectual atmosphere and mode of life ; and their very 
compactness precluded their amalgamation with their 
Slavic neighbors. Their numerical strength and spirit- 
ual superiority obliterated even the last trace of those 
Jews who had been resident in those regions before 
them and had spoken the Slavic dialects as their mother- 
tongues. Separated from their mother-country, they 

1 F. Rosenberg, Ueber eine Sammlung deutscher Volks- und Ge- 
sellschafts-lieder in hebraischen Lettem, Berlin, 1888. 



4 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

craved the intellectual food to which they had been 
accustomed there ; but their relations with it were 
entirely broken, and they no longer took part in the 
mental life of their German contemporaries. The 
Reformation with its literary awakening could not 
exert any influence on them; they only turned back 
for reminiscences of ages gone by, and hungered after 
stories with which their ancestors had whiled away their 
hours of leisure in the cities along the Rhine. And so 
it happened that when the legendary lore of the Nibe- 
lungen, of Siegfried, of Dietrich of Bern, of Wigalois, 
of King Arthur, had begun to fade away even from the 
folk books of Germany, it lived on in the Slavic coun- 
tries and continued to evoke pleasure and admiration. 

These chapbooks, embodying the folklore of past 
generations, were almost the first printed Judeo-German 
books, as they certainly were the most popular. That 
the early Judeo-German literature was intended mainly 
for readers in the east of Europe is amply evidenced by 
specific mention in the works themselves, as for example 
in the 'Maasebuch,' where the compiler, or author, 
urges the German women to buy quickly his book, lest 
it be all too fast sold in Bohemia, Poland, and Russia. 1 
In fact, the patron of the * Maasebuch,' or the author of 
the same, for it is not quite clear whether they are not 
one and the same person, was himself a native of Mese- 
ritz in Lithuania. Only after these story books had 
created a taste for reading, and in order to counteract 
the effects of the non-Jewish lore, the Rabbis began to 

1 " Drum ir liben Frauen kauft ir sie behend, e sie werden kummen 
in fremden Land, in Pehm un' in Reussen un' in Polen, aso wert man 
sie ach tun weidlich holen, un' audern Landern mer, drum kauft ir 
sie ser, dernoch werd ir sagen, warum hab ich keins gekauft, da sie 
sein gewesen in Land." (Serapeum, Vol. XXVII. p. 3.) 



INTRODUCTION 5 

substitute the more Jewish legends of the i Maasebuch ' 
and the ' Zeena Ureena,' and the ethical treatises which 
were intended to instruct the people in the tenets of their 
fathers. In this manner the Judeo-German literature 
was made possible. Its preservation for four centuries 
was mainly due to the isolation of the German Jews in 
Russia and Poland, where the German medievalism be- 
came ossified and was preserved intact to within half a 
century ago, when under favorable conditions the Rus- 
sianization of the Jews began. Had these conditions 
prevailed but a short time longer, Judeo-German litera- 
ture would have been a thing of the past and of in- 
terest only to the linguist and the historian. But very 
soon various causes combined to resuscitate the dialect 
literature. In the short time that the Jews had enjoyed 
the privileges of a Russian culture, then German medie- 
valism was completely dispelled, and the modern period 
which, in its incipient stage, reaches back into the first 
quarter of this century, presents a distinct phase which 
in no way resembles the literature of the three hundred 
years that preceded it. It is not a continuation of its 
older form, but has developed on an entirely new basis. 
The medieval period of Judeo-German literature was 
by no means confined to the Slavic countries. It reacted 
on the Jews who had remained in Germany, who, in 
their narrow Ghetto life, were excluded from an active 
participation in the German literature of their country. 
This reaction was not due alone to the fact that the 
specifically Jewish literature appealed in an equal degree 
to those who had been left behind in their old homes, 
but in a larger measure to the superior intellectual ac- 
tivity of the emigrants and their descendants who kept 
alive the spark of Jewish learning when it had become 
weakened at home and found no food for its replenish- 



6 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

ment within its own communities. They had to turn 
to the Slavic lands for their teachers and Rabbis, who 
brought with them not only their Hebrew learning, 
but also their Judeo-German language and literature. 
Up to the middle of the eighteenth century there was no 
division of the Jews of the west and the east of Europe ; 
they took equal part in the common Judeo-German lit- 
erature, however scanty its scope. What was produced 
in Russia was read with the same pleasure in Germany, 
and vice versa, even though the spoken form of the ver- 
nacular in Slavic countries was more and more depart- 
ing from that of Germany. 

Even Mendelssohn's teacher was a Galician Jew. 
But with Mendelssohn a new era had dawned in the 
history of the German Jews. By his example the dia- 
lect was at once abandoned for the literary language, 
and the Jews were once more brought back into the 
fold of the German nation. The separation of the two 
branches of the German Jews was complete, and the 
inhabitants of the Slavic countries were left to shift for 
themselves. For nearly one hundred years they had to 
miss the beneficent effects of an intellectual intercourse 
with the West, and in the beginning of our century the 
contrast between the two could not have been greater : 
the German Jews were rapidly becoming identified with 
the spiritual pursuits of their Gentile fellow-citizens, 
the Slavic Jews persevered in the medievalism into 
which they had been thrown centuries before. Only 
by slow degrees did the Mendelssohnian Reform find 
its way into Poland and Russia ; and even when its 
influence was at its highest, it was not possible for it 
to affect those lands in the same way that it affected 
the districts that were more or less under German 
influence. The German language could not become 



INTRODUCTION 7 

the medium of instruction for the masses, whose homely 
dialects had so far departed from their mother-tongue 
as to make the latter unintelligible to them. In Russia 
it was a long time before the native literature could 
make itself felt, or before Russian education came to 
take the place of the German culture ; so in the mean- 
while the Judeo- German language was left to its own 
evolution, and a new literature had its rise. 

In arriving at its present stage, Judeo-German lit- 
erature of the nineteenth century has passed through 
several phases. At first, up to the sixties, it was used as 
a weapon by the few enlightened men who were anxious 
to extend the benefits of the Mendelssohnian Reform 
to the masses at large. It is an outgrowth of the 
Hebrew literature of the same period, which had its 
rise from the same causes, but which could appeal only 
to a small number of men who were well versed in 
Hebrew lore. Since these apostles of the new learn- 
ing had themselves received their impetus through the 
Hebrew, it was natural for them to be active both in 
the Hebrew and the Judeo-German field. We conse- 
quently find here the names of Gottlober and J. L. 
Gordon, who belong equally to both literatures. Those 
who devoted themselves exclusively to creating a Judeo- 
German literature, like the other Mendelssohnian disci- 
ples, took the German literature as the guide for their 
efforts, and even dreamed of approaching the literary 
language of Germany in the final amalgamation with 
the Mendelssohnian Reform. In the meanwhile, in the 
sixties and still more in the seventies, the Jews were 
becoming Russianized in the schools which had been 
thrown open to their youths. In the sixties, the Judeo- 
German literature, having received its impetus in the 
preceding generation, reached its highest development 



8 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

as a literature of Reform, but it appealed only to 
those who had not had the benefits of the Russian 
schools. In the seventies it became reminiscent, and 
was in danger of rapid extinction. In the eighties, the 
persecutions and riots against the Jews led many of 
those who had availed themselves of the Russian culture 
to devote themselves to the service of their less fortu- 
nate brethren ; and many new forces, that otherwise 
would have found their way into Russian letters, were 
exerted entirely in the evolution of Judeo-German. 
In this new stage, the Mendelssohnian Reform, with its 
concomitant German language, was lost sight of. The 
element of instruction was still an important one in this 
late period, but this instruction was along universal lines, 
and no longer purely Jewish ; above all else, this litera- 
ture became an art. 

Poetry was the first to be developed, as it lent itself 
more readily to didactic purposes; it has also, until 
lately, remained in closer contact with the popular poetry, 
which, in its turn, is an evolution of the poetry of the 
preceding centuries. The theatre was the latest to de- 
tach itself from prose, to which it is organically related. 
These facts have influenced the separate treatment of 
the three divisions of literature in the present work. 
It was deemed indispensable to add to these a chapter 
on the Judeo-German folklore, as the reading of Judeo- 
German works would frequently be unintelligible with- 
out some knowledge of the creations of the popular 
mind. Here the relation to medievalism is even more 
apparent than in the popular poetry ; in fact, the greater 
part of the printed books of that class owe their origin 
to past ages ; they are frequently nothing more than 
modernizations of old books, as is, for example, the case 
with 'Bevys of Hamptoun,' which, but for the Ian- 



INTRODUCTION 9 

guage, is identical with its prototype in the begin- 
ning of the sixteenth century. 

In its popular form, Judeo-German is certainly not 
inferior to many of the literary languages which have 
been fortunate enough to attract the attention of the 
linguist and student of comparative literature. In 
its belleslettres it compares favorably with those of 
countries like Bulgaria, which had their regeneration 
at about the same time ; nay, it may appear to the un- 
biassed observer that it even surpasses them in that 
respect. And yet, in spite of it all, Judeo-German has 
remained practically a sealed book to the world. The 
few who have given reports of it display an astounding 
amount of ignorance on the subject. Karpeles devotes, 
in his history of Jewish literature, almost thirty pages 
to the medieval form of it, but to the rich modern 
development of it only two lines! 1 Steinschneider 
knows by hearsay only Dick, and denies the practical 
value of modern Judeo-German. 2 But the acme of com- 
placent ignorance, not to use a stronger word, is reached 
by Griinbaum, 3 who dishes up, as specimens of literature, 
newspaper advertisements and extracts of Schaike- 
witsch, not mentioning even by name a single one of the 
first-class writers. It is painful to look into the pages 
of his work, which, apart from endless linguistic blun- 
ders of a most senseless character, has probably done 

1 G. Karpeles, Geschichte der judischen Literatur, Berlin, 1886, 
1029 pp. 

2 M. Steinschneider, Die italienische Litteratur der Juden, in Mo- 
natschrift fur Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judenthums, Vol. XLII. 
pp. 74-79. 

3 M. Griinbaum, Die jildisch-deutsche Litteratur in Deutschland, 
Polen und Amerika (Abdruck aus Winter und Wiinsche, Die judische 
Litteratur seit Abschluss des Kanons, Bd. III. s. 531 n\), Trier, 1894, 
8vo, 91 pp. 



10 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

more than anything else to divert attention from this 
interesting literature. 

Much more sympathetic are the few pages which 
Berenson devotes to it in an article in the Andover 
Bevieiv; 1 though abounding in errors, it is fair and 
unbiassed, and at least displays a familiarity with the 
originals. Still better are the remarks of the Polish 
author Klemens Junosza in the introductions to his 
translations of the works of Abramowitsch into Polish ; 
the translations themselves are masterpieces, consider- 
ing the extreme quaintness of Abramowitsch's style. 
There are, indeed, a few sketches on the Judeo-German 
literature written in the dialect itself, 2 but none of 
them attest a philosophical grasp of the subject, or 
even betray a thorough familiarity with the literature. 
A number of good reviews on various productions 
have appeared in the Russian periodical Voschod, from 
the pen of one signing himself " Criticus." 3 To one of 
these reviews he has attached a discussion of the litera- 
ture in general ; this, however short, is the best that 
has yet been written on the subject. 

It is hard to foretell the future of Judeo-German. 
In America it is certainly doomed to extinction. 4 Its 

1 B. Berenson, Contemporary Jewish Fiction, in Andover Beview, 
Vol. X. pp. 598-602. 

2 J. Dienesohn, Die judische Sprache uri 1 ihre Schreiber, in Haus- 
freund, Vol. I. pp. 1-20 ; N. Solotkov, A Maisse wegen Maisses ; oder 
A Blick uber die zargonische Literatur, in Stadt-anzeiger, No. I. 
pp. 11-16, No. II. pp. 17-22 ; J. Goido, Die zargonische Literatur in 
America, in Amerikanischer Volkskalender, Vol. III. pp. 73-77 ; 
Amerieanus, Die jildisch-deutsche Literatur in America, in Neuer 
Geist, No. VI. pp. 352-355. 

3 Novosti zargonnoj literatury, in Voschod, Vol. IX. No. 7, 
pp. 19-37; see also Sistematiteskij ukazateV, pp. 285-287, Nos. 4651- 
4683. 

4 ^f. Ph. Wiernik, Wie lang wet unser Literatur blilhen? in Neuer 
Geist, No. VI. 



INTRODUCTION 11 

lease of life is commensurate with the last large immi- 
gration to the new world. In the countries of Europe it 
will last as long as there are any disabilities for the Jews, 
as long as they are secluded in Ghettos and driven into 
Pales. 1 It would be idle to speculate when these perse- 
cutions will cease. 

1 The Pale of Jewish settlement is confined to the western provinces, 
coinciding almost exactly with the old kingdoms of Poland and 
Lithuania. 



II. THE JUDEO-GERMAN LANGUAGE 

There is probably no other language in existence on 
which so much opprobrium has been heaped as on the 
Judeo-German. 1 Philologists have neglected its study, 
Germanic scholars have until lately been loath to admit 
it as a branch of the German language, and even now 
it has to beg for recognition. German writers look 
upon it with contempt and as something to be shunned ; 
and for over half a century the Russian and Polish 
Jews, whose mother-tongue it is, have been replete 
with apologies whenever they have had recourse to it 
for literary purposes. 2 Such a bias can be explained 
only as a manifestation of a general prejudice against 

1 To cite one example out of many : In the Journal of American 
Folklore, Vol. VII. pp. 72-74, there appeared a short appeal, by F. S. 
Krauss, to the folklorists of America, to collect whatsoever of Jewish 
lore may he found here ere the German Jews become entirely Ameri- 
canized. It seems that Krauss had in mind the German language ; 
but, for some reason, R. Andree, editor of the Globus, thought of 
Judeo-German, whereupon he made a violent attack upon it in an 
article, Sprachwechsel der Juden in Nor d- America, in Vol. LXV. of 
his periodical, p. 363. Lenz, in his Eindringlinge im W'orter- und 
Zitaten-schatz der deutschen Sprache (Minister, 1895, 8vo, 28 pp.), 
caps, however, the climax in his antipathy for the Jargon by making 
it the subject of antisemitic propaganda ! 

2 Even Frug, who is a master of the dialect, and who wields it with 
more vigor than the Russian language, thought it necessary to devote 
a whole series of poems to the reluctant defence of his vernacular, in 
Lieder vun dem jildischen Zargon, in Judisches Volksblatt, Vol. VIII. 
(Beilage) pp. 881-896 ; also reprinted in" his Lieder wn 1 Gedanken. 
Cf . p. 108 of the present work. 

12 



THE JUDEO-GERMAN LANGUAGE 13 

everything Jewish, for passions have been at play to 
such an extent as to blind the scientific vision to the 
most obvious and common linguistic phenomena. Un- 
fortunately, this interesting evolution of a German dia- 
lect has found its most violent opponents in the German 
Jews, who, since the day of Mendelssohn, have come 
to look upon it as an arbitrary and vicious corruption 
of the language, of their country. 1 This attack upon 

1 Witness the frequent dogmatic statements and attacks on it by the 
historian Gratz. These finally brought forth a rejoinder by J. Diene- 
sohn in the Jud. Volksblatt, Vol. VIII. (Beilage), pp. 33-43, entitled 
Professor Gratz wtt 1 der judischer Zargon, oder Wer mit was darf sich 
schamen f and this was followed by a similar article (ibid. pp. 65-68, 
129-133) from the editor of the Volksblatt, in which Gratz's dogmatism 
is put in no enviable light. Even Steinschneider has no love for it ; 
although he has written so much and so well on its literature, he 
knows nothing of its nineteenth-century development, and nearly all 
his quotations of Judeo-German words that in any way differ from the 
German form are preposterously wrong. Karpeles, writing the history 
of its literature, confessedly knows nothing of the language. M. Griin- 
baum, in his Jiidisch-deutsche Chrestomathie and Die Jildisch-deutsche 
Litteratur, displays an ignorance of the dialect which would put to 
shame a sophomoric newspaper reporter of a scientific lecture. What 
wonder, then, that D. Philipson, devoting a chapter to The Ghetto in 
Literature (pp. 220-255 in Old European Jewries, Philadelphia, 1894), 
should not even suspect the existence of an extensive and highly 
interesting literature of the subject in the language of the Ghetto 
itself ! Among the few memorable exceptions among German scholars 
are Giidemann and Strack, who approach Judeo-German in a fair 
and scholarly manner. See M. Giidemann, Quellenschriften zur Ge- 
schichte des Unterrichts und der Erziehung bei den deutschen Juden, 
etc., Berlin, 1891, pp. xxii, xxiii, and, by the same author, Geschichte 
des Erziehnngswesens und der Cultur der Juden in Frankreich und 
Deutschland, Vol. I. note iii. pp. 273-287, and Vol. III. note vii. 
pp. 280-297. Still fewer are those who have subjected Judeo-Ger- 
man to a thorough philological investigation. All efforts in that 
direction will be found catalogued by A. Landau, Bibliographie des 
Jiidisch-deutsche?i, in Deutsche Mundarten, Zeitschrift fur Bearbei- 
tung des mundartlichen Materials, herausgegeben von Dr. Johann 
Willibald Nagl, Vienna, 1896, Heft II. pp. 126-132. To those men- 



14 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

it, while justifiable in so far as it affects its survival in 
Germany, loses all reasonableness when transferred to 
the Jews of Russia, former Poland and Roumania, where 
it forms a comparatively uniform medium of intercourse 
of between five and six millions of people, of whom the 
majority know no other language. It cannot be main- 
tained that it is desirable to preserve the Judeo-German, 
and to give it a place of honor among the sisterhood of 
languages ; but that has nothing to do with the historic 
fact of its existence. The many millions of people who 
use it from the day of their birth cannot be held re- 
sponsible for any intentional neglect of grammatical 
rules, and its widespread dissemination is sufficient 
reason for subjecting it to a thorough investigation. 
A few timid attempts have been made in that direction, 
but they are far from being exhaustive, and touch but 
a small part of the very rich material at hand. Nor is 
this the place in which a complete discussion of the 
matter is to be looked for. This chapter presents only 
such of the data as must be well understood for a cor- 
rect appreciation of the dialectic varieties current in 
the extensive Judeo-German literature of the last fifty 
years. 

All languages are subject to a continuous change, not 
only from within, through natural growth and decay, 
but also from without, through the influence of foreign 
languages as carriers of new ideas. The languages of 
Europe, one and all, owe their Latin elements to the 

tioned by him must be added A. Schulmann's Die Geschichte vun der 
Zargon-literatur, in Judisches Volksblatt, Vol. II. pp. 115-134, which 
is very rich in data, and A. Landau's Das Deminutivum der galizisch- 
judischen Mundart, Ein Kapitel aus der jiidischen Grammatik, in 
Deutsche Mundarten, Vol. I. pp. 46-58. This is, outside of Saineanu's 
work (mentioned in Landau's Bibliographie) , the best grammatical 
disquisition on Judeo-German that has so far appeared. 



THE JUDEO-GERMAN LANGUAGE 15 

universality of the Roman dominion, and, later, of the 
Catholic Church. With the Renaissance, and lately- 
through the sciences, much Greek has been added to 
their vocabularies. When two nations have come into 
a close intellectual contact, the result has always been 
a mixture of languages. In the case of English, the 
original Germanic tongue has become almost unrecog- 
nizable under the heavy burden of foreign words. But 
more interesting than these cases, and more resembling 
the formation of the Judeo-German, are those non- 
Semitic languages that have come under the sway 
of Mohammedanism. Their religious literature being 
always written in the Arabic of the Koran, they were 
continually, for a long period of centuries, brought 
under the same influences, and these have caused them 
to borrow, not only many words, but even whole turns 
and sentences, from their religious lore. The Arabic 
has frequently become completely transformed under 
the pronunciation and grammatical treatment of the 
borrowing language, but nevertheless a thorough knowl- 
edge of such tongues as Turkish and Persian is not 
possible without a fair understanding of Arabic. The 
case is still more interesting with Hindustani, spoken 
by more than one hundred millions of people, where 
more than five-eighths of the language is not of Indian 
origin, but Persian and Arabic. With these preliminary 
facts it will not be difficult to see what has taken place 
in Judeo-German. 

Previous to the sixteenth century the Jews in Ger- 
many spoke the dialects of their immediate surround- 
ings; there is no evidence to prove any introduction 
of Hebrew words at that early period, although it must 
be supposed that words relating purely to the Mosaic 
ritual may have found their way into the spoken Ian- 



16 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

guage even then. The sixteenth century finds a large 
number of German Jews resident in Bohemia, Poland, 
and Lithuania. As is frequently the case with immi- 
grants, the Jews in those distant countries developed 
a greater intellectual activity than their brethren at 
home, and this is indicated by the prominence of the 
printing offices at Prague and Cracow, and the large 
number of natives of those countries who figure as 
authors of Judeo-German works up to the nineteenth 
century. But torn away from a vivifying intercourse 
with their mother-country, their vocabulary could not 
be increased from the living source of the language 
alone, for their interests began to diverge. Religious 
instruction being given entirely in Hebrew, it was 
natural for them to make use of all such Hebrew 
words as they thus became familiar with. Their 
close study of the Talmud furnished them from that 
source with a large number of words of argumentation, 
while the native Slavic languages naturally added their 
mite toward making the Judeo-German more and more 
unlike the mother-tongue. Since books printed in 
Bohemia were equally current in Poland, and vice 
versa, and Jews perused a great number of books, 
there was always a lively interchange of thoughts 
going on in these countries, causing some Bohemian 
words to migrate to Poland, and Polish words back 
to Bohemia. These books printed in Slavic countries 
were received with open hands also in Germany, and 
their preponderance over similar books at home was 
so great that the foreign corruption affected the spoken 
language of the German Jews, and they accepted also 
a number of Slavic words together with the Semitic 
infection. This was still further aided by the many 
Polish teachers who, in the seventeenth and eighteenth 



THE JUDEO-GERMAN LANGUAGE 17 

centuries, were almost the only instructors of Hebrew 
in Germany. 1 

We have, then, here an analogous case to the forma- 
tion of Osmanli out of the Turkish, and Modern Per- 
sian out of the Old by means of the Arabic, and if the 
word Jargon is used to describe the condition of Judeo- 
German in the past three centuries, then Gibberish 
would be the only word that would fit as a designa- 
tion of the corresponding compounds of the beautiful 
languages of Turkey, Persia, and India. A Jargon is 
the chaotic state of a speech-mixture at the moment 
when the foreign elements first enter into it. That 
mixture can never be entirely arbitrary, for it is sub- 
ject to the spirit of one fundamental language which 
does not lose its identity. All the Romance elements 
in English have not stifled its Germanic basis, and 
Hindustani is neither Persian nor Arabic, in spite of 
the overwhelming foreign element in it, but an Indian 
language. Similarly Judeo-German has remained essen- 
tially a German dialect group. 

Had the Judeo-German had for its basis some dialect 
which widely differs from the literary norm, such as 
Low German or Swiss, it would have long ago been 
claimed as a precious survival by German philologists. 
But it happens to follow so closely the structure of 
High German that its deviations have struck the super- 
ficial observer as a kind of careless corruption of the 
German. A closer scrutiny, however, convinces one 
that in its many dialectic variations it closely follows 
the High German dialects of the Middle Rhine with 
Frankfurt for its centre. There is not a peculiarity 

1 Cf. Zunz, Die gottesdienstlichen Vortrage der Juden, historisch 
cnticicJcelt, Frankfurt a. M., 1892, pp. 452-463, and Gudemann, as 
above. 



18 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

in its grammatical forms, in the changes of its vocal- 
ism, for which exact parallels are not found within a 
small radius of the old imperial city, the great centre 
of Jewish learning and life in the Middle Ages. No 
doubt, the emigration into Russia came mainly from 
the region of the Rhine. At any rate those who arrived 
from there brought with them traditions which were 
laid as the foundation of their written literature, 
whose influence has been very great on the Jews 
of the later Middle Ages. While men received their 
religious literature directly through the Hebrew, women 
could get their ethical instruction only by means of 
Judeo- German books. No house was without them, 
and through them a certain contact was kept up with 
the literary German towards which the authors have 
never ceased to lean. In the meanwhile the language 
could not remain uniform over the wide extent of the 
Slavic countries, and many distinct groups have devel- 
oped there. The various subdialects of Poland differ 
considerably from the group which includes the north- 
west of Russia, while they resemble somewhat more 
closely the southern variety. But nothing of that 
appears in the printed literature previous to the be- 
ginning of this century. There a great uniformity 
prevails, and by giving the Hebrew vowels, or the 
consonants that are used as such, the values that 
they have in the mouths of German Jews, we obtain, 
in fact, what appears to be an apocopated, corrupted 
form of literary German. The spelling has remained 
more or less traditional, and though it becomes finally 
phonetic, it seems to ascribe to the vowels the values 
nearest to those of the mother-language and current 
in certain varieties of the Lithuanian group. From 
this it may be assumed that the Polish and southern 



THE JUDEO-GERMAN LANGUAGE 19 

Russian varieties have developed from the Lithuanian, 
which probably bears some relation to the histori- 
cal migrations into those parts of the quondam Polish 
kingdom, and this is made the more plausible from the 
fact that the vowel changes are frequently in exact 
correspondence with the changes in the White Rus- 
sian, Polish, and Little Russian. Such a phenomenon 
of parallelism is found also in other languages, and in 
our case may be explained by the unconscious changes 
of the Germanic vowels simultaneously with those in 
the Slavic words which, having been naturalized in 
Judeo-German, were heard and used differently in the 
new surroundings. 

However it may be, the language of the Judeo- 
German books in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eigh- 
teenth centuries is subject to but slight variations. 
It is true, the Blitz Bible printed in Amsterdam in 
1676 seems to deviate greatly from other similar works, 
and the uncouth compound which is found there does, 
indeed, have all appearances of a Jargon. It owes 
its origin to the Polish Jews who but a few years be- 
fore had been exiled from more than two hundred and 
fifty towns * and who, having settled in Holland, began 
to modify their Judeo-German by introducing Dutch 
into it. Although the Bible was intended for Polish 
Jews, as is evident by the letters-patent granted by 
John the Third of Poland, yet it has never exerted 
any influence on the dialects in Russia and Poland, 
for not one word of Dutch origin can be found in 
them. This older stage of the language is even now 
familiar to the Russian Jewish women through the 

1 Cf. M. Steinschneider, Die italienische Litteratur der Jitden, in 
Monatschrift fur Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judenthums, Vol. 
XLII. p. 74. 



20 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

1 Zeena Ureena,' the prayer book, and the special pray- 
ers which they recite in Judeo- German, and Jewish 
writers have recourse to it whenever they wish to 
express a prayer, as, for example, in Abramowitsch's 
'Hymns' and 4 Saturday Prayers.' This older stage is 
known under the name of Iwre-teutsch, Korben-ssider- 
teutsch, Tchines-teutsch, thus indicating its proper sphere 
in lithurgical works. This form of the language is 
comparatively free from Hebrew words. 1 On the other 
hand, Cabbalistic works become almost unreadable on 
account of the prevalence of Semitic over German 
words. 2 

In the beginning of the nineteenth century a Galician, 
Minchas Mendel Lefin, laid the foundation for the use 
of the vernacular for literary purposes. 3 This example 
was soon followed by the writers in Russia who became 
acquainted with German culture through the followers 
of the Mendelssohnian School at Lemberg, who com- 
prise nearly all the authors from Ettinger to Abram- 

1 Naturally, words belonging to that stage of the language have sur- 
vived in the cheeder (school), where the melamed (teacher) is fre- 
quently compelled to fall back on the old commentaries for transla- 
tions. Abramowitsch has, in his Das kleine Menschele, the following 
passage (p. 49) bearing upon this point: "Die Talmudtore hat mir 
auch gegeben a Bissel Deutsch vun die Teutschworter in Chumesch, 
wie a Steiger (for example) : wealoto un' a Nepel, wesaadu libchem 
un' lehent unter euer Harz, jereechi mein dich, machschof entpleckt, 
boochu auf'n Gemeesachz, been hamischpessoim die Gemarken, wetcha- 
lelo un' du hast sie verschwacht, kommijos hofferlich, uchdome noch 
asblche Teutschen." 

2 An example of this style is given by Linetzki, in Das chsidische 
Jiingel, p. 32 : "a Steiger wie er hat mit mir geteutscht : ischo an Ische, 
ki sitmo as sie wet tome weren, wessakriw un' sie wet makriw sein, 
korbon a Korben, wehikriw soil makriw sein, hakohen der Kohen, 
al hamisbeach zum Misbeach, beohel moed in'm Ohel-moed." 

3 Cf. A. B. Gottlober, Sichrones uber zargonische 8chreiber> in 
Jud. Volksbib., Vol. I. pp. 250-259. 



THE JUDEO-GERMAN LANGUAGE 21 

owitsch, most of whom wrote in some southern dialect. 
The language of these abounds in a large number of 
idiomatic expressions for which one would in vain 
look in the older writings ; words of Slavic origin 
that were familiar in everyday life were freely intro- 
duced, and an entirely new diction superseded that 
of the past century. At first their spelling was quite 
phonetic. But soon their leaning towards German 
literature led them into the unfortunate mistake of 
introducing German orthography for their dialect, so 
that it now is frequently impossible to tell from the 
form of a word how it may have been pronounced. Add 
to this the historical spelling of the Hebrew and the 
phonetic of the Slavic words, and one can easily imagine 
the chaos that prevails in the written language. And 
yet it must not be supposed that Judeo-German stands 
alone in this. The same difficulty and confusion arises 
in all those tongues in which the historical continuity 
has been broken. Thus Modern Greek is spelled as 
though it were Ancient Greek, with which it has hardly 
any resemblance in sound, while Bulgarian is still 
wavering between a phonetic, a Russian, and an Old 
Slavic orthography. Similar causes have produced 
similar results in Judeo-German. 

There is no linguistic norm in the language as now 
used for literary purposes. The greater number of 
the best authors write in slightly varying dialects of 
Volhynia; but the Lithuanian variety is also well 
represented, and of late Perez has begun to write in his 
Polish vernacular. 1 German influence began to show 
itself early, and it affected not only the spelling, but 

1 On the various dialects and styles, see Die judische Sprache, in 
Hausfreund, Vol. V. pp. 60-64 ; cf. also Kabnizki, Hebraisch wn' 
Judisch, in Hausfreund, Vol. V. pp. 38-48. 



22 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

also the vocabulary of the early writers in Lithuania. 
Dick looked upon Judeo- German only as a means to 
lead his people to German culture, and his stories are 
written in a curious mixture in which German at 
times predominates. This evil practice, which in Dick 
may be excused on the ground that it served him only 
as a means to an end, has come to be a mannerism in 
writers of the lower kind, such as Schaikewitsch, Seif- 
fert, and their like. The scribblers of that class have 
not only corrupted the literature but also the language 
of the Jews. 

Various means have been suggested by the writers 
for the enrichment of the Judeo-German vocabulary. 
Some lovers of Hebrew have had the bad taste to propose 
the formation of all new words on a Semitic basis, and 
have actually brought forth literary productions in that 
hybrid language. Others again have advised the intro- 
duction of all foreign words commonly in use among 
other nations. But the classical writers, among whom 
Abramowitsch is foremost, have not stopped to consider 
what would be the best expedient, but have coined 
words in conformity with the spirit of their dialect, 
steering a middle course between the extremes sug- 
gested by others. In America, where the majority of 
the writers knew more of German than their native ver- 
nacular, the literary dialect has come to resemble the 
literary German, and the English environment has 
caused the infusion of a number of English terms for 
familiar objects. But on the whole the language of the 
better writers differs in America but little from that of 
their former home. There is, naturally, a large diver- 
gence to be found in the language, which ranges from 
the almost pure German of the prayers and, in modern 
times, of the poems of Winchevsky, to the language 



THE JUDEO-GERMAN LANGUAGE 23 

abounding in Russicisms of Dlugatsch, and in Hebraisms 
of Linetzki, from the pure dialects of the best writers to 
the corrupt forms of Dick and Meisach, and the even 
worse Jargon of Seiffert, but in all these there is no 
greater variety than is to be found in all newly formed 
languages. 1 The most recent example of such variety 
is furnished by the Bulgarian, where the writers of the 
last fifty years have wavered between the native dialects 
with their large elements of Turkish and Greek origin, a 
purified form of the same, from which the foreign infec- 
tion has been eliminated, approaches to the Old Slavic 
of a thousand years ago, and, within the last few years, 
a curious mixture with the literary Russian. Judeo- 
German not only does not suffer by such a comparison, 
but really gains by it, for all the best writers have uni- 
formly based their diction on their native dialects. 

In former days Judeo-German was known only by the 
name of Iwre-teutsch, or Jiidisch-teutsch. Frequently 
such words were used as Mame-losehen (Mother-tongue), 
or Prost-jildisch (Simple Yiddish), but through the ef- 
forts of the disciples of the Haskala (Reform), the des- 
ignation of Jargon has been forced upon it ; and that 
appellation has been adopted by later writers in Russia, 
so that now one generally finds only this latter form as 
the name of the language used by the writers in Russia. 
The people, however, speak of their vernacular as Jit- 
disch, and this has given rise in England and America 
to the word Yiddish for both the spoken and written 
form. It is interesting to note that originally the 
name had been merely Teutsch for the language of the 
Jews, for they were conscious of their participation 

1 An excellent satire on the widely different styles of Judeo-German 
in vogue by their writers is given by S. Rabinowitsch, in his Kol- 
mewasser (q.v.), under the title of Korrespondenzies (cols. 26-31). 



24 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

with the Germans in a common inheritance. Reminis- 
cences of that old designation are left in such words as 
verteutschen, 'to translate,' i.e. to do into German, and 
steutsch, 4 how do you mean it ? ' contracted from is 
teutseh t 4 how is that in German ? ' 

The main differences between Judeo-German 1 and 
the mother-tongue are these : its vocalism has under- 
gone considerable change, varying from locality to lo- 
cality ; the German unaccented final e has, as in other 
dialects of German, disappeared ; in declensional forms, 
the genitive has almost entirely disappeared, while in 
the Lithuanian group the dative has also coincided 
with the accusative ; in the verb, Judeo-German has lost 
almost entirely the imperfect tense ; the order of words 
is more like the English than the German. These are 
all developments for which parallels can be adduced 
from the region of Frankfurt. Judeo-German is, con- 
sequently, not an anomaly, but a natural development. 

1 For a complete discussion of the subject, see L. Saineanu, Studiu 
dialectologic asupra graiului evreo-german, Bucuresti, 1889, 8vo, 78 pp. 



III. FOLKLORE 

There can be no doubt that the Jews were the most , 
potent factors in the dissemination of folk-literature 
in the Middle Ages. 1 Various causes united to make 
them the natural carriers of folklore from the East 
to the West, and from the West back again to the 
East. They never became so completely localized as to 
break away from the community of their brethren in 
distant lands, and to develop distinct national charac- 
teristics. The Jews of Spain stood in direct relations 
with the Khazars of Russia, and it was a Jew whom 
Charlemagne sent as ambassador to Bagdad. The Jew- 
ish merchant did not limit his sphere of action by geo- 
graphical lines of demarkation, and the Jewish scholar 
was as much at home in Italy and Germany as he was 
in Russia or Egypt. Again and again, in reading the 
biographies of Jewish worthies, we are confronted with 
men who have had their temporary homes in three con- 
tinents. In fact, the stay-at-homes were the exception 
rather than the rule in the Middle Ages. In this man- 
ner not only a lively intercourse was kept up among the 
Jews of the diaspora, but they unwittingly became also 
the mediators of the intellectual life of the most remote 
lands : they not only enriched the literatures of the 
various nations by new kinds of compositions, but also 
brought with them the substratum of that intellectual 

1 Read, on this subject, Joseph Jacobs, Jewish Diffusion of Folk 
Tales, in Jewish -Ideals and Other Essays, London, 1896, pp. 135-161. 

25 



26 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

life which finds its expression in the creations of the 
popular literature. 

The Jews have always possessed an innate love for 
story telling which was only sharpened by their travels. 
The religious and semi-religious stories were far from 
sufficient to satisfy their curiosity, and in spite of the 
discussions by the Rabbis of the permissibility of read- 
ing foreign books of adventure, they proceeded to create 
and multiply an apocryphal and profane folk-literature 
which baffles the investigator with its variety. Most 
addicted to these stories were the women, who received 
but little learning in the language of their religious 
lore, and who knew just enough of their Hebrew char- 
acters to read in the vernacular books specially prepared 
for them. Times changed, and the education of the 
men varied with the progress of the Hebrew and the 
native literatures; but the times hardly made an im- 
pression on the female sex. The same minimum of 
ethical instruction was given them in the eighteenth 
century that they had received in the fourteenth, and 
they were left to shift for themselves in the selection of 
their profane reading matter. The men who conde- 
scended to write stories for them had no special inter- 
est to direct the taste of their public, and preferred to 
supply the demand rather than create it ; nor did the 
publishers have any more urgent reason why they 
should trouble themselves about the production of new 
works as long as the old ones satisfied the women. 
Consequently, although now and then a 'new' story 
book saw daylight, the old ones were just as eagerly 
received by the feminine readers. And thus it happens 
that what was read with pleasure at its first appearance 
is accepted as eagerly to-day, and the books that were 
issued from the printing presses of the sixteenth cen- 



FOLKLORE 27 

tury may be found in almost unchanged hundredth 
editions, except as to the language, printed in 1898 in 
Wilna or Warsaw. 

Time and space are entirely annihilated in the folk- 
lore of the Russian Jews. Here one finds side by side 
the quaint stories of the Talmud of Babylonian, Persian, 
Egyptian origin, with the Polyphemus myth of the 
Greeks, the English 4 Bevys of Hamptoun,' the Arabic 
'Thousand and One Nights.' Stories in which half a 
dozen motives from various separate tales have been 
moulded into one harmonious whole jostle with those 
that show unmistakable signs of venerable antiquity. 
Nowhere else can such a variety of tales be found as in 
Judeo-German ; nor is there any need, as in other liter- 
atures, to have recourse to collections of the diligent 
searcher ; one will find hundreds of them, nay thou- 
sands, told without any conscious purpose in the chap- 
books that are annually issued at Wilna, Lemberg, 
Lublin, and other places. Add to these the many 
unwritten tales that involve the superstitions and be- 
liefs of a more local character, in which the Slavic 
element has been superadded to the Germanic base, and 
the wealth of this long-neglected literature will at once 
become apparent to the most superficial observer. 1 

1 The following books and essays treat on Judeo-German folklore 
in general : Herman Lotze, Zur jiidisch-deutschen Litteratur, in 
Gosche's Archiv fur Litteratur geschichte, Vol. I., Leipsic, 1870, pp. 
90-101 ; M. Steinschneider, fiber die Volkslitteratur der Juden, ibid., 
Vol. II. pp. 1-21 ; S. Gelbhaus, Mittelhochdeutsche Dichtung in ihrer 
Beziehung zur biblisch-rabbinischen Litteratur, Frankfurt a. M., 1893, 
IV. Heft, pp. 59 ff.; Briill, Beitrdge zur jiidischen Sagen- und Sprach- 
kunde im Mittelalter, in Jahrbilcher fur jildische Geschichte und Lit- 
teratur, IX. Jahrgang, Frankfurt a. M., 1889, pp. 1-71 ; J. Jacobs, 
Jewish Diffusion of Folk Tales, a paper read before the Jews' College 
Literary Society, in The Jewish Chronicle, London, June 1, 1888 (also 
published separately in Jewish Ideals and Other Essays, as above); 



28 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

These stories have dominated and still dominate the 
minds of the women and children among the Russian, 
Roumanian, and Galician Jews. For them there exists 
a whole fantastic world, with its objects of fear and 
admiration. There is not an act they perform that is 
not followed by endless superstitious rites, in which the 
beliefs of Chaldea are inextricably mixed with French, 
Germanic, or Slavic ceremonies. To pierce the dense 
cloud of superstition that has involved the Mosaic Law, 
to disentangle the ancient religion from the rank growth 
of the ages, to open the eyes of the Jews to the realities 
of this world, and to break down the timeless and space- 
less sphere of their imaginings that has been the task 
of the followers of the Mendelssohnian Reform for the 
last one hundred years. In the pages of the Judeo- 
German works that they have produced to take the 
place of the story books of long ago, one meets continu- 
ally with lists of superstitions that they are laboring to 
combat, with the names of books that they would fain 
put in an index expurgatorius. 

M. Gaster, Jewish Folk Lore in the Middle Ages, in papers read before 
the Jews' College Literary Society during the Session 1886-87, London, 
1887, pp. 39-51 (also published separately by The Jewish Chronicle, 
1887, 8vo); G. Levi, Christiani ed Ebrei nel Medio Evo, Quadro di 
costumi con un appendice di recordi e leggende giudaiche della mede- 
sima epocha, Florence, I860, 16mo (pp. 307-406) ; A. M. Tendlau, Das 
Buch der Sagen und Legenden jiidischer Vorzeit (2te Auflage), Stutt- 
gart, 1845, 8vo, 335 pp. ; the same, Fellmeiers Abende, Mdhrchen und 
Geschichten aus grauer Vorzeit, Frankfurt a. M., 1856, 16mo, 290 pp.; 
Israel Levi, Contes juifs, in Bevue des JZtudes Juives, Vol. XI. pp. 209- 
234 ; Is. Loeb, Le folklore juif dans la chronique du Schebet Jehuda 
d^lbn Verga, in Bevue des Etudes Juives, Vol. XXIV. pp. 1-29. For 
general ethnographic sketches of the Russian Jews, containing a great 
deal of material of a folklore nature, see SistematUeskij ukazateV 
literatury o evrejach na russkom jazyke so vremeni vvedenija grazdan- 
skago Srifta (1708 g.) po dekabr" 1889 g., St. Petersburg, 1893, Part V. 
pp. 198-204 and 206-207 ; of the works mentioned there, Nos. 2831 
and 2912 are especially important. 



FOLKLORE 29 

It is not difficult to discern a number of distinct 
strata in the many folk-tales that are current now, even 
though the motives from various periods may be found 
hopelessly intertwined in one and the same story. The 
oldest of these may be conveniently called the Talmudi- 
cal substratum, as in those older writings the prototypes 
of them can be found. Of course, these in their turn are 
of a composite nature themselves, but that need not dis- 
concert us in our present investigation as long as the 
resemblance is greater to the stories in the Talmud than 
to the originals from which that collection has itself 
drawn its information. There is a large variety of sub- 
jects that must be classified in that category. Here 
belong a number of animal fables, of stories of strange 
beasts, much imaginary geography, but especially a vast 
number of apocryphal Bible stories. 1 One of the most 

1 For stories of that period, cf . A. S. Isaacs, Stories from the 
Babbis, London, Osgood (and New York, Webster), 1893, 8vo, 202 pp.; 
M. Gaster, Beitrdge zur vergleichenden Sagen- und Mdrchenkunde, 
Bukarest, 1883, 8vo. Dr. B. Konigsberger, Aus dem Beiche der 
altjiidischen Fabel, in Zeitschrift des Vereins fur Volkskunde, Vol. VI., 
1896, pp. 140-161 ; F. Baethgen, Salomo in der jiidischen Sage, in 
Allgemeine Zeitung, Nos. 151, 152, 181, 182 (Beilage). Other shorter 
articles on the same subject will be found in the Urquell, Vol. II. 
p. 209 ; Vol. IV. p. 76 ; Neue Folge, Vol. I. pp. 13, 14 ; Z. d. V. f. V., 
Vol. IV. p. 209; J. Trubnik, Talmudische Legenden, in Jud. Volksbib., 
Vol. I. pp. 264-279. Of special interest are the discussions of Tal- 
mudical legends and fables with their western developments or imita- 
tions, by L. Dukes, Ubersicht der neuhebrdischen Literatur weltlichen 
Inhalts in Frosa und Versen, in Israelitische Annalen (edited by Jost), 
1839, No. 13, pp. 100 ff.; No. 17, pp. 131 ff.; No. 25, pp. 196 ff.; No. 31, 
pp. 244; No. 52, pp. 415 ff. Eisenmenger's Entdecktes Judenthum, 
Konigsberg, 1711 (or Dresden, 1893), in spite of its bias, may be con- 
sulted for the legends ; better than that is the English form of the 
same, The Tradition of the Jews; or, The Doctrine of Expositions 
Contained in the Talmud, etc., London, 8vo, (64) and 337 and 363 pp., 
the appendix of which has a Translation, by Way of Abridgement, of 
Buxtorfs Latin Account of the Beligious Customs and Ceremonies of 



30 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

interesting series of that class is the one that comprises 
tales of the river Sambation. 1 This river has rarely 
been discovered by poor mortals, although it has been 
the object of their lifelong quest. During the week it 
throws large rocks heavenwards, and the noise of the 
roaring waters is deafening. On the Sabbath the river 
rests from its turmoil, to resume again its activity at its 
expiration. Behind the Sambation lives the tribe of the 
Red Jews. 

The best story of that cycle is told by-Meisach. An 
inquisitive tailor sets out in search of the Sambation 
River. Of all the Jews that he meets he inquires 
the direction that he is to take thitherward; and he 
makes public announcements of his urgent business at 
all the synagogues that he visits. But all in vain. 
Three times he has already traversed the length and 
the breadth of this earth, but never did he get nearer 
his destination. Undaunted, he starts out once more 
to reach the tribe of the Red Jews. Suddenly he 
arrives near that awful river. Overwhelmed by its 
din, terrified at its eruptions, he falls down on the 

the Jews (Vol. II. pp. 225-363). See also G. G. Bredow, Babbinische 
Mythen, Erzahlungen und L'ugen, nebst zwei Balladen der christli- 
chen Mythologie im Mittelalter (2te Aufiage), Weilburg, 1833, 16mo, 
136 pp.; also C. Krafft, Judische Sagen und Dichtungen nach den 
Talmuden und Midraschen, nebst einigen Makamen aus dem Divan 
des Alcharisi, Ansbach, 1839, 16mo, 212 pp. 

1 The Sambation is mentioned in Eldad ha-Dani aus dem Stamme 
Dan; see for this Steinschneider's Jildisch-deutsche Litteratur, in 
Serapeum, Vol. IX. (1848), p. 319, No. 13. See also Judische Litte- 
ratur, by Steinschneider, in Ersch und Oruber, X, A. 2. Other 
essays and stories are : D. Kaufmann's Le Sambation, in Bevue des 
iZtudes Juives, Vol. XXII. pp. 285-287, and Der' Sambation, eine ety- 
mologische Sage, in Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums, 1893, May 
20. p. 247 ; Meisach, Sambation, in Jud. VolJcsblatt, Vol. VIII. (Bei- 
lage), p. 53, and (the same story) in his fflsstm we-NiJloes, q.v. 



FOLKLORE 31 

ground and prays to the all-merciful God. It hap- 
pened to be a few minutes before the time that the 
river was to go to rest. The clock strikes, and, as if 
b}' magic, the scene is changed. The tailor finds a 
ford, passes on the other side, and, exhausted from his 
wandering, he lies down to sleep in the grass. The 
tribe of men that live there are a race of giants. One 
of them, noticing the intruder, takes him to be a new 
species of a grasshopper, picks him up, and slips him 
in his spacious coat pocket. He proceeds to the bath- 
house to take his ablution, and thence to the synagogue, 
leaving the tailor all the while in his pocket. The giants 
begin to pray. At the end, while a pause ensues, the 
pious tailor unconsciously exclaims ' Amen ! ' Aston- 
ished to hear that mysterious voice, the giant brings 
the tailor to light and showers many signs of respect 
upon him, for even the giants know how to honor a 
pious man. The tailor liked it there so much that he 
never returned to his native home. 

Abramowitsch has made fine use of this story in his 
Jewish 'Don Quixote.' The hero of that novel has so 
long pondered about the Sambation River and the mys- 
terious race of men that live beyond it, that he loses his 
reason, and starts out to find them. But he does not 
get beyond Berdichev. Another very fruitful class of 
stories belonging to that category is the one in which 
the prophet Elijah plays an important part. 1 Accord- 
ing to the popular belief, Elijah did not die ; he even 

1 In A. S. Isaac's Stories from the Babbis (see above), there is a 
chapter on Elijah in the Legends (pp. 92-103). Other stories of 
Elijah: D. Cassel, Elia in der Legende, in Allgemeine Zeitung des 
Judenthums, 1892, Feb. 26, p. 104, and March 6, p. 115 ; Urquell, 
Vol. IV. pp. 11-14, 42-45, 120, 121 ; Z. d. V. f. V., Vol. IV. p. 209. 
An older story is mentioned in Steinschneider's Catalogue, Serqpeum, 
Vol. IX. (1848), p. 384, No. 174. See also B. W. Segel, Materyaiy 



32 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

now frequently comes to visit men, to help them in 
some dire necessity. His presence is surmised only 
when he has disappeared, generally leaving behind him 
a vapory cloud. So rooted is this belief in the visita- 
tion of Elijah, that during the ceremony of the circum- 
cision a chair is left unoccupied for the good prophet. 
Elijah is not the only one that may be seen nowadays. 
Moses and David occasionally leave their heavenly 
abodes to aid their devotees or to exhort those that 
are about to depart from the road of righteousness. 
King David presides over the repast at the conclusion 
of the Sabbath, for it is then that a song in which his 
name is mentioned is recited. There are some who 
regard it as a devout act to celebrate that occasion 
with unswerving accuracy. To those who have made 
the vow of i Mlawe-Malke,' as the repast is called, King 
David is wont to appear when they are particularly 
unfortunate. Unlike Elijah, he makes his presence 
known by his company of courtiers and musicians, 
and he himself holds a harp in his hands ; and unlike 
him, he resorts to supernatural means to aid his 
protSgSs. 

Most of the medieval legends cluster around the Rab- 
bis of Central Europe who have in one way or another 
become famous. The cities of Amsterdam, Frankfurt, 
Worms, Prague, Cracow, have all their special circle of 
wonderful tales about the supernatural powers of the 
worthies of long ago. But the king of that cycle of 
miracle workers is Rambam, as Maimonides is called. 1 

do etnografii zydow wschodnio-galicyjskich, in Zbidr loiadomosci do 
antropologii krajowej, Cracow, Vol. XVII. pp. 296-298. 

1 Stories of Maimonides are contained in Maasebuch (or, rather in 
addition Maase Adonai), according to Steinschneider, Serapeum, 
Vol. XXVII. (1866), p. 5, No. 7. Eor other stories, see Bibliography. 



FOLKLORE 33 

His profound learning and great piety, his renowned 
art of medicine, his extensive travels, have naturally 
lent themselves to imaginative transformations. He 
has undergone the same transmogrification that befell 
Vergil. Like the latter, he is no longer the great 
scholar and physician, but a wizard who knows the 
hidden properties of plants and stones, who by will 
power can transfer himself in space, and who can read 
dreams and reveal their future significance. His 
whole life was semi-miraculous. "When he had arrived 
at the proper age to enter an academy of medicine, he 
applied to a school where only deaf-mutes were ac- 
cepted as disciples of JEsculapius. This precaution was 
necessary, lest the secrets of the art be disseminated, to 
the disadvantage of the craft. Rambam pretended to 
have neither hearing nor speech. His progress was re- 
markable, and in a short time he surpassed his teachers 
in the delicate art of surgery. Once there came to the 
school a man who asked to be cured of a worm that was 
gnawing at his brain. The learned doctors held a con- 
sultation, and resolved to trepan the skull and extract 
the worm. This was at once executed, and Rambam 
was given permission to be present at the operation. 
With trembling and fear he perceived the mistake of 
his teachers and colleagues, for he knew full well that 
the man would have to die as soon as the seventh mem- 
brane under the dura mater was cut away. With 
bated breath, he stood the pang of anxiety until the 
sixth covering had been removed. Already the doc- 
tors were applying the lancet to the seventh, when 
his patience and caution gave way, and he exclaimed, 
4 Stop ; you are killing him ! ' His surprised colleagues 
promised to forgive his deceit if he would extract the 
worm without injury to the membrane. This Rambam 



34 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

carried out in a very simple manner. He placed a 
cabbage leaf on the small opening in the seventh cover- 
ing, and the worm, attracted by the odor of the leaf, 
came out to taste of the fresh food, whereupon it was 
ousted. 1 

Of such a character are nearly all of his cures. The 
supernatural element of the later period, where every- 
thing is fantastic, is still absent from the Rabbi le- 
gends. There is always an attempt made to combine the 
wonderful with the real, or rather to transfer the real 
into the realm of the miraculous. The later stories of 
miracle-working pursue the opposite course : they en- 
graft the most extraordinary impossibilities on the ex- 
periences of everyday life. Rambam's travels have also 
given rise to a large number of semi-mythical journeys. 
One of the legends tells of his sojourn in Algiers, where 
he incurred the hatred of the Mussulmans for having 
decided that an oil-vat had become impure because a 
Mohammedan had touched it, whereas another vat into 
which a weed had fallen was pronounced by him to be 
ritually pure. Knowing that his life was in danger, he 
escaped to Egypt, making the voyage in less than half 
an hour by means of a miraculous document that he 
took with him and that had the power of destroying 
space. In Cairo he became the chief adviser of the 
king, and he later managed to save the country from 
the visitation of the Algerian minister, who had come 
there ostensibly to pursue the fugitive Rambam, but in 
reality to lay Egypt waste by his magical arts. 

The most interesting stories that still belong to that 

cycle are those that have developed in Slavic countries. 

Out of the large material that was furnished them by 

the German cities, in conjunction with the new matter 

1 Nearly the same story is in Gaster's Jewish Folk Lore, etc. 



FOLKLORE 35 

with which they became familiar in their new homes, 
they have moulded many new stories in endless variety. 
The number of local legends is unlimited. There is 
hardly an inn on the highways and byways of Western 
Russia and Galicia that has not its own circle of won- 
derful tales. Every town possesses its remarkable 
Rabbi whose memory lives in the deeds that he is 
supposed to have performed. But none, except the 
town of Mesiboz, the birthplace of Bal-schem-tow, the 
founder of the sect of the Khassidim, can boast of such a 
complete set of legendary tales as the cities of Wilna 
and Cracow. In Wilna they will still tell the curi- 
ous stranger many reminiscences of those glorious days 
when their Rabbis could arrest the workings of natural 
laws, and when their sentence was binding on ghosts as 
well as men. They will take him to the synagogue and 
show him a large dark spot in the cupola, and they will 
tell him that during an insurrection a cannon-ball struck 
the building, and that it would have proceeded on its 
murderous journey but for the command of the Rabbi 
to be lodged in the wall. They will take him to a 
street where the spooks used to contend with humankind 
for the possession of the houses in which they lived : 
the contention was finally referred to the Gaon of Wilna. 
After careful inquiry into the justice of the contending 
parties he gave his decision, which is worthy of the wis- 
dom of Solomon : he adjudicated the upper parts of the 
houses, as much of them as there was above ground, to 
the mortals, while the cellars and other underground 
structures were left in perpetuity to the shadowy in- 
habitants of the lower regions. 1 One of the Gaons at 
Wilna was possessed of the miraculous power to create 

1 A similar story, also of a local character, is told by Dick in 
Alte jildische Sagen oder Ssipurim, p. 42, where he mentions a Polish 



36 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

a Golem, a homunculus. It was a vivified clay man 
who had to do the bidding of him who had given him 
temporary life. Whenever his mission was fulfilled 
he was turned back into an unrecognizable mass of 
clay. 1 

A special class of legends that have been evolved in 
Slavic countries are those that tell of the Lamed-wow- 
niks. According to an old belief the world is supported 
by the piety of thirty-six saints (Lamed- wow is the nu- 
merical representation of that number). If it were not 
for them, the sins of men would have long ago worked 
the destruction of the universe. Out of this basal belief 
have sprung up the stories that relate the deeds of the 
4 hidden ' saints. They are called ' hidden ' because it 
is the very essence of those worthies not to carry their 
sanctity for show : they are humble artisans, generally 
tailors or shoemakers, who ply their humble vocations 
unostentatiously, and to all intents and purposes are 
common people, poor and rather mentally undeveloped. 
No one even dreams of their hidden powers, and no one 
ever sees them studying the Law. When by some acci- 
dent their identity is made apparent, they vigorously 
deny that they belong to the chosen Thirty-six, and 
only admit the fact when the evidence is overwhelm- 
ingly against them. Then they are ready to perform 
some act by which a calamity can be averted from the 

work, Przechadzki po Wilnie i jego okolicach przez Jana ze ^liwnia 
(A. Kirkor), Wilna, 1859, that contains many Jewish tales. 

1 Also told of a Rabbi of Prague, in Sippurim, Sammlung judischer 
Volkssagen, Erzahlungen, Mythen, Chroniken, Denkvmrdigkeiten und 
Biographien beriihmter Juden alter Jahrhunderte, besonders des Mit- 
telalters (Jildische Universalbibliothek) , Prague, 1895. These Sip- 
purim have no great folklore value, as they show too much the hand 
of the literary worker. Of similar value is H. Iliowizi's In the Pale; 
Stories and Legends of the Russian Jews, Philadelphia, 1897. 



FOLKLORE 37 

Jews collectively, and after their successful undertaking 
they return to their humble work in some other town 
where there is no chance of their being recognized and 
importuned. 

One of the most perfect stories of that kind is told of 
a hidden saint who lived in Cracow in the days of Rab- 
benu Moses Isserls. The Polish king had listened to 
the representations of his minister that as descendant of 
the Persian king he was entitled to the sum of money 
which Haman had promised to him but which he evi- 
dently had not paid, having been robbed of it by the 
Jews. He ordered the Jews of Cracow to pay forth- 
with the enormous sum upon pain of being subjected to 
a cruel persecution. After long fasting Rabbenu Is- 
serls told his congregation to go to Chaim the tailor 
who was living in the outskirts of the town and to ask 
him to use his supernatural powers in averting the im- 
pending calamity. After the customary denials, Chaim 
promised to be the spokesman of the Jews before the 
king. On the next morning he went to the palace. 
He passed unnoticed by the guards into the cabinet of 
his majesty and asked him to sign a document revoking 
his order. In anger, the king went to the door to chide 
the guards for having admitted a ragged Jew to his 
presence. As he opened it, he stepped into space, and 
found himself in a desert. He wandered about for a 
whole day and only in the evening he met a poor man 
who offered him a piece of dry bread and showed him a 
place of shelter in a cave. The poor man advised him 
not to tell of his being a king to any one that he might 
meet, lest he be robbed or killed. He gave him a beg- 
gar's garments, and supplied him with a meal of dry 
bread every day. At the expiration of a year, the poor 
man offered him work as a woodcutter with an improve- 



38 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

ment in his fare if lie would first sign a document. The 
king was only too happy to change his monotonous con- 
dition, and without looking at it signed the paper pre- 
sented to him. His trials lasted two years more, after 
which he became a sailor, was shipwrecked and carried 
back to Cracow. Just then he awoke to discover that 
his three years' experience had only lasted fifteen min- 
utes by the clock. He abided by his agreement in the 
document which he had signed in his dream, and thus 
the great misfortune was once more warded off by the 
piety of a Lamed-wow-nik. The minister, the story 
continues, escaped to Italy and hence to Amsterdam, 
where he became a convert to Judaism. In his old age 
he returned to Cracow to make pilgrimages to the 
graves of Rabbenu Isserls and Chaim, the saint. 

All the previous stories and legends pale into insig- 
nificance by the side of the endless miracles spun out by 
the Khassidim and ascribed to the founder of the sect 
and his disciples. 1 Nothing is too absurd for them. 
There seems to be a conscious desire in these stories 
to outdo all previous records, in order to throw the 
largest halo on their Bal-schem-tow, or Bescht, as he 

1 On the Khassidim, read M. Sachor-Masoch, Sectes juives de la 
Galicie, in Actes et Conferances de la Societe des ^Etudes Juives, 1889, 
pp. cxli-clxiii, and S. Schechter, Studies in Judaism, pp. 1-45 and 341. 
For the Russian sources on the Khassidim, see Sistematiteskij ukaza- 
teV literatury o evrejach, pp. 177-179 (Nos. 2424-2476). Stories of 
Adam Balschem are mentioned by Steinschneider, as Geschichte des 
B. Adam Baal Schem, and Geschichte des B. Adam mit dem Kaiser, 
in Serapeum, Vol. X. (1849), p. 9, No. 183. See also Urquell, Vol. V. 
p. 266, and Vol. VI. p. 33. B. W. Segel's Judische Wundermanner, 
in Globus, Vol. LXII. pp. 312-314, 331-334, 343-345, are merely trans- 
lations from the Sseefer Ssipuree Maisses {Khal Chsidim); of similar 
origin is his O chasydach i chasydyzmie, in Wisia, Vol. VIII. pp. 304- 
31-, 509-521, 677-690 ; other stories by him are in his Materyaty do 
etnografii zyddw, as above. 



FOLKLORE 39 

is called by his initials. Bal-schem-tow was neither 
the miracle-worker that his adherents would have him, 
nor the impostor that his opponents imagine him to 
have been. He was a truly pious man who sought 
a refuge in mysticism against the verbalism of the 
Jews of his days, in the middle of the eighteenth 
century. His followers, unfortunately mistaking the 
accidental in his teachings for the essentials of the 
new doctrine, have raised the Cabbalistic lucubrations 
of his disciples to the dignity of religious books, and 
have opened wide the doors for superstitions of all 
kinds. The realities of this world' hardly exist for 
them, or are at best the temporal reflexes of that mys- 
tic sphere in which all their thoughts soar. Their 
rabbis are all workers of miracles, and Bescht is adored 
by them more than Moses and the Biblical saints. His 
life and acts have been so surrounded by a legendary 
atmosphere that it is now, only one hundred and fifty 
years after his life, not possible to disentangle truth 
from fiction and to reconstruct the real man. A large 
number of books relate the various miraculous inci- 
dents in his life, but the one entitled ' Khal Chsidim ' 
surpasses them all in variety, and attempts to give as 
it were a chronological sequence of his acts. 

In that book his grandfather and father are repre- 
sented as foreshadowing the greatness of their descend- 
ant. His grandfather is a minister to a king, and 
Elijah announces to him that at the age of one hun- 
dred years his wife will bear him a son who will be 
a shining light. His father is a wizard and a scholar, 
and enjoins his son before his death to study with a 
hidden saint in the town of Ukop. After his studies 
were completed he became a teacher in Brody, and a 
judge. He marries the sister of Rabbi Gerschon, who 



40 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

takes him for a simpleton, and in vain tries to instruct 
him. No one knows of the sanctity of Bescht. He 
goes into the mountains accompanied by his wife, and 
there meditates a long while. At one time he was 
about to step from a mountain into empty space, when 
the neighboring mountain inclined its summit and re- 
ceived the erring foot of Bescht. After seven years 
of solitary life he returns to Brody to become a 
servant in Gerschon's household. Later his career of 
miracle-working begins : he heals the sick, exorcises 
evil spirits, brings down rain by prayers, breaks spells, 
conquers wizards, predicts the future, punishes the un- 
believers, rewards the faithful by endowing them with 
various powers, and does sundry other not less wonder- 
ful things. When he prays, the earth trembles, and 
no one can hear his voice for loudness. He sleeps but 
two hours at night and prays the rest of the time, 
while a nimbus of fire surrounds him. 

Not less marvellous are the deeds of his disciples 
as related in the 4 Sseefer Maisse Zadikim ' and other 
similar productions that are issued in penny sheets in 
Lemberg to impress the believers with the greatness 
of their faith. Many of these have sprung up from 
the desire to instill the necessity of observing certain 
religious rites, and this the authors think they can 
accomplish best by connecting a moral with some 
miraculous tale. For every imaginable vow there is 
a special story telling of the blissfulness that the 
devotee has reached or the misery that the lax follower 
of Khassidism has had occasion to rue. Every good 
deed according to them creates its own protecting 
spirits, while every crime produces a corresponding 
monstrous beast that pursues the sinner and leads 
him to destruction. Interesting also are those cases 



FOLKLORE 41 

when a man has been as prone to sin as he has been 
to perform virtuous acts, for then the struggle between 
the beings of his creation leads to amusing results in 
which all depends on the preponderance of one kind 
of deeds over the other. The worst of men is not ex- 
cluded from the benefits of mercy if he makes amends for 
his crimes by an earnest repentance which is followed 
by a long penance. 

Of the latter class, the following is a typical story. 
Chaim has brought many misfortunes to Jewish fami- 
lies by denouncing and blackmailing them to the Polish 
magnate, the chief authority of the district. Once 
while on his way to the magnate he sees a half -starved 
beggar in the road, and he divides with him his bread 
and carries him to his house and takes care of him 
until he is well enough to proceed on his journey. 
Chaim has occasion after several years to denounce 
some one to the magnate. He goes to the cupboard 
to fill his wallet for the journey, when he sees a dead 
person in it. After he has collected himself from his 
fright, he steps up once more to the cupboard. The 
dead person tells him that he is the beggar that he 
saved from starvation some time ago, that he had 
heard in heaven that Chaim was to be given his last 
chance in life, and that he had come to warn him to 
repent his misdeeds. Chaim takes his advice to heart, 
and for seven years stays uninterruptedly in the syna- 
gogue, perfecting himself in his knowledge of the re- 
ligious lore. On the eve of the Passover he allows 
himself to be tempted by Satan in the shape of a 
scholar, to eat leavened bread at a time when the Law 
prohibits it. As he steps out to the brook to wash 
his hands before tasting of the bread, the dead person 
once more appears to him and tells him that Satan 



42 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

has been sent to him to tempt him, because it was 
thought that his seven years' penance alone was not 
sufficient to atone for his many evil deeds ; that all 
his labors have been in vain, and that he will have 
to do penance another seven years. This Chaim is 
only too ready to undergo, and he applies himself with 
even more ardor than before to get a remission of his 
sins. At the expiration of the allotted time Chaim 
dies and is at once taken to heaven. 

The legends and folk-tales so far considered are of a 
strictly Jewish character, whatever their origin. They 
are in one way or another connected with the inner life 
of the Jewish community. They deal with the acts of 
their worthies and inculcate religious truths. But 
these are far from forming the bulk of all the stories 
that are current to-day among the German Jews in 
Slavic countries. Among the printed books of a popu- 
lar character there are many that not only are of Gentile 
origin, but that have not been transformed in the light 
of the Mosaic faith ; they have been reprinted without 
change of contents for the last four centuries, furnish- 
ing an example of long survival unequalled probably 
in any other literature. 1 Many of the stories that 

1 The older literature of that class is briefly discussed by Stein- 
schneider in his articles in the Serapeum under the following numbers 
(for the years 1848, 1849, 1864, 1866, 1869) : 392, Kalilah we-Dimnah; 
393, Barlaam and Josaphat ; 59, 399, Diocletianus ; 266 b, Octavi- 
anus; 22, Bevys of Hamptoun; 51, Bitter Sigmund und Magdalena; 
286, Kdnig Artas; 13, Eldad ha-Dani ; 156-198, 410-413, 420, various 
stories ; 212, 213, fables (Kuhbuch) ; 167, Maase Nissim ; 156-158, 
Maasebuch. But the latter has been superseded by his Judisch- 
deutsche Litteratur und Judisch-deutsch, mit besonderer Bucksicht 
auf Ave-Lallemant ; 2. Artikel : Das Maase- Buck, Serapeum, Vol. 
XXVII. (1866), No. 1. This Maasebuch is extremely rare now, but 
in its day it was enormously popular, having been used for regular 
religious readings on the Sabbath. Wagenseil and Buxtorf mention 



FOLKLORE 43 

had been current in Germany long before the time 
of printing were among the first to be issued from 
Jewish printing presses. Stories of the court of King 
Arthur in verse, of Dietrich of Bern, of the ' Constant 
Love of Floris and Blanchefleur,' of ' Thousand and One 
Nights,' had been common in the sixteenth and seven- 
teenth centuries, and many of them may be found in 
editions of this century ; but none of them has been so 
popular as the c Bovo-maisse,' the latest edition of which 
is known to me from the year 1895. It is identical 
with the English ' Bevys of Hamptoun ' and was done 
into Judeo-German by Elia Levita in Venice in the 
year 1501. It is, no doubt, related to some one of the 
many Italian versions in which Bevys is turned into 
Bovo. The popularity of this book has been second 
only to the ' Zeena-Ureena ' which contains a very large 
number of folk-tales interwoven in a popular exposition 

this fact, while Helwich thought it of sufficient importance to trans- 
late the book into German and supply it with critical notes. Hel- 
wich' s book seems to have escaped the attention of all who have 
dealt on the Maasebuch, Steinschneider included ; and yet without it 
a study of the Jewish folklore is very difficult, as the Maasebuch can 
hardly be procured. The title of the book is : Erster Theil judischer 
Historien oder Thalmudisclier Babbinischer wunderlicher Legenden, 
so von Juden als wahrhaff tige und heylige Geschicht an ihren Sab- 
bathen und Eesttagen gelesen werden. Darausz dieses verstockten 
Volcks Aberglauben und Fabelwerck zu ersehen. Ausz ihren eigenen 
Biichern in Truck Teutsch verfertigt, von neuem ubersehen und cor- 
rigiert durch Christophorum Helvicum, der H. Schrift und Hebraischen 
Sprach Professorem in der Universitet zu Giessen, Giessen, bey Cas- 
par Chemlein, Im Jahre 1612, 16mo, 222 pp. Second part with slightly 
different title. After gelesen werden follows : Sampt beygefiigten 
Glossen und Widerlegung, 16mo, 207 pp. See also Is. Le>i, Cinq 
contes juifs, in Melusine, Vol. II. col. 569-574. On the Konig Artus, 
cf. Schroder, Mitteilungen uber ein deutsches Wigaloisepos aus dem 
17. Jahrhunderte, M. Hanau B. V. Hess. Q. Some of these stories 
are discussed in Jacobs's Jewish Diffusion of Folk Tales (as above). 



44 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

of the Bible. There are also books that contain stories 
of 4 Sinbad the Sailor,' or what seem to be versions of Sir 
John Maundeville's ' Travels,' and other similar fantastic 
tales. 

These stories, having once been committed to writing 
and printing, have remained intact up to our times, 
except that they have undergone linguistic moderniza- 
tions. But there is also an unlimited number of fairy 
tales and fables in circulation which have never been 
written down, which have therefore been more or less 
subjected to local influences ; in these Hebrew, German, 
and Slavic elements meet most freely, causing the stories 
to be moulded in new forms. 1 It may be asserted with- 
out fear of contradiction that among the Russian Jews 
the investigator will find the best, most complete versions 
of most, if not all, the stories contained in Grimm's or 
Andersen's collections. The reason for it is to be 
sought in the inordinate love of story-telling that the 
Jews possess. They are fond of staying up late in the 

1 A few scattered stories may be found in the following publica- 
tions : M. Schwarzfeld, Basmul cu Pantoful la Evrei, la Romani si la 
alte Popoare, Studiu folkloristic, Bucuresti, 1893, 8vo, 27 pp. {Extras 
din Anuarul pentru Israelite, Vol. XV. pp. 138-165); by the same, 
Scrisoarecatre Dumnezeu t Cercetarefolcloristicd {Anuarul pentru Isra- 
elite Vol. XV. pp. 191-198); R. T. Kaindl, Eine jiidische Sage uber 
die Entstehung des Erdbebens, Zeitschrift fur Ethnologie, Vol. XXV. 
p. 370 ; B. W. Segel, Jiidische Volksmdrchen, in Globus, Vol. LX. 
pp. 283 ff., 296-298, 313-315. The largest collection of folk-tales by 
the same author are given in Zbidr wiadomosci do antropologii kra- 
jowej, Vol. XVII., Cracow, 1893, under the title, Materyaiy do etno- 
grafii zyddw wschodnio-galicyjskich, pp. 261-332 ; a review of this 
important work, in German, is given in the Urquell, Vol. V. pp. 183- 
186. Scattered through the Urquell there are many interesting tales, 
mainly on gilgulim, leezim, meessim ; cf. Vol. IV, pp. 96, 97, 257; 
Neue Folge, Vol. I. pp. 80, 81, 121, 122, 344, 345, 351 ; see also Z. d. 
V. f. V., Vol. IV. p. 210. See also the bibliography of the legends, 
etc., in Sistematiceskij ukazatel, p. 211 (Nos. 3133-3136). 



FOLKLORE 45 

night, particularly in the winter, and whiling away the 
time with an endless series of stories. The stranger 
who is a good raconteur is sure of a kind reception wher- 
ever he may chance to stay; but his nights will be 
curtailed by the extent of his fund of stories, for his 
audience will not budge as long as they suspect that 
the stranger has not spent all the arrows from his quiver. 
The wandering beggar-students and tailors have the 
reputation for story-telling ; it was by one of the latter 
that a large number of fairy tales were related to me. 
I choose for illustration one that is known in a great 
variety of versions. 

The Fool is Wiser than the Wise 

" Once upon a time there lived a rich man who had 
three sons : two of them were wise, while one was a 
fool. After his death the brothers proceeded to divide 
the property, which consisted mainly of cattle. The 
two wise brothers suggested that the herd be divided 
into three equal parts, and that lots be cast for each ; 
but the fool insisted that corrals be built near the house 
of each and that each be allowed to keep the cattle that 
would stray into his corral. The wise brothers agreed 
to this, and to entice the oxen and cows they placed 
fresh hay in their enclosures ; but the fool did not 
take measures to gain possession of cattle by unfair 
means. The animals were attracted by the odor of the 
new-mown hay, and only one calf strolled into the fool's 
enclosure. The fool kept his calf for eight days, and 
forgot to give it fodder during that time ; so it died. 
He took off its hide, and placed it in the sun to get dry. 
There it lay until it shrivelled up. Then he took the 
hide to Warsaw to sell it, but no one wanted to buy it. 
for it was all dried up. 



46 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

" He started for home and came to an inn where he 
wanted to stay over night. He found there twelve men 
eating, and drinking good wine. He asked the land- 
lady whether he could stay there over night. She told 
him she would not keep him in the house for all the 
money in the world, and she asked him to leave the 
house at once. He did not like her hasty manner, and 
he hid himself behind the door where no one could see 
him. There he overheard the landlady saying to the 
men : ' Before my husband gets home you must go 
down in the cellar and hide behind the wine-casks. In 
the night, when he will be asleep, you must come up 
and kill him. Then I shall be satisfied with you ! ' 
After a short while her husband returned from the 
distillery with some brandy, and the men hurried down 
into the cellar. He unloaded the brandy-casks, and went 
into the house. He asked his wife for something to 
eat ; but she said there was nothing in the house. Just 
then the fool stepped in and asked the innkeeper whether 
he could not stay there over night. The landlady got 
angry at him and said : * I told you before that there 
was no bed here for you ! ' But the innkeeper said : 
1 He will stay here over night ! ' and the innkeeper's 
word was law. He told the fool to sit down at 
the table with him, and they started a conversation. 
The fool accidentally placed his hand on the hide, which 
being dry began to crackle. The innkeeper asked him : 
' What makes the hide crackle that way ? ' and the fool 
answered : ' It is talking to me!' c What does it say ? ' 
1 It says that you are hungry, and that your wife says 
that there is nothing in the house, but that if you will 
look into the oven you will find some dishes.' He went 
up to the oven and found there enough for himself and 
the fool to eat. Then the hide crackled again, and the 



FOLKLORE 47 

innkeeper asked again : 4 What does it say ? ' 'It says 
that you should start a big fire in the oven ! ' 4 What 
is the fire for V 4 1 do not know, but you must obey 
the hide.' So he went and made a big fire in the oven. 
Then the hide crackled again. Says he : ' What does 
the hide say now?' 4 It tells to heat kettles of water.' 
When the water got hot, the hide crackled again. 
Then he asked : _ 4 What does the hide say now ? ' 4 It 
says that you should take some strong men with you to 
the cellar and pour the water behind the wine-casks.' 
And so he did. The robbers were all scalded, and they 
ran away. Then he came upstairs, and the hide 
crackled again. Said he : ' Why does it crackle now ? ' 
4 The twelve robbers wanted to kill you at night, because 
your wife ordered them to do so.' When the wife 
heard that, she also ran away. Then the innkeeper 
said : 4 Sell me your hide ! ' The fool answered : 4 It 
costs much money.' 4 No matter how much it costs, 
I shall pay for it, for it has saved my life.' 'It costs 
one thousand roubles.' So he gave him one thousand 
roubles. The fool went home, and when the brothers 
heard that he had sold his hide for one thousand roubles, 
the}' killed all their cattle, and took their hides to 
Warsaw to sell. They figured that if their brother's 
calf brought one thousand roubles, the hides of their 
oxen ought to fetch them at least two thousand roubles 
apiece. When they asked two thousand roubles apiece, 
people laughed and offered them a rouble for each. 
When they heard that, they went home and upbraided 
their brother for having cheated them. But he insisted 
that he had received one thousand roubles for his hide, 
and the brothers left him alone. 

44 After a while the fool's wife died. The undertakers 
wanted one thousand roubles for her interment. But 



48 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

the fool would not pay that sum. He placed his wife 
in a wagon and took her to Warsaw. There he filled 
the wagon with fine apples and put the dead body at 
the head of the wagon all dressed up. He himself stood 
at some distance and watched what would happen. 
There rode by a Polish count, and as he noticed the 
fine apples, he sent his servant to buy some. The ser- 
vant asked the woman several times at what price she 
sold the apples ; but as she did not answer him, he hit 
her in the face. Then the fool ran up and cried, saying 
that they had killed his wife. The count descended 
from his carriage, and when he had convinced himself 
that the woman was really dead, he asked the fool what 
he could do to satisfy him. The fool asked five thousand 
roubles, and the count paid him. The fool paid the 
undertaker in Warsaw a few roubles, and he buried his 
wife. He returned home and told his brothers of his 
having received five thousand roubles for his dead wife. 
Upon hearing that, they killed their wives and children 
and took the dead bodies to Warsaw to sell. When 
they arrived in Warsaw, they were asked what they 
had in their wagons. They said : ' Dead bodies for 
sale.' The people began to laugh, and said that dead 
bodies had to be taken to the cemetery. There was 
nothing left for the brothers to do but to take them to 
the cemetery and have them buried. 

" They wept bitterly, and swore that they would take 
revenge on their brother. And so they did. When 
they arrived home, they told him that they wished to 
make him a prince. They enticed him for that purpose 
into a bag, and wanted to throw him into the water. 
They went away to find a place where they could throw 
him in without being noticed. In the meanwhile the 
fool kept on crying in the bag that he did not care to 



FOLKLORE 49 

be a prince, that he wished to get out of the bag. Just 
then a rich Polish merchant drove by. When he heard 
the cries in the bag, he stepped down from his carriage 
and asked the fool why he was crying so. He said : 4 1 
do not want to be a prince ! ' So he untied him and 
said : ' Let me get into the bag and be made a prince ! 
I shall make you a present of my horses and my car- 
riage, if you will let me be a prince.' The rich man 
crept into the bag, and the fool tied it fast. He went 
into the carriage and drove away. The brothers came, 
picked up the bag, and threw it into the water. The 
fool watched their doings from a distance. The brothers 
were sure they had drowned the fool and returned 
home. The next morning they were astonished to see 
their brother driving around town in a fine carriage. 
They asked him : ' Where did you get that ? ' He an- 
swered : 4 In the water.' 'Are there more of them left?' 
'There are finer ones down there.' So they went down 
to the water's edge, and they agreed that one of them 
should leap in and see if there were any carriages left 
there, and if he should find any, he was to make a noise 
in the water, when the other one would follow him. 
One of them leaped in, and beginning to drown, began 
to splash the water. The other, thinking his brother 
was calling him, also jumped in, and they were both 
drowned. The fool became the sole heir of all their 
property; he married again, and is now living quite 
happily." 

Corresponding to the diffusion of folklore among the 
Jews, their store of popular beliefs, superstitions, and 
medicine is unlimited. Their mysterious world is 
peopled with the imaginary beings of the Talmud, the 
creatures of German mythology, and the creations of 



50 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

the Slavic popular mind. These exist for them, how- 
ever, not as separate entities, but as transfused into an 
organic whole in which the belief of Babylonia and 
Assyria has much of the outward form of the supersti- 
tion of Russia, just as the spirits of Poland and Germany 
are made to be brothers to those of Chaldea and Egypt. 
To their minds the transmigrated souls of the Grilgulim, 
the scoffing Leezim, the living dead bodies of the Mees- 
sim, the possessing Dibukim, the grewsome Scheedim, 
are as real as the Riesen and Schraetele of Germany 
and the Nischtgute (niedobry), Wukodlaki (werewolf), 
Zlidne, Upior (vampyre), and Domowoj of Russia. The 
beast Reem of the Talmud, the Piperndtter (Lindwurm) 
of Germany are not less known to them than the fabled 
animals of Russian fairy tales. In case of sickness they 
consult with equal success the miracle-working Rabbi 
with his lore derived from Talmud and Cabbala, as the 
Tartar medicine man (znachar), or get some old woman 
to recite the ancient German formula for warding off 
the evil eye. There is not an incident in their lives, 
from their births unto their deaths, that is not accom- 
panied by its own circle of superstitious rites and prac- 
tices. 1 

1 On the customs, beliefs, superstitions, etc., of the Jews, see A. P. 
Bender, Beliefs, Bites, and Customs of the Jews Connected with Death, 
Burial, and Mourning, in Jewish Quarterly Beview, Vol. VI. pp. 317- 
347, 664-671, and Vol. VII. pp. 101-118 ; Dan, Volksglauben und 
Gebrauche der Juden in der Bukowina, in Zeitschrift fur osterreich- 
ische Volkskunde, Vol. II. Nos. 2, 3 ; Hedvige Heinicke, Le carnaval 
desjuifs galiciens, in Revue des Traditions populaires, Vol. VI. p. 118; 
I. Buchbinder, Judische Sabobones, in Hausfreund, Vol. II. pp. 167- 
170 ; Steinschneider mentions books dealing on superstitions in his 
catalogue in the Serapeum, under the numbers 219 and 421. This sub- 
ject is treated extensively in the Urquell, Vol. II. pp. 5-7, 34-36, 112, 
165, 166, 181-183 ; Vol. III. pp. 18, 19, 286-288 ; Vol. IV. pp. 73-75, 
fc4-96, 118, 119, 141, 142, 170, 171, 187-189, 210,211, 272-274; Vol. 



FOLKLORE 51 

Their literature, both oral and printed, is also full of 
evidences of that popular creative spirit which finds its 
expression in the form of maxims and proverbs. One 
can hardly turn the pages of a novel or comedy without 
finding some interesting specimens of this class. But 
little has been done to classify them, or even to collect 
them. The printed collections of Tendlau and Bern- 
stein contain less than three thousand proverbs, while 
the seven thousand saws on which Schwarzfeld bases 
his generalizations in a Roumanian periodical (Anuarul 
pentru Israeliti) have not yet been published by him. 1 

V. pp. 19, 81, 170, 171, 225-228, 290, 291 ; Neue Folge, Vol. I. pp. 9, 
46-49, 270, 271 ; Vol. II. pp. 33, 34, 46, 108-110. See also Segel, 
MateryaXy do etnografii zyddw, etc., pp. 319-328; S. Abramowitsch, 
Das kleine Menschele, pp. 76-77 ; Linetzki, Das chsidische Jungel, 
pp. 29-31, 114. For a general work on Jewish superstitions, see 
M. Schuhl, Superstitions et coutumes populaires du Judaisme con- 
temporain, Paris, 1882, 4to, 42 pp. The most important contribution 
on the beliefs of the German Jews in the early Middle Ages is given 
by Giidemann, Geschichte des Erziehungswesen und der Cultur der 
Juden, etc., Vol. I. Chap. VII. pp. 199-228, under the title Der 
jiidische Aber-, Zauber- und Hexen-glaube in Frankreich und Deutsch- 
land im 12. und 13. Jahrhunderte. See also the bibliography of the 
subject in the Sistematiteskij ukazateV , pp. 211, 212 (Nos. 3137- 
3159). A large number of superstitions, beliefs, etc., are scattered 
throughout the Judeo-German literature : probably the most impor- 
tant of such works is Schatzkes' Der jildischer Var-Peessach (q.v.). 

1 For proverbs and the discussion of the same, see : M. Spektor, 
Jiidische Volkswortlich, in Jildisches Volksblatt, Vol. VI. pp. 63, 95, 
112, 128, 191, 304, 423, 488 ; I. Bernstein, Sprichworter, in Hausfreund, 
Vol. I. pp. 89-112, and Vol. II. pp. 1-49 (second part); S. Adelberg, 
Przystowia zydowskie, in Wisla, Vol. IV. pp. 166-187 ; M. Schwarzfeld, 
Literatura populara Israelitd ca element etnico-psichologic, in Anuarul 
pentru Israeliti, Vol. XII. pp. 41-52 ; the same, Evreii in Literatura 
lor populara sau Cumsejudecd evreii insusi, Studiu etnico-psichologic, 
Bucuresti, 1898, 8vo, 37 pp. (Anuarul pentru Israeliti, Vol. XIX. 
pp. 1-37). In connection with the last two, though not strictly on 
Jewish proverbs, see his Evreii in Literatura populara Bomand, Studiu 
de psichologie populara, Anex, Evreii in literatura populara univer- 



52 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Equally rich would prove the harvest of popular 
anecdotes, either as told of separate individuals, as 
Herschele Ostropoler, Motke Chabad, Jossef Loksch, 
the wise man of Chelm, and the like, or as applied to 
the inhabitants of certain Abderitic towns. 1 Many 
such collections are mentioned in the appendix, but 
they do not by any means exhaust the stories that are 
current among the people. Though they generally are 
of the same character as those told of Schildburg and 
Till Eulenspiegel, and are even borrowings from those 
German stories, yet they contain so much original mat- 
ter, and have been welded into such new forms, that 
they deserve the attention of the student of folklore. 
They also bear excellent witness to that pungent wit 
for which the Jews are so justly famous. 

sala, Tablou comparative Bucuresti, 1892, 8vo, 78 pp. {Extras din 
Anuarul pentru Israelite Vol. XIV. pp. 97-172). A large number 
of proverbs from various Slavic localities are given in the Urquell: 
Vol. II. pp. 26, 27, 66, 112, 131, 163, 178, 196 ; Vol. IV. pp. 75, 76, 
194, 212, 215, 256, 257; Vol. VI. pp. 33, 34, 69, 119-121 ; Neue Folge, 
Vol. I. pp. 14, 15, 119-121, 172-175, 271-279; Vol. II. pp. 221, 222, 
311-313, 338-340. For the proverbs of the German Jews, see A. 
Tendlau, Sprichworter und Eedensarten deutsch-jiidischer Vorzeit, als 
Beitrag zur Volks-, Sprach- und Sprichworter-kunde, aufgezeichnet 
aus dem Munde des Volkes und nach Wort und Sinn erlautert, Frank- 
furt a. M. (1860). 

1 The older books on Eulenspiegel are given by Steinschneider in 
the Serapeum, under Nos. 10, 288, and 388 ; in the Urquell, there are 
a few stories on Chelm in Vol. III. pp. 27-29, and Neue Folge, Vol. I. 
pp. 345, 346. A large number is given by Segel in his collection in 
the Zbidr wiadomosci do antropologii krajowej, pp. 303-306. 



IV. THE FOLKSONG 

The Jews have been preeminently inhabitants of 
towns ; their very admission into Poland was based 
on the supposition that they would be instrumental in 
creating towns and cities, from which the agricultural 
Slavs kept aloof. Centuries of city life have incapaci- 
tated them for any other occupation than commerce 
and artisanship, and have entirely estranged them from 
nature. On the other hand, their civil disabilities and 
oppression have led them to cling more closely to the 
Bible and their religious lore than was customary 
among their coreligionists in other lands. It was in 
these Slavic countries that the Talmud was rediscov- 
ered and that it was introduced to the rest of Judaism. 
All these circumstances developed in them a strong 
retrospective spirit, so that in the centre of their intel- 
lectual horizon stands man in all his varying moods 
and vicissitudes of fortune. Consequently all their 
folksongs 1 have more or less of a lyrical tinge, and 

1 In a general way the Judeo-German folksong was treated by I. G. 
OrSanskij, in his Evrei v Bossii, Oterki ekonomiceskago i obsdestven- 
nago byta russkich evreev, St. Petersburg, 1877, 8vo, on pp. 391-402 ; 
more specially by J. J. Lerner, Die jiidische Muse, in Hausfreund, 
Vol. II. pp. 182-198, from which a few songs are quoted here. The 
most of the songs given here are from my manuscript collection 
made in Boston and New York among the Russian Jews. In the 
Urquell folksongs are given in Vol. IV. pp. 119, 120 ; Vol. V. p. 196 ; 
Vol. VI. pp. 43, 158 ; Neue Folge, Vol. I. pp. 45, 50, 82, 83, 175, 
239-242 ; Vol. II. pp. 27-29, 39, 40. Cf. B. W. Segel, Materyaiy do 
etnografii zyddw wschodnio-galicyjskich, in Zbidr iviadomosci do antro- 
pologii krajowej, Vol. XVII. pp. 306-319. 

53 



54 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

the consideration of nature is almost entirely absent 
from them ; occasionally a flower, a natural phenome- 
non, finds a passing mention in them, but these are never 
used for their own intrinsic interest. Outside of him- 
self, the Jew knows only his duties to God and his 
duties to man, as flowing from his duties to God. Not 
feeling himself as a constituent part of a nation, having 
no other union with his fellow-men except that of reli- 
gion, he could never rise to the appreciation and forma- 
tion of an epic poem, although the material for such a 
one was present in the very popular legend of the one- 
day king, Saul Wahl. 1 

The cradle songs reflect this spirit. 2 While babies 
of Gentiles hear meaningless nursery rhymes or comi- 
cal ditties, Jewish infants are early made acquainted 
with the serious aspects of life. They are told of the 
ideal of their future occupation, which is commerce, 
they are spurred on to ' Tore,' which is learning, mainly 
religious, and they are reminded that they must remain 
an 'ehrlicher,' i.e. an orthodox, Jew. The following 
poem is, probably, the most popular song in Judeo- 
German, as it is sung from Galicia to Siberia, and 
from the Baltic provinces to Roumania : 

Hinter Jankeles Wiegele 
Steht a klar-weiss Ziegele : 

1 The legend has been admirably treated by the historian, S. A. 
Bersadskij, in Evrej TcoroV polskij, in the Voschod, Vol. IX. Nos. 1-5. 

2 The Urquell (see above) gives some children's songs. See also 
L. Wiener, Aus der russisch-jildischen Kinderstube, in Mitteilungen 
der Gesellschaft fur jiidische Volkskunde, herausgegeben von M. Grun- 
wald, Hamburg, 1898, Heft II, pp. 40-49 ; R. F. Kaindl, Lieder, Neck- 
reime, Abzahlverse, Spiele, Geheimsprachen und allerlei Kunterbuntes 
aus der Kinderwelt, in der Bukowina und 'in Galizien gesammelt, in 
Z. d. V. f. V., Vol. VII. pp. 146, 147. In Linetzki's Das chsidische 
Jilngel, p. 23, a number of children's songs are mentioned by title. 



THE FOLKSONG 55 

Ziegele is' gefahren handlen 
Rozinkelach mit Mandlen. 
Rozinkelach mit Mandlen 
Sanen die beste S-chore, 
Jankele wet lernen Tore, 
Tore wet er lernen, 
Briewelach wet er schreiben, 
Un' an ehrlicher Jiid' 
Wet er af tomid verbleiben. 

Behind Jacob's cradle there stands a clear white goat : the goat 
has gpne a-bartering raisins and almonds. Raisins and almonds 
are the best wares, Jacob will study the Law, the Law he will 
study, letters he will write, and an honest Jew he will forever 
remain. 

But commerce and learning are not for girls. They 
are generally incapacitated for the first by their onerous 
duties of home ; and learning, at least a knowledge of 
the Sacred language and its lore, has never been re- 
garded as a requisite of woman. She received her 
religious instruction and ethical training by means of 
Judeo-German books which owe their very origin to 
the necessity of educating her. The name of the script 
in which all these books of the past three centuries are 
printed is Weiberdeutsch, indicating at once the use to 
which it was put. The title-pages of the works gener- 
ally tell that they are 'gar hubsch bescheidlich far 
frumme Weiber un' Maidlich,' or that ' die Weiber un' 
Meidlich di Weil damit vertreiben die heiligen Tag.' 
The Biblical injunction 4 fructify and multiply yourself ' 
invests family life with a special sacred ness, throws a 
gloom over the childless home, and leads this people to 
regard motherhood as the ideal state of the Jewish 
woman. All these sentiments find frequent expres- 
sions in their songs, and while the infant boy is lulled 
to sleep with, a recitation of his future manly virtues, 



56 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

the baby girl hears in her cradle, 'In the month of 
Tamuz, my little lady, you will become a mother ! ' 

Childhood alone claims exemption from oppressing 
thoughts and gloom : childhood must have its merri- 
ments, its pranks, its wantonness, no matter how seri- 
ous life is to become later, or how soon it is to be ended. 
With the Jew youth, indeed, lasts but ' an hour,' and 
in after-life he has many an occasion to regret its short 

duration : 

Jahren kleine, Jahren schoene, 

Was sent ihr aso wenig da ? 

Ihr sent nor gekummen, 

Me hat euch schoen aufgenummen, 

Un' sent nor gewe'n bei uns ein Scho? 

Jahren junge, Jahren g'ringe, 
Was sent ihr aso gich aweg ? 
Es seht euch nit kein Augel, 
Es derjagen euch nit die Voegel, 
Ihr sent aweg gar ohn' ein Eck' ! 

Little years, beautiful years, why are there so few of you ? You 
had scarcely come, you were well received, and you stayed but an 
hour with us ! Young years, light years, why have you passed so 
quickly? Not an eye can see you, not a bird can fly as swiftly, 
you have passed without return ! 

The number of ditties sung by children is very great. 
They do not in general differ from similar popular pro- 
ductions of other nations, either in form or content ; 
some are evidently identical with German songs, while 
a few are Slavic borrowings. 

But there are two classes of songs peculiarly Jewish : 
the mnemonic lines for the study of Hebrew words, 
and those that depict the ideal course of a boy's life. 
To the second belongs : 

A kleine Weile wollen mir spielen, 

Dem Kind in Cheeder wollen mir fiihren, 



THE FOLKSONG 57 

Wet er lemen a Paar Schures, 
Wollen mir horen gute Pschures, 
Gute Pschures mit viel Mailes, 
Zu der Chupe paskenen Schailes. 
's 'et sein gefallen der ganzer Welt, 
Chossen-kale a vulle Geld, 
A vulle Geld mit Masel-broche, 
Chossen-kale a schoene Mischpoche, 
Schoene Mischpoche mit schoenem Trest, 
Abgestellt auf drei Jahr Kost. 

A little while we shall play, we shall lead the child to school; 
there he will learn a few lines, and we shall get good reports, good 
reports with many good things, and he will settle religious disputes 
upon his wedding day. The whole world will be satisfied, bride- 
groom and bride a purse full of money ; full of money, may it 
bring blessings ; bridegroom and bride a fine family ; a fine 
family with fine apparel, and at their house you'll stay three 
years. 

The man's career used to run in just such a stereo- 
typed manner: at a tender age, when children have 
not yet learned to properly articulate their speech, he 
was sent to the Cheeder, the elementary Jewish school ; 
long before the romantic feeling has its rise in youth, 
he was betrothed and married ; but unable to earn a 
livelihood for the family with which he prayed to be 
blessed, he had to stay for a number of years with his 
parents or parents-in-law, eating 4 Kost,' or board ; this 
time he generally passed in the Talmud school, perfect- 
ing himself in the casuistry of religious discussion, 
while the woman at once began to care for her ever- 
increasing family. Under such conditions love could 
not nourish, at least not that romantic love of which 
the young Gentiles dream and which finds its utterance 
in their popular poetry. The word ; love' does not 
exist in the Judeo-German dictionary, and wherever 
that feeling, with which they have become acquainted 



58 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

only since the middle of this century, is to be named, 
the Jews have to use the German word 'Liebe.' The 
man's hope was to marry into some 'schoene Misch- 
poche,' a good and respected family, while the girl's 
dream was to get a husband who was well versed in 
'rabonische Tore,' i.e. Jewish lore. While the boy, by 
his occupation with the Bible and the Talmud, was 
taught to look on marriage as on an act pleasing to 
God, the girl was freer to allow her fancy to roam in 
the realms bordering on the sensations of love : 

Schoen bin ich, schoen, un' schoen is' mein Namen : 

Redt man mir Schiduchim vun grosse Rabonim. 

Rabonische Tore is' sehr gross, 

Un' ich bei mein Mamen a ziichtige Ros\ 

A llos' is' auf'n Dach, 

A lichtige Nacht, 

Wasser is' in Stub, Holz is' in Haus, 

Welchen Bocher hab' ich feind, treib' ich ihm araus 1 

Fischelach in Wasser, Krappelach in Puter, 

Welchen Bocher hat mich feind, a Ruch in sein Mutter ! 

Pretty I am, pretty, and pretty is my name ; they talk of great 
rabbis as matches for me. Rabbi's learning is very great, but I 
am a treasured rose of my mother's. A rose upon the roof, a clear 
night ; water is in the room, wood is in the house, If I love not 
a boy, I drive him away ! Fish in the water, fritters in butter, 
If a boy love me not, cursed be his mother I 

But such an exultation of free choice could be only 
passing, as the match was made without consulting her 
feelings in the matter; her greatest concern was that 
she might be left an old maid, while her companions 
passed into the ordained state of matrimony. Songs 
embodying this fear are quite common ; the following 
is one of them : 

Sitz' ich mir auf'n Stein, 

Nemmt mir an a gross Gewein : 



THE FOLKSONG 59 

Alle Maedlach haben Chassene, 

Nor ich bleib' allein. 

Oi weh, Morgenstern ! 

Wenn well ich a Kale wer'n, 

Zi heunt, zi morgen ? 

A schoene Maedel bin ich doch 

Un* a reichen Taten hab' ich doch ! 

I sit upon a stone, and am seized by great weeping : all girls get 
married, but I remain single. Woe to me, morning star ! When 
shall I become a bride, to-day or to-morrow ? I surely am a pretty 
girl, and I have a rich father ! 

In the more modern songs in which the word * love ' 
is used, that word represents the legitimate inclination 
for the opposite sex which culminates in marriage. 

Now that love and love matches are not uncommon, 
it is again woman who is the strongest advocate of 
them ; love songs addressed by men to women are rare, 
and they may be recited with equal propriety by the 
latter. The chief characteristic of woman's love, as 
expressed in them, is constancy and depth of feeling. 

Schwarz bist du, schwarz, asd wie a Zigeuner, 

Ich hab' gemeint, as du we'st sein meiner ; 

Schwarz bist du, aber mit Cheen, 

Fiir wemen du bist mies, fur mir bist du schoen ; 

Schoen bist du wie Silber, wie Gold, 

Wer *s hat dich feind un' ich hab' dich hold. 

Vun alle Fehlern kann a Doktor abheilen, 

Die Liebe vim mein Herzen kann ich var Keinem nit derzaehlen. 

Black you are, black as a Gypsy, I thought you would always 
be mine ; black you are, but with grace, for others you may be 
homely, but for me you are handsome; handsome you are, like 
silver, like gold, let others dislike you, but I love you. Of all 
troubles a doctor can cure, the love in my heart I can tell to no one. 

Many are the songs of pining for the distant lover ; 
they show all the melancholy touches of similar Slavic 



60 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

love ditties, and are the most poetical of all the Jewish 
songs. They range from the soft regrets of the lover's 
temporary absence to the deep and gloomy despair of 
the betrothed one's death, though the latter is always 
tempered by a resignation which comes from implicit 
faith in the ways of Heaven. Here are a few of them 
in illustration of the various forms which this pining 

assumes : 

Bei 'm Breg Wasser thu' ich stehn 
Un' kann zu dir nit kummen, 
Oi, vun weiten rufst du mich, 
Ich kann aber nit schwimmen ! 

At the water's edge I do stand, and I cannot get to you. Oh, 
you call me from afar, but I cannot swim ! 

Finster is' mein' "Welt, 
Mein' Jugend is' schwarz, 
Mein Gliick is' verstellt, 
Es fault mir mein Harz. 

Es zittert mir jetwider Eewer, 
Es kiihlt mir das Blut, 
Mit dir in ein Keewer 
Wet mir sein gut. 

Ach, was willst du, Mutter, haben, 
Was mutschest du dein Kind ? 
Was willst du mir begraben ? 
Fur wassere Siind' ? 

Ich hab' kein Xachas geha't, 
Nor Leiden un' Kummer, 
Ich welk' wie ein Blatt, 
Wie ein Blum' Ssof Summer. 

Wu nemm' ich mein' Freund 
Chotsch auf ein Scho ? 
Alle haben mir feind 
Un' du bist nit da ! 

Dark is my world ; my youth is black, my fortune is veiled, my 
heftrt is decaying. Every limb of mine is trembling ; my blood 



THE FOLKSONG 61 

grows cold ; I should feel well with you in one grave. Oh, what 
do you want of me, mother? Why do you vex your child? Why 
do you wish to bury me? For what sins of mine? I have had 
no joy, only suffering and sorrow. I am fading like a leaf, like a 
flower at the end of summer. Where shall I find my friend but 
for one hour ? No one loves me, and you are not here. 

With the same feeling that prompts the Jewish 
woman to repeat the prayer, c O Lord, I thank Thee 
that Thou hast, created me according to Thy will ! ' 
while the man prays, 4 I thank Thee that Thou hast 
created me a man,' she regards her disappointments in 
love as perfectly natural ; and the inconstancy of man, 
which forms the subject of all songs of unhappy love, 
does not call forth recriminations and curses, which one 
would expect, but only regrets at her own credulity. 

One would imagine that the wedding day must ap- 
pear as the happiest in the life of the woman, but such 
is not the case. With it begin all the tribulations for 
which she is singled out ; and the jest-maker, who is 
always present at the ceremony of uniting the pair, 
addresses the bride with the words: 

Bride, bride, weep ! The bridegroom will send you a pot full 
of horseradish, and that will make you snivel unto your very 
teeth, 

inviting her to weep instead of smiling, and he follows 
this doggerel with a discussion of the- vanities of life 
and the sadness of woman's lot. Even if her marital 
happiness should be unmarred by any unfaithfulness of 
her husband, and Jewish men for the greater part 
are good husbands and fathers, there are the cares of 
earning the daily bread, which frequently fall on the 
woman, while the stronger vessel is brooding over some 
Talmudical subtleties ; there are the eternal worries over 
the babies, and, worst of all, the proverbial mother-in- 



62 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

law, if the wife chances to board with her for the first 
few years after marriage. The ideal of the Jewess is 
but a passing dream, and no one can escape the awaken- 
ing to a horrible reality : 

A Maedele werd a Kale 
In ein Rege, in ein Minut, 
Mit ihr freuen sich Alle 
Die Freud' is' nor zu ihr. 

Der Chossen schickt Presenten, 
Sie werd gar neu geboren, 
Wenn sie thut sich an, 
Wiinscht sie ihm lange Jahren. 

Sie geht mit 'n Chossen spazieren 
Un' thut in Spiegele a Kuck, 
Stehen Olem Menschen 
Un' seinen mekane dem Gliick. 

Ot fiihrt man sie zu der Chupe, 
Un' ot fiihrt man sie zuriick, 
Stehen a Kupe Maedlach 
Un' seinen mekane dem Gliick. 

Auf morgen nach der Chupe, 
Die Freimut is' noch in Ganzen : 
Der Chossen sitzt wie a Meelach 
Un' die Kale geht sich tanzen. 

Drei Jahr nach der Chupe 
Der Freimut is schon arab : 
Die junge Weibel geht arum 
Mit a zudrehter Kopp. 
***** 
" Oi weh, Mutter, Mutter, 
Ich will vun dir nit horen, 
Ich wollt' schon besser wollen 
Zuriick a Maedel wer'n ! " 

A girl is made a bride in a moment, in a minute, all rejoice 
with her, with her alone. The groom sends presents, she feels all 
new-born ; when she attires herself, she wishes him long years. 



THE FOLKSONG 68 

She gets ready to walk with the bridegroom, and looks into the 
mirror, there stands a crowd of people who envy her her good 
luck. Now she is led to the baldachin, now she is led back again, 
there stands a bevy of girls who envy her her luck. The next 
day after the marriage, the joy is still with them: the bride- 
groom sits like a king, the bride is a-dancing. Three years after 
the marriage, the joy has left them: the young woman walks 
around with a troubled head. . . . * Woe to me, mother, mother, I 
do not want to hear of you, I should like, indeed, to be a young 
girl again.' 

Pathetic are the recitals of suffering at the house of 
her husband's parents, where she is treated worse than 
a menial, where she is without the love of a mother to 
whom she is attached more than to any one else, and 
where she ends miserably her young years : * 

Mein' Tochter, wu bist du gewesen ? 
Bei 'm Schwieger un' Schwahr, 
Was brummt wie a Bar, 
Mutter du Hebe, du meine ! 

Mein Tochterl, awu hast du dorten gesessen ? 
Anf a Bank, 
Keinmal nit geramt, 
Mutter du liebe, du meine ! 

Mein' Tochter, awu hast du dorten geschlafen ? 

Auf der Erd, 

Keinmal nit gekehrt, etc. 

Tochterulu, was hat man dir gegeben zu Koppen? 

A Sackele Heu, 

In Harzen is' weh, etc. 

Tochterulu, in was hat man dir gefiihrt? 
In kowanem Wagen, 
Mit Eisen beschlagen, etc. 

1 See the prototype of this song in K. Francke, Social Forces in Ger- 
man Literature, p. 120. 



64 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Tochterl, iiber was hat man dir gefiihrt? 
Uber a Biiick', 
Keinmal nit zuriiek, etc. 

Tochterulu, mit was hat man dir gefiihrt? 

Mit a Ferd, 

Jung in der Erd', 

Mutter du. liebe, du meine ! 

My daughter, where have you been? At mother-in-law's and 
father-in-law's, who growls like a bear, mother dear, mother mine ! 
My daughter, where did you sit there ? Upon a bench never 
cleaned, mother dear, mother mine ! My daughter, where did 
you sleep there ? Upon the ground, never swept, etc. Daughter 
dear, what did they lay under your head? A bag of hay, in my 
heart there is a pain, etc. Daughter dear, in what did they drive 
you ? In a wagon covered with iron bands, etc. Daughter 
dear, over what did they lead you ? Over a bridge, never back, 
etc. Daughter dear, with what did they drive you ? With a 
horse, young into the earth, mother dear, mother mine ! 

Equally pathetic are the songs that sing of widow- 
hood. This is a far more common occurrence among 
Jews than among other people and causes much greater 
inconveniences to the helpless woman. It is caused 
either by the natural occurrences of death or by self- 
assumed exile to escape military service which is natu- 
rally not to the tastes of the Jew, as we shall see later, 
or frequently by ruthless abandonment. This latter 
case is the result of early marriages in which the con- 
tracting parties are not considered as to their tastes ; 
often the young man finds awakening in himself an 
inclination for higher, Gentile, culture, but he finds his 
path impeded by the ties of family and the gross inter- 
ests of his consort. If he can, he gets a divorce from 
her, but more frequently he leaves her without further 
ado, escaping to Germany or America to pursue his 
studies. His wife is made an Agune, a grass-widow, 



THE FOLKSONG 65 

who, according to the Mosaic law, may not marry again 
until his death has been duly certified to : 

Auf n Barg stent a Taiibele, 
Sie thut mit ihr Paar brummen, 
Ich hab' geha't a guten Freund 
Un' kann zu ihm nit kummen. 

Bachen Trahren thuen sich 
Vun meine Augen rinnen, 
Icli bin geblieben wie a Spiiudele 
Auf dem Wasser scliwimmen. 

Gar die Welt is auf mir gefallen, 
Seit ich bin geblieben allein, 
Sitz' ich doch Tag un' Nacht 
Jammerlich un' wein\ 

Teichen Trahren thuen sich 
Rinnen vun meine Augen, 
Teh soil haben Fliegelach, 
Wollt' ich zu ihm geflogen. 

Legt sich, Kinderlach, alle arum mir, 
Euer Tate is' vun euch vertrieben . 
Kleine Jessomim sent ihr doch 
Un' ich bin ein Almone geblieben. 

On the mountain stands a dove ; she is cooing to her brood : I 
have had a good friend, and I cannot get to him. Brooks of tears 
flow out of my eyes ; I am left like a piece of wood swimming on 
the water. The whole world has fallen upon me since I am left 
alone ; I sit day and night and weep bitterly. Rivers of tears pour 
forth from my eyes. If I had wings I should fly to him. Lie 
down, children, all around me ! Your father has been taken away 
from you : You are now young orphans, and I am left a widow. 

As sad as the widow's is the lot of the orphan. 
Fatherless and motherless, he seems to be in every- 
body's way, and no matter what he does, he is not 
appreciated by those he comes in contact with. There 
are many songs of the dying mother who finds her last 



66 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

moments embittered by the thought that her children 
will suffer privations and oppression from their step- 
mother and from other unkind people. There are also 
beggar's songs which tell that the singers were driven 
to beggary through loss of parents. The following 
verses, touching in their simplicity, recite the sad 
plight of an orphan : 

Wasser schaumt, Wasser schaumt, 
Thut man ganz weit horen, 
Wenn es starbt der Vater-Mutter, 
Giesst der Jossem mit Trahren. 

Der Jossem geht, der Jossem geht, 
Der Jossem thut gar umsiist, 
Leut' schatzen, Leut' sagen, 
As der Jossem t'aug' gar nischt. 

Der Jossem geht, der Jossem geht, 

Un' in Zar un' in Pein, 

Leut' schatzen, Leut' sagen, 

As der Jossem is' schicker vun Wein. 

Bei meine Freund', bei meine Freund' 
Wachst Weiz un' Korner, 
Bei mir Jossem, bei mir Jossem 
Wachst doch Gras un' Dorner. 

Gottunju, Gottunju, 

Gottunju du mein, 

Was hast du mich nit beschaffen 

Mit dem Masel wie meine Freund ? 

Water foams, water foams, one can hear afar. When father 
and mother die the orphan sheds tears. The orphan goes, the 
orphan goes, the orphan does all in vain. People judge, people say 
that the orphan is good for nothing. The orphan goes, the orphan 
goes, in pain and in sorrow. People judge, people say that the 
orphan is drunk with wine. With my friends, with my friends 
there grows wheat and grain. With me, orphan, with me, orphan, 
there grow but grass and thorns. Dear God, dear God, dear God 
of mine ! Why have you not created me with the same luck as my 
fl lends have? 



THE FOLKSONG 67 

The tender feelings of love, replete with sorrows and 
despair, are left almost entirely to women ; men are too 
busy to sing of love, or less romantic in their natures. 
But they are not entirely devoid of the poetic sentiment, 
and they join the weaker sex in rhythmic utterance, 
whenever they are stirred to it by unusual incidents 
that break in on their favorite attitude of contemplation 
and peaceful occupations. Such are military service, the 
pogroms, or mob violence, and riots periodically insti- 
tuted against the Jewish population, expatriation, and 
the awful days of Atonement. On these occasions they 
rise to all the height of feeling that we have found in 
the other productions, and the expression of their 
attachment to their parents, wives, and children is 
just as tender and pathetic. The Russian Jew is nat- 
urally averse to the profession of war. He is not at 
all a coward, as was demonstrated in the Russo-Turkish 
War, in which he performed many a deed of bravery ; 
but what can be his interest to fight for a country 
which hardly recognizes him as a citizen and in which 
he cannot rise above the lowest ranks in civil offices 
or in the army, although he is called to shed his blood 
on an equal footing with his Christian or Tartar fel- 
low-soldier ? Before the reign of Nicholas he was re- 
garded beyond the pale of the country's attention and 
below contempt as a warrior ; he was expected to pay 
toward the support of the country, but was not allowed 
to be its defender in times of war. He easily acqui- 
esced in this state of affairs, and learned to regard the 
payment of taxes as a necessary evil and the exemption 
from enlistment as a privilege. Things all of a sudden 
changed with the ukase of Emperor Nicholas, by which 
not only military service was imposed on all the Jews 
of the realm, but the most atrocious regime was inaugu- 



68 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

rated to seize the persons who might elude the vigilance 
of the authorities. A whole regiment of Chapers, or 
catchers, were busy searching out the whereabouts of 
men of military age, tearing violently men from wives, 
fathers from infant children, minors from their parents. 
The terror was still increased by the order of 4 canton- 
ment,' by which young children of tender age were 
stolen from their mothers to be sent into distant prov- 
inces to be farmed out to peasants, where it was hoped 
they would forget their Hebrew origin and would be 
easily led into the folds of the Greek-Catholic Church. 1 
This sad state of affairs is described in a long poem, 
a kind of a rhymed chronicle of the event ; it lies at 
the foundation of many later lyrical expressions dealing 
with the aversion to military service, even at a time 
when it was divested of the horrors of Nicholas' regime. 
Under the best conditions, the time spent in the service 
of the Czar might have been more profitably used for 
the study of the Bible and commentaries to the same, is 
the conclusion of several of such poems : 

Ich gen' arauf auf'n Gass' 
Derlangt man a Geschrei : " A <Pass, a Pass ! " 
A Pass, a Pass nab' ich gethan verlieren, 
Thut man mir in Prijom areinfiihren. 
Fiihrt man mir arein in ersten Cheeder, 
Thut man mir aus mem' Mutters Kleider. 

Och un' weh is' mir nischt geschehn, 

Was ich hab' mir nit arumgesehn ! 

Fiihrt man mir arein in andern Cheeder, 
Thut man mir an soldatske Kleider. 
Och un' weh is' mir nit geschehn, etc. 

1 See p. 142 ff. ; add to these A. M. Dick, Der soldatske Syn. Wilna, 
1876, 16mo, 108 pp., which gives a graphic description of the career of 
a cantonist. 



THE FOLKSONG 69 

Fiihrt man mir arein in Schul' schworen, 
Giesst sich vun mir Teichen Trahren. 
Och un' weh is mir nit geschehn, etc. 

Ehder zu tragen dem Keissers Hiitel, 
Besser zu lernen dem Kapitel, 
Och un' weh is* mir nit geschehn, etc. 

Ehder zu essen dem Keissers Kasche, 
Besser zu lernen Chumesch mit Rasche. 

Och un' weh is mir nit geschehn, 

Was ich hab' mir nit arumgesehn ! 

I walk in the street, they cry : " A passport, a passport ! " 
The passport, the passport I have lost. They take me to the en- 
listing office. They lead me into the first room. They take off the 
clothes my mother made me. Woe unto me that I have not be- 
thought myself in time ! They lead me into the second room ; 
they put on me a soldier's uniform. Woe unto me, etc. They 
lead me into the synagogue to take my oath, and rivers of tears 
roll down my face. Woe unto me, etc. Rather than wear the cap 
of the Czar to study a chapter of religious lore. Woe unto me, 
etc. Rather than eat the Czar's buckwheat mush to study the 
Bible with its commentaries. Woe unto me that I have not be- 
thought myself in time ! 

Other soldier songs begin with a detailed farewell 
to parents, brothers, sisters, and friends, after which 
follows a recital of the many privations to which the 
Jewish soldier will be subjected ; in all of these, the 
forced absence from wife or bride is regarded as the 
greatest evil. 

The cup of bitterness has never been empty for the 
Jews that inhabit the present Russian Empire ; they 
had been persecuted by Poland, massacred by the 
Cossacks, and are now exiled from the central prov- 
inces of Russia. Each massacre, each 'pogrom,' has 
given rise to several poems, in which God is invoked 
to save them from their cruel tormentors, or in which 



70 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

there are given graphic descriptions of the atrocities 
perpetrated on the unwary. Like the soldier songs, 
they vary in form from the chronicle in rhymes to the 
metrical lyric of modern times. The oldest recorded 
rhymed chronicle of this kind is the one that tells of 
the blood bath instituted in the Ukraine in the middle 
of last century. The simple, unadorned recital of in- 
humanities concocted by the fertile imagination of a 
Gonto, a Silo, a Maxim Zhelezniak, produces a more 
awful effect than any studied poem could do. 1 

It is no wonder, then, that the Jew takes a gloomy 
view of life, and that whenever he rises to any gener- 
alizations, he gives utterance to the blackest pessimism. 
One such poem depicts the vanities of human life, into 
which one is born as into a prison, from which one is 
freed at best at the Biblical age of three score and ten, 
to leave all the gold and silver to the surviving orphans. 
There is but one consolation in life, and that is, that 
Tore, ' learning,' will do one as much good in the other 
world as it does in this. And yet, under all these dis- 
tressing circumstances, the Jew finds pleasure in whole- 
hearted laughter. His comical ditties may be divided 
into two classes, those in which he laughs at his 
own weaknesses, and those in which he ridicules the 
weaknesses of the Khassidim, the fanatical sect, among 
whom the Rabbis are worshipped as saints and are 
supposed to work miracles. This sect is very numerous 
in Poland and South Russia, is very ignorant, and has 
opposed progress longer than the Misnagdim, to which 
sect the other German Jews in Russia belong. As an 
example of the first class may serve a poem in which 
poverty is made light of: 

1 Cf. Dr. Sokolowski, Die Gseere vun Gonto in Uman uri> Ukraine, 
in Volksbibliothek, Vol. II. pp. 53-60. 



THE FOLKSONG 71 

Ferd' hab' ich vun Paris : 
Drei ohn' Kopp', zwei ohn' Fiiss'. 
Ladrizem bam, ladrizem bam. 

A Rock hab' ich vun guten Tuch, 
Ich hab' vun ihm kein Brbckel Duch. 
Ladrizem, etc. 

Stiewel hab' ich vun guten Leder, 
Ich hab' vun see kein Brbckel Feder. 
Ladrizem, etc. 

Kinder hab' ich a drei Tuz', 

Ich hab' vun see kein Brbckel Nutz. 



Jetzt hab' ich sich arumgetracht 
Un' hab' vun see a Barg Asch' gemacht. 
Ladrizem bam, ladrizem bam. 

Horses I have from Paris, three without heads, and two without 
feet, ladrizem bam, etc. A coat I have of good cloth, I have 
not a trace left of it. Boots I have of good leather, not a 
feather's weight have I left of them. Children I have some three 
dozen, I get no good out of them. So I fell a-thinking and 
made a heap of ashes of them. 

The sensuality, intemperance, and profound igno- 
rance and superstition of the Bebe, or Rabbi, of the 
Khassidim, and the credulity and lightheartedness of 
his followers, form, perhaps, the subject of the most 
poems in the Judeo-German language, as they also form 
the main subject of attack in the written literature of 
the last forty years. 



V. PRINTED POPULAR POETRY 

The author of a recent work on the history of cul- 
ture among the Galician Jews 1 has pointed out how at 
the end of the last century the Mendelssohnian Reform, 
and with it worldly education, took its course through 
Austria into Galicia, to appear half a century later in 
Russia. This quicker awakening in the South was not 
due to geographical position alone, but in a higher 
degree to political and social causes as well. The lan- 
guage of enlightenment was at first naturally enough a 
modernized form of the Hebrew, for the literary German 
was not easily accessible to the Jews of Galicia in the 
period immediately following the division of Poland. 
Besides, although books had been printed in Judeo- 
German for the use of women and c less knowing ' men, 
the people with higher culture, to whom alone the 
Mendelssohnian Reform could appeal, looked with dis- 
dain on the profane dialect of daily intercourse. When, 
however, the time had come to carry the new instruction 
to the masses, the latter had become sufficiently familiar 
with the German language to be able to dispense with 
the intermediary native Jargon. 2 Consequently little 
opportunity was offered here for the development of a 
dialect literature. 

1 Max Weissberg, Die neuhebraische Aufklarungs-literatur in Gali- 
zien. Eine literar-historische Charakteristik. Leipzig und Wien, 
1898, 8vo, 88 pp. 

2 The first two weeklies of Galicia, the Zeitung and Die judische 
Post, published in 1848 and 1849 respectively, are not in the vernacu- 
lar, but in a slightly corrupt German. 

72 



PRINTED POPULAR POETRY 73 

While the Jews of the newly acquired provinces 
were becoming more and more identified with their 
coreligionists of German Austria, their Russian and 
Polish brethren in the Russian Empire were by force of 
circumstances departing gradually from all but the 
religious union with them, and were drifting into en- 
tirely new channels. Previous to the reign of Nicho- 
las I., their civil disabilities barred them from a closer 
contact in language and feeling with their Gentile 
fellow-citizens, while their distance from Germany ex- 
cluded all intellectual relations with that country. The 
masses were too downtrodden and ignorant to develop 
out of themselves any other forms of literature than the 
one of ethical instruction and stories current in the 
previous century. In the meanwhile the Haskala, as 
the German school was called, had found its way into 
Russia through Galicia, and such men as J. B. Levin- 
sohn, A. B. Gottlober, M. Gordon, Dr. S. Ettinger, had 
become its warmest advocates. They threw themselves 
with all the ardor of their natures upon the new doc- 
trine, and tried to correct the neglected education of 
their childhood by a thorough study of German culture. 
It was but natural for them to pass by the opportuni- 
ties offered in their country's language and to seek en- 
lightenment abroad : the Jews were a foreign nation at 
home, without privileges or duties, except those of pay- 
ing taxes, while from Germany, their former abiding- 
place, there shone forth the promise of a salvation from 
obscurantism and spiritual death. Henceforth the word 
4 German ' became in Russia the synonym of ' civilized,' 
and a 4 German ' was tantamount to ' reformed ' and 
4 apostate ' with the masses, for to them culture could 
appear only as the opposite of their narrow Ghetto lives 
and gross superstition. 



74 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

The inauguration of the military regime by Nicholas 
was in reality only meant as a first step in giving civil 
rights to the Jews of his realm ; this reform was later 
followed by the establishment of Rabbinical schools at 
Wilna and Zhitomir, and the permission to enter the 
Gymnasia and other institutions of learning. The Jews 
were, however, slow in taking advantage of their new 
rights, as they had become accustomed to look with 
contempt and fear on Gentile culture, and as they 
looked with suspicion on the Danaid gifts of the gov- 
ernment. The enlightened minority of the Haskala, 
anxious to lead their brethren out of their crass igno- 
rance and stubborn opposition to the cultural efforts of 
the Czar, began to address them in the native dialects 
of their immediate surroundings and to elicit their 
attention almost against their will. Knowing the 
weakness of the Jews for tunable songs, they began to 
supply them with such in the popular vein, now com- 
posing one with the mere intention to amuse, now to 
direct them to some new truth. 1 These poems, like the 

1 The love for songs is very old with the German Jews. Stein - 
schneider's catalogue in the Serapeum mentions a very large number 
of songs. See also L. Lowenstein, Judische und judisch-deutsche 
Lieder, in Jubelschrift zu Ehren des Dr. Hildesheimer, Berlin, 1890, 
pp. 126 ff., and under the same title, in Monatschrift fiir Geschichte 
und Wissenschaft des Judenthums, Vol. XXXVIII. pp. 78-89; A. 
Neubauer, Jildisch-deutsches Weingedicht, in Israelit Letterbode, Vol. 
XII. 1. pp. 13 f. But the most thorough work is by F. Rosenberg, 
Ueber eine Sammlung deutscher Volks- und Gesellschafts-lieder in 
hebrdischen Lettern, Berlin, 1888, 8vo, 84 pp. That the modern songs 
are set to music is generally indicated in the title-pages or the intro- 
ductions to the printed collections, as, for example, Lieder zu singen 
mit sehr schoene Melodien ; Schoen zum Singen un' zum Lesen ; Mit 
sehr schoene Melodien. In one of his books Zunser (see pp. 90 ff. ) in- 
forms us : 

Ob ihr lejent in Buchel meine Lieder, 
Un' die Melodie hat man euch nit ubergegeben, 



PRINTED POPULAR POETRY 75 

dramas and prose writings by this school of writers 
previous to the sixties, were not written down, but 
passed orally or in manuscript form from town to town, 
from one end of Russia to the other, often changing 
their verses and forming the basis for new popular 
creations. The poet's name generally became disso- 
ciated from each particular poem ; nay, in the lapse of 
time the authors themselves found it difficult to iden- 
tify their spiritual children. An amusing incident 
occurred some time ago when the venerable and highly 
reputed poet, J. L. Gordon, had incorporated a parody 
of Heine's ' Two Grenadiers ' among his collection of 
popular poems, for a plain case was made out against 
him by the real parodist. Gordon at once publicly 
apologized for his unwitting theft by explaining how 
he had found it in manuscript among his papers and 
had naturally assumed it to be his own production. 1 
Another similar mistake was made by Gottlober's 
daughter, who named to me a dozen of current songs 

Is' das wie a photographische Bild, liebe Briider, 
Dacht sich, Alles richtig, nor es fehlt Leben. 

Introduction to Hamnageen. 

While another, B. Z. Rabinowitsch (in Disput vun a Schiller mit a 
Klausnik), thinks he must offer an apology for not having composed 
a tune for his poem : 

Mit was far a Melodie ihr wet spielen, 
Wbllen die Worter gewiss nachtanzen ! 

Zunser, who did not scruple to make use of other people's property 
(see p. 92), objects, in Kol-rina, to the people's appropriation of his 
songs in the following words : 

Wie me hat mich gehort a Mai zu zwei, 

Is' schon gewe'n auf inorgen geschrieben bei see : 

Es hat mir vardrossen sejer Muh', 'chleben, 

Un' hab' see besser a fartigen, a gedruckten gegeben. 

Woschod, 1886, No. 5. 



76 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

which she said belonged to her father, having received 
that information from himself, but which on close 
examination were all but one easily proven as belonging 
to other poets. 1 

Most difficult of identification are now Gottlober's 
poems, 2 he having never brought out himself a collec- 
tive volume of his verses, although he certainly must 
have written a great number of them as early as the 
thirties when he published his comedy 'Das Decktuch.' 
Those that have been printed later in the periodicals 
are either translations or remodellings of well-known 
poems in German, Russian, and Hebrew ; but even they 
have promptly been caught by the popular ear. The 
one beginning c Ich lach' sich vun euere Traten aus,' in 
which are depicted humorously the joys of the Jewish 
recluse, has been pointed out by Katzenellenbogen as a 
remodelling of a poem that appeared in a Vienna period- 
ical; 3 the sources of some of the others he mentions 
himself, while the introductory poem in his comedy is 
a translation of Schiller's 4 Der J tingling am Bache.' 
From these facts it is probably fair to assume that 
most, if not all, of his other poems are borrowings from 
other literatures, preeminently German. This is also 
true of his other productions, which will be mentioned 

1 The only collection of Judeo-German poetry accessible to those 
who do not read the Hebrew type is G. H. Dalman's Jiidisch-deutsche 
Volkslieder aus Galizien und Bussland, Zweite Auflage, Berlin, 1891, 
8vo, 74 pp.; unfortunately there are a number of errors in it that 
destroy the sense of some lines. See also L. Wiener, Popular Poetry 
of the Bussian Jews, in Americana Germa?iica, Vol. II. No. 2 (1898), 
pp. 33-59, on which the present chapter is based. 

2 His poems have been printed in the following periodicals : Kol- 
mewasser, Vol. I. Nos. 4, 5, 6 {Das Grdber-lied) et seq. ; Warschauer 
jiidische Zeitung ; Jisrulik, No. 13 ; Jud. Volksblatt, Vol. II. No. 10; 
Wecker, pp. 26-29 ; Jud. Volksbibliothek, pp. 148-153. 

8 Katzenellenbogen, Jiidische Melodien (q.v.), p. 55, note. 



PRINTED POPULAR POETRY 77 

in another place. Nevertheless he deserves an honor- 
able place among the popular poets, as his verses are 
written in a pure dialect of the Southern variety, he is 
a native of Constantin in the Government of Volhynia, 
and as they have been very widely disseminated. 

No one has exercised a greater influence on the suc- 
ceeding generation of bards than the Galician Wolf 
Ehrenkranz, better known as Welwel Zbarzer, i.e. from 
Zbaraz, who half a century ago delighted small audiences 
in Southern Russia with his large repertoire. There are 
still current stories among those who used to know him 
then, of how they would entice him to their houses and 
treat him to wine and more wine, of which he was inor- 
dinately fond, how when his tongue was unloosened he 
would pour forth improvised songs in endless succession, 
while some of his hearers would write them down for 
Ehrenkranz's riling and finishing when he returned 
to his sober moods. These he published later in five 
volumes, beginning in the year 1865 and ending in 
1878. While there had previously appeared poems in 
Judeo-German in Russia, he did not dare to publish 
them in Galicia except with a Hebrew translation, and 
this method was even later, in the eighties, adopted by 
his countrymen Apotheker and Schafir. Ehrenkranz 
has employed every variety of folksong known to 
Judeo-German literature except historical and allegori- 
cal subjects. Prominent among them are the songs 
of reflection. Such, for example, is 'The Nightin- 
gale,' in which the bird complains of the cruelty of men 
who expect him to sing sweetly to them while they 
enslave him in a cage , but the nightingale is the poet 
who in spite of his aspiration to fly heavenwards must 
sing to the crowd's taste, in order to earn a living. 
In a similar way 'The Russian Tea-machine,' 'The 



78 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Mirror,' ' The Theatre,' and many others serve him 
only as excuses to meditate on the vanity of life, the 
inconstancy of fortune, and so forth. 

i The Gold Watch ' is one of a very common type of 
songs of dispute that have been known to various litera- 
tures in previous times and that are used up to the 
present by Jewish bards. They range in length from 
the short folksong consisting of but one question and an- 
swer to a long series of stanzas, or they may become the 
subject of long discussions covering whole books. In 
4 The Gold Watch' the author accuses the watch of 
being unjust in complaining and in allowing its heart to 
beat so incessantly, since it enjoys the privilege of being 
worn by fine ladies and gentlemen, of never growing 
old, of being clad in gold and precious stones. Each 
stanza of the question ends with the words : 

Was fehlt dir, was klapt dir das Herz ? 

The watch's answer is that it must incessantly work, 
that it is everybody's slave, that it is thrown away as 
useless as soon as it stops. So, too, is man. Upon this 
follows what is generally known as a Zuspiel, a byplay, 
a song treating the contrary of the previous matter or 
serving as a conclusion to the same. The Zuspiel to 
4 The Gold Watch ' is entitled 4 'Tis Best to Live with- 
out Worrying. ' There is a series of songs in his collec- 
tion which might be respectively entitled 'Memento 
mori' and 'Memento vivere.' Such are 4 The Tomb- 
stone ' and c The Contented,' 4 The Tombstone-cutter ' 
and 4 The Precentor,' 4 The Cemetery,' and ' While you 
Live, you Must not Think of Death.' The cemetery, 
the gravedigger, the funeral, are themes which have a 
special fascination for the Jewish popular singers, who 
nearly all of them have written songs of the same 
character. 



PRINTED POPULAR POETRY 79 

Another kind of popular poetry is that which deals 
with some important event, such as 4 The Cholera in the 
Year 1866,' or noteworthy occurrence, as 4 The Leipsic 
Fair,' which, however, like the previously mentioned 
poems, serves only as a background for reflections. 
There are also, oddly enough, a few verses of a purely 
lyrical nature in which praises are sung to love and the 
beloved object. These would be entirely out of place 
in a Jewish songbook of the middle of this century had 
they been meant solely as lyrical utterances; but they 
are used by Ehrenkranz only as precedents for his 
'Zuspiele,' in which he makes a Khassid contrast the 
un- Jewish love of the reformed Jew with his own blind 
adoration of his miracle-working Rabbi. These latter, 
and the large number of Khassid songs scattered through 
the five volumes, form a class for themselves. The 
lightheartedness, ignorance, superstitions, and intem- 
perance of these fanatics form the butt of ridicule of all 
who have written in Judeo-German in the last fifty 
years, but no one has so masterfully handled the sub- 
ject as Ehrenkranz, for he has treated it so deftly by 
putting the songs in the mouth of a Khassid that half 
the time one is not. quite sure but that he is in earnest 
and the poems are meant as glorifications of Khassidic 
blissfulness. It is only when one reads the fine humor 
displayed in ' The Rabbi on the Ocean ' that one is in- 
clined to believe that the extravagant miracles per- 
formed by the Rabbi were ascribed to him in jest only. 
Owing to this quality of light raillery, the songs have 
delighted not only the scoffers, but it is not at all un- 
usual to hear them recited by Khassidim themselves. 

Ehrenkranz also has some songs in which are described 
the sorrows of various occupations, a kind of poetry 
more specially cultivated by Berel Broder. Of the 



80 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

latter little is known except that he composed his songs 
probably at a time anterior to those just mentioned, that 
he had lived at Brody, hence his name, and that he had 
never published them. They were collected by some 
one after his death and published several times ; how- 
ever, it is likely that several of them are of other author- 
ship, as is certainly the case with 4 The Wanderer,' 
which belongs to Ehrenkranz. As has been said above, 
he prefers to dwell on the many troubles that beset the 
various occupations of his countrymen, of the shepherd, 
the gravedigger, the wagon-driver, the school teacher, 
the go-between, the usurer, the precentor, the smuggler. 
They are all arranged according to the same scheme, 
and begin with such lines as: 'I, poor shepherd,' 'I, lame 
beadle,' 4 I, miserable driver,' 'I, wretched school 
teacher,' and so forth. The best of these, and one of 
the most popular of the kind, is probably the ' Song of 
the Gravedigger.' Of the two songs of dispute, 'Day 
and Night ' and ' Shoemaker and Tailor,' the first is re- 
markable in that each praises the other, instead of the 
more common discussions in which the contending par- 
ties try to outrival one another in the display of their 
virtues. 

The style of these two Galicians and their very sub- 
ject-matter were soon appropriated by a very large class 
of folksingers in Russia who amuse guests at wedding 
feasts. Before passing over to the writers in Russia we 
shall mention the two other Galicians who, writing at a 
later time, have remained unknown beyond their own 
country, but one of whom at least deserves to be known 
to a larger circle of readers. The one, David Apothe- 
ker, in his collection 4 Die Leier,' pursues just such aims 
as his Polish or Russian fellow-bards and is entirely 
without any local coloring. The poems are written in 



PRINTED POPULAR POETRY 81 

a pure dialect, without any admixture of German words, 
but their poetic value is small, as they are much too 
didactic. Of far higher importance and literary worth 
are the productions of his contemporary, Bajrach Bene- 
dikt Schafir. Being well versed in German and Polish 
literature, he generally imitates the form of the best 
poems in those languages and often paraphrases them 
for his humble audiences. His language is now almost 
the literary German, now his native dialect, according 
as he sings of high matters or in the lighter vein. In 
the introduction to one of his earlier pamphlets written 
in a pure German, he sa} r s that in Germanizing his 
native dialect it has been his purpose so to purify the 
Jargon that it should become intelligible even to German 
Jews. The most of his songs were collected in * Melo- 
dies from the Country near the River San.' These he 
divided into four parts : Jewish national songs, songs of 
commemoration, songs of feeling, and comical songs, 
the first three, with an elegy on the death of Moses 
Montefiore, forming the first part, the comical songs the 
second part, of the collection. 

The most of the comical songs are in the form of dia- 
logues in which a German, i.e. a Jew of the reformed 
church, discusses with a Khassid the advantage of edu- 
cation ; in others he describes the ignorance of the latter. 
Many of them do not rise above the character of theatre 
couplets, but in the lyrical part the tone is better, and 
in some of his songs he rivals the best folksingers of 
Russia. His ' Midnight Prayer ' and 4 Greeting to 
Zion' are touching expressions of longing for the 
ancient home, just as ' Przemysl, You my Dear Cradle,' 
and 4 Homesickness,' are full of yearning for his native 
country. Of the four songs of commemoration, two 
deal on the famous accusation, in 1883, of the use of 



82 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Gentile blood by the Jews in tbe Passover ceremony, 
one describes the fire in the Vienna Ring theatre, while 
another narrates a similar catastrophe in the town of 
Sheniava. 

As early as 1863 * there was printed in Kiev a volume 
of songs under the name of ' The Evil-tongued Wed- 
ding-jester,' by Izchak Joel Linetzki. Before me lies a 
somewhat later edition of the book : it is published in 
a form of rare attractiveness for those days and bears 
on the title-page a picture of two men, one in European 
dress, the other in the garments of a Khassid, in the 
attitude of discussion. This illustration has appeared 
on all the subsequent editions of the same work ; it ex- 
presses the author's purpose, which becomes even more 
patent in his prose works, to instruct the Khassidim in 
the advantages of culture , however, the few poems in 
the book devoted to this differ from the usual uncon- 
ditional praise of reform, in that they point out that 
the servile imitator of the Gentiles is no better than 
the stubborn advocate of the old regime. Two of the 
poems are versified versions of the Psalms, and there 
are also the usual songs of reflection, and a song of dis- 
pute between the mirror and the clock. Two of the 
poems sing of the joys of May, presenting the rare ex- 
ample of pure lyrics at that early time. These alone 
will hold a comparison with the best of Ehrenkranz's 
songs; the others are somewhat weak in diction and 
loose in execution. 

Few poets have been so popular in Russia as Michel 
Gordon and S. Berenstein were in the past generation, 
the first singing in the Lithuanian variety of the lan- 

1 This I merely surmise, from the statement in the Sseefer Sikoron, 
that he wrote it in 1863, in Kiev, though it is probable that he did not 
print it before 1869. For biography of Linetzki, see pp. 161 ff. 



PRINTED POPULAR POETRY 83 

guage, the second in a southern dialect. Both published 
their collections in Zhitomir in 1869, and Gordon wrote 
an introductory poem for the book of his friend Beren- 
stein. In this he indicates the marked contrast that 
exists in the productions of the two. While the first 
writes to chide superstition and ignorance, the other 
sings out of pity for his suffering race ; while the one 
sounds the battle-cry of progress, the other consoles his 
brothers in their misery ; the one, fearing prosecution 
from the fanatic Khassidim whom he attacks, sent his 
poems out into the world anonymously, the other signed 
his name to them. And yet, however unlike in form 
and content, they were both pervaded by a warm love 
for their people whom they were trying to succor, each 
one in his own way. 

Gordon's 1 poems are of a militant order : 2 he is not 
satisfied with indicating the right road to culture, he 
also sounds the battle-cry of advance. The keynote is 
struck in his famous ; Arise, my People ! ' i Arise, my 
people, you have slept long enough ! Arise, and open 
your eyes ! Why has such a misfortune befallen you 
alone, that you are asleep until the midday hour ? The 
sun has now long been out upon the world ; he has put 
all men upon their feet, but you alone lie crouching and 
bent and keep your eyes tightly closed.' In this poem 
he preaches to his race that they should assimilate 
themselves in manners and culture to the ruling people, 
that they should abandon their old-fashioned garments 

1 For short notices of Gordon and his work, see B. Woloderski, A 
kurze Biographie vun Michel Gordon, in Hausfreund, Vol. II. pp. 147- 
149, and necrology in Hansfreund, Vol. III. p. 312. 

2 Other poems by M. Gordon than those contained in his collective 
volume are to he found in Jud. Volksblatt, Vol. VIII. (Beilage) pp. 
93, 94, 362, 363 ; Vol. IX. No. 16 ; Hausfreund, Vol. I. pp. 39-43 ; 
Vol. II. pp. 73-75, 261-264 ; Familienfreund, Vol. I. pp. 3-6. 



84 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

and distinguishing characteristics of long beard and 
forelock, and that they should exchange even the lan- 
guage in which he sings to them for the literary 
language of the country. 

Assimilation was the cry of all the earnest men 
among the Russian Jews before the eighties, when the 
course of events put a damper on the sanguine expecta- 
tions from such a procedure. Many of his other poems 
are of a humorous nature and have been enormously 
popular. In ' The Beard,' a woman laments the loss of 
that hirsute appendage of her husband, who, by shav- 
ing it off, had come to look like a despised 'German.' 
' The Turnip Soup ' and ' I Cannot Understand ' are 
excellent pictures of the ignorance and superstitious 
awe of the Khassidim before their equally ignorant and 
hypocritical Rabbis ; other poems deal with the stupid- 
ity of the teachers of children, and the undue use of 
spirituous drinks on all occasions of life. 

Two of his earliest poems are devoted to decrying 
the evil custom of early marriages, in which the tastes 
of the contracting parties are not at all considered. In 
the one entitled 'From the Marriage Baldachin,' he 
paints in vivid colors the course of the married life of 
a Jew from the wedding feast through the worries of 
an ever-increasing family, and the helplessness of the 
father to provide for his children, with the consequent 
breaking up of the family ties. The catching tune to 
which the poem is sung, and all folksongs are naturally 
set to music, generally by the authors themselves, and 
the lifelike picture which it portrays, have done a 
great deal to diminish the practice ; while the other, 
'My Advice,' addressed to a girl, advising her to 
exercise her own free will and reasonable choice of 
her life's companion, has helped to eliminate misery 



PRINTED POPULAR POETRY 85 

and to introduce the element of love in the marital 
stage. 

In his advocacy of reform, Gordon had in mind the 
clearing of the Jewish religion from the accumulated 
superstitions of the ages which had almost stifled its 
virgin simplicity, not an abandonment of any of its fun- 
damental principles in the ardent desire for assimilation. 
True culture is, according to him, compatible with true 
piety, and a surface culture, with its accompanying 
slackness of religious life, is reprehensible. When he 
saw that so many had misunderstood the precepts of 
those who taught a closer union with the Gentiles in 
that they adopted the mere appearances of the foreign 
civilization and overthrew the essential virtues of their 
own faith, he expressed his indignation in 4 The True 
Education and the False Education,' of which the final 

stanza is : 

True culture makes good and mild, 
False culture makes bad and wild. 
The truly-cultured is a fine man, 
The falsely-cultured is a charlatan. 

Gordon has also written a ballad, 4 The Stepmother,' 
which has given rise to a large number of popular imi- 
tations. In this he tells of a mother whose rest in 
the grave is disturbed by the tears of her child. Upon 
learning that the child has been maltreated by his step- 
mother, she sends up her voice to God, interceding in 
her son's behalf, and then addresses herself to her weep- 
ing child, assuring him that God has heard her prayer. 

Berenstein was no less cultured a man than Gordon. 
His acquaintance with German literature is evidenced 
by his motto from Korner, an occasional quotation from 
Schiller, and his several epigrams which he frankly ac- 
knowledges as translations or adaptations of German 



86 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

originals. Thus it happens that Schiller's c Hoffnung ' 
has been popularized among the Russian Jews in the 
form of a stanza of a long poem, 'The False Hope.' 
Except for these literary allusions, Berenstein wrote 
in the true popular vein. His c The Cradle,' in which 
he makes use of the well-known verses, ' Hinter Jankeles 
Wiegele,' has become as universal as the oral cradle 
song. Its last stanza enjoins the child to sleep well in 
order to gather strength for the sufferings of the next 
day, and this pessimistic view of life becomes ever after 
the prevailing tone in the many cradle songs that have 
been written by younger men. 1 4 The Sleep ' is a varia- 
tion on the motto from Korner's ' Tony,' which is put at 
the head of it : 4 Der Schlummer ist ja ein Friedenhauch 
vom Himmel Schlummern kann nur ein spiegelreines 
Herz.' 'Young Tears' is one of the very few love 
lyrics that appeared in print before the second half of 
the eighties. In 4 The Bar of Soap ' Gordon shows that 
with soap one cannot wash off the blot from his brow, 
the sorrow from his heart. 4 The Empty Bottle ' de- 
scribes the loneliness of him who has lost his wealth, 
and with it his friends. As a 'byplay' to it follows 
a pretty lyric, 4 Consolation.' A * byplay ' bearing the 
same name follows an elegy upon the death of an only 
son. Several of the poems are devoted to the praise 

1 In this conjunction a few of the very many cradle songs will be 
mentioned here as an offset to the statement, frequently heard, that the 
Jews have no songs of that character ; in the chapter on the traditional 
folksongs there have been mentioned a few such ; add to these the 
one given in Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft fur judische Volkskunde, 
Heft II. p. 49. Of the literary cradle songs, the best are Abramo- 
witsch's Alululu, bidne Kind, 'Weh is' der Maine, weh und wilnd (in 
Das kleine dfenschele, p. 121) ; Linetzki's Varscliliess schon deine 
Augen (in Der bceser Marschelik, p. 66); Goldfaden's ScUdf in Freu- 
den, Du weisst kein Leiden (in Die Judene, p. 6) ; S. Rabinowitsch's 
Schlaf\ mein Kind (with music, in his Kol-mewasser, col. 25, 26). 



PRINTED POPULAR POETRY 87 

of the Sabbath, and only two are given to sarcastic 
attacks on the Khassidim. In the latter, the words 
are put in the mouth of a Khassid, who prays to- God 
that he may send again darkness instead of the victori- 
ous light in order that his kind may the more securely 
shear their sheep. 

Another very popular poet of the sixties was Abra- 
ham Goldfaden, 1 who, in 1876, became the founder of 
the Jewish theatre. His literary activity may be 
roughly divided into the period before, and the period 
after, the establishment of the theatre. The first only 
is the subject of our present discussion. Like the other 
two, he published his works in Zhitomir, which, on ac- 
count of the Rabbinical school opened there in the 
forties, had come to be the rallying ground of all those 
who were advocating a progressive Judaism. As the 
title of his first collection, 'The Jew,' indicates, his 
poems are all devoted to strictly Jewish matters. Al- 
though he occasionally has recourse to the method of 
Ehrenkranz, or, foreshadowing his future career, even 
descends to the use of theatre couplets, yet the most 
of his poems have an individual character, differing 
from all of his predecessors. He treats with great 
success, and in a large variety of rhymes, the allegorical 
and the historical song, sometimes as separate themes, 
more often by combining them. 

One of the best allegorical poems is the triad, 4 The 
Aristocratic Marriage.' In the first part, 4 The Be- 
trothal,' he tells us how the humble Egyptian slave, 

1 Some of Goldfaden's poems may be found in : Kol-mewasser ; 
Jisrulik; Wecker, pp. 7-15, 56-62; Der jiidischer Handelskalender, 
pp. 114-118 j Familienfreund, Vol. I. pp. 27-35, Vol. II. pp. 57-59; 
Hausfreund, Vol. II. pp. 5-7 ; Volksbibliothek, Vol. II. pp. 188, 247, 
267, 268; Das heilige Land, pp. 25-29; New Yorker Elustnrte 
Zeitung. 



88 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Israel, was betrothed to his aristocratic bride on Mount 
Sinai. God was the father who gave away the Law to 
his son, and Moses was the Scliadclien, the go-between, 
the never-failing concomitant of a Jewish marriage. 
The second part describes a typical Jewish wedding 
Israel's entrance into Jerusalem ; while the third shows 
how Israel has misused his opportunity while living in 
the house of his wife's father during the years that im- 
mediately follow the marriage. He committed adultery 
with idolatry, and God drove him out of his home, but 
out of regard for his pious ancestry He allowed him 
to take his wife along with him on his wanderings, 
and promised him that after ages of repentance He 
would send him the Messiah to restore him to his former 
home. 

A similar triad, but of a historical nature, is his well- 
known 4 That Little Trace of a Jew,' in which he suc- 
cessively portrays the virtues, the sufferings, and the 
vices of his race. The last part is identical in senti- 
ment with Gordon's ' Arise, my People,' and inculcates 
tolerance for the various religious parties of the Jews 
and love of worldly learning. ' The Firebrand ' relates 
the destruction of the Temple ; 4 Rebecca's Death ' gives 
a Talmudical version of the event ; and 4 Cain ' tells of 
his wanderings over the face of the earth after his kill- 
ing of his brother, and his vain search of death. The 
latter is the most popular of his Biblical songs. Among 
the other poems, many of which are of sterling worth, 
there must be mentioned his lullaby, whose widespread 
dissemination is only second to Berenstein's cradle song. 

The poems which Goldfaden has written during his 
lifetime would fill several large volumes ; they can be 
found scattered through various periodicals which have 
appeared in the last thirty years, and in the greater 



PRINTED POPULAR POETRY 89 

part of the dramas which he has composed for the 
stage which he has created. Most of these are mere 
street ballads, but there are some of a serious nature ; 
of these mention will be made in the chapter on the 
theatre. To the best productions of his first, the most 
original period of his poetical activity, belong the poems 
touching women, contained in the volume entitled 4 The 
Jewess.' From the contents we learn that one of them 
is a translation from Beranger, the other from the Rus- 
sian. It is also characteristic of the history of Jewish 
folk-music that one of the songs, as we are informed in 
the same place, is to be sung to the tune of a well-known 
Russian lullaby, the other with a Little-Russian melody, 
while for a third, is mentioned one of M. Gordon's songs. 
All the above-mentioned poets belong to what might 
be termed the German school. These men were more 
or less intimately acquainted with German literature, 
and frequently borrowed their subject-matter from that 
source. They all were active at a time when the con- 
flict between the old religious life of the Russian Jews 
and the modern tendencies was at the highest. They 
looked for a solution in the reform which, since the days 
of Mendelssohn, has become the watchword of progress 
in Germany. They hoped finally to substitute even the 
German language for the Judeo -German, which they 
regarded as a corrupted form of German, and, therefore, 
named Jargon, an appellation that has stuck to it ever 
since. In the meanwhile, the better classes were receiv- 
ing their instruction in Russian schools that alienated 
them alike from the German influence and from a closer 
contact with their humble coreligionists. Even such 
men as had begun in the forties and fifties as folk-poets, 
were abandoning their homely dialect for the literary 
language of the country. Jehuda Loeb Gordon, the 



90 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Hebrew scholar and poet, had given promise of becom- 
ing the greatest of popular singers. Yet, in the seven- 
ties, he wrote only in Hebrew and Russian, and it was 
only in the eighties, when the riots and expatriations of 
the Jews had destroyed all hopes that had been placed 
in assimilation, that he returned to compose songs for 
the consolation of his humble and unfortunate brothers. 1 
J. L. Gordon has written but few Judeo-German poems, 
and, of these, not more than nine or ten are folksongs ; 
but they represent the highest perfection of the older 
school of the popular bards. He has not been surpassed 
by any of them in simplicity of diction, warmth of feel- 
ing, and purity of language. Two of his oldest poems, 
4 A Mother's Parting,' and 'A Story of Long-Ago,' relate, 
the first, the hardships of a Jewish soldier in the forties ; 
the second, the horrors of the regime of Chapers, the 
dishonesty and inhumanity of the Rahal, the represen- 
tative body of the Jewish community. The newer 
poems are all of a humoristic nature, except the one 
devoted to the praise of 4 The Law Written on Parch- 
ment ' that has been the consolation of the Jews during 
their many wanderings and persecutions. 

Parallel with the German school, now overlapping 
its territory, now pursuing its own course, ran the class 
of poetry that had for its authors the Badchens or Mar- 
schaliks 2 the wedding jesters. In medieval times 

1 A song expressive of this sentiment, under the title Unsere Hebe 
Schwester tm' Bruder, appeared in Jild. Volksblatt, Vol. I. (1881), 
No. 2. Other poems were printed in the same year in Nos. 1 and 5 ; 
another poem was printed in Jud. Volksbibliothek, Vol. I. pp. 295, 
296. A review of his collected poems is given in Voschod, Vol. VI. 
(1886), Part. II. pp. 26-31. For necrology see Hausfreund, Vol. III. 
p. 312. 

2 Cf. Abrahams, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, pp. 198 ff. It 
is not uncommon in Judeo-German literature to meet with the descrip- 



PRINTED POPULAR POETRY 91 

the jester's function was to amuse the guests at the wed- 
ding, while the more serious discourses were delivered 
by the Rabbi and the bridegroom. In Russia he had 
come to usurp all these functions. He improvised 
verses upon the various stages of the marriage cere- 
mony, delivered the solemn discourses to bridegroom 
and bride, and furnished the wit during the banquet. 
His improvisations were replete with Biblical and Tal- 
mudical allusions, and cabbalistic combinations of the 
Hebrew letters of the names of the married couple. 
His verses were mere rhyming lines, without form or 
rhythm, and his jests were often of a low order and 
even coarse. The name of 4 badchen ' came to be the 
byname of a coarse, uncultured jester. A change for 
the better was made in the second half of the fifties by 
Eliokum Zunser, 1 then but in his teens, who had con- 
ceived the idea of making the badchen a singer of 
songs, rather than a merry person. He was, no doubt, 
led to make this innovation through the many new folk- 
songs, by Gordon, Ehrenkranz, and Berel Broder, that 
were then current among the people, and that were 

tion of the old-fashioned badchen and his craft, but probably the best 
illustrations of his performances are to be found in the following 
works : Linetzki, Das chsidische Jungel, pp. 94 ff. ; Gottlober, Das 
Decktuch, pp. 43 ff. (2d act, 2d scene) ; Der krummer Maschelik mit 
a blind Aug\ Es is' sehr schoen zu lejenen die Lieder, was der Mar- 
schelik hat gesungen, un' wie er hat Chossen-kale besungen, un' see 
sennen noch kein Mai nit gedruckt gewor'en : Kukariku ! Der Mar- 
schelik is' da, Warsaw, 1875 ; U. Kalmus, Geschichte vun a seltenem 
Bris wn' a genarrte Chassene, Theater in vier Akten, Warsaw, 1882, 
pp. 65-72. 

1 In addition to the large number of collective books of poetry, 
Zunser has published his poems in: Jild. Volksblatt, Vol. V. pp. 51, 
67 ; Wecker, pp. 74-88 ; Familienfreund, Vol. I. pp. 6-27 ; Haus- 
freund, Vol. II. pp. 99-108 ; Spektor's Familienkalender, Vol. IV. 
pp. 94-103; Jud. Volksbib., Vol. I. pp. 273, 274; Das heil. Land, 
pp. 134-141. 



92 YIDDISH LITERATUKE 

received with so much acclamation, both on account of 
their pleasing contents and the excellent tunes to which 
they had been set. In 1861, he published eight of his 
songs which he had been singing at weddings. One of 
these, at least, 'The Watch,' is merely a differently 
versified form of Ehrenkranz's ' The Gold Watch,' 
which must have reached him in its oral form, as it 
was printed only in 1865. Zunser possessed an excel- 
lent voice, and had received a good musical training, 
and his songs and tunes spread with astonishing 
rapidity throughout the whole length and breadth of 
Russia, wherever Jews lived, and became also popular 
in Galicia and Roumania. This innovation came to 
stay, and, within a short time, the host of badchens 
throughout the country began to sing songs at wedding 
feasts. Whoever could, composed songs of his own ; 
whoever was not gifted with the power of versification, 
sang the songs of others. These badchens were the 
most potent factors in the dissemination of the songs 
of the above-mentioned poets, long before they were 
accessible in a printed form. 

Since it was the badchen's business to amuse, it was 
natural for Zunser to adopt the manner of Ehrenkranz 
and Berel Broder, rather than that of his countrymen, 
Gordon and Goldfaden. But to the Russian Jew, that 
is amusing which gives him food for reflection, and 
nature and its manifestations are interesting to him 
only in so far as they interpret man in all his aspects of 
life and vicissitudes of fortune. It is this facile power 
of dissolving external facts in the alembic of his intro- 
spective imagination, that has brought Zunser so near to 
the people, and that has made him so popular. He does 
not possess the poetical instincts of his contempora- 
ries, Gordon and Ehrenkranz ; and many of his poems 



PRINTED POPULAR POETRY 93 

are mere plagiarisms from other singers. Yet they have 
become better known in the form in which he has sung 
them than in their original verses. 

All the characteristics of the poets whom he imitates 
are repeated in Zunser : we have the dispute in 4 The 
Countryman and the Townsman,' ' The Old World and 
the New,' * Song of Summer and Winter.' The best 
of his songs of reflection is ' The Flower,' in which the 
Jew is compared with a neglected flower ; other poems 
of the same category are 'The Railroad,' 'The Ferry,' 
The Iron Safe,' The Clock,' 4 The Bird.' There are 
also songs in which he scourges the Irypocrite, the usu- 
rer, the inordinate love of innovations and fashion, and 
some give good pictures of various incidents in the life 
of a Russian Jew. 

Zunser has had many imitators, and their name is 
legion ; few of them have been so versatile or have 
become so popular as he. They delight in their voca- 
tion of badchen, and take pains to mention their pro- 
fession on the title-pages of the pamphlets which they 
publish, and frequently they try to make their publica- 
tions more attractive by giving them the title of 4 The 
Lame Marschalik,' 4 The Marschalik with One Eye,' and 
so forth. Many of the improvisations of the badchen 
never see daylight, but pass in manuscript form to their 
brothers in the profession. Although, in the eighties, 
there has arisen a new class of singers who sing in the 
manner of the poets of the literary languages, yet the 
badchens still recite in the old style, frequently, how- 
ever, reflecting the new conditions of life in their poems. 
A strange departure has taken place in the badchen's 
profession in America, where, under more favorable 
conditions of existence and increased well being, there 
has come to be a greater demand for amusement ; the 



94 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

wedding day is no longer the one day of joy, but the 
'jester' is now invited to entertain companies at any 
and all pleasurable meetings. He is now no longer 
required to create new poems, but to sing well the 
current couplets of the day. 



VI. OTHER ASPECTS OF POETRY BEFORE 
THE EIGHTIES 

The popular poem, i.e. the tunable song, had only- 
two purposes, to. amuse and to prepare a way for the 
Reform. But these did not exhaust all the possibilities 
of poetic compositions and, in fact, were not the only 
ones to task the powers of the Judeo-German versifiers. 
An opportunity for more extended themes was given 
the badchens in their songs of contemplation, in which 
the moralizing tendency needed only to be developed 
at the expense of the allegory, in order to change the 
song into a rhymed sermon. Nor was the public un- 
prepared for serious matters, for the greater part of all 
Judeo-German literature had been merely treatises of an 
ethical character in which the element of sadness caused 
by centuries of suffering predominated. The perfec- 
tion of art is to the mind of a Jew its ability to move 
to tears. It is expected of the violinist that he shall 
play the saddest tunes in the minor key, such as will 
make his hearers weep like * beavers ' ; the precentor's 
reputation depends on his powers to crush his audience, 
to call forth contrition of spirit, to make the hearts 
bleed ; and the author who can make his reader dissolve 
in tears, no matter how absurd the story, is sure to 
become popular with a Jewish public. We have seen 
how the badchen at the marriage ceremony bade the 
bride to weep, and it has also been mentioned that he 
delivered the more serious discourses upon that occa- 
sion. It was then that he would spin out hundreds of 

95 



96 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

stanzas upon such subjects as 'The Unhappy Man,' 
4 Pity,' 4 Dialogue of the New-born Soul with the Angel 
of Life,' l Sorrow,' and the like. 

In the meanwhile, the old rhymed moral treatises 
continued in force and gave rise to compositions of a 
more regular structure. Two authors must here be 
specially mentioned, S. Sobel and Elieser Zwi Zweifel. 
The first published, in 18T4, a book under the title of 
4 Destiny, or Discussions for Pleasant Pastime,' in which 
he makes use of the popular method of disputes between 
various objects in order to inculcate a series of moral 
truths. He excels in the use of a vigorous, idiomatic 
language, while Zweifel has shown what strength there 
lies in the employment of the simplest words for a simi- 
lar kind of literature. Zweifel's 1 older productions, 
only two in number, are, one, a translation from 
the Hebrew, the other probably an imitation of a 
foreign model. The first contains a series of aphorisms, 
while the other teaches the wisdom of life in the testa- 
ment of a dying father. These verses, like his prose 
works, belong among the most cherished writings of 
the Russian Jews and have been reprinted in a large 
number of editions. After his death another one of 
his poems was published which differs from its prede- 
cessors in that it is somewhat more elaborate and is 
entirely original. 

Considering the love of verse on the one hand and the 
great demand on the other for a Judeo-German prayer- 
book for women, which has never ceased to be a neces- 
sity, the book-firm Eisenstadt and Schapiro had the 

1 Other works by Zweifel than those given in the Bibliography are : 
Hausfreund, Vol. I. pp. 73-78, Vol. II. pp. 143-145 ; Spektor's Fami- 
lienkalender, Vol. II. pp. 82-87; Jud. Volksbibl., Vol. I. pp. 48-61, 
Vol. II. pp. 132-135. 



OTHER ASPECTS OF POETRY 97 

happy idea to ask the then famous author Abramo- 
witsch 1 to make a trial translation of a part of the 
Psalms in verse. This appeared to them so successful 
that they had him proceed with the Sabbath-prayers and 
the hymns, which were then printed in 1875 at Zhitomir. 
By the "machinations of the great firm of Romm, in 
Wilna, who were afraid that such an excellent transla- 
tion might seriously interfere with their sale of their 
old, stereotyped form of the prayer-book, Abramowitsch 
was made to desist from finishing the meritorious task 
that he had begun, and even the two books printed were 
for a long time kept out of circulation. The Sabbath- 
prayers he gave not merely in a versified form, but 
the most prosaic passages, by slight additions and 
remodellings, he so changed that they resemble the 
songs in a Gentile hymn-book. Still greater has been 
the work that he had to perform in making poetry out 
of the laconic hymns, for that could be accomplished 
only by amplifying them to ten and twenty times their 
original size. For this purpose he has availed himself 
of the current commentaries to the hymns, and this he 
has done in such a way that the hymns, in their origi- 
nal form, occur as conclusions to the poems. Except 
for a certain monotony of the masculine rhymes which 
are employed in them, they are masterpieces of religious 
poetry, and it is only a pity that the author has not 
published yet a translation of the Psalms, which cer- 
tainly lend themselves more easily to poetic diction. 

While these sacred poems were being printed in 
Zhitomir, there appeared in Warsaw another poetical 
production by the same author, in its way the most 
remarkable work in the whole range of Judeo-German 
literature. It bears the title of 4 Judel, a Poem in 
1 For note on Abramowitsch, see pp. 148 ff. 



98 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Rhymes,' and in about four thousand verses tells the 
unfortunate course of the life of Judel, the Jew. 
When examining it closely, one discovers that, like 
Goldfaden's 4 The Aristocratic Marriage,' it is an alle- 
gorical story of the historical vicissitudes in the develop- 
ment of Judaism and of the sufferings of the Jew through 
the centuries. Not only is the story told unobtrusively, 
so that one does not at all suspect the allegory, but the 
wonderment increases when upon a second and third 
perusal one becomes aware of the wealth of Biblical 
allusions upon which alone the whole plot is based. 
The future commentator of this classic will, when it 
shall be fully appreciated, find his task made much 
easier by the many references to Biblical passages which 
Abramowitsch has himself made in footnotes. The 
value of this gem is still more enhanced by the refined 
language used in it, a characteristic of all of Abramo- 
witsch's works. 

Ten years later Goldfaden returned to the allegory 
of his 4 Aristocratic Marriage,' completing it, after the 
example of Abramowitsch, in a poem of about six hun- 
dred lines, entitled 4 Schabssiel, a Poem in Ten Chap- 
ters (Thoughts after the Riots in Russia).' The 
master's influence on this poem is not to be mistaken, 
for it serves as a pendant to the previous work ; it is 
as it were a continuation of it. Abramowitsch's 
poem ends with the futile attempt of Mephistopheles 
to tempt Judel to a course of vice, when he discovers 
Jiidel's wife, i.e. the Law, faithfully by his side. In 
Schabssiel, the sufferings of the Jew are ascribed to his 
having departed from the Law, to his having desecrated 
the Sabbath. Though somewhat fantastic in its plot, 
and far from reaching his predecessor's philosophic 
grasp of the Jew's history, his work is full of fine pas- 



OTHER ASPECTS OF POETRY 99 

sages and may be counted among the best of his produc- 
tions. At about the same time, another young writer, 
M. Lew, made use of the form of i Judel ' in a poem 
whose title fc Hudel ' seems to indicate its obligation to 
the prototype. There is in this even less of a philo- 
sophical background than in the verses just mentioned, 
and by its subject-matter it clearly belongs to the fol- 
lowing period, for it describes not a purely Jewish 
theme, but one of a more general character, namely the 
fall of an orphan who is left to shift for herself in the 
world. It is, however, given in this place as being, at 
least in outward form, a direct descendant of Abramo- 
witsch's 'Judel.' While not of the highest poetic value, 
it is written in a good style and gives promise of better 
things should the author choose to proceed in his poetic 
career. Mention must here also be made of a versified 
story, ' Lemech, the Miracle Worker,' by M. Epstein, to 
which we shall return later. 

Like the allegory, the fable has been a favorite sub- 
ject of imitation among the writers from the beginning 
of this century. We possess such, partly translations 
or adaptations, partly original, from Suchostawer, Dr. 
Ettinger, Gottlober, Reichersohn, Katzenellenbogen. 
Of Suchostawer's, only one, a translation of one of Kry- 
lov's fables, ' The Cat and the Mice,' 1 has come down to 
us. It was written in 1829, and, like the fables by 
Ettinger, circulated in the thirties and forties, is far 
superior to any translation from Krylov that has ap- 
peared before 1880. The most original production is 
that by Gottlober called 4 The Parliament,' a poem of 
more than one thousand lines, in which he gives an 
explanation why the lion had been chosen king of all 

1 Mordechai Suchostawer, Der woler Eeze-geber, in JM. Volks- 
blatt, Vol. V. p. 310. 



100 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

the animals. While some of the matter contained in it 
is unquestionably borrowed from other sources, yet the 
whole is moulded in so novel a form, with such a pro- 
nounced Jewish setting and biting wit, that it occupies 
a place by itself in the history of fables. After the 
candidacy of all the beasts, from the donkey to the 
wolf, had been rejected as incompatible with the highest 
security of the rest, the lion appears on the scene, and 
by his majestic presence at once silences the contend- 
ing parties ; and he is at once and unanimously chosen 
to his high post. " He rules in fairness, does no wrong, 
not a sigh is heaved by any of the animals against him ; 
the forest is ruled as of yore : the weak lie still, the 
strong go free, the great are great, the humble are 
humble : well to him who has sharp teeth ! It has 
been so of old, and you cannot change the course of 
things. But no one need complain of the lion as 
long as he feels no hunger in his stomach, for then 
he is all peace and rest, God grant there be many 
such ! " 

The whole of Krylov was translated into Judeo-Ger- 
man, though with but moderate success, in 1879 by Zwi 
Hirsch Reichersohn, and more weakly still in 1890 by 
Israel Singer. Two of the fables have been admirably 
rendered by Katzenellenbogen, who has also produced a 
number of excellent poems in the popular style which 
surpass those of Goldfaden in regularity of structure. 
He has also translated a few poems from the Russian 
and Hebrew, all with the same degree of care dis- 
played in the renderings from Krylov. His songs 
have not been disseminated among the people, the 
most of them not having been published until quite 
lately. 

The most unique person in Judeo-German literature 



OTHER ASPECTS OF POETRY 101 

of the first half of this century is Dr. Ettinger. 1 All 
that is known about him is given in the scanty literary 
recollections by Gottlober. He there says that Dr. 
Ettinger had studied medicine at Lemberg, where he 
became acquainted with the Judeo-German writings 
of Mendel Lefin, who is regarded as the first man of 
modern times to use the dialect of everyday life for 
literary purposes. He then settled in Zamoszcz, which 
had been a seat of Hebrew learning of the Haskala. 
Being prohibited to practise medicine with his foreign 
diploma, he became a colonist in the newly formed 
Jewish colonies of the South, but not being successful 
there, he finally settled in Odessa. This is all that is 
given of his biography. It is further known that he 
wrote his comedy 4 Serkele ' in the twenties and that 
he composed a large number of poems, a few of which 
were published in the Kol-mewasser in the sixties, a 
few in the Volksblatt in the eighties. In 1889 his 
family issued a volume of his poetical works which 
forms the basis of our discussion. In this book are 
contained sixty fables, a number of poems of various 
character, and epigrams. About one-half of the collec- 
tion consists of translations from the German ; among 
these are fables and epigrams by Lessing, ballads and 
poems by Schiller, Blumauer, and others. The other 
half is made up of original compositions. All are of 
equal excellence both as to the language used in them 
and the more mechanical structure of the verses. 

In all these poems there is nothing specifically Jewish 

1 Several of the poems contained in the volume of his poetry had 
appeared before : J'ud. Volksblatt, Vol. I. No. 12, Vol. V. pp. 239, 357, 
Vol. VI. pp. 83, 717 ff. ; Familienfreund, Vol. I. pp. 86-93. The 
Astor Library of New York possesses a manuscript of Ettinger's 
fables. 



102 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

except the language, and they might as well have been 
written in any other language without losing the least 
part of their significance. Dr. Ettinger is thus an 
exceptional phenomenon among his confreres, but ex- 
ceptional only in appearance, as the cause for it is not 
far to seek. From the few data of his life we have 
learned that he received his training in the beginning of 
this century in Galicia, where at that time the influence 
of the Mendelssohnian school was most potent. He 
brought with him to Russia not only a love for enlight- 
enment, but also what then was a necessary concomitant 
of that culture, a love for German learning; hence his 
exclusive imitation of German originals. At first the 
privileges of Western education were not only enjoyed 
by a small number of learned men, but there was no 
attempt made at introducing them to the masses at 
large, for that would have been a hazardous occupation 
for those who entered in an unequal combat with the 
superstitious people. It was only after J. B. Levinsohn 
had pointed out in his Hebrew works the desirability 
of educating them, and after he had undertaken to do 
so single-handed, that the other writers, late in the 
thirties and in the forties, began to approach the masses 
in the least offensive manner, by means of the folksong. 
Dr. Ettinger's activity, however, fell in the period 
preceding the militant energy of the Haskala. If he 
wished at all to write in Judeo-German, he could 
appear only as the interpreter of German culture to a 
public imbued with a love for it. What in the begin- 
ning was only a pastime of his leisure hours, soon 
became a passion to try his ingenuity, and he proceeded 
in writing original poems, and continued that practice 
even at a time when the main purpose of Judeo-German 
literature was to educate the people. 



OTHER ASPECTS OF POETRY 103 

Judeo-German poetry has developed in Russia in 
precisely the opposite direction from the one generally 
taken by that branch of literature among other nations. 
Whereas the usual course would have been to pass 
from the simple utterings of the folksong to more and 
more elaborate forms, the process among the Jews 
in Russia has been inverted. The first poetical expres- 
sions were those of Dr. Ettinger, who may be regarded 
as a dialectic continuator of Schiller and Lessing. 
After that followed the school of popular poets of 
the Gordons, Goldfaden, Linetzki, Ehrenkranz, Berel 
Broder. In the seventies a few traces of that school 
are still to be found, but the majority of songs pro- 
duced then smack of the badchen's art, while Gold- 
faden himself has deteriorated into a writer of theatre 
couplets. The explanation of this is found in the fact 
that in the sixties the efforts of the folk-singers were 
crowned with success. The Rabbinical schools had 
graduated several classes of men trained in the Reform, 
the Gymnasia and Universities had been thrown wide 
open to the Jewish youths, and in the next decade 
a large number of them had availed themselves of 
the highest advantages offered in these institutions 
of learning. The cloud of a stubborn ignorance had 
been successfully dispelled, the light shone brightly 
over the whole land. The bard's task was done; he 
had no need to spur the people on to progress, for 
that duty was now devolved on the large host of 
younger men who had tasted the privileges of a Russian 
education. But these had been identifying themselves 
with Russian thought, with Russian ideals. For them 
German culture had little of significance, except as it 
appeared in universal literature, or had affected Russian 
ideas. Still less were they interested in Jewish letters, 



104 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

whether in Hebrew, or in Judeo-German. On the con- 
trary, they were trying hard to forget their humble 
beginnings. Neither for these nor by these could the 
Judeo-German language be employed for any literary 
purposes. The masses had become accustomed to look 
with favor on the new education, and one by one the 
better elements were disappearing from the narrow 
world of the Ghetto. There was still left a large pro- 
portion of those who could not avail themselves of the 
benefits offered them. They knew no other language 
than the homely dialect of their surroundings, and 
they were still thirsting for entertainment such as the 
folk-singers have offered to them. The older men, the 
champions of the Haskala, were dead, or too old to 
write ; the younger men had other interests at heart, 
and thus it was left to a mediocre class of writers to 
supply them with poetry. This part naturally fell to 
the badchens. Another quarter of a century, and 
Judeo-German literature would have run its course ; 
even the badchen would have been silenced. But it 
suddenly rose from its ashes with renewed vigor after 
the riots against the Jews in 1881. 



VII. POETRY SINCE THE EIGHTIES IN 
RUSSIA 

The latest blood-bath was instituted against the Jews 
of Russia in 1881. In the same year there was started 
in St. Petersburg a weekly periodical, Jiidisches Volks- 
blatt, by the editor of the Kol-mewasser which had 
gone out of existence ten years before. The purpose 
of the new publication was to focus all the available 
forces that had been dispersed in the decade preceding 
through the agencies that made for assimilation, and 
to prepare the way for a reneAved activity among the 
people. These no longer needed to be urged on to 
progress, but had to be comforted in the misfortunes 
that had befallen them, and in the dangers that awaited 
them. In the first number of the new periodical there 
appeared the poem of J. L. Gordon on 4 The Law written 
on Parchment,' while the second brought one by the 
same author, outlining his plan to sing words of en- 
couragement to his suffering, hard-working brothers and 
sisters. However, very soon after all singing ceased. 
The year 1882 had been one of too much suffering, 
when even consolation is out of place. Two years 
later S. Rabinowitsch, who was destined by his unrest- 
ing energy and good example to cause a revival of 
Judeo-German literature, justly exclaimed in the same 
weekly 1 in a poem ' To Our Poet ' : "Arise, thou Poet ! 
Where have you been all this time ? Send us from 
afar your words of wisdom ! For what other pleasure 

i Vol. IV. p. 175. 
105 



106 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

have your brothers if not your sweet and consoling 
songs ? " 

While no other singers were forthcoming, Rabino- 
witsch composed himself a series of songs, although he 
was preparing himself to be a novelist. His heart was 
with the poetry of the Russian Nekrasov, and his 
native Judeo-German gave him Michel Gordon for a 
model. He imitated both, taking the structure from 
the Russian, and the manner of the folksong from Gor- 
don. When his talent was just reaching its fullest 
development, he abandoned this branch of literature to 
devote his undivided attention to prose. Only twice 
afterwards he returned to the use of rhythm, once in a 
poem, entitled 4 Progress, Civilization,' an imitation of 
Nekrasov's ' Who lives in Russia Happily,' and at 
another time in a legend in blank verse. The first 
has never been finished, the other appeared in a collec- 
tive volume of poetry published in 1887 by M. Spektor, 
his friend and rival in the resuscitation of Judeo-Ger- 
man letters. 

That volume, named 4 Der Famttienfreund,' was in- 
tended as an attempt to bring together all those who 
wrote poetry ; but we find in it only names that had 
been known to us from the previous period : M. Gor- 
don, Zunser, Goldfaden, Linetzki. 1 To these must be 
added the name of Rabinowitsch just mentioned, and 
of Samostschin, who had furnished a few poems to the 
Kol-mewasser nearly twenty years before. In the 
Volksblatt there were published in the meanwhile a 
few songs by various authors, most prominently by 
Moses Chaschkes. He also printed in 1889 a volume 
of his poems at Cracow, under the name of 'Songs 

1 This is also true of the poets who contributed to ' Der jiidischer 
WeckerS a similar volume published in the same year at Odessa. 



POETRY SINCE 1881 IN RUSSIA 107 

from the Heart,' in which are contained a number of 
reflections on the riots in Russia. There are some 
good thoughts in them, although the technique is 
not always faultless. He, too, belongs to the older 
type of folk-singers. 

The Jews had at that time furnished three names to 
Russian poetry: those of Nadson, Vilenkin (Minski), 
and Frug. Of these the first had a Christian mother 
and died at the early age of twenty-four, in 1886. 
The second had begun his poetical career in the seven- 
ties, after having received a thorough Russian educa- 
tion. There was only Frug left, who had not entirely 
broken with his Jewish traditions, for he had gone 
directly from the Jewish farmer colony where he had 
been born to St. Petersburg to engage in literary 
work. His first Russian poem was published in 1879. 
In 1885 he began to compose also in Judeo-German, 
continuing to do so to the present time. 1 Like many 
other Jewish writers he had become convinced that 
his duties were above all with his race, as long as it 
was oppressed and persecuted, and his energy was thus 
unfortunately split in two by writing in two languages. 
For the same reason such poets as Perez, Winchevsky, 
Rosenf eld, have taken to Judeo-German, which is under- 
stood by few and which in a few decades is doomed to 
extinction, except in countries of persecution. They 
adorn their humble literature, but they would have 
been an honor to other literatures as well, and from 
these they have been alienated. 

1 His poems were printed in : Jild. Volksblatt, Vol. V. p. 515 ; Vol. 
VII. No. 36 ; Vol. VIII. No. 10 ; Beilage No. 3 passim ; Vol. IX. No. 3 
passim; Hausfreund, Vol. I. p. 44; Vol. III. pp. 172-175 (On the 
death of M. Gordon)-, Jud. Volksbib. Vol. I. pp. 260-263 ; Vol. II. pp. 
1-6, 120-125, 139-141, 167-168, 195-204; Jud. Volkskalender, Vol. 
III. pp. 117-124. 



108 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

When Frug began to write in his native dialect, 
he had already acquired a reputation in a literary 
language. He had passed the severe school of the 
poet's technique, had been trained in the traditions of 
his vocation. One could not expect that in descending 
to speak to his coreligionists in their own tongue, he 
would return to the more primitive methods of the 
popular bard. He simply changed the language, but 
nothing of his art. By this transference he only gains 
in reputation, although he loses in popularity, for the 
accusation frequently brought against him, that he con- 
fines himself to too narrow a sphere, falls to the ground 
when he intends that that narrow sphere alone should 
be his audience. Half a century had gone by since 
Dr. Ettinger had introduced the form and subject- 
matter of German poetry, and since those days no such 
harmony had been heard to issue from the mouth of a 
Jewish poet. There were no literary traditions to fall 
back upon, except the folksong of the preceding gen- 
eration ; there scarcely existed a poetical diction for 
Judeo- German, and a variety of dialects were striving 
for supremacy. What he and the people owed to 
Michel Gordon, he expressed in two poems entitled 
4 To Michel Gordon ' and 4 On Michel Gordon's Grave ' ; 
both collectively he named 4 One of the Best.' In an 
allegorical series, 4 Songs of the Jewish Jargon,' he 
sings of the history of the language which is iden- 
tical with that of his downtrodden race. The prologue 
is a model of beautiful style. The Slavic dactyllic di- 
minutives, grafted on German stems, the gentle cadence 
of words, the simplicity of the diction, remind one 
rather of mellifluous Italian than of a disorderly mix- 
ture which, in the poem, he compares to the bits of 
bread in a beggar's wallet, or which, according to 



POETRY SINCE 1881 IN RUSSIA 109 

another part in the same allegory, excludes the de- 
ceased Jew from heaven, as the angel at the gate can- 
not understand him. 

There are a few poems in his collection in which he 
bewails the lot of a Jewish poet who has only tears for 
his subject, but the most deal with incidents in the life 
of his oppressed coreligionists, now painting pictures of 
their misery, their poverty, their lack of orderliness, 
now giving them words of consolation. He never 
passes the narrow frame of his people's surroundings, 
no matter what he sings. Even when he chooses 
nature of which to sing, it appears to him trans- 
formed under a heavy cloud of his own sufferings 
superinduced by the persecution of his brethren. The 
best of his poems are those entitled * Night Songs,' in 
which he depicts a few night scenes. Here is the way 
he describes the Melamed, the teacher of children in 
those miserable quarters called a school : " Behold the 
palace, oh, how beautiful, how magnificent : ivory and 
velvet, silk, leather, bronze, cedar wood . . . here lives 
a Jewish teacher. ... Of velvet is his skullcap it 
glistens and shines from afar; the fescue is made of 
ivory; his girdle is of silk; the candelabrum is of 
bronze; the knout is of leather; the stool, the stool 
is cut out of cedar wood ! " One can easily see that 
the rest of the picture is in keeping with the glory 
just described. There is gloom everywhere in his 
songs. And how could it be otherwise? It was 
proper for Ettinger to smile and to jest, for he was 
active at the dawn of better days ; it was natural for 
the poets of the thirties and fifties to battle against 
superstitions and to sound the cry of progress; for the 
poets of the eighties there was nothing left but tears. 

It has been Frug's ambition to be a continuator of 



110 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

the bards who sang for the masses, to be a folk-poet, 
and the people look upon him as such, although he 
hardly appeals to them in the manner of the older 
bards. He is entirely too literary to be understood 
without previous training, and his allegory is not so 
easily unravelled. His greatest faults are, perhaps, an 
absence of dramatic qualities and a certain coldness of 
colors. Nevertheless, he is one of the best poets in 
Judeo-German literature, who may also claim recogni- 
tion by a wider class of readers. 

The year 1888 is momentous in the history of Judeo- 
German literature: it gave birth to two annuals, Die 
jiidische Volksbibliothek and Der ITausfreund, around 
which were gathered all the best forces that could be 
found among the Jewish writers. The first, under the 
leadership of S. Rabinowitsch, started out with the pur- 
pose of clearing away all rubbish from the field of Jew- 
ish letters and to prepare it for a new, a better harvest ; 
the second set out to serve the people with the best 
existing literary productions. The latter was doomed 
to a certain mediocrity on account of the bounds which 
it had placed around itself ; the first, in exercising a 
severe criticism on the productions presented for pub- 
lication, and in purifying the public taste, attracted 
from the start the best talent obtainable and encour- 
aged young promising men to try themselves in Jargon 
letters. In the Volksbibliothek appeared the firstling 
from the pen of Leon Perez, the poet and novelist, who 
must be counted among the greatest writers not only 
of Judeo-German literature, but of literature in general 
at the end of the nineteenth century. If he had 
written nothing else but 4 The Sewing of the Wedding 
Gown,' his name would live as long as there could 
be found people to interpret the language in which 



POETRY SINCE 1881 IN RUSSIA 111 

he sings. But he has produced several large volumes 
of admirable works in prose and in verse. 

Leon Perez, or Izchok Leibusch Perez, as he proudly 
prefers to be called, was born in 1855 in Zamoszcz, the 
city which has been the birthplace of so many famous 
men in Hebrew and Judeo-German letters, the home of 
Zederbaum and Ettinger. He obtained his education 
in a curious way. In his town there had lived a sur- 
geon's assistant who, on becoming rich, had collected 
a library on all kinds of subjects, numbering nearly 
three thousand volumes. There came reverses to him, 
and his books were stored away pell mell in the loft. 
Perez somehow got hold of the key to that room, and 
without choice took to reading, until the whole library 
was swallowed up by his omnivorous appetite. He 
read everything he could get hold of, and he learned 
German through a work on physics which he had dis- 
covered in the loft. Then he passed on from science 
to science, all by himself. Then he studied Heine by 
heart, then Shelley, and then he became a mystic. This 
history of his education is also the history of his genius. 
There is reflected in it the subtleness of the Talmud, 
the wisdom of the ancients, the sparkle of Heine, the 
transcendency of Shelley, the mysticism of Hauptmann. 
He has treated masterfully the Talmudical legend, has 
composed in the style of the Romancero, and has carried 
allegory to the highest degree of perfection. 

Perez is even less of a popular poet than Frug. He 
has entirely parted company with the people. Although 
he started with the avowed purpose of aiding his race 
to a better recognition of itself, yet his talents are 
of too high an order, where language, feelings, and 
thoughts soar far above the understanding of the 
masses. He can hardly be properly appreciated even by 



112 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

those who enjoy the advantages of a fair school educa- 
tion, not to speak of those who are merely lettered. 
It is only an unfortunate accident, the persecutions of 
the Jews, that has thrown him into so unpromising a 
field as that of Judeo-German letters, where to be great 
is to be unknown to the world at large and to be sub- 
jected to the jealous attacks of less gifted writers. He 
could easily gain a reputation in any other language, 
should he choose to try for it, but, like many of his 
predecessors, he is pursued by the merciless allurements 
of the Jewish Muse. Her enchantment is the more 
powerful on her devotees since she appears to them 
only in the garb of their own weaving. They spend 
so much work in creating the outer form and fashion- 
ing a poetic diction that they get fascinated by their 
creative labor, and stick to their undertaking, even 
though they have but few hearers for their utterances. 
4 Monisch ' is the name of the ballad with which Perez 
made his debut ten years ago. 1 It is the old story of 
Satan's recovery of power over the saint by tempting 
him with an earthly love. But the setting of the story 
is all new and original. The fourth chapter, beginning 

with 

Andersch wollt' mein Lied geklungen 
*ch soil far Goim goisch singen, 
Nischt far Jiiden, nischt Jargon 

(My song would sound quite differently, were I to sing to Gen- 
tiles in their language, not to Jews in Jargon) 

is the best of all. He describes there the difficulty of 
singing of love in a dialect that has no words for 4 love ' 
and 4 sweetheart ' ; nevertheless he acquits himself well 

1 Jud. Volksbib. Vol. I. pp. 148-158 ; better than this is his own 
edition of the ballad in a separate pamphlet (q.v.). 



POETRY SINCE 1881 IN RUSSIA 113 

of his task to tell of Monisch's infatuation, for which, 
of course, a saint and a Jew can only become Satan's 
prey. Perez has written a number of stories in verse. 
Some of them are mosaics of gems, in which the unity 
of the whole is frequently marred by a mystic cloud 
which it is hard to penetrate. Such, for example, is his 
? He and She,' 1 a story of the Spanish inquisition, and 
4 Reb Jossel,' 2 the temptation of a teacher of children 
by his hostess, the wife of a shoemaker. The latter 
poem is very hard to grasp at one reading, but the 
details, such as the description of the teacher, his pale 
and ailing pupil with his endless school superstitions, 
the jolly shoemaker, are drawn very well. Much more 
comprehensible are his 4 The Driver ' 3 and * Jossel Bers 
and Jossel Schmaies.' 4 The first is a sad picture of a 
Jewish town in Poland, in which the inhabitants have 
lost, one after the other, their means of subsistence after 
the railroad had connected them with Warsaw. The 
drivers, the merchants, the artisans who throve at 
their honest professions before, have become impover- 
ished and are driven to despised occupations, only to 
keep body and soul together. It is a very sad picture 
indeed. In the other, the author tells of two boys who 
had been fellow-students out of the same prayer-book, 
but who soon separated at the parting of the roads. 
The one, a faithful believer in all the teacher told him, 
becomes a Rabbi ; the other asks for facts and reasons 
to fortify the statements of his mentor, and subjects 
himself to many privations in order to acquire worldly 
wisdom in the gymnasium and the university. The 

1 Jud. Bibliothek, Vol. II. pp. 170-180. 

2 Ibid., Vol. III. pp. 123-155. 

3 Ibid., Vol. I. pp. 246-257. 
* Ibid., Vol. I. pp. 276-285. 



114 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

final picture is placed in Roumania (or Russia, had 
the censor permitted it), where the student is driven 
through the streets by a mob, while the Rabbi, uncon- 
scious of the outer world, is somewhere thinking hard 
over the solution of a question of ritual. 

The shorter poems are either translations from the 
Russian poet Nadson, or imitations of Heine. They 
are well done, though some suffer somewhat by their 
veiled allegory, at least at a superficial reading. The 
best of these are those that deal with social ques- 
tions, or describe the laborer's sufferings. Preeminent 
among them is 'The Sewing of the Wedding Gown.' 1 
If Thomas Hood's ' Song of the Shirt ' is to be com- 
pared to a fine instrument, then this poem is a whole 
orchestra, from the sounds of which the walls of Jericho 
would fall. Instead of a criticism, a short review of 
the story will be given here. The scene is at a dress- 
maker's ; the cast : the modiste, two dressmakers, and 
sewing-girls. The modiste tells of the care with which 
the wedding gown has to be sewed. The choir of sew- 
ing-girls sing the song of the prison. The first dress- 
maker speaks of the beauty of the gown, and compares 
the bride to an angel from heaven, whereupon the choir 
sings of the misery at home, of asking the ' angel ' to 
advance a rouble on the work, of the 'angel's' cruel 
refusal, of the pawning of her silks for a loaf of bread, 
and of the girl's arrest by the 'angel.' " And the angel 
has taken care of me during the great frosts, and for 
three months has provided me with board and lodging." 
The second dressmaker compares the rustle of the silk 
to the noise made by her tired bones, speaks of the 
diamond buttons that will be sewed on the gown " as 

1 Jontew-blattlech, Zweite Serie, Oneg Schabes, pp. 27-31, Cha- 
mischo Osser, pp. 22-31. 



POETRY SINCE 1881 IN RUSSIA 115 

large as tears of the poor," and bids the wheel of the 
machine to drown the noise of her breaking bones. 
The choir sings the song of the grave, where no sewing 
is done, where all go down in a shroud forever. The 
second dressmaker continues the song, whereupon a 
girl, named 4 Fond-of-Life,' protests, telling of her 
good health, of her desire to pass her youth in pleas- 
ure. The choir chides her with the Ragpicker's song, 
in which ' Fond-of -Life's ' future is portrayed, and the 
conclusion to the song is given by the first dressmaker. 
The first dressmaker contrasts the luxury of the bride's 
bed with her straw bed on the floor, the bride's splen- 
dor of light in her parlor with the two candles at her 
head when she is dead. The modiste, oppressed by 
the sad songs that portray their own unhappiness, bids 
them sing of other people's happiness. To this the 
choir responds by singing the happiness of the bride, 
but the modiste sees in this only the girls' jealousy, 
whereupon the choir tells of the obedient daughter who 
is advised by her mother to scorn sweetness, getting 
the promise of a gilded nut if she behaves properly. 
When the nut is brought and cracked it is found to be 
wormy and bitter. Of course, that is a picture of a 
match made by the parents for their daughter. The 
modiste answers that happiness does not always dwell 
in high places ; and the first dressmaker tells the story 
of labor, which is quite unique : There lived two 
brothers happily together. A stranger, who is no 
other than the Biblical serpent, visits them ; he is clad 
in diamonds and costly stones, and dazzles the older 
brother with his splendor. He, too, would like to be 
rich. He follows the stranger out into the woods, and 
seats himself at his side to inquire of the manner of 
acquiring such wealth. " What a fool you are to allow 



116 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

your opportunities to slip by," says the serpent. " You 
do not know that the sweat of your brother is nothing 
but diamonds, the tears are brilliants, his blood pearls." 
The elder brother returns home, beats his younger 
brother to elicit blood and sweat and tears. His 
wealth grows, but not his happiness, for he suffers as 
much from fear of his hoarded riches as his brother 
sighs under tears. They finally fall to blows, but 
here the poet purposely breaks his story, for he will 
not undertake to tell the end of their hostility. The 
choir sings the ten o'clock song, when all must go to 
rest : " You are rested, and at times you dream of a 
loaf of bread ! The clock strikes ten, the work is 
done, good night, madame ! " The modiste answers : 
" Be back early in the morning ! " 

This is the bare skeleton of the poem, of whose pain- 
ful beauties nothing but a perusal in the original can 
give an adequate idea. There is the making of a great 
poet in one who can sing like that; but Perez has 
chosen, like Rabinowitsch, to devote his best energies 
to prose, and to this part of his activity we shall return 
later. Of the minor poems of this period there might 
be mentioned those by David Frischmann, Rosa Gold- 
stein, M. W. Satulowski, M. M. Penkowski, W. Kaiser, 
Paltiel Samostschin. Frischmann has produced but a 
few poems, but they are all of excellent quality. His 
best is a ballad, c Ophir,' 1 but he has also written some 
clever satires in verse. Samostschin, 2 who had begun 
composing in the sixties, has translated several poems, 

1 His legend Ophir, printed in JM. Volksbib., Vol. I. pp. 211-224. 

2 His poems appeared in JM. Volksblatt, Vol. I. Nos. 10, 11 ; Vol. 
II. Nos. 9, 46 ; Vol. III. pp. 402 ; Vol. IV. p. 94 ; Vol. V. pp. 565, 664 ; 
Vol. VI. pp. 190, 195 ; Vol. VII. pp.. 277, 759 ; Hausfreund, Vol. III. 
pp. 304-306 ; Spektor's Familienkalender, Vol. V. p. 71 ; Lamteren, 
col. 26. 



POETRY SINCE 1881 IN RUSSIA 117 

especially from the Hebrew of J. L. Gordon, and has 
written some clever feuilletons in rhymes. Minchas 
Perel has published a small collection of poems on the 
Fall of Jerusalem, of which the first, ' The Night of the 
Destruction of Jerusalem,' is a very spirited and dra- 
matic story of the event. Another good book of poems 
is 'The Harp,' by G. O. Hornstein. Although some 
of them are in the style of the coupletists, others betray 
original talent that might be well developed. The best 
of these is the ballad, 'The Cat and the Mouse,' an 
allegory of Jewish persecutions, in which the Jew is 
represented as a mouse living on the fat of the oil can- 
delabrum in the Temple at Jerusalem, and the Romans 
and other nations are represented as cats who drive the 
mouse out of her abiding place. 

The riots of the early part of the eighties affected 
the whole mental attitude of the Jews of Russia by 
rousing them to a greater consciousness of themselves 
and by rallying them around distinctly Jewish stan- 
dards. For hundreds of thousands life had become 
impossible at home, and they emigrated to various 
countries, but mostly to America, where, under the 
influence of entirely new conditions, Judeo-German 
literature, and with it poetry, developed in new 
channels. 



VIII. POETRY SINCE THE EIGHTIES IN 
AMERICA 

Judeo-German poetry has developed in two direc- 
tions in America, downwards and upwards. Many 
of the poets left Russia in the beginning of the eighties, 
together with the involuntary emigration of the Russian 
Jews, to escape the political oppression at home ; but 
once in America they came in contact with conditions 
not less undesirable than those they had just left ; for, 
instead of the religious persecution to which they had 
been subjected there, they now began to experience 
the industrial oppression of the sweat-shops into which 
they were driven in order to earn a livelihood. At 
the same time, the greater political liberty which they 
enjoy makes it possible for them to give free utterance 
to their feelings and thoughts, without veiling them 
in the garb of a far-fetched allegory. However, they 
have not all suffered who have come here. Many 
have found on the hospitable shores of the United 
States opportunities to earn what to their humble 
demands appears as a comfortable income. With the 
increased well-being, there has come a stronger desire 
to be entertained. The wedding day, Purim, and the 
Feast of the Rejoicing of the Law no longer suffice 
as days of amusements, and Goldfaden's theatre, which 
had been proscribed in Russia, has found an asylum in 
New York. Soon one theatre was not large enough 
to hold the crowd that asked for admission ; and three 

118 



POETRY SINCE 1881 IN AMERICA 119 

companies, playing every evening, were doing a good 
business. But qualitatively the theatres rapidly dete- 
riorated to the level of dime shows. The theatre, as 
established by Goldfaden, has never been of an elevated 
character even in Europe, except as it treated the Bib- 
lical and the historical drama. Still, it reflected in a 
certain respect the inner life of the Ghetto. In the 
New World, the Jewish life of the Russian Ghetto is 
rapidly losing all interest, and that part of New York 
which in common parlance is known as the Ghetto, 
deserves its name only in so far as it is inhabited by 
former denizens of other Ghettos. There is taking 
place a dulling of Jewish sensibilities which will ulti- 
mately result in the absorption of the Russian Jews 
by the American people. This lowered Jewish con- 
sciousness finds its expression in poetry in the develop- 
ment of the theatre couplet in imitation of the American 
song of the day. As in Russia, the plays are written 
by a host of incompetent men, not so much for the 
purpose of carrying out a plot as in order to weave 
into them songs of which Jews have always been fond. 
Nearly all the plays are melodramas, in which the con- 
tents go for nothing or are too absurd to count for 
anything. But the couplets have survived, and are 
fast becoming street ballads or folksongs, according to 
the quality of the same. Goldfaden's songs, in which 
there is always a ring of the true folksong, are giv- 
ing place to the worthless jingles of Marks, Hurwitz, 
Awramowitsch, Mogulesco, and the like, and the old 
national poems are being superseded by weak imita- 
tions of Daisy Bell,' ' Do, do, my Huckleberry, Do,' 
1 The Bowery Girl,' and other American ballads. Now 
and then a couplet of a national character may be heard 
in the theatres, and more rarely a really good poem 



120 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

occurs in these dramatic performances, but otherwise 
the old folksong is rapidly decaying. 

I. Reingold, of Chicago, is a fruitful balladist who 
at times strikes a good note in his songs ; but in these 
he generally painfully resembles certain passages in 
Rosenfeld's poetry, from whom he evidently gets his 
wording if not his inspiration. Side by side with this 
deteriorated literature there goes on a more encourag- 
ing folk-singing. Zunser, who now owns a printing- 
office in New York, continues his career as a popular 
bard as before, and has written some of his best poems 
in the New World. It is interesting to note how Amer- 
ica affects his Muse, for he sings now of the c Pedlar ' 
and the * Plough.' The latter, a praise of the farmer's 
life, to which he would encourage his co-religionists, 
has had the honor of being translated into Russian. 
Among his later poetry there is also one on ' Columbus 
and Washington,' in which, of course, both are lauded. 
The Stars and Stripes have been the subject of many a 
song by Judeo-German poets, which is significant, since 
not a single ode has been produced praising Russia or 
the Czar. 

Goldfaden, too, has written some of his songs in 
America, and Selikowitsch has furnished two or three 
translations and adaptations that may be classed as 
folksongs. Still more encouraging is the class of 
poetry which has had its rise entirely in America or 
in England, for among these poets it has received the 
highest development yet attained. 

The volume entitled ' Jewish Tunes,' by A. M. Shar- 
kansky, contains a number of real gems in poetry. 
Sharkansky has a good ear for rhythm and word 
jingling, and in this he always succeeds. But he is 
not equally fortunate in his ideas, for he either over- 



POETRY SINCE 1881 IN AMERICA 121 

loads a picture so as to bury the meaning of the poem 
in it, or else he does not finish his thought, leaving an 
impression that something ought to follow. Now and 
then, however, he produces a fine song. Among his 
best are i Jewish Melodies,' in which he says that they 
must always be sad, and * Songs of Zion,' of similar 
contents. ' Jossele Journeys to America,' which is a 
parody on Schiller's ; Hektor and Andromache,' and 
The Cemetery,' a translation of Uhland's ' Das Grab,' 
give evidence of a great mastery of his dialect. It is 
hardly possible to suspect the second poem of being a 
translation. Sharkansky has for some reason ceased to 
sing, which is to be regretted, for with a little more 
care in the development of his ideas he might have 
come to occupy an honorable place among the best 
Judeo-German poets. 

New York is the place of refuge not only of the 
laboring men among the Russian Jews, but also of 
their cultured and professional people. These had 
at home belonged to liberal organizations, which in 
monarchical countries are of necessity extreme, either 
Socialistic or Anarchistic. Such advanced opinions 
they shared in Russia with their Gentile companions, 
with whom they identified themselves by their educa- 
tion. Their relations to the Jewish community were 
rather loose, for the tendency of the somewhat greater 
privileges which the Jews enjoyed in the sixties and 
the seventies had been to obliterate old lines of demar- 
kation between Jew and Gentile. They had almost 
forgotten that there were any ties that united them 
with their race, when they were roused from their 
peaceful occupations, to which they had been devoting 
themselves, to the realization of their racial difference. 
They then heard for the first time that they were 



122 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

pariahs alike with the humblest of their brethren. 
The same feeling which prompted the Russian poet 
Frug to take up his despised Judeo-German, drove 
many a man into the Judeo-German literary field, who 
not only had never before written in that language, but 
who had hardly ever spoken it. In England and Amer- 
ica such men could only hope to be understood by a 
Jewish public, and those who felt themselves called to 
write poetry wrote it in Judeo-German. But with them 
the language could only be the accidental vehicle of 
their thought, without confining them to the narrow 
circle of their nation's life. Their interests, like those 
of young Russia in general, are with humanity at large, 
not with the Jew in his Ghetto, and their songs would 
not have lost a particle of their significance had they 
been written in any other tongue. They suffer with the 
Jew, not because he is a Jew, but because, like many 
other oppressed people, he has a grievance, and they 
propose remedies for these according to their political 
and social convictions. 

David Edelstadt was the poet of the Anarchistic 
party, as Morris Winchevsky represents Socialistic ten- 
dencies. The influence of both on their respective 
adherents has been great, but the latter has been a 
power for good among a wider circle of readers, within 
and without his party. Both show by the language 
which they use that it was mere accident that threw 
them into the ranks of Judeo-German writers, for 
while usually the diction of the older poets abounds in 
words of Hebrew origin, theirs is almost entirely free 
from them, so that one can read their productions with 
no other knowledge than that of the literary German 
language. 

Edelstadt mastered neither his poetical subjects nor 



POETRY SINCE 1881 IN AMERICA 123 

the dialect. The latter is a composition of the literary 
German with dialectic forms, and his rhythms are halt- 
ing, his ideas one-sided. There is not a poem among 
the fifty that he has written that is not didactic. Many 
of these are in praise of Anarchists and heroes of free- 
dom who have fallen in the unequal combat with the 
present conditions of society. There are poems in 
memory of Sophia Perovskaya, Louise Michel, John 
Brown, and even Albert Parsons and Louis Ling. He 
sings of the eleventh of November, the Fall of the Bas- 
tile, of strikes, misery, and suffering. Most of these are 
a call to war with society. They are neither of the 
extreme character that one generally ascribes to the 
Anarchists, nor do they sound any sincere notes. 
They seem to be written not because Edelstadt is a 
poet, but because he belongs to the Anarchistic party. 
In all his collection there is one only in which he directs 
himself especially to the Jews, and one of its stanzas is 
significant, as it lies at the foundation of much of Rosen- 
f eld's poetry: it tells that they have escaped the cruel 
Muscovite only to be jailed in the dusky sweat-shops 
where they slowly bleed at the sewing-machine. 

Morris Winchevsky is a poet of a much higher type. 
He is a man of high culture, is conversant with the 
literatures of Russia, France, Germany, and England, is 
pervaded by what is best in universal literature, follows 
carefully all the rules of prosody and poetic composition, 
and above all is master of his dialect. His Socialistic 
bias is pronounced, but it does not interfere with the 
pictures that he portrays. They are true to life, though 
somewhat cold in coloring. His mastery of Judeo- 
German, nearly all of German origin, is displayed in 
his fine translation of Thomas Hood's 'Song of the 
Shirt' and some of Victor Hugo's poems. His other 



124 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

songs show the same care in execution and are as 
perfect in form as can be produced in his dialect. 
Winchevsky began his poetical career in England, 
where he was also active as a Socialistic agitator. The 
small collection of his poetical works (unfortunately 
unfinished) contains almost entirely songs which were 
written there. His American poems appeared in the 
Emeth, which he published in Boston in 1895 and 
in other periodicals. Although he has tried himself 
in all kinds of verses, he prefers dactyllic measures, 
which in 'A Broom and a Sweeping' he uses most 
elaborately. The poems all treat on social questions 
and describe the misery of the lower strata of society. 
He speaks of the life of the orphan whose home is 
in the street, of the eviction of the wretched widow, 
of the imprisonment of the small boy for stealing a 
few apples, of the blind fiddler, of night-scenes on 
the Strand, of London at night. A large number of 
songs are devoted more strictly to Socialistic propa- 
ganda, while a series of forty-eight stanzas under the 
collective title 4 How the Rich Live ' is a gloomy kaleido- 
scope through which pass in succession the usurer, the 
commercial traveller, the journalist, the preacher, the 
cardplayer, the lawyer, the hypocrite, the old general, 
the speculator, the lady of the world, the gambler at 
races, the man enriched by arson, the dissatisfied rich 
man, the doctor, the Rabbi. Winchevsky has also 
written some excellent fables, of which 4 The Rag and 
the Papershred ' and 4 The Noble Tom-Cat ' are probably 
the best. In all those the language alone is Jewish, 
everything else is of a universal nature, and the freeing 
of society from the yoke of oppression is the burden of 
his songs. 

The most original poet among the Russian Jews of 



POETRY SINCE 1881 IN AMERICA 125 

America is Morris Rosenfeld. He was born in 1862 in 
a small town in the Government of Suwalk in Russian 
Poland. His ancestors for several generations back 
had been fishermen, and he himself passed many days 
of his childhood on the beautiful lake near his native 
home. He had listened eagerly to the weird folk- 
tales that his grandfather used to tell, and as a boy 
had himself had the reputation of a good story-teller. 
At home he received no other education than that which 
is generally allotted to Jewish boys of humble families : 
he studied Hebrew and the Talmud. But his father 
was more ambitious for his son, and when he moved to 
the city of Warsaw he provided him with teachers for 
the study of German and Polish. However, Rosenfeld 
did not acquire more than the mere rudiments of these 
languages, for very soon his struggle for existence be- 
gan. He went to England to avoid military service, 
and there learned the tailor's trade. Thence he pro- 
ceeded to Holland, where he tried himself in diamond 
grinding. He very soon after came to America, where 
for many weary years he has eked out an existence in 
the sweat-shops of New York. He learned in them to 
sing of misery and oppression. His first attempts were 
very weak ; he felt himself called to be a poet, but he 
had no training of any kind, least of all in poetic dic- 
tion. For models in his own language he had only the 
folk-singers of Russia, for Frug began his activity at the 
same time as he, and Perez published his 4 Monisch ' 
some years after Rosenfeld had discovered his own 
gifts. A regular tonic structure had not been at- 
tempted before in Judeo-German, and a self-styled 
critic of Judeo-German literature in New York tried 
to convince him that his dialect was not fit for the 
ordinary versification. One of his first poems, pub- 



126 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

lished in the Jiidisches Vblksblatt in St. Petersburg, was 
curiously enough a greeting to the poet Frug, who had 
just published his first songs in Judeo-German ; how- 
ever warm in sentiment, it is entirely devoid of that 
imagery and word-painting which was soon to become 
the chief characteristic of Rosenfeld's poetry. 

Rosenfeld has read the best German and English 
authors, and although he knows these languages only 
superficially, he has instinctively guessed the inner 
meaning contained in their works, and he has trans- 
fused the art of his predecessors into his own spirit 
without imitating them directly. One cannot help, in 
reading his verses, discovering his obligations to Heine, 
Schiller, Moore, and Shelley ; but it is equally apparent 
that he owes nothing to them as regards the subject- 
matter of his poems. He is original not only in Jewish 
letters but in universal literature as well. 

Himself in contact with the lower strata of society 
and yet in spirit allied to the highest ; at once the sub- 
ject of religious and race persecutions and of industrial 
oppression ; tossed about among the opposition parties 
or Anarchists, Socialists, Populists, without allying him- 
self with any ; by education and associations a Jew, and 
yet not subscribing strictly to the tenets of the Mosaic 
Law, he voices the ominous foreboding of the tidal 
wave which threatens to submerge our civilization, he 
utters the cry of anguish and despair that rises in dif- 
ferent quarters and condemns the present order of 
things. Rosenfeld does not scoff, or scorn, or hate. 
He is one with the oppressor and the oppressed ; if he 
sings more of the latter, it is only because he sees more 
of that side of life. He is a sensitive plate that repro- 
duces the pictures that arise before his mental vision, 
aixd the gloom of his poems is rather that which he sees 



POETRY SINCE ld81 IN AMERICA 127 

than that which he feels ; for he has also written songs 
of spring and happiness in the few intervals when the 
sky has looked down unclouded on the Ghetto in which 
he has lived so long. 

We shall confine ourselves to the small volume of his 
poetry, 4 The Songs from the Ghetto,' even though it 
contains but one-tenth of all the verses that he has 
written. Who can read his ' Songs of Labor ' without 
shedding tears ? We enter with the poet, who is the 
tailor himself, the murky sweat-shop where the monoto- 
nous click of the sewing-machine, which kills thought 
and feeling, mysteriously whispers in your ear : 

" Ich arbeit', un' arbeit', un' arbeit' ohn' Cheschben. 
Es schafft sich, un' schafft sich, un' schafft sich ohn' Zahl," 

and we see the workman changed into just such an 
unfeeling machine. During the short midday hour 
he has but time to weep and dream of the end of his 
slavery; when the whistle blows, the boss with his angry 
look returns, the machine once more ticks, and the tailor 
again loses his semblance of a human being. What 
wonder, then, that tears should be the subject of so many 
of his songs ? Even when the laborer returns home he 
does not find relief from his sorrows ; his own child does 
not see him from one end of the week to the other, for 
it is asleep when he goes out to work or returns from 
it (' My Boy'). Not only the workman, but even the 
mendicant, who has no home and finds his only conso- 
lation in his children, has reason to curse the present 
system when he sees the judge take them away from 
him to send them to an orphan asylum, a species of 
misdirected philanthropy (' The Beggar Family '). Sad 
are the simple words : 4 Ich geh' vardienen ! ' uttered 
by a girl before the break of day, hurrying to the fac- 



128 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

tory, and late at night, following a forced life of vice 
('Whither'). Even death does not come to the unfor- 
tunate in the calm way of Goethe's ' Uber alien Gipfeln 
ist Ruh' ' ; not the birds are silenced, but the worms are 
waiting for their companion ('Despair'). Nay, after 
death the laborer arises from his grave to accuse the 
rich neighbor of having stolen the flowers from his bar- 
ren mound ('In the Garden of the Dead '). 

Not less sad are his National Songs. In 'Sephirah' 
he tells us that the Jew's year is but a succession 
of periods for weeping. Most of his songs of that 
class deal with the tragical conflict between religious 
duties and actualities. Such is 'The First Bath of 
Ablution,' which is one of the prettiest Jewish ballads. 
The 'Measuring of the Graves,' which relates the 
superstition of the Jews who study by candles with 
the wicks of which graves have been measured, is 
especially interesting, on account of the excellent use 
of the language of the Tchines made in it. The 
unanswered question of the boy in the ' Moon Prayer ' 
is one of many that the poet likes to propound. Per- 
haps the best poem under the same heading is On the 
Bosom of the Ocean,' which is remarkable not only as a 
sad portrayal of the misfortunes of the Jew who is 
driven out of Russia and is sent back from America 
because he has not the requisite amount of money 
which would entitle him to stay here, but also on 
account of the wonderful description of a storm at 
sea. The same sad strain passes through the poems 
classed as miscellaneous. Now it is the nightingale 
that chooses the cemetery in which to sing his sweetest 
songs ('The Cemetery Nightingale'). Or the flowers 
in autumn do not call forth regrets, for they have not 
been smiling on the poor laborer in his suffering ('To 



POETRY SINCE 1881 IN AMERICA 129 

the Flowers in Autumn'). Or again, the poet com- 
pares himself with the bird who sings in the wilderness 
where 'the dead remain dead, and the silent remain 
silent ' (' In the Wilderness '). 

The gloom that lies over so many of Rosenfeld's 
poems is the result of his own sad experiences in the 
sweat-shop and during his struggle for existence ; but 
this gloom is only the accident of his themes. Behind 
it lies the inexhaustible field of the poet's genius which 
adorns and beautifies every subject on which he chooses 
to write. The most remarkable characteristic of his 
genius is to weld into one the dramatic action and the 
lyrical qualities of his verse, as has probably never been 
attempted before. Whether he writes of the sweat- 
shop, or of the storm on the ocean, or of the Jewish 
soldier who rises nightly from his grave, we in every 
instance get a drama and yet a lyric, not as separate 
developments, but inextricably combined into one 
whole. Thus, for example, 'In the Sweat-shop' is a 
lyrical poem, if Hood's Song of the Shirt ' is one, but 
in so far as the poet, or operative, is turned into a 
machine and is subjected to the exterior forces which 
determine his moods and his destiny, we have the 
evolution of a tragedy before us. Similarly, the exact 
parallel of the storm on the ocean with the storm in 
the hearts of the two Jews in the steerage is no less 
of a dramatic nature than an utterance of subjective 
feelings. 

Rosenfeld does not confine himself to pointing out 
the harmony which subsists between man and the ele- 
ments that control his moods and actions; he carries 
this parallelism into the minutest details of the more 
technical structure of his poems : the amphibrachic 
measure in the 'Sweat-shop' is that of the ticking 



130 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

machine, which in the two lines given above reaches 
the highest effect that can be produced by mere words. 
In the 4 Nightingale to the Laborer,' the intricate versi- 
fication with its sonnet rhymes, the repetition of the 
first line in each stanza with its returning repetition in 
the tenth line, the slight variations of the same burden 
in each succeeding stanza which saves it from monotony, 
are all artifices that the poet has learned from the bird 
along his native lake in Poland. These two examples 
will suffice to indicate the astonishing versatility of the 
poet in that direction ; add to this the wealth of 
epithets, and yet extreme simplicity of diction which 
never strives for effect, the musicalness of his rhythm, 
the chasteness of expression even where the cynical 
situations seem to make it difficult to withstand impre- 
cations and curses, and we can conceive to what mar- 
vellous perfection this untutored poet of the Ghetto 
has carried his dialect in which Russian, Polish, Hebrew, 
and English words are jostling each other and contend- 
ing their places with those from the German language. 
It was left for a Russian Jew at the end of the 
nineteenth century to see and paint hell in colors 
not attempted by any one since the days of Dante ; 
Dante spoke of the hell in the after-life, while Rosen- 
feld sings of the hell on earth, the hell that he has not 
only visited, but that he has lived through. Another 
twenty-five years, and the language in which he has 
uttered his despair will be understood in America but 
by few, used for literary purposes probably by none. 
But Rosenfeld's poetry will survive as a witness of 
that lowermost hell which political persecutions, reli- 
gious and racial hatred, industrial oppression have 
created for the Jew at the end of this our enlightened 
nineteenth century. 



IX. PROSE WRITERS FROM 1817-1863 

The beginning of this century found the Jews of the 
Russian Empire living in a state bordering on Asiatic 
barbarism. Ages of persecution had reduced the 
masses to the lowest condition of existence, had elimi- 
nated nearly all signs of civilized life in them, and had 
succeeded in making them the outcasts they really 
were. Incredibly dirty in their houses and uncleanly 
about their persons, ignorant and superstitious even 
beyond the most superstitious of their Gentile neigh- 
bors, dishonest and treacherous not only to others, but 
even more to their own kind, they presented a sad 
spectacle of a downtrodden race. The legislators made 
the effects of the maltreatment of previous lawgivers 
the pretext for greater oppression until the Jews bade 
fair to lose the last semblance of human beings. One 
need only go at this late hour to some small town, 
away from railroads and highways, where Jews live 
together compactly, in order to get an idea of what the 
whole of Russia was a century ago, for in those distant 
places people are still living as their grandfathers did. 
Only here and there an individual succeeded in tearing 
himself away from the realm of darkness to become 
acquainted with a better existence by means of the Men- 
delssohnian Haskala. In spite of the very unfavorable 
conditions of life, or rather on account of them, the 
Jews, although averse to all instruction, passed the 
greater part of their lives, that were not given to 
the earning of a livelihood, in sharpening their wits 

131 



132 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

over Talmudical subtleties. When they came in con- 
tact with the learning in Germany, their minds had 
been trained in the unprofitable but severe school of 
abstruse casuistry, and they threw themselves with 
avidity on the new sciences, surpassing even their 
teachers in the philosophic grasp of the same. Such 
a man had been Salomon Maimon, the Kantian scholar ; 
such men were later those followers of the Haskala 
who were active in the regeneration of a Hebrew litera- 
ture, with whom we have also become acquainted in 
former chapters through their efforts of enlightening 
the masses ; foremost of them, however, was J. B. 
Levinsohn, who wrote but little in Judeo-German. 
He was to the Jews of Russia what Mendelssohn had 
been half a century before to the Jews of Germany. 

The light of the Haskala entered Russia in two ways : 
through Galicia and through Poland. Galicia was the 
natural gateway for German enlightenment, as its Jews 
were instructed by means of works written in Hebrew, 
which alone, outside of the native dialect, could be 
understood in the interior of Russia. But this influ- 
ence was only an indirect one, for soon the German 
language began to be substituted and understood by 
the people of Galicia, whereas that has never become 
the case in the southwest of Russia, that is, in the con- 
tiguous territory. The case was different in Russian 
Poland and Lithuania, for there were many commercial 
relations between these countries and Germany, and 
there existed German colonies in that part of the 
Empire. Consequently the ground was here better 
prepared for the foreign culture. The seats of the 
Haskala of these more northern regions were such 
towns as Zamoszcz in the Government of Lublin, 
and Warsaw. Roughly speaking, the geographically 



PROSE WRITERS FROM 1817-1803 133 

favored portion of the Jewish Pale was inhabited by 
the Misnagdim, or strict ritualists, while the south- 
west was the seat of that fanatical and superstitious 
sect of the Khassidim against whom nearly all of the 
satirical literature of the last seventy-five years has 
been directed. 

As early as 1824 there was published a periodical in 
Warsaw in which the German language, or a corrupt 
form of it, written with Hebrew characters, was 
employed to serve as an intermediary of German cul- 
ture. In the same year B. Lesselroth used this form of 
German in writing a Polish Grammar 1 for the use of 
his co-religionists. As has been pointed out before, this 
mixture of Judeo-German was to serve only as an inter- 
mediary for the introduction of the literary German 
which at that time appeared as the only possible alter- 
native for the homely dialects of the Russian Jews. 
This mixed language has unfortunately remained the 
literary norm of the northwest up to the present time, 
if one may at all speak of norm in arbitrary compounds. 
In the southwest the dialects were, in the first place, 
much more distant from the German than the varieties 
of Lithuania, and the greater distance from German in- 
fluence made the existence of that corrupt German less 
possible. At about the same time two books were pub- 
lished in Judeo-German, one in the south by Mendel 
Lefin, the other in the north by Chaikel Hurwitz, 
which became the standards of all future publications 
in the two divisions of the Jewish Pale. The first, by 
adhering to the spoken form of the dialect, has led to a 
normal development of both the language and the liter- 

1 B. Lesselroth, Polnische volkommene Orammatik in jiidisch- 
deutscher Sprache, fiir solche, die diese Wissenschaft ohne Hilfe eines 
Lehrers erlernen wollen, Warsaw, 1824, lOmo, 70 pp. 



134 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

ature. The second, being unnatural from the start, 
has produced the ugliest excrescences, culminating in 
the ugliest productions of Schaikewitsch and his tribe 
and still in progress of manufacture. 

Hurwitz l was only following the natural tendencies of 
the Haskala when he chose what he called a pure Judeo- 
German for his literary style. In the introduction to 
his translation of Campe's 4 Discovery of America ' 
from his own Hebrew version of the same he says ; 
" This translation of the ' Discovery of America ' I have 
made from my Hebrew version. It is written in a pure 
Judeo-German without the mixture of Hebrew, Polish, 
and Turkish words which one generally finds in the 
spoken language." It must however, be noted that 
he uses German forms very sparingly, and that but for 
his avoiding Slavic and Hebrew words, his language is 
really pure. It is only later, beginning with the writ- 
ings of Dick, that the real deterioration takes place. 

This book was published in 1824 at Wilna. Its effect 
on the people was very great. Previous to that year 
there were no other books to be had except such as 
treated on ethical questions, or story-books, which had 
been borrowed from older sources two or three centuries 
before. Books of instruction there were none. This 
was the first ray that penetrated the Ghettos from with- 
out. The people had no knowledge of America and 

1 This is the name given by Gottlober in his Sichrones, in JM. Volks- 
bib., Vol. I. p. 255, for the author of the ' Columbus,' but it appears 
that it was Gunsburg who wrote it in Hebrew ; and as in the Judeo- 
German translation the translator speaks of having translated this work 
from his Hebrew form, it is likely that Gunsburg ought to be substi- 
tuted for Hurwitz. There are four copies of that work in the Harvard 
Library. Two of them are late remodellings ; the other two have no 
title-pages and seem to have had none, so that I cannot ascertain the 
dates of their printing. 



PROSE WRITERS EROM 1817-1863 135 

Columbus, and now they were furnished not only with a 
good story of adventure, but in the introduction to the 
book they found a short treatise on geography, the 
first worldly science with which they now became ac- 
quainted. It is interesting to note here by way of par- 
allel that a few years later the regeneration of Bulgaria 
from its centuries of darkness began with a small work 
on geography, a translation from an American school- 
book, published at Smyrna. It is true that to the 
disciples of the Haskala works on the sciences were 
accessible in Hebrew translations, but these were con- 
fined to a very small circle of readers, and their influ- 
ence on the masses was insignificant. If the followers 
of the Haskala had not accepted blindly Mendelssohn's 
verdict against the Judeo-German language, which was 
true only of the language spoken by the Jews of Ger- 
many, but had furnished a literature of enlightenment 
in the vernacular of the people instead of the language 
of the select few, their efforts would have been crowned 
with far greater success. By subscribing uncondition- 
ally to the teachings of their leader, they retarded the 
course of events by at least half a century and widened 
the chasm between the learned and the people, which it 
had been their desire to bridge. English missionaries 
proceed much more wisely in their efforts to evangelize 
a people. They always choose the everyday language 
in which to speak to them, not the tongue of literature, 
which is less accessible to them. Mainly by their 
efforts the Modern Armenian and Bulgarian have been 
raised to a literary dignity, and with it there has always 
followed a regeneration of letters and a national con- 
sciousness that has in some cases led to political inde- 
pendence. The missionaries have not always reaped a 
religious harvest, but their work has borne fruit in 



136 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

many other ways. In the beginning of this century 
they also directed their attention to the Christianization 
of the Jews of Poland. The few works that they pub- 
lished in the pursuit of their aim, especially the New 
Testament, are written in an excellent vernacular, far 
superior to the one employed by Hurwitz and Lessel- 
roth. It is a pity the Jewish writers of the succeeding 
generations, particularly in the northwest of Russia, did 
not learn wisdom from the English missionaries. 

4 The Discovery of America ' has had edition after 
edition, and has been read, at first surreptitiously, then 
more openly, by all who could read, young and old, men 
and women. But Hurwitz was not forgiven by the 
fanatics for descending to write on worldly matters, 
and after his death it became the universal belief that 
the earth would not hold him for his misdeed and that 
he was walking around as a ghost, in vain seeking a 
resting-place. 

In the south the first impulse for writing in Judeo- 
German was given by the translations of the Proverbs, 
the Psalms, and Ecclesiastes by Minchas Mendel Lefin. 
Of these only the Psalms were published in 1817 ; Ec- 
clesiastes was printed in 1873, while the Proverbs and a 
novel said to be written by him have never been issued. 
To write in Jargon was to the men of the Haskala a 
crime against reason, and Lefin was violently attacked 
by Tobias Feder and others. He found, however, a 
sympathizer in Jacob Samuel Bick, who warmly de- 
fended him against Feder, and by degrees some of the 
best followers of the Haskala followed his good ex- 
ample. Ettinger and Gottlober are known to have 
received their first lessons in Judeo-German composition 
through the writings of Lefin, while by inference one 
may regard him also as the prototype of Aksenfeld and 



PROSE WRITERS FROM 1817-1863 137 

Zweifel. It was not so easy to brave the world with 
the despised Jargon, and up to the sixties not one of the 
works of these writers appeared in print. They passed 
in manuscript form from hand to hand, until the favor- 
able time had come for their publication ; and then they 
were generally not printed for those who wrote them, 
but for those who possessed a manuscript, so that on 
the first editions of their works their names do not 
appear at all. 

Lefin's translations mark an era in Judeo-German 
literature. He broke with the traditional language 
used in story-books and ethical works of previous cen- 
turies, for that was merely a continuation of the lan- 
guage of the first prints, in which local differences were 
obliterated in order to make the works accessible to the 
German Jews of the East and the West. It was not 
a spoken language, and it had no literary norm. In 
the meanwhile the vernacular of the Slavic Jews had 
so far departed from the book language as to make the 
latter almost unintelligible to the masses. Lefin chose 
to remedy that by abandoning entirely the tradition, and 
by writing exactly as the people spoke. He has solved 
his problem in a remarkable way ; for although he cer- 
tainly knew well the German language, there is not a 
trace of it in his writings. He is not at a loss for a 
single word ; if it does not exist in his dialect, he forms 
it in the spirit of the dialect, and does not borrow it 
from German. As linguistic material for the study of 
the Judeo-German in the beginning of this century the 
writings of Lefin, Aksenfeld, Ettinger, Levinsohn, and 
Gottlober are invaluable. But that is not the only 
value of Lefin's writings. By acknowledging the peo- 
ple's right to be instructed by means of an intelligible 
language, he at the same time opened up avenues 



138 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

for the formation of a popular literature, based on an 
intimate acquaintance with the mental life of the peo- 
ple. In fact, he himself gave the example for that new 
departure by writing a novel 'The First Khassid.' In 
the northwest the masses were not so much opposed to 
the new culture as in the south, hence the writers could 
at once proceed to bring out books of popular instruction 
clad in the form of stories. But the Khassidim of the 
south would have rejected anything that in any way 
reminded them of a civilization different from their 
own. In order to accomplish results among them, they 
had to be more cautious and to approach their readers 
in such a way that they were conscious only of the 
entertainment and not of the instruction which was 
couched in the story. This demanded not only the use 
of a pure vernacular, but also a detailed knowledge of 
the mental habits of the people. As their conditions 
of life in no way resembled those of any other people in 
Europe, their literature had to be quite unique ; and 
the works of the earlier writers are so peculiar in re- 
gard to language, diction, and style as to baffle the 
translator, who must remodel whole pages before he can 
render the original intelligibly. Of such a character 
are the dramas of Aksenfeld, Ettinger, and J. B. Levin- 
sohn. 

Ettinger, the first modern Judeo-German poet, has 
also written a drama under the name of ' Serkele, or 
the False Anniversary.' His bias for German culture 
shows itself in the general structure of his play, which 
is like that of Lessing's dramas. The plot is laid in 
Lemberg, and represents the struggle of German civili- 
zation with the mean and dishonest ways of the older 
generation. Serkele has but one virtue, that of an 
egotistical love for her only daughter, the half-edu- 



PKOSE WRITERS FROM 1817-1863 139 

cated, silly Freude Altele. In order to get possession 
of some jewels deposited with her by her brother for 
his daughter Hinde, she invents the story of his death. 
She is anxious to marry her daughter to Gavriel Handler, 
who is represented to her as a rich speculator, but who 
is in reality a common thief. He steals the casket con- 
taining the jewels. When the theft is discovered she 
throws the guilt on Marcus Redlich, a student of medi- 
cine, her daughter's private teacher, and Hinde's lover. 
Hinde, too, is accused of complicity, and both are taken 
in chains through the town. They pass a hostlery where 
a stranger has just arrived, to whom Handler is trying 
to sell the jewels. The stranger is Hinde's father. 
He recognizes his property, and seizes the thief just as 
his daughter and her lover are taken by. A general 
recognition follows, and all is righted. He finally for- 
gives his sister, gives a dowry to Freude Altele, who 
marries the innkeeper, while his daughter is united to 
Marcus Redlich. 

As in all the early productions of Judeo-German 
literature, there are in that drama two distinct classes 
of characters : the ideal persons, the uncle, Marcus 
Redlich and Hinde, and the real men and women who 
are taken out of actual life. On the side of the first 
is all virtue, while among the others are to be found 
the ugliest forms of vice. A worse shrew than Serkele 
has hardly ever been depicted. Her speeches are com- 
posed of a series of curses, in which the Jargon is pecul- 
iarly inventive, interrupted by a stereotyped complaint 
of her ever failing health. She hates her niece with the 
hatred that the tyrant has for the object of his oppres- 
sion, and she is quick to accuse her of improper conduct, 
although herself of very lax morals. Nobody in the 
house escapes the fury of her tongue, and her honest 



140 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

but weak husband has to yield to the inevitable. The 
other characters are all well drawn, and the play is 
an excellent portrayal of domestic life of seventy-five 
years ago. It was written early in the twenties, but 
was printed only in 1861, since when it has had several 
editions. 

In 1828 J. B. Levinsohn wrote his Hebrew work, 
'Teudo Beisroel,' by which the Haskala took a firm 
footing in Russia. About the same time there circu- 
lated manuscript copies of a Judeo-German essay by 
the same author, in which a sad picture of Jewish 
communal affairs was painted in vigorous and idio- 
matic words. This essay, called * The World Turned 
Topsy-Turvy,' 1 is given in the form of a conversa- 
tion by three persons, of whom one is a stranger from 
a better country where the affairs of the Jews are 
administered honestly. The other two in turn lay 
before him an array of facts which it is painful to 
regard as having existed in reality. It is interesting 
to note that the stranger, who is Levinsohn himself, 
advocates the formation of agricultural colonies for 
the Jews, by which he hoped to better their wretched 
condition and to gain for them respect among those 
who accused them of being averse to work. 

The most original and most prolific Judeo-German 
writer of this early period was Israel Aksenfeld. 2 He 
was born in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, 
and had passed the early days of his life in the neigh- 

1 J. B. Levinsohn, Die hefker Welt, in Jiul Volksbib., Vol. I. pp. 
133-147. His biography is given in the same place, by B. Natansohn, 
on pp. 122-132. Both together are to be found in Natansohn's Die 
papierne Brack? (q.v.). 

2 For review of his works see O. Lerner, Krititeskij razbor poja- 
vivsichsja nedavno na evrejsko-nemeckom zargone sotinenij I. Aksen- 
felda, etc., Odessa, 1868, 8vo, 15 pp. 






PROSE WRITERS FROM 1817-1863 141 

borhood of the Rabbi of Braslow, a noted Khassid, 
being himself a follower of that sect. Later in life, 
in the fifties, he is remembered as a notary public in 
Odessa. He was a man of great culture. Those who 
knew him then speak in the highest terms of the kindly 
old man that he was. They also like to dwell on the 
remarkable qualities of his cultured wife, from whom 
he is supposed to have received much inspiration. 1 
That is all that is known of his life. Gottlober men- 
tions also in his * Recollections ' that he had written 
twenty-six books, and that according to Aksenfeld's 
own statements they had been written in the twenties 
or thereabout. Of these only five were printed in 
the sixties ; the rest are said to be stored away in a loft 
in Odessa, where they are held as security for a debt 
incurred by the trustee of his estate. Although this 
fact is known to some of the Jews of that city, no one 
has taken any steps to redeem the valuable manuscripts. 
This is to be greatly regretted, as his books throw light 
on a period of history for which there is no other docu- 
mentary evidence except that given by the writings of 
men who lived at that time. 

Of the five books printed, one is a novel, the other 
four are dramas. The first, under the name of The Fil- 
let of Pearls,' shows up the hypocrisy and rascality of the 
Khassidic miracle-workers, as only one who has himself 
been initiated in their doings could relate them. The 
hero of the novel is Mechel Mazeewe. He is discovered 
eating on a minor fast day, and the Rabbi uses this as an 

1 She was very fond of Jean Paul Richter, and it is not at all im- 
possible that the peculiar humor contained in her husband's books is 
due to a transference of that author's style to the more primitive con- 
ditions of the Judeo-German novel. His was a gifted family : one of 
his sons became an artist, the other a famous professor of medicine 
at Paris. 



142 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

excuse for extorting all the money the poor fellow had 
earned by teaching little children and young women. 
His engagement to one of his pupils, the daughter of the 
beadle, is broken off for the same reason. Disgusted 
with his town, he goes away from it in order to earn a 
living elsewhere. Good fortune takes him to Breslau, 
where he, for the first time, discovers that there are also 
clean, honest, peaceful Jews. He is regenerated, and 
returns to his native town, where in the meantime the 
miracle-working Rabbi has succeeded in rooting out 
the last vestige of heresy. At the house of the Rabbi, 
Mechel has an occasion to prove the falseness of his pre- 
tensions to the assembled people. Mechel is reunited 
with his bride. 

This bare skeleton of the plot is developed with great 
care, and is adorned with a variety of incidents, each 
forming a story within the story. The biting satire, 
the sharp humor, the rapid development of situations, 
are only excelled by his dramatic sense, which makes him 
pass rapidly from descriptions, without elaborating them 
to the form of dialogue. His mastery of the dialect is 
remarkable ; for although one can here and there detect 
his intimate acquaintance with German literature, there 
is not a single case where he has been led under 
obligations to the German language in thought or 
a word : German is as foreign to him as French or 
Latin. Of his dramas it will be sufficient to discuss 
one to show their general structure. The most dramatic 
of these is the one entitled * The First Recruit ' and 
tells of the terrible time in 1827 when the Ukase 
drafting Jewish young men into the army had for the 
first time been promulgated. To the ignorant masses 
it seemed as though the world would come to an end. 
To avoid the great misfortune of having their sons 



PROSE WRITERS FROM 1817-1863 143 

taken away from them, they married them off before 
they had reached their teens ; finding that that did 
not prevent the ' catchers ' from seizing them, maimed, 
halt, sickly men were preferred as husbands to their 
daughters ; in short, all was done to avert the unspeak- 
able calamity of serving the Czar. As in the novel, 
there are plots within the plot, and didactic passages 
are woven into the play without in the least disturbing 
its unity. 

The tragedy consists of eight scenes. The first 
opens with a noisy meeting at the house of Solomon 
Rascal, a Parnes-Chodesch (representative of the Jewish 
community), on a Saturday afternoon. The cause of 
the disturbance is the order to furnish one recruit from 
their town, which had just been brought in from the 
capital of the district by two soldiers. The assembled 
kahal are wondering whether it is incumbent upon 
them to sign the receipt of the order, while the infuri- 
ated mob without is clamoring that the Ukase will be 
ineffective as long as not signed by the representatives 
of the Congregation. The kahal is divided on the 
subject, and the women take a part in the discussion, 
making matters lively. Upon the advice of one of the 
men, the meeting is adjourned to the house of Aaron 
Wiseman, the honored merchant of their town of No- 
where, where they expect to get a satisfactory solution 
in their perplexity. The second scene is the ideal scene 
of the play. Here is depicted the happy and orderly 
home life of the cultured merchant, the reverse 
of the picture just portrayed. Jisrolik the Ukrainian 
arrives and announces the decision of the kahal to refer 
the matter to him. Aaron Wiseman explains how the 
Emperor had not intended to bring new misfortunes 
upon the Jews by the mandate, but how by imposing 



144 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

on them the honorable duty of defending their country, 
he was investing them with a new privilege upon which 
greater liberties would follow. This he farther eluci- 
dates in the next scene before the assembled representa- 
tives of the Congregation. The fourth scene is laid in 
the inn, where we are introduced to Nachman the Big, 
the practical joker and terror of the town. In the 
following scene, Aaron Wiseman advises the kahal to 
use a ruse by which Nachman will voluntarily offer 
himself as a soldier, thus freeing the town from the 
unpleasant duty of making a more worthy family un- 
happy. Wiseman explains that Nachman has been 
a source of trouble to all, and that military service 
would be the only thing that would keep him from a 
possible life of crime. The ruse is accomplished in the 
following manner : it is known that Nachman has 
been casting his eyes on Frume, the good and beautiful 
daughter of Risches the Red, the tax-gatherer. It is 
proposed to send a schadchen to Nachman, pretending 
that Friime's parents seek an alliance with him, and 
that Frume loves him, and that she wants to get a 
proof of his affection in his offering himself up as a 
soldier. The apparent incongruity of the request is 
amply accounted for in the play by the fact that he 
who has lost his heart also loses his reason. In the 
next two scenes the plot is carried out, and Nachman 
becomes a soldier. The last scene contains the tragic 
denouement. Chanzi, the go-between, comes to the 
house of Frume and tells her of the fraud perpetrated 
on Nachman. But, alas, Friime actually loves Nachman, 
and she silently suffers at the recital of the story. The 
climax is reached when her father arrives and tells of 
Nachman's self-sacrifice, how he has given himself up for 
the love he bears her, how they put him in chains and 



PROSE WRITERS FROM 1817-1863 145 

took him away. Friime bears her secret to the last, 
but her heart breaks, and she dies. The sorrow of her 
parents is great. During the lamentation Nachman's 
blind mother arrives, led by a little girl. She has 
learned of Chanzi's treachery, and breaks out in loud 
curses against those who took part in the plot. As she 
steps forward, she touches the dead body of her whom 
Nachman had thought to be his bride. She addresses 
her as though she were alive and consoles her that she 
need not be ashamed of Nachman, who had been an 
inoffensive, though somewhat wild, boy. While speak- 
ing this, she faints over her body. 

The characters are all admirably delineated, and how 
true to nature the whole play is one can see from a 
matter-of-fact story, by Dick, 1 of the effects of the 
Ukase on the city of Wilna. Except for the tragic 
plot, the drama may serve as a historical document of 
the event, and is a valuable material for the study of 
the Jewish mind in the beginning of Nicholas's reign. 
This must also be said of the other plays of Aksenfeld, 
which all deal with conditions of contemporary Jewish 
society. 

Similar to Aksenfeld's subject in 'The Fillet of 
Pearls' is the comedy 'The Marriage Veil' by Gott- 
lober, which he wrote in 1838. Jossele, a young man 
with modern ideas, is to be married to a one-eyed 
monster, while his sweetheart, Freudele, is to be mated 
on the same day with a disfigured fool. By Jossele's 
machinations, in which he takes advantage of the 
superstitions of the people, he is united nnder the 
marriage veil to Freudele, while the two monstrosities 
are married to each other. This is found out too late 
to be mended. This plot is only an excuse to show 
1 A. M. Dick, Der erster Nabor, etc., Wilna, 1871. 



146 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

up the hypocrisy and rascality of the miracle-working 
Rabbi in even a more grotesque way than in 'The 
Fillet of Pearls.' A much finer work is his story 
4 The Transmigration,' which, however, is said to be 
based on a similar story in the Hebrew, by Erter. In 
this a dead soul, previous to finding its final resting- 
place, relates of its many transmigrations ere reaching 
its last stage. The succession of mundane existences 
is strictly in keeping with the previous moral life of 
the soul. It starts out with being a Khassidic singer, 
who, like all the followers of the Rabbi, is represented 
as an ignorant dupe. After his death he naturally 
is turned into a horse, the emblem of good-natured 
stupidity according to the popular Jewish idea. Then 
he is in turn a Precentor, a fish, a tax-gatherer, a dog, 
a critic, an ass, a doctor, a leech, a usurer, a pig, a con- 
tractor. By far the most interesting and dramatic 
incident is that of the doctor, who is trying to pass for 
a pious Jew, but who is caught eating lobsters, which 
are forbidden by the Mosaic Law, and who dies from 
strangulation in his attempt to swallow a lobster to 
hide his crime. The story is told in a fluent manner, 
is very witty, and puts in strong relief the various char- 
acters which are satirized. 

Like the poetry of the same period, the prose litera- 
ture of the writers previous to the sixties is of a militant 
nature. It had for its aim the dispersion of ignorance 
and superstition, and the introduction of the Haskala 
and Western civilization among the Jews of Russia. 
The main attack of all these early works was directed 
against the fanaticism of the Khassidic sect, against 
the hypocrisy of its miracle-working Rabbis in whose 
interest it lay to oppose the light at all cost. But the 
authors not only attacked the evil, they also showed 






PROSE WRITERS FROM 1817-1863 147 

the way for a reform : this they did by contrasting the 
low, sordid instincts of the older generation with the 
quiet, honest lives of the new. Of course, the new 
generation is all German. The ideal characters of 
Ettinger's drama, Aksenfeld's hero in 'The Fillet of 
Pearls,' Gottlober's Jossele, have all received their train- 
ing in Germany. At the same time, in accordance 
with the Mendelssohnian School, these ideal persons 
are not opposed to the tenets of Judaism ; on the con- 
trary, they are represented as the advocates of a pure 
religion in place of the base substitute of Khassidism. 
Outside of the didactic purpose, which, however, does 
not obtrude on the artistic development of the story, 
the Judeo- German literature of that period owes its 
impulse to the three German authors, Lessing, Schiller, 
Jean Paul Richter. As regards its language, the ex- 
ample set by Lefin prevails, and all the productions are 
written in an idiomatic, pure dialect of the author's 
nearest surroundings. There is but one exception to 
that, and that is ' The Discovery of America,' which, 
being mainly intended for a Lithuanian public, is 
written in a language which makes approaches to the 
literary German, whereby it opened wide the way to 
misuses of various kinds. 



X. PROSE WRITERS FROM 1863-1881: 
ABRAMOWITSCH 

Zederbatjm, 1 the friend and fellow-townsman of 
Ettinger, began in 1863 to publish a Judeo-German 
weekly under the name of Kol-mewasser, as a supple- 
ment to his Hebrew weekly, the Hameliz. This was the 
first organ of the kind for Russia, for the one edited in 
Warsaw forty years before was not written in the dialect 
of the people. Let us look for the cause of such an inno- 
vation. 

The advocates of the Haskala regarded it as one of 
their sacred duties to spread culture wherever and 
whenever they could do so. This they did through 
the medium of the Hebrew and the Judeo-German. 
The first was a literary language, the other was not 
regarded as worthy of being such. If, therefore, there 
was some cause to feel an author's pride in attaching 
one's name to productions in the first tongue, there was 
no inducement to subscribe it to works in the second. 
It was, to a certain extent, a sacrifice that the authors 
made in condescending to compose in Judeo-German, 
and the only reward they could expect was the good 
their books would do in disseminating the truth among 
their people. The songs of M. Gordon and Gottlober, 
and the works of Ettinger and Aksenfeld, were passed 
anonymously throughout the whole land. The books 
were not even printed, but were manifolded in manu- 
script form by those who had the Haskala at heart. A 

1 Short, biography in Sseefer Sikoron, p. 97. 
148 



PROSE WRITERS FROM 1863-1881 149 

few years before the issue of the Kol-mewasser, the efforts 
of these men began to bear ample fruit. It was no 
longer dangerous to be called a German,' and many 
Jewish children were being sent to the gymnasia, to 
which the Government had in the meanwhile admitted 
them. The Rabbinical schools at Wilna and Zhitomir, 
too, were graduating sets of men who had been receiv- 
ing religious instruction according to the improved 
methods of the Haskala. It was then that some of the 
works written decades before, for the first time saw day- 
light, but more as a matter of curiosity of what had 
been done long ago, than with any purpose. It would 
even then have been somewhat risky to sign one's name 
to them for fear of ridicule, and no native firm would 
readily undertake their publication. Thus the first two 
works of Aksenfeld were issued from a press at Leipsic 
in 1862, while Ettinger's 'Serkele' had appeared the 
year before at Johannisburg. Only the following year 
Linetzki's 'Poems' were published at Kiev, and, by 
degrees, the authors took courage to abandon their 
anonyms and pseudonyms for their own names. The 
time was ripe for a periodical to collect the scattered 
forces, for there was still work to be done among those 
who had not mastered the sacred language, and they 
were in the majority. At that juncture, Zederbaum 
began to issue his supplement to the Hameliz. 

This new weekly was not only the crowning of the 
work of the past generation of writers, it became also 
the seminary of a new set of authors. It fostered the 
talents of those who, for want of a medium of publica- 
tion, might have devoted their strength entirely to 
Hebrew, or would have attempted to assimilate to them- 
selves the language of the country. In the second year 
of the existence of the periodical, there appeared in it 



150 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

4 The Little Man,' the first work of Abramowitsch, who 
was soon to lead Judeo-German literature to heights 
never attempted before by it, and with whom a new and 
more fruitful era begins. 

Solomon Jacob Abramowitsch 1 was born in 1835, in 
the town of Kopyl, in the Government of Minsk. He 
received his Jewish instruction in a Cheeder, and later 
in a Jeschiwe, a kind of Jewish academy. He conse- 
quently, up to his seventeenth year, had had no other 
instruction except in religious lore. His knowledge of 
Hebrew was so thorough that, at the age of seventeen, 
he was able to compose verses in that language. He 
lost his father early, and his mother married a second 
time. When he was eighteen years old, there arrived 
in his native town a certain Awremel the Lame, who 
had been leading a vagabond's life over the southern 
part of Russia. He told so many wonderful stories 
about Volhynia, where, according to his words, there 
flowed milk and honey, that many of the inhabitants 
of Kopyl were thinking of emigrating to the south. 
Awremel also persuaded Abramowitsch 's aunt to go 
with him in search of her absent husband. That she 
did, taking her nephew along with her. It soon turned 
out, however, that Awremel was exploiting them as 
objects of charity, by collecting alms over the breadth 
and length of the country. For several months he kept 
zigzagging in his wagon from town to town, wherever he 
expected to find charitable Jews, until at last they ar- 
rived a certain distance beyond Kremenets. Here they 
passed a carriage from which proceeded a voice call- 

1 For fuller information on the life and works of Abramowitsch 
see his autobiography in Sseefer SiJcordn, pp. 117-126 ; see also the 
references in the Sistematiceskij ukazateV, p. 286, Nos. 4663-4669, of 
which No. 4666 is the most important. 



PROSE WRITERS FROM 1863-1881 151 

ing Abramowitsch by his given name. They stopped, 
and Abramowitsch was astonished to discover his friend 
of his childhood, who had, in the meantime, become a 
chorister in Kremenets. The latter invited his youth- 
ful friend to go back to town with him, promising to 
take care of him. This the young wanderer was only 
too glad to do, for he wished to be rid of Awremel, who 
had been tantalizing him with his almsbegging. The 
Precentor, who was in the carriage with the chorister, 
paid off the driver, and Abramowitsch started with 
them back to town, where a new period began in his 
life. 

His thorough acquaintance with the Talmud and the 
Hebrew language soon gained him many friends, and he 
was able to make a living by teaching the children of 
the wealthier inhabitants. One of his friends advised 
him to make the acquaintance of the poet Gottlober, 
who, at that time, was teaching in one of the local 
Jewish schools. The old man who was giving him that 
counsel added : " Go to see him some evening when no 
one will notice you, and make his acquaintance. He is 
an apostate who shaves his beard, and he does not enjoy 
the confidence of our community. Nor do we permit 
young men to cultivate an acquaintance with him ; but 
you are a learned man, and you will know how to meet 
the statements of that heretic. He is a fine Hebrew 
scholar, and it might do you good to meet him. Re- 
member the words of Rabbi Meier: 'Eat the whole- 
some fruit, and cast away the rind.' I'll tell the beadle 
to show you the way to the apostate." 

On the evening of the following day, Abramowitsch 
betook himself, with a copy of a Hebrew drama he had 
composed, to the house of Gottlober. The latter smiled 
at the childish attempt of the young Talmudist, but he 



152 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

did not fail to recognize the talent that needed only the 
fostering care of a teacher to reach its full develop- 
ment, and he himself offered his services to him, and 
invited him to be a frequent caller at his house. Here, 
under the guidance of Gottlober's elder daughter, he 
received his first instruction in European languages, 
and in the rudiments of arithmetic. He swallowed with 
avidity everything he could get, and soon he was able 
to write a Hebrew essay on education which was printed 
in the Hamagid, and which attracted much attention at 
the time. His fate soon led him to Berdichev, "the 
Jewish Moscow," where he married for a second time, 
and settled down for many years. In 1859 his first 
serious work, still in Hebrew, was published. In 1863 
began his Judeo-German career, in which he still con- 
tinues, and which has made him famous among all who 
read in that language. 

The tradition of the Haskala came down to Abramo- 
witsch in an uninterrupted succession, from Mendel 
Lefin through Ettinger and Gottlober. He, too, started 
out with the set purpose of spreading enlightenment 
among his people, and in his first two works we find a 
sharp demarkation between the two kinds of character, 
the ideal and the real. But he was too much of an artist 
by nature to persevere in his didactic attitude, and 
before long he abandoned entirely that field, to devote 
his undivided energy to the production of purely artistic 
works. Even his earlier books, in which he combats 
some public nuisance, differ materially from those of 
his predecessors in that they reflect not only conditions 
of society as they actually existed at his time, but in 
that his characters are true studies from nature. No 
one of his contemporaries reading, for example, his 
' The Little Man,' could be in doubt of who was meant 



PROSE WRITERS FROM 1863-1881 153 

by this or that name. The portrait was so closely, and 
yet so artistically, copied from some well-known denizen 
of Berdichev that there could be no doubt as to the 
identity. There are even more essential points in his 
stories and dramas in which he widely departs from his 
predecessors. While these saw in a religious reform 
and in German culture a solution out of the degraded 
state into which their co-religionists had fallen, he 
preached that a reform from within must precede all 
regeneration from without. While they directed their 
attacks against the Khassidim as the enemies of light, 
and their Rabbis as their spiritual guides, he cautiously 
avoided all discussions of religion and culture, and 
sought in local communal reforms a basis for future 
improvements. To him the physical well-being of the 
masses was a more important question than their spir- 
itual enlightenment, and according to his ideas a moral 
progress was only possible after the economical condition 
had been considerably bettered. His precursors had 
looked upon the Haskala as the most precious treasure, 
to be-preferred to all else in life. Abramowitsch loves 
his people more than wisdom and culture, and the more 
oppressed and suffering those he loves, the more earnest 
and the more fervent are his words in their behalf. He 
is the advocate of the poor against the rich, the down- 
trodden against the oppressor, the meek and long-suffer- 
ing against the haughty usurper of the people's rights. 
He is, consequently, worshipped by the masses, and has 
been hated and persecuted by those whose meanness, 
rascality, and hypocrisy he has painted in such glaring 
colors. He had even once to flee for his life, so en- 
raged had the representatives of the kahal become at 
their lifelike pictures in one of his dramas. His love 
for the people is an all-pervading passion, for man is his 



154 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Godhead. There is a divine element in the lowest of 
human beings, and he thinks it worth while to dis- 
cover it and to bring it to light, that it may outshine 
all the vices that have beclouded it. He turns beggar 
with the beggar he describes, becomes insane with him 
who ponders over the ills of this earth, and suffers the 
criminal's punishment. He at all times identifies 
himself with those of whom he speaks. 

In the more external form of composition there is 
again a vast progress from the writings of Lefin to the 
style and diction of Abramowitsch. Lefin was the first 
to show what vigor there was in the use of the everyday 
vernacular. Ettinger, Aksenfeld, and Gottlober have 
well adapted that simple, unadorned speech to the re- 
quirements of literary productions ; but it was only 
Abramowitsch who demonstrated what wealth of word- 
building, what possibilities of expression, lay dormant 
in the undeveloped dialects of Judeo-German. He was 
peculiarly fitted to enrich the language by new forma- 
tions, for having passed the first eighteen years of his 
life in Lithuania and passing the greater part of his 
later years in the Southwest, he was enabled to draw 
equally from the source of his native Lithuanian dia- 
lect and the spoken variety of his new home. He has 
welded the two so well that his works can be read with 
equal ease in the North and in the South, whereas the 
language of Aksenfeld offers a number of difficulties 
to the Lithuanians and even the Polish Jews whose dia- 
lect the Southern variety resembles. In diction he dif- 
fers from his masters in that he substitutes a regular 
prose structure for the semi-dramatic utterances of the 
older narration, without affecting the natural speeches 
of the characters wherever these are introduced. In 
these cases he becomes so idiomatic as to baffle the best 



PROSE WRITERS FROM 1863-1881 155 

translator, who must be frequently satisfied with mere 
circumlocutions. He also abandons the anonym of the 
former generation for a pseudonym, Mendele the Book- 
pedler, which is, however, but a thin disguise for his 
real name, for his writings are of such an individuality 
that there can be no doubt about their authorship. 
Beginning with Abramowitsch style is regarded as an 
important requisite of a Judeo-German work. 

Now we shall turn to the discussion of his several 
books. The subject of his first, The Little Man,' is an 
autobiography of a man, who, by low flattery, vile ser- 
vility, and all dishonest ways, rises to high places of 
emolument which he uses entirely in order to enrich 
himself at the expense of the people. Such men had 
been the bane of Jewish communities in the middle of 
our century. In Berdichev it was, at the time of the 
publication of the book, Jacob Josef Alperin, who by 
similar means had come to be the right hand of the 
Governor General, Bibikov ; but far more vile than he 
was Hersch Meier Held, who stood in the same relation 
to Alperin that the latter occupied to the Governor 
General. That flunky of a flunky is personified as the 
hero of the story, Isaac Abraham Takif . In this work 
we still have the ideal persons of the older writers. 
We are introduced there to a poor, honest, and cultured 
family, in whom one cannot fail to recognize his master 
and friend, Gottlober, and his daughter. 

If this work made him a host of friends among those 
who were the victims of Alperin and Held, the next 
drama he wrote endangered his stay in Berdichev, for 
the persons attacked in it, the representatives of the 
kahal, would not shrink from any crime to rid them- 
selves of a man who, like Abramowitsch, had come to 
be a power and a stumbling-block to their incredible 



156 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

rascalities. The greatest curse of the Jewish commu- 
nity in Russia had ever been the meat and candle tax, 
which all had to pay, nominally to support communal 
institutions, but the greater part of which went into the 
pockets of the representatives of the kahal to whom the 
tax was farmed out. No meat and no candle could be 
purchased without that arbitrary imposition by the 
members of the kahal, who in their fiendish craving for 
money increased the original cost of meat several fold, 
and who spared no means, however criminal, to silence 
any opposition to their doings. It is these men that 
Abramowitsch had the courage to hold up to the scorn 
of the people in his 'The Meat-Tax, or the Gang of 
City Benefactors.' 1 He had to flee for his life, but the 
drama did its work. It even attracted the attention of 
the Government, which tried to remedy the evil. It 
became the possession of the people, and many of its 
salient sentences have become everyday proverbs. The 
revolt against that Gang of City Benefactors of Ber- 
dichev was so great that Moses Josef Chodrower, whom 
all recognized as the prototype of the arch-rascal Spodek 
in the play, and who had been a prominent and wealthy 
merchant, was soon driven into bankruptcy by the in- 
furiated population that refused to support him. That 
was the first time that a literary production written in 
Judeo-German had become a factor in social affairs. 
A Russian troupe that was then playing at Berdichev 
wanted to give a Russian version of the drama, but was 
restrained from doing so by the machinations of the 
kahal. The book had done its work thoroughly. 

In the same year there appeared his story from the 
life of the Jewish mendicants, 'Fischke the Lame.' 2 

1 Translated into Russian by Petrikovski. 

2 Reviews of this work are in JM. Volksblatt, Vol. VIII. (Beilage), 



PROSE WRITERS FROM 1863-1881 157 

This psychological study of the impulses of the lowest 
dregs of society is probably unique in all literature. 
It is a love story from the world of the lame and the 
halt that constitute the profession of mendicants in the 
Jewish part of every Russian town in the West. But it 
is not merely the love of Fischke the Lame for a beggar 
girl and the jealousy of his blind wife, who tyrannizes 
over him in spite of her affliction, that we are made 
acquainted with in that remarkable book. We are 
introduced there to a class of people with entirely dif- 
ferent motives, different aims in life, from those we are 
accustomed to see about us. They hide from daylight 
and have a morality of their own ; but yet they are 
possessed of the passions that we find in beings endowed 
with all the senses and enjoying the advantages of well- 
organized society. One must have lived among them, 
been one of them, so to reproduce their language, their 
thoughts, as Abramowitsch has done in this novel ; and 
one must have broad sympathies with all humankind 
to be able to find the divine spark ablaze even in the 
lowest men. 

His next work, i The Dobbin,' * is the most perfect of 
his productions. It unites into one a psychological 
study of a demented man, with a delicate allegory, in 
which the history of his people in Russia is delineated, 
thus serving as a transition from the pure novel in his 
former production to the composite allegory in his 
poetical work 4 Judel ' which was published a few years 
later. It combines a biting satire with a tragic story ; 
it is a prophecy and a history in one. If the 'Meat 
Tax' had made him the favorite of the masses who 

pp. 1385-1396, by J. Levi; and Voschod, 1889, Nos. 1, 2, 4, by 
M. G. Morgulis. 

1 Translated into Polish by Klemens Junosza. 



158 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

suffered from the oppression of the members of the 
kahal, 4 The Dobbin ' was calculated to endear him with 
all who professed the Jewish faith ; for while the first 
pointed out an internal evil which could be remedied, 
the second painted in vivid colors their sufferings in the 
present and the misfortunes which awaited them in the 
future, which were entirely of an external nature over 
which they had no control. It showed them more 
graphically than anything that had been said hereto- 
fore how helpless they were to meet the charges which 
were continually cast against them by the Gentiles and 
the Government. Abramowitsch foresaw that the turn- 
ing-point in the inner life of his race was near at hand, 
that the call to progress of the early writers had availed 
them little in righting them with the world without, that 
his own productions acquainting them with their weak 
points from within were now out of place, and that 
soon they would need only words of consolation such as 
are uttered when a great calamity overtakes a people. 

In 1873 hardly any one dreamed of the possibility of 
the riots against the Jews that were to be inaugurated 
eight years later, for it was just then that the highest 
privileges had been granted to them, and the assimila- 
tion had been going on to such an extent that Judeo- 
German literature would have been a thing of the past, 
had not the writers of the previous decade continued 
now and then to issue a volume of their works. But 
Abramowitsch saw that the reforms of Alexander II. 
were not conceived in the same liberal spirit as had 
been proposed by Nicholas I., and that sooner or later 
they would be followed by retrenchments such as would 
throw the Jews back into conditions far worse than 
those they had been in half a century before ; for they 
would find no avenues for their many new energies 



PROSE WRITERS FROM 1863-1881 159 

which they had developed in the meanwhile. It is 
this coming event that the author has depicted in his 
fantastic story, 4 The Dobbin.' Jisrolik has made up 
his mind to acquire Gentile culture, and he is preparing 
himself for an examination in the Gymnasium. He 
falls in with a Dobbin that is pursued by everybody, 
and this so affects him, together with the worry over 
his examination, that he becomes demented, and he 
imagines that the Dobbin is talking to him. After 
that the animal is introduced as a transmigrated soul 
that tells its biography. The Dobbin is the personifica- 
tion of the Jewish race. The book was very popular, 
and although there was a demand for new editions, the 
Russian Government would not permit them, as even 
this veiled allegory appeared to it as too open an accu- 
sation of its acts. Only sixteen years later the censor 
relaxed and allowed a second edition to appear. 

In 1879 there was published by Abramowitsch a vol- 
ume entitled 'The Wanderings of Benjamin the Third,' 1 
which is an excellent pendant to Cervantes's famous 
work and which has therefore been called by its Polish 
translator 'The Jewish Don Quixote.' The subject of 
his caricature was a real fellow, named Tscharny, who 
had been employed by some French society to under- 
take a scientific journey into the Caucasus, but who was 
entirely unfit for the work, as he had a very superficial 
knowledge of geography. For his more immediate pur- 
pose Abramowitsch copied a crazy fellow who was all 
the time citing passages from a fantastic Hebrew geog- 
raphy he had been poring over. Out of this Abramo- 
witsch evolved the story of the Quixotic fellow who 
starts out to discover the mystic river Sambation and 
the tribe of the Red Jews, but who never gets any 
1 Translated into Polish by Klemens Junosza. 



160 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

further than the town of Berdichev and its dirty river 
Gnilopyat. 

Of the other works x of Abramowitsch the most im- 
portant is his drama l The Enlistment,' which deals with 
the same subject as Aksenfeld's 4 The First Recruit,' 
but referring it to more modern times. After a long 
silence the author has again resumed his pen, and 
one may look forward for some new classics in Judeo- 
German. He has also written a number of popular 
scientific articles, which have been widely circulated 
by means of calendars which he has edited. His popu- 
larity as a writer is best illustrated by the fact that for 
a series of years his income from his books and calen- 
dars has amounted to three thousand roubles a year. 
Considering the poverty of the reading public, for 
whom cheap editions have to be issued, and the gen- 
eral custom of borrowing books rather than buying 
them, this will appear as a very great sum indeed. 
Many of the younger authors lovingly refer to him as 
the 4 Grandfather,' although no one has attempted to 
imitate him either in manner or style. He forms by 
himself a school, and would have been the last to 
write in the dialect but for the occurrences of the 
eighties that have been the cause of a new set of 
writers who have no reason to follow the authors of the 
period of the Haskala, but who dip their pens in the 
blood that has been shed in the riots, or who from 
the same cause speak to their brethren, though not of 
them. 

1 His shorter stories have appeared in Hausfreund, Vol. I. pp. 128- 
134; Vol. III. pp. 1-9; Vol. IV. pp. 3-25; Jud.Volksbib., Vol. II. 
pp. 7-93 ; Jud. Volkskalender, Vol. III. pp. 53-64. 



XI. PROSE WRITERS FROM 1863-1881: 
LINETZKI, DICK 

In 1867 the Kol-mewasser began publishing a serial 
story by Linetzki 1 under the name of 4 The Polish Boy.' 
Its popularity at once became so great that to satisfy 
the impatient public the editor was induced to print the 
whole in book form as a supplement long before it had 
been finished in the periodical. The interest in the 
book lay not so much in the fact that it was written 
with boundless humor as in its being practically an 
autobiography in which the readers found so much to 
bring back recollections of their own sad youth. They 
found there a graphic description of the whole course 
of a Khassid's life as no one before Linetzki had painted 
it, as only one could paint it who had himself been one 
of the sect, standing in an even nearer relation to their 
Rabbis than had been the case with Aksenfeld. While 
the latter had been a follower of one, Linetzki had 
narrowly escaped being a Rabbi himself, had suffered 
all kinds of persecution for attempting to abandon the 
narrow sphere of a Khassid's activity, and knew from 
bitter experience all the facts related in his work. The 
story of his own life, unadorned by any fiction, was 
dramatic enough to be worth telling, but he has en- 
riched it with so many details of everyday incidents as 
to change the simple biography into a valuable cyclo- 
pedia of the life and thoughts of his contemporaries, in 

1 Short notice of his works in Sseefer Sikoron, pp. 59, 60 ; cf . also 
notices mentioned in SistematUeskij ukazatel, p. 286, Nos. 4670-4672. 

161 



162 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

which one may get information on the folklore, games, 
education, superstitions, and habits of his people in the 
middle of our century. 

Linetzki was born in 1839 in Vinitsa, in the Govern- 
ment of Podolsk. At the age of six he was far enough 
advanced in Hebrew to begin the study of the Talmud. 
At ten he had passed through all the Jewish schools, 
and there was nothing left for his teachers to teach 
him. He was an Ilu% an accomplished scholar, but his 
father, who was a Khassidic Rabbi, was not satisfied 
with his mere scholastic acquirements ; he wanted him 
to be initiated in all the mysteries of the Cabbala which 
would make of him a fanatical Khassid. He was put 
for that purpose in the hands of a few of his blind fol- 
lowers, who did not spare any means to kill the last ray 
of reason in him, even if they had to resort to violent 
punishments, with which they were very liberal. In- 
stead of curbing his spirit, they only succeeded in 
nurturing an undying hatred toward themselves and 
everything connected with their doctrine. But finding 
it impossible to tear himself away from their tyranny, he 
finally feigned submission and openly professed adhe- 
rence to his sect, while he secretly visited the few in- 
telligent people that the town could muster up and 
borrowed from them works that told of the Haskala or 
that gave some useful instruction. These books he 
would take with him to uninhabited houses, or to the 
Smpty synagogues, and pore over them until their con- 
tents had been appropriated by the precocious boy. His 
father began to suspect that something was wrong with 
his son, so at the age of fourteen he married him to a 
girl who, he hoped, would take him back on the road of 
Khassidism. But finding that, contrary to his expecta- 
tions, she agreed in everything with her child-husband, 






PROSE WRITERS FROM 1863-1881 163 

the father managed to divorce her from him. Linetzki's 
patience had come to an end ; he threw off the thin mask 
he had been wearing, and began to make open attacks 
on the fanatics. He was again forced into marriage, but 
with the same result as before. The Khassidim now 
wanted to get rid of him at all cost, and in a dark night 
he was seized by them and thrown into the river. He 
was saved as if by a miracle. After that he was care- 
fully guarded by the police, and his enemies did not 
dare to lay hands on him again. At the age of eighteen 
he escaped to Odessa, where he eked out his existence 
by teaching Hebrew to children, all the time perfecting 
himself in worldly sciences. He was again pursued by 
the Khassidim of the city, who got away with a box full 
of his manuscripts, and he decided to leave Russia, to 
take a course at the Rabbinical Seminary in Breslau. 
What was his surprise when, upon arriving at the 
Austrian frontier, he was put in chains by the Rabbi of 
the border town, who threatened to present a forged 
despatch from Odessa in which Linetzki was named as 
a dangerous criminal. He again pretended to repent, 
and was taken back to his father, from whom the forged 
despatch had emanated. The latter compelled his son 
to do penance at the house of the Rabbi of Sadugora. 
After that he was divorced from his second wife, as it 
was hoped that it would conciliate him to free him from 
the ties which had been hateful to him. Linetzki, how- 
ever, took the first occasion to escape again. This time 
he went to Zhitomir, where at the age of twenty-three 
he entered the third class of the Rabbinical school, as 
his insufficient knowledge of Russian made it impossible 
for him to attend a higher class. His schoolmates were 
about twelve years old, and ridiculed the man who was 
sitting on the same bench with them. He left the in- 



164 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

stitution and went to Kiev, where in 1863 his Judeo- 
German literary career began by his volume of poetry 
discussed in a previous chapter. His next work was 
4 The Polish Boy,' which has gained him a reputation 
as a classic writer. 

Were it not for the many didactic passages which the 
author has interwoven in the second part of his story, it 
might easily be counted among the most perfect pro- 
ductions of Jewish literature. These unfortunately mar 
the unity of the whole. Except for these, the book 
is characterized by a truly Rabelaisian humor. Its 
greatest merit is that it follows so closely actual expe- 
riences as to become a photographic reproduction of 
scenes. There is hardly any plot in it, and it is doubt- 
ful if Linetzki would have succeeded so well had he 
attempted a piece of fiction, for in his many later works 
he is signally defective in this direction. The mere 
photographic quality of the story, the straightforward 
tone that pervades it, the grotesque, unbounded humor 
which one meets at every turn, have made it acceptable 
to the Khassidim themselves, who grin at their carica- 
tures but must confess that it is absolutely true. The 
copy of the book in my possession was sold to me by 
a pious itinerant Rabbi, who had treasured it as a 
precious work. 

Linetzki was misled by his early success to regard 
his unchecked humor as his special domain, and into 
cultivating it to the exclusion of the finer qualities 
of style and sound reason. The farther he proceeds, 1 
the less readable his works become, the coarser his wit. 
Later, in the eighties, he abandons entirely original 

1 Shorter stories have appeared in Familienfreund, Vol. I. pp. 84-86 ; 
Hausfreund, Vol. I. pp. 121-128 ; Jv.d. Volksbib. Vol. I. pp. 62-92 ; 
Vol. II. pp. 98-119 | Volksfreund, pp. 14-16. 



PROSE WRITERS FROM 1863-1881 165 

work to devote himself to the translation of German 
books. We have from his pen versions of Lessing's 
4 Nathan the Wise ' and Graetz's 4 History of the Jews. ' 
The first is rather a free paraphrase than an artistic 
translation, while the second is not as carefully done as 
one might have expected. But once has he returned to 
the style of his 4 The Polish Boy,' in his 4 The Maggot 
in the Horseradish,' : but that is but a reflection of his 
great work. Linetzki's reputation is based only on his 
first novel, which will ever remain a classic. 

A number of men with less talent than those hereto- 
fore mentioned have attempted imitations of this or 
that popular book. Among these writers the attacks 
against the Khassidim still continue at a time when 
they have lost their power to sting, when the best au- 
thors have abandoned that field for more useful works. 
However, some of the minor productions are quite cred- 
itable performances. Such, for example, is the well- 
told story in verse by M. Epstein, entitled 4 Lemech, the 
Miracle-worker,' published in 1880. It tells of Lemech 
the tailor who leaves his wife, and turns miracle-worker, 
which he finds more profitable than his tailoring. He 
settles in a distant town and persuades one of the 
wealthy men to give him his daughter in marriage. 
The miracle -worker must not be refused, and the 
daughter's previous engagement with Rosenblatt, her 
lover, is broken off. Just as the rings are to be ex- 
changed which would unite Lemech with Rosenblatt's 
former bride, Rosenblatt steps up with Lemech's wife, 
who has been travelling about to find her unfaithful 
husband, whom she knows only as a tailor. The story 
is developed naturally, and the reflections interwoven 
in it are well worth reading. An earlier one-act drama 
1 Jud.Volksbib., Vol. I. pp. 62 ff. 



166 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

by the same author, 'The Drubbing of the Apostate 
at Foolstown,' relates also in verse of the punishment 
inflicted by the Rabbi on the Jew who had been found 
reading one of Mendelssohn's books. Another, 'The 
Conversation of the Khassidim,' by Maschil Brettmann, 
gives in the form of a dialogue the best exposition of 
the tenets of that sect, and shows how the various 
stories of miracle- workings originate. The introduc- 
tion contains a short historical sketch of this strange 
aberration of miracle-working, written in an excellent 
prose. 

While these writers had in view the eradication of 
some error and the dissemination of culture by their 
works, the ancient story-telling for the mere love of 
amusing still continues to attract the masses. The 
better class of authors were too serious to condescend 
to compete with the badchen in their efforts to enter- 
tain. The lighter story was consequently left to an 
inferior set of men who frequently had no other excuse 
for writing their stories than the hope of earning a few 
roubles by them. Of such a character are 'Doctor 
Kugelmann,' 'Wigderl the Son of Wigderl.' There is, 
however, a wide difference in these from similar story- 
books of the previous generation. The older chap- 
books were based mainly on the romantic material of 
the West, generally reflecting nothing of the Jewish 
life in them. The newer stories of the Southwest of 
Russia have this in common with the works of the clas- 
sical writers, that they reproduce scenes of contempora- 
neous Jewish life. At times these tales are well told 
and well worth reading. Such is the amusing quid pro 
quo in 'A Jew, then not a Jew, then a Good Jew [i.e. a 
Khassid], and Again a Jew,' by S. Hochbaum. Still 
more interesting is the charming comedy ' The Savings 



PROSE WRITERS FROM 1863-1881 167 

of the Women ' by Ludwig Levinsohn. 1 Its plot is as 
follows : Jekel, a Khassid, returns late at night to his 
house, where he is awaited by his wife Selde. To 
silence her torrent of invectives he invents a story that 
the decree of Rabbi Gershon, by which monogamy had 
been introduced among the Jews of Europe in the 
eleventh century, was about to be dissolved in order 
that by marrying several wives the Jews of the town 
might get new dowries with which to pay the arrears 
in their taxes. His wife spreads this news throughout 
the community, to the great terror of the women. They 
resolve to avert the calamity by offering up their sav- 
ings stored away in stockings and bundles. These are 
brought to the assembled brotherhood of the Khassidim, 
who, of course, use the money for a jollification. There 
are many amusing incidents in the play. The servant 
of Selde is dreaming of the time when she shall be 
married to Jekel and when she will lord it over her 
former mistress ; the scene in the women's galleries 
when the news of the impending misfortune is reported 
is very humorous, and the attempt of the Rabbi's wife 
to learn the truth of the fact from her husband who had 
not been initiated in the story by Jekel is quite dra- 
matic. It is one of the best, if not the best, comedy 
written in Judeo-German. 

A number of witty stories in a semi-dramatic form 
have been produced by Ulrich Kalmus; the most of 
these are disfigured by coarse jokes, but a few of them 
it would well pay to rearrange for scenic representa- 
tion. One of his best is a version of the Talmudical 
legend of the devil and the bad wife ; it is almost pre- 

1 His name does not appear on any of the editions of his comedy. 
Early in the seventies he had turned his work over to Wollmann for 
publication ; the latter surreptitiously published it over his own initials. 



168 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

cisely the same that Robert Browning has versified in 

his * Doctor .' A good story, resembling Linetzki's 

'The Polish Boy,' but with much less bitterness and 
humor, is given in ' Jekele Kundas,' by one who signs 
himself by the pseudonym Abasch. Translations from 
foreign tongues are not uncommon in this period. 
Some Russian stories are rendered into Judeo-German ; 
also a few German dramas, such as Lessing's 'The 
Jews'; from the English we have Walter Scott's 
4 Ivanhoe ' and Longfellow's 4 Judas Maccabseus ' ; and 
from the French we get for that time Masse's 4 The 
Story of a Piece of Bread,' and from the Hebrew one 
of Luzzato's dramas. To other useful works of a scien- 
tific character we shall return later. 

There is a marked difference in the development of 
Judeo-German literature in the Khassidic Southwest 
and the Misnagdic North. While the first gave prom- 
ise of a natural growth and a better future, the second 
showed early the seeds of decay. The nearness to 
Germany explains the deterioration of the literary 
Judeo-German of Lithuania, but the cause for the 
weaker activity in the literature itself is to be sought 
in the whole mental attitude of the Misnagdim, who as 
strict ritualists did not allow the promptings of the 
heart to interfere with their blind adherence to the 
Law. The very origin of Khassidism was due to a 
protest against that cold formalism which excluded 
everything imaginative. Unfortunately this protest 
opened the v?&y to the Cabbala and admitted the wild- 
est excesses of mysticism in the affairs of everyday 
life, and this soon gave rise to that form of the new 
sect with which we meet so frequently in the descrip- 
tions of the early authors of the Southwest. These, 
however, in tearing themselves away from their early 



PROSE WRITERS FROM 1803-1881 169 

associations abandoned only their degraded religious 
faith, not the love for the fanciful which, if properly 
directed by a controlling reason, would lead to an artis- 
tic career. The Misnagdim, on the contrary, in break- 
ing with their traditions were predisposed to become 
rationalists with whom utilitarian motives prevailed 
over the finer sentiments. Their advocates of the 
Reform, who took to writing in the vernacular of the 
people, set about from the very start to create a useful, 
rather than an artistic, literature, to give positive in- 
struction rather than to amuse. The outward form of 
language and style was immaterial to them ; the infor- 
mation the story carried was their only excuse for writ- 
ing it. Foremost of that class of writers was Aisik 
Meier Dick, 1 who in the introduction to one of his 
stories 2 speaks as follows of his purpose in publishing 
them : 

" Our women have no ear and no feeling for pure 
ethical instruction. They want to hear only of mira- 
cles and wonderful deeds whether invented or true ; 
they find delight in the story of Joseph de la Reyna, or 
of Elijah's appearance in the form of an old man to be 
the tenth in the Minyan on the eve of the Atonement 
day ; they are even satisfied with the story of Bevys of 
Hamptoun and the Greyhound, with the Horse Drend- 
sel and the Sword Familie, and with the beautiful Prin- 
cess Deresna, or merely with a story of a Bride and 
Bridegroom. 

u This sad fact, dear readers, I took deep to heart, 
and I resolved to make use of this very weakness for 
interesting stories for their own good by composing 

1 Short mention in Sseefer Sikoron, p. 26 ; necrology in Haus- 
freund, Vol. III. p. 312. 

2 Der Schiwim-mahlzeit, p. 10. 



170 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

books of an entertaining nature, which would at the 
same time carry moral lessons. Thanks to God I have 
succeeded in my undertaking, for my stories are being 
read diligently, and they are productive of good. Sev- 
eral hundred stories of all kinds have been so far issued 
by me, each having a different purpose. Even every 
witty tale and mere witticism teaches something useful. 
I am sure a great number of my readers do not suspect 
my good intentions, and read my stories, just as they 
read Bovo, for pastime only, and will accuse me, the 
writer of the same, as being a mere babbler who dis- 
tracts the attention from serious studies, and as writing 
them for the money that there is in them. I know all 
that full well, and yet I keep on doing my duty, for 
even greater men than I have been treated in no better 
way by our nation ; our prophets have been cursed by 
us, and beaten, and pulled by the hair, and spit upon, 
and some have even been killed. I am proud to be 
able to say that I am not making my living from my 
writings, and I should have been repaid tenfold better 
if I had passed my time in some more profitable work. 
But I do it only out of love for my nation, of whom the 
most do not know how far they are removed from man- 
kind at large, and what a miserable position we occupy 
in these enlightened days among the civilized nations. 
. . . We must, whether we wish or not, enter into 
much closer relations with the outside world than our 
parents did. We must, therefore, be better acquainted 
with the world, that we may be tolerated by our fel- 
low-men (the Gentiles), who surpass us in civiliza- 
tion. . . . Consequently, I regard it as a great favor 
to speak to you by means of my books, and as a still 
greater favor that the famous firm of Romm is willing 
to print them, for the publication of prayers is more 



PROSE WRITERS FROM 1863-1881 171 

profitable than that of story-books that are only read 
in circulating libraries or merely borrowed from a 
friend." 

This passage fully characterizes Dick's activity, which 
lasted from the fifties until his death, in 1893. He was 
not a man of deep learning, and did not produce any 
masterpieces, such as the other writers of the time were 
printing in the South. But he atoned for this by his 
great earnestness and good common sense, which led 
him to choose the best subjects for his stories, such as 
would be of the most immediate good for his humble 
readers. He translated or imitated the leading popular 
books of his time, not limiting himself to such as were 
taken out of Jewish life, but independently of their 
religious tenor. Among his translations we find the 
works of Bernstein, Campe, Beecher-Stowe; there are 
imitations of Danish, French, Polish, and Russian 
books ; and many subjects, not easily traceable now, 
have been suggested to him by other literatures. He 
has also written many stories taken from the life of 
the Lithuanian Jews. He ascribes great importance to 
biographies, devoting several introductions to impress 
the necessity of reading these. But he treats just as 
frequently geographical and historical themes ; among 
the latter he has even dared to give an impartial dis- 
cussion of the Reformation. 

At first Dick's books were small 16mos of rarely more 
than forty-eight pages, and up to the year 1871 the 
abbreviation AMD, for his name, occurs but twice. 
After that all his works bear the initials, or even the 
name in full. The small size of the books is due to 
his desire to make them accessible to the poorest of his 
race ; this necessitated a retrenchmert of nearly all the 
works which he translated. Only in the eighties, when 



172 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

reading had become universal and more expensive works 
could be published, did he issue octavos of considerable 
thickness, some of them being four-volumed books. 
Dick had no talent as a writer, and his style is but a 
weak reflection of the originals which he translated. 
The language he uses is a frightful mixture of Judeo- 
German with German, the latter frequently predomi- 
nating over the first, so that he is often obliged to 
give in parentheses the explanation of unusual words. 
And so it happened that, although his purpose had 
been a good one, and his influence had at first been 
salutary on a very large circle of readers, he has set a 
bad example to a large host of scribblers who have 
taken all imaginable liberties with the language and 
the subjects they treated of, and have produced a flood 
of bastard literature under which the many better pro- 
ductions are entirely drowned. He has destroyed all 
feeling for a proper diction, and has cultivated only a 
passion for reading, so that it was necessary for his fol- 
lowers to write 4 ein hochst interessanter Roman ' on the 
title-page, and parade the book with crumbs of German 
words unintelligible to the public, in order to find a 
ready sale. 

One of the first to write in the style of Dick was 
M. R. Schaikewitsch, 1 who began his prolific career in 
1876, since which time he has brought out more than 
one hundred books, the most of which are of bulky pro- 
portions. At first he was satisfied to tell stories from 
the life of his immediate surroundings, but soon he 

1 Cf. S. Rabinowitsch, Schomer's Mischpet, and Seiffert's Das Tel- 
lerl vim '?n Himmel (Ein Entwer auf M. Schaikewitsch? s Taines), in 
Die neue Welt, No. 5, pp. 11-21. To his detractors Schaikewitsch 
an ,wered in his pamphlet Jehi Or. Other reviews in JUd. Volksblatt, 
Vol. VIII. (Beilage), pp. 335-361, 455-467, 707-714, 738-743, 763-773. 



PROSE WRITERS FROM 1863-1881 173 

aspired to higher things, and began to drag in by the 
hair scenes and situations of which he did not have the 
slightest conception. As long as he wrote of what he 
had himself seen he produced books that, without doing 
any particular good, were to a certain extent harmless. 
He certainly has a better talent for telling a story than 
Dick ; his language is also nearer the spoken vernacu- 
lar, and in the beginning he avoided Germanisms. He 
might, therefore, have developed into one of the best 
Jargonists, had he chosen to study, and had he worked 
less rapidly. In an adaptation of Gogol's 'The In- 
spector,' he has shown what he might have been had 
he had any earnest purpose in life. But he lacks en- 
tirely Dick's straightforwardness, and writes only to 
make money. The common people devoured his stories 
with the same zeal that formerly they showed towards 
the productions of Dick, and unwittingly they have im- 
bibed a poison which the later authors of a nobler nature, 
who have the interests of the people at heart, are trying 
to eradicate. These try to point out directly by accu- 
sation, and indirectly by writing better novels, how 
dangerous and immoral Schaikewitsch is in his books. 
They go too far in their anxiety to bias the mind of 
the masses against him when they speak of his prone- 
ness to immoral scenes, for in that he is not worse than 
many of the better class of authors. The deleterious 
effect is produced not by these, but by his introducing 
a world to them that does not exist in reality, that 
gives them a most perverted idea of life, without teach- 
ing them any facts worth knowing. In his many his- 
torical novels, for example, he uses good sources for 
the fundamental facts on which he bases his tale, but 
the men and women are such as could never have ex- 
isted at the period described and that do not exist now : 



174 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

they are monstrosities of his imagination as they appear 
to him in his very narrow sphere of experiences. His 
treatment of these historical themes is not unlike the 
one given to the stories of Alexander and other ancient 
works during the Middle Ages. The resemblance is 
still further increased by his extravagant, romantic 
conception of love, on which he dwells with special 
pleasure, to the great joy of his feminine public. 

A much better attempt at transferring the method 
of Dick to dramatic productions had been made as 
early as 1867 and the following year by J. B. Falko- 
witsch. His two dramas ' Channel the Rich ' and 
4 Rochele the Singer ' were at one time very popular 
in the South. The second is an adaptation of some 
foreign work ; the first is probably original. They are 
written in a good vernacular, but are devoid of interest, 
as the didactic element outweighs the plot, and the lat- 
ter is very loosely developed. Schaikewitsch has had 
many imitators, all of whom try to rival him in quantity. 
Among these are to be counted Blaustein, Beckermann, 
Seiffert, Budson, Buchbinder ; the latter, a writer with- 
out talent, has at least given some useful translations, 
and has also written some articles on the popular belief 
of the Jews. Outside of Dick, the Northwest has pro- 
duced two important writers, one in the beginning, the 
other at the end, of the period. The first is Zweifel, 
whom we already know from his poetical works ; the 
other is Schatzkes, the author of 'The Jewish Ante- 
Passover.' Zweifel has produced several small works 
of aphorisms which have been very popular and have 
been frequently reprinted. Their fine moral tone, the 
purity of the language used in them, the simple style 
in which they are composed, place them among the best 
books of Judeo-German literature. He has also written 



PROSE WRITERS FROM 1863-1881 175 

a story, 'The Happy Reader of the Haphtora,' which is 
a discussion on piety and honesty clad in the form of a 
tale. The other, M. A. Schatzkes, has written but one 
book, which is not properly called a story, but an invalu- 
able cyclopedia of Jewish customs, particularly such as 
directly or indirectly refer to the Passover, strung to- 
gether in chronological order as a consecutive action. 
With the exception of Linetzki's 'The Polish Boy,' 
there has been written no one work that treats so com- 
prehensively of the beliefs and habits of the Jews in 
Russia. Schatzkes is an indifferent story-teller, and 
his work is full of repetitions, but, nevertheless, ' The 
Jewish Ante-Passover' must be counted among the 
classics of the period under discussion. It is a sad 
picture that is portrayed in it ; in a straightforward 
manner, without exaggeration, he tells of conditions 
that one would hardly believe possible as existing at 
the end of the nineteenth century. 

Neither of these men has told stories in the manner 
of the Southern writers, for neither of them cared as 
much for the form as for the contents in which they 
told them. They differ from Dick in that they at least 
did not use a corrupt language in their works. All the 
other writers have no excuse for writing at all. This 
inferior literature had its rise in the seventies, when 
the better forces had been alienated from the people 
and had received instruction in Russian schools. The 
men who had been writing for the Haskala, finding 
their efforts crowned with success, had ceased to write ; 
many of the older men had passed away. The newer 
generation had no reason to proceed in the path of the 
older men. There were only the lower classes left, who 
had had no advantages in the foreign education, and 
who were craving for reading matter of whatsoever 



176 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

kind. It was to these alone that the newer writers 
spoke, and they were not animated by any high motives 
in addressing them. They were left to themselves to do 
as they pleased, for the seventies are characterized by 
an absence of all criticism. No one cared what they 
did or how they did it. All felt and hoped that the 
last hour for the Jargon had come, and it was immaterial 
to them what was produced in Judeo-German literature 
before its final decay. But Abramowitsch's prophecy 
in 'The Dobbin' was fulfilled, the assimilation that 
had been going on peacefully had not produced the 
desired result, and one morning those who had had 
time to forget the language their mothers had been 
talking to them awoke to the bitter consciousness that 
they were despised Jews, on the same level with the 
most lowly of their race. Among these arose a new 
school of writers who introduced the methods of the 
literary languages into their native dialect. The next 
period, the present, is signalized by a spirit of sound 
criticism. 



XII. PROSE WRITERS SINCE 1881: 
SPEKTOR 

In the short period of two years Judeo-German lit- 
erature lost four of its most prominent writers : in 1891 
there passed away the veteran poet, Michel Gordon ; the 
next year J. L. Gordon followed him ; and soon after 
death gathered in Dick and Zederbaum. Without hav- 
ing himself produced any works of a permanent value, 
without having in any way accelerated or retarded the 
course of its literature, Zederbaum is peculiarly identi- 
fied with its development and has on two important 
occasions in the history of the Jews of Russia served as 
a crystallizing body for the literary forces in the ver- 
nacular. He was born in 1816, and in his youth enjoyed 
the intimate friendship of Ettinger and Aksenfeld. He 
had fostered the budding talents of Abramowitsch and 
Linetzki at a time when the efforts of the first disciples 
of the Haskala were about to be crowned by a success 
they had hardly dreamed would be realized so soon. 
And he lived to see all his hopes crushed in the occur- 
rences of 1881, when his race was threatened to be cast 
back into darkness more dense than at his birth. Dur- 
ing a lifetime thus rich in momentous experiences, he 
has in his person reflected the succession of events as far 
as they affected his race. In 1861 he founded a Hebrew 
periodical, the Hameliz, as a mouthpiece of the more 
advanced ideas of culture for that restricted class of the 
learned and educated who still clung to the sacred lan- 
guage as the only medium for the advancement of 
worldly knowledge. But he felt that the time had 

177 



178 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

come when the masses who, on the one side, could not 
be reached by that ancient tongue, and who, on the 
other, had not yet had an opportunity of a Russian 
instruction, must be approached directly in their own 
mother-tongue. So, two years later, he started the 
Judeo-German supplement to his Hebrew weekly, the 
Kol-mewasser, which was for ten years the rallying 
ground of all who could wield a Judeo-German pen. 
Then the Government interfered in the publication, 
and for another decade there was no periodical pub- 
lished in Russia in that language. Nor was that to 
be regretted, for its usefulness had become very small. 
The Russian schools were crowded with Jewish young 
men and women, and there was not a science or an art 
to which the Jews had not given a large contingent, 
and this vanguard of the new culture, even if it had 
not broken with the traditions of the past, could be 
reached only by means of the Russian language. To 
fall in line with these changed conditions, Zederbaum 
founded two Russian periodicals for the discussion of 
Jewish affairs. 

After a great deal of trouble, he succeeded in October 
of 1881 in getting the Government's permission to issue 
a Judeo-German weekly, the Jiidisches Volhsblatt. He 
felt that his duty was once more with the masses, that 
they needed the advice of better-informed men in the 
impending danger, and at the advanced age of sixty-five 
he once more took upon his shoulders a publication in 
which he had no supporters. In the first two years the 
weekly was bare of literary productions. Except for 
an occasional poem by J. L. Gordon, and here and there 
a feuilleton, the rest was occupied by political news, for 
which Zederbaum had to supply the leaders. Abramo- 
witsch and Linetzki had ceased writing, and no new 



PROSE WRITERS SINCE 1881 179 

generation had had time to develop literary talents. 
The tone of the new novel, to do any positive good, had 
to be different from those current before. Dick had 
been writing for the people with little regard to the 
people's familiarity with the scenes described, while 
Abramowitsch wrote of the people but not necessarily 
to the level of an humble audience. Now the author 
had to write both of and for the people, he had to be in 
touch with them not as a critic or moralizer, but as a 
sympathetic friend. In 1883, two such men made their 
debut in the Jiidisches Vblksblatt : Mordechai Spektor, 
the calm observer of the life in the lower strata of society, 
and Solomon Rabinowitsch, the impulsive painter of 
scenes from the middle classes. Of these, the first 
came nearest to what Zederbaum regarded as requisite 
for a writer in those troublous times, and he called 
Spektor to St. Petersburg to take charge of the literary 
part of his weekly. 

In the short time of his connection with the Vblks- 
blatt, and later as editor of several periodicals of his 
own, Spektor 1 has developed a great activity. He has 
written a large number of short sketches and more 
extended novels, 2 and his talent is still in the ascendant. 

1 Cf. Sseefer Sikoron, p. 80. Reviews of his works in Voschod, 
Vol. VII. No. 12, pp. 18-21 ; Vol. IX. No. 7, pp. 30-37. 

2 In addition to his separate works the following periodicals contain 
Spektor's stories: Jud. Volksblatt, Vol. III. and following (very- 
many) ; Hausfreund, Vol. I. pp. 109-121, Supplement ; Vol. II. pp. 
1-5, 116-143 ; Vol. III. pp. 9-28, 38-101, 149-172, 277-294 ; Vol. IV. 
pp. 81-95, 107-131 ; Vol. V. pp. 123-136 ; Familienfreund, Vol. II. 
pp. 66-91 ; Spektor's Familienkalender, Vol. II. pp. 51-54 ; Vol. III. 
pp. 81-85 ; Vol. IV. pp. 63-93 ; Vol. V. pp. 45-51, 52-58 ; Widerkol, 
pp. 19 ff. ; Jontewblattlech, I. Series, No. 3, 4, 9 ; Kleiner Wecker, pp. 
43-48 ; Literatur wn' Leben, pp. 67-89. Reviews by him, under the 
pseudonym Ernes, in Hausfreund, Vol. I. pp. 143-160 ; Vol. II. pp. 
170-176 ; Vol. III. pp. 251-260. 



180 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

All of his productions are characterized by the same 
melancholy dignity and even tenor. He is never in a 
hurry with his narration, and his characters are sketched 
with a firm hand and clearly outlined against the back- 
ground of the story. He loves his subjects with a calm, 
dispassionate love, and he loves the meanest of his crea- 
tions no less than his heroes. He likes to dwell with 
them and to inspect them from every coign of vantage. 
He fondly tells of their good qualities and suffers with 
them for their natural defects. And yet, though he 
loves them, he does not place a halo around them, he 
does not idealize them. The situations are developed 
in his stories naturally, independently of what he would 
like them to be. 

Although he now and then describes the life of the 
middle classes, he more often treats incidents from the 
life of the artisans in the small towns, who have not 
been affected by the modern culture. Himself having 
had few advantages in life, he has been able to keep in 
closer touch with the men and women about whom and 
for whom he writes. He understands them thoroughly, 
and they like to listen to him. He does not sermonize 
to them, he does not attack them or their enemies ; he 
merely speaks to them as their friend. The Khassid and 
the Anti-Khassid, the laborer and the man of culture, 
Jew and Non-Jew, can read him with equal pleasure. 
The student of manners finds in his faithful pictures as 
rich a store of information as in Schatzkes' or Linetzki's 
works, and he has the conviction that nothing is dis- 
torted or thrown out of its proper proportion, as the 
others sometimes have to do in order to strengthen their 
arguments. Spektor is a young man, having been born 
in 1859, and was a witness of the occurrences in the 
seventies and the eighties from which he draws the 



PROSE WRITERS SINCE 1881 181 

subjects for his stories. His style is simple, without 
any attempts at adornment, and his language, based on 
his native dialect of Uman in the Government of Kiev, 
is chaste and pure. 

One of the most puzzling problems to the Judeo- 
German writers of modern times has been the treat- 
ment of love in the Jewish novel. They all agree that 
they have to follow Western models in that class of 
literature, and they are all equally sure that that passion 
does not exist among their people in any of the phases 
with which one meets elsewhere. The young woman's 
education in a Jewish home is such as to exclude a blind 
self-abandonment, with the consequent tragic results. 
Her desire to form family ties is greater than the 
natural promptings of her heart ; her infatuation of 
the moment is easily smothered by a cool calculation of 
her future welfare, by the consideration of her duties 
towards her future husband and children. Unless the 
author uses the greatest caution in this matter, he is 
liable to fall into exaggerations and sentimentalities 
which would soon land him among the writers of the 
type of Schaikewitsch. But Spektor, not departing 
even in this from his usual candor, intermingles the 
most romantic passages with the cold facts of stern 
reality. His unrequited lovers do not commit suicide, 
or pine their lives away; they get over their infatuations 
in a manner prescribed by their religious convictions, 
get married to others, and rear happy families. Here 
is an example : 

In The Fashionable Shoemaker ' we are introduced 
to the sphere of a well-to-do shoemaker with no preten- 
sions to any kind of culture. Having gotten on suc- 
cessfully in life, he is anxious to marry his daughter 
Breindele to Schl5me, the dandyish son of Sender 



182 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Liebarsohn, the rich man of the town. The latter 
looks favorably on the alliance in spite of the general 
disinclination of business men to enter into family 
ties with artisans, as he is desirous of feathering his 
son's nest before an impending bankruptcy sweeps 
away his fortune. Lipsche, Breindele's mother, in 
vain tries to dissuade her husband from the step, 
while Hirschel, the chief apprentice in the shop, is 
earnestly pleading with Breindele to marry him, for he 
loves her dearly. But she is too much attracted by the 
wealth of Schldme and her future social position to 
listen to her father's simple-hearted, honest workman. 
The marriage is consummated, and soon a complete 
change takes place in the affairs of all concerned. 
Liebersohn loses his possessions. Hirschel, bearing in 
his heart his unrequited love, leaves his master and 
establishes a shop of his own. He works with great 
energy to forget his sorrow, and becomes a dangerous 
competitor of Susje, the shoemaker, whose hard-earned 
savings are slowly disappearing under the double obli- 
gation to support his family and that of his daughter 
Breindele. In vain some of the 4 modern ' girls of the 
town dress themselves in their best gowns and don 
fine silk stockings when Hirschel comes to take a 
measure of their feet for new pairs of shoes for them. 
Their machinations have no effect on Hirschel, who 
lives quietly for himself. But one day he notices 
Leotschke, Breindele's younger sister, in the street, 
and he is struck by her resemblance to his former 
love. When he left his master she was but a child, 
and now she is a pretty maiden. He cultivates her 
acquaintance, falls in love with her and is loved by 
her. There are no love scenes in the story. Hirschel 
goes to Leotschke's mother and gets her willing con- 



PROSE WRITERS SINCE 1881 183 

sent to the union. After the marriage he helps sup- 
port Breindele and her family, for her husband, Schlome, 
who has learned no trade, finds it hard to make a 
living. 

One of his best sketches is the one entitled 'Two 
Companions.' It is a gem among the many good 
things he has written, perfect in form and rounded 
off as few of his sketches are. It tells of two girls, 
Rosele and Perele, who have grown up together as dear 
friends. When they reach the age of sixteen Rosele 
notices that the young students of the gymnasium pay 
more attention to her beautiful companion than to her. 
She becomes jealous, suspects the seamstress of pur- 
posely favoring her friend with more carefully worked 
dresses, which enhance her natural beauty, accuses 
Rosele of drawing away her gentlemen friends by 
unfair means, and finally when she finds herself more 
and more abandoned by her acquaintances, she com- 
pletely breaks off her relations with the friend of her 
childhood. They lead a separate existence. At the 
age of thirty-five Perele is bowed down with sorrows : 
she has buried a husband and two children, has again 
married, and her days are taken up in the care of her 
family and unpleasant discussions with her jealous hus- 
band. Rosele has married a sickly man with whom 
she has nothing in common. He married her only for 
her money. Their child is as frail as its father, and 
Rosele's days are passed in sordid cares and worry. 

" So passed another twenty-five years. After a long 
severe winter there came at last the young, fresh spring 
in all his glory, with his many attendants of all kinds 
who warble, whistle, chatter, and clatter, in the trees, in 
the air, on the earth, and in the grass. The streets are 
dry, the air is warm. . , . In an avenue of trees, on 



184 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

the sunlit side of it, two old women are walking to- 
gether. They are dressed in old-fashioned, long bur- 
nouses, and hold umbrellas in their hands against which 
they lean. Their faces are wrinkled, their heads droop- 
ing to one side, and they stop every few steps they 
take, and speak with their toothless mouths : 

" 4 My dear Perele, this has been a long winter ! ' 

" 4 Yes, a frightful winter ! Thanks to the Lord it is 
over. To-day it is good the sun shines so warmly ! 
But I have put on my burnous for all that ! You, 
Rosele, have done likewise ! No, it is not yet warm 
enough for us.' 

" They seated themselves on the nearest bench and 
continued their conversation : 

" 4 1 am getting tired ; I think we had better go home.' 

44 4 Yes, I am getting hungry, for I have eaten to-day 
only a broth. I cannot eat anything except it be a 
soft, fresh roll with milk or something like it.' 

" 4 1, too . . . ' 

44 And thus old age has again made peace among the 
two companions of long ago. They love each other 
again just as before when they were children, and they 
did not know that one was pretty and the other homely, 
. . . for now they are again alike ! Perele and Rdsele 
have both alike bent forms and wrinkled faces ; both 
have no teeth in their mouths, and their heads droop 
alike. Only Perele has come to it from living too 
much, and Rosele from not living at all. The two 
gowns, which the same tailor has made for them for 
the Passover from the same piece of cloth and accord- 
ing to the same fashion, have pleased them equally well, 
and they need not complain of the workmanship." 

Of the many other shorter sketches we might men- 
tion the touching scenes in his 4 Purim and Passover, 



PROSE WRITERS SINCE 1881 185 

in which ; How Grandfather's Child put on her First 
Shoes' is the most pathetic. Not less pathetic is the 
one named 4 The Uncle,' in which are contrasted the 
open-hearted reception of the wealthy uncle in the 
house of his poor nephew and the niggardly treatment 
of the nephew by his relative in the large city. Through 
all of Spektor's works passes the same melancholy strain, 
coupled with a strict objectivity of conception. This 
objectivity does not leave him even in cases where one 
would certainly expect him to express an opinion of 
his own. He has given us, for example, a most im- 
portant series of sketches under the name of 'Three 
Persons,' in which the tendencies among the Russian 
Jews in the last quarter of a century are described with 
remarkable clearness ; and he proceeds to point out their 
various modifications under the influence of the riots. 
Here, it seems, one would look for an individual con- 
viction, for he must surely side with one of the parties 
discussed by him so thoroughly ; and yet he does not 
once betray his personal preference. This series is 
indispensable to any one who wants to study the cur- 
rent of opinion among the Russian Jews, previous to 
the development of the Zionistic movement which now 
is uppermost in their minds. We are introduced suc- 
cessively to the Palestinian, the Assimilator, and the 
Neither-here-nor-there. A careful psychological study 
is made of all, with apparently negative results as to 
their respective merits. They are all three insincere 
with their fellow-sufferers and belong to their organiza- 
tions only for personal advantage. The sad impression 
made by the reading of these interesting chapters is 
anticipated by the motto placed at the head of them : 
Laughing is not always in ridicule ; laughing is some- 
times a bitter weeping. 



186 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Among his best longer stories is i Reb Treitel,' which 
gives a good insight into the life of a small town away 
from all railroads and off the highway of travel. One 
of the most necessary institutions in every Jewish town 
is the Mikwe, the bathhouse, not so much for sanitary 
purposes as for the ritual ablutions of the women. 
This mikwe is the centre of our story. Around it are 
grouped the various incidents which emanate from it 
like the arteries from the heart. The bathhouse is 
consumed by fire, and the town is all agog with excite- 
ment. There is no immediate outlook that a new one 
will be built, and in the interim Reb Treitel, the 
wagon-driver, who has been despairing of making both 
ends meet, is doing a splendid business by taking the 
women to the neighboring town for their ritual ablu- 
tions. He manages to keep all competition away and 
to lay a heavy tribute on the feminine population. 
Spektor has also begun a historical novel dealing on the 
life of the founder of the sects of the Khassidim. He 
does not represent him there as an impostor, but as a 
truly pious man, which he was, no doubt, in reality. 
So far he has published only chapters on his youth, 
but these promise a sympathetic treatment of which 
Spektor is eminently capable as an unbiassed author. 

In 1887 Spektor severed his connection with the 
Vblksblatt and settled in Warsaw. The time now 
being ripe for a purely literary periodical, he started 
the first of the kind in Judeo- German literature. He 
was, however, delayed for various reasons, and another 
collective volume appeared in the South before he was 
able to issue his own. He named it Der Hausfreund 
and intended it as an annual, but the Government 
having interfered on various occasions, there have 
appeared only five numbers so far. The annual reflects 



PROSE WRITERS SINCE 1881 187 

all of Spektor's peculiarities. Like his own writings, 
all of the articles and stories contained in it are adapted 
for the popular ear, and are written in a simple, com- 
prehensible style. The scientific discussions are of a 
rudimentary character, and the criticisms of books and 
the Jewish theatre, which from now on becomes an 
important factor in Judeo-German literature, are in- 
tended more as guides to the reader than as correctives 
to the authors. Though somewhat primitive in its 
form, this periodical was calculated to advance the cause 
of letters among the masses of the people. Among his 
contributors we find in the first two numbers such 
names as Goldfaden, Zunser, Samostschin, Buchbinder, 
M. Gordon, Frug, Linetzki, Abramowitsch. Among 
the other writers there are some who had before written 
for the Volhsblatt but whose productions are insignifi- 
cant. A few of them, however, begin to develop a 
greater activity, and deserve special mention. Among 
these are the novelists Isabella,' Dienesohn, the col- 
lector of legends Meisach, and the critic Frischmann. 

4 Isabella ' is the pseudonym of Spektor's wife. She 
has written but a few sketches, 1 but some of them show 
remarkable talent. She unites her husband's objectivity 
with a fine discrimination of humor which is her own. 
She likes to dwell on comparisons between the older 
and the newer generation, and to point out the evil 
effects of a superficial modern culture. In 'The Or- 
phan ' she introduces us to the house of Schmuel Dawid, 
who tries to keep himself occupied by teaching chil- 
dren penmanship. He is too simple-minded and good- 
hearted to battle with the world. The supporter of the 
house is his wife, Treine, who makes a living by usury. 

1 In Hausfreuna, Vol. I. p. 67 ; Vol. II. pp. 108-116 ; Jud. Biblio- 
thekj Vol. I. pp. 41-74. 



188 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

They shower their attentions on their only descendant, 
the peevish granddaughter Jentke. She is sent to the 
gymnasium and later is loved by a young scholar, a lank, 
consumptive-looking fellow, with whom she joins one of 
those narrower circles so common among the students 
of Russia, where they propose remedies for the better- 
ment of the world and dream of the millennium near at 
hand. Their one desire is to identify themselves with 
the Russians at large. Then come the awful years 1881 
and 1882. All of a sudden new ideals begin to animate 
the younger generation. Jentke's lover no longer calls 
himself Fyodor Sebastyanovitch, but his visiting card 
bears the homely Jewish name Peessach ben Schabsi, of 
which the former was only a Russified form. He be- 
comes an ardent defender of his race. Later he marries 
Jentke, and a new career begins for them. They forget 
all their ideals of the period before the riots, to which 
they so readily subscribed ; they do not persevere in 
their intention to devote their energies to their people. 
They live only for themselves. They begin to hoard 
money, and Jentke is much more hardhearted than her 
grandmother, for having abandoned the religious con- 
victions of the older woman, she has not received any 
new moral basis for her actions. The grandmother 
dies, and the lonely, half-starved grandfather in vain 
tries to find a resting-place in their house. They send 
him away in a most cruel manner. 

Her other sketches are of a similar character. In all 
of these, she points out the dangers from a superficial 
modern education, and the insincerity of the self-styled 
reformers who are ever ready to suggest a remedy for 
the ills that befall her people. Her characters are 
drawn from that new class of half -learned men and 
women who, receiving their training in the gymna- 



PROSE WRITERS SINCE 1881 189 

shim, were just on the point of disappearing from the 
fold of the Jewish Church, when they were violently- 
cast back into it by the persecutions from without. 
Of an entirely different tendency are the writings of 
Jacob Dienesohn, although akin to 4 Isabella ' in the 
sympathy he shows for the older generation. Diene- 
sohn had begun his career in 1875, when he published 
a novel 4 The Dark Young Man,' after which he grew 
silent. In 1885 he took up his literary work, since 
when he has produced two large novels and several 
shorter sketches. His first work was very popular. He 
depicted in it the machinations of an orthodox young 
man of the older type, who felt it his duty to lay stum- 
bling-blocks in the way of one who strove to acquire 
worldly knowledge. Dienesohn occupies a peculiar 
place in Judeo-German literature. He is the only one 
who has attempted the lachrymose, the sentimental 
novel. He began writing at a time when Dick had pre- 
pared the ground for the romantic story, and Schaike- 
witsch had started on his sentimental drivel. But while 
these entirely failed to produce something wholesome, 
Dienesohn gained with his first book an unusual suc- 
cess. He drew his scenes from familiar circles, and his 
men and women are all Jews, with a sphere of action 
not unlike the one his readers moved in. Readers con- 
sequently were more easily attracted to him, and car- 
ried away a greater fund of instruction. His feminine 
audiences have wept tears over his work, and the author 
has received letters from orthodox young men, who 
assured him that although the description of the Dark 
Young Man fitted them, they would not descend to 
the vile methods of the hero of the book in pursuing 
differently minded men. 

During his renewed activity, which began in the 



190 YIDDISH LITERATUKE 

Volhsblatt ten years after his first novel had been 
printed, he dwelt on that period in the history of the 
Russian Jews when they were just commencing to take 
to the new culture, when it still meant a struggle and 
a sacrifice to tear oneself away from the ties which 
united one with the older generation. In the Stone 
in the Way ' he describes the many hardships which his 
hero had to overcome ere he succeeded in acquiring an 
education. In 4 Herschele ' (still unfinished) the same 
subject is treated in the case of a young mendicant 
Talmudical scholar, who is beset, not only by the usual 
difficulties, but who is, in addition, trying to suppress 
his earthly love for the daughter of the woman who 
furnishes him with a dinner on every Wednesday. 
Dienesohn treats with loving gentleness all the charac- 
ters he writes about. 1 Like Spektor, he attacks no one 
directly, and, like him, sarcasm has no place in his 
works. His most touching and, at the same time, the 
most perfect of his shorter stories is the one entitled 
'The Atonement Day.' 2 He introduces us there to a 
scene in the synagogue where an old woman is praying 
fervently. Her devotion is interrupted by her thoughts 
of her daughter at home whom she had enjoined to 
fast on that awful day, although she had just given 
birth to a son. For a long time her religious convic- 
tions outweigh her maternal feelings, but, at last, her 
natural sentiment is victorious, and she hurries home 
to insist on her daughter's eating something. In 
this way the new-born babe is saved. Thirty years 

1 Other articles by him : JM. Volksblatt, Vol. V. pp. 329 ff. ; Vol. 
VIII. (Beilage), pp. 33-43 ; Hausfreund, Vol. I. pp. 1-21 ; Vol. II. 
pp. 75-99; JM. Volksbib., Vol. I. pp. 244-248; JM. Bibliothek, Sup- 
plements. 

2 Hausfreund, Vol. II. pp. 75-99. 



PROSE WRITERS SINCE 1881 191 

pass. The old woman has died, and her daughter 
Chane is brought before us on the same Atonement 
day. She has grown old, while her son has, in the 
meantime, finished at the university, and is a practising 
physician. She, too, is praying fervently, and thinking 
with awe of the day when young and old, the pious and 
the sinner alike, come to the synagogue and invoke the 
mercy of the Lord with contrition of spirit. Her eyes 
search in vain for her son among the crowd congregated 
below. The hours pass, and he does not appear. Faint 
with hunger from the long fasting and grieving at her 
son's apostasy, she falls sick and soon dies. In her last 
agony she makes her son promise her that he will, at 
least once a year, on the Atonement day, visit the 
synagogue. After that, one can see every year, on the 
awful day, the physician in deep devotion in the house 
of the Lord. 

The circle which has Spektor for its centre is charac- 
terized by the use of Western literary forms for its pro- 
ductions, which yet are all of a distinctly Jewish type. 
The object of the authors is to create a sound literature 
for the masses. Incidentally, the literature is also to 
give positive instruction ; but primarily, it is to draw 
away attention from the worthless books of the previ- 
ous decade, and to create a decided taste for good works. 
These authors also intend to give the people a feeling 
for their racial solidarity, to acquaint them with the 
thought of the best of their race in an accessible form. 
This period has completely broken its connection with 
the older Haskala, for the writers no longer dream of 
substituting German culture for the ignorance of the 
masses. Nor do they preach of assimilation and Rus- 
sian education, for that has signally failed to be of any 
use to the Jews in their struggle for recognition. In the 



192 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

nineties, the dream of Zionism was to haunt these writ- 
ers, and many others who were to write then. But, in 
the meanwhile, they have no other definite purpose than 
to create a national consciousness, to instil in them the 
idea of human dignity, to develop individual character. 
While, on the one hand, they do not give them any new 
cultural ideals for those of the past generations, they 
have, on the other, no suggestions to make in regard to 
the religious faith of the orthodox, or the absence of 
religious convictions of the younger men and women. 
They do not attack the old Law, they do not side with 
any modern philosophy. Khassid and Misnaged, the 
unenlightened and enlightened, are the same in the 
scale of their judgment. It is not time, they think, 
to discuss about any such matters, but to gather in all 
the unfortunate ones into one brotherhood. The upper 
classes who have had many advantages in life, can shift 
for themselves in forming their convictions, but it is 
the lower strata that need guidance, and it is the dutj 
of those who are better informed to devote their ener- 
gies to the deliverance of their wretched brothers and 
sisters. Such is the doctrine of these writers. These 
sentiments are not alone the result of the riots of 1881 
They are a reflex of the Russian Narodniks, who, av 
about the same time, were preaching the necessity o: 
going among the people, of identifying oneself with th< 
masses, of devoting all one's energies in the cause of th< 
peasant, the artisan, the factory hand. 

The Jargon is not represented in a contemptuou 
way, nor are apologies made for its use. On the con 
trary, the authors try to show the wealth of its expres 
sions and to collect data for its history. Lerner write 
a good essay on the folksong in a popular style ; Diene 
sohn gives a review of the older writings and thei 



PROSE WRITERS SINCE 1881 193 

authors ; Spektor and Bernstein publish a large number 
of Judeo-German proverbs; Buchbinder collects popular 
superstitions ; and Meisach writes a small book of Jew- 
ish folktales. The latter has also told in Judeo-German 
some of the legends from the Talmud and other sources. 
He has written some stories in the style of Dick, but 
like those they are disfigured by a disregard of style. 
The activity of these men still continues, independently 
of the new movements advocated by other writers and 
unimpeded by the new faith of Zionism. 



XIII. PROSE WRITERS SINCE 1881: 
RABINOWITSCH, PEREZ 

Solomon Rablnowitsch began writing for the 
Volksblatt 1 at about the same time as Spektor, and " 
shortly after the appearance of the Hausfreund he issued 
an annual, Die Jildische VbllcsbibliotheJc, which was of 
even a more pretentious character than its contempo- 
rary. Both authors were animated by the same ideas 
when they started on their literary careers and when 
they commenced publishing their periodicals. But a 
glance at the writings of the two is sufficient to con- j 
vince us that there is a wide difference in the methods 
pursued by them, and in the results achieved. Rabino- 
witsch is impulsive, enthusiastic, quick-witted, sarcastic, 
and these qualities of his character are discernible in all 
his productions. He has attempted many things, poetry, 
play writing, novels, criticism, and he is successful in all. j 
He has been a merchant and an author, has vaulted 
over from a pure realism to the illusive dream of Zion- 
ism, and bids fair to follow new ideals should such . 
present themselves to him. He is in every sense an 
artistic nature. 

While connected with the Volksblatt he wrote i 
number of sketches and short stories. The first one 

1 His stories, dramas, and poems have appeared in Jud. Volksblatt 
Vol. III. p. 387, hence continuously up to the ninth volume of thai 
periodical ; Familienfreund, Vol. I. pp. 73-84 ; Hausfreund, Vol. I 
pp. 45-63 ; Vol. III. pp. 321-326 ; Vol. IV. pp. 63-81 ; Vol. V. pp. 97- 
123; Jud. Volksbib., Vol. I. pp. 1-47, 241-243, 351-378; Vol. II 
pp. 205-220, 304-310 ; Wecker, pp. 88-91. 

194 



PROSE WRITERS SINCE 1881 195 

to attract the attention of the critic in the Vbschod was 
his * Child's Play,' 1 after which his new books never 
failed of bringing out favorable comments in that Rus- 
sian periodical. He depicts scenes from his own child- 
hood, or from that middle class into which his fortune, 
an inheritance of his wife, brought him. His impulsive- 
ness keeps him from elaborating his sketches into long 
novels, such as Spektor and Dienesohn have produced. 
There is rarely a complicated plot in them, but the 
separate situations are painted with great clearness and 
in bold relief. One may forget the story, but one will 
never forget his characters. They have all of them 
their sharply denned individuality, their language, their 
circle of thought. We get acquainted with them 
through their actions rather than through the author's 
description, and we like them not for the parts they 
play in the story, but for their strong personalities, 
equally pronounced in their virtues as in their weak- 
nesses. The men and women he describes we have met 
somewhere, and we shall again recognize should we 
meet them in actual life. The Russian critic, who is 
naturally in touch with his own literature, unconsciously 
thinks of this and that well-known character in the 
writings of Gogol and Ostrovski, when he speaks of 
Rabinowitsch's creations, and at times he actually gives 
them their Russian names. But Rabinowitsch does not 
imitate Gogol and Ostrovski, at least not purposely. 
He is himself possessed of a humor which is not dissimi- 
lar to that of the Russian authors, and the society which 

1 Voschod, Vol. VII. No. 6. Reviews of his other works are in 
Voschod, Vol. VII. Nos. 7, 8 ; Vol. VIII. No. 10, and in later num- 
bers ; of Sender Blank, by J. J. Lerner (unfavorable), in Jiid. Volks- 
bib., Vol. VIII. (Beilage), No. 29, pp. 864-876, under the title Leben- 
dige Meessim. Short mention of his works in Sseefer Sikoron, p. 105. 



196 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

he describes is not unlike the one Gogol knew half a 
century ago, and Ostrovski found even at a later time 
among the merchant class of Moscow. He is a close 
observer, and knows how to separate the wheat from 
the chaff, to present to the reader only the essential 
characteristics, and not to burden the story with sub- 
jective discussions. 

Although Rabinowitsch may have started in the 
literary field with no other idea than the current one 
of elevating the lower classes, there is certainly nothing 
in his works to show that that has long remained his 
main object. He writes to entertain, and not to instruct. 
Moreover, he draws his subjects from a class of society 
with which the masses are not particularly well ac- 
quainted. With him the last spark of the didactic 
ideals of the Haskala has entirely vanished. He is 
above all else a litterateur who is addressing an audience 
with a decided taste for good literature. He is, there- 
fore, more calculated to win the ears of the better 
classes than of the lowly of his race, to exercise a cor- 
rective influence on the manners of the middle class 
than to educate or console the masses. 

Of his longer works, 'Stempenju' is the most artis- 
tically conceived and most carefully executed. In his 
previous productions such as 4 Child's Play,' and ' Sen- 
der Blank,' he had humorously depicted scenes from 
the life of the merchant class. In the first of these, 
he introduces us into the life and love of a rich man's 
spoiled, half-educated son. In the second, which he 
names a novel without love, we get an excellent picture 
of a tyrant and miser, the terror of his family, the 
merchant Sender Blank. He is on his death-bed, and 
his congregated children are, each in his own way, 
dreaming of the moment when they shall be free to do 



PROSE WRITERS SINCE 1881 197 

as they like, when they shall no longer be kept in pov- 
erty. But Sender Blank gets well again, and his 
family departs, each one to his home with shattered 
hopes. In ' Stempenju ' we have a more carefully laid 
plot, and his first attempt at a novel in which a roman- 
tic love plays a part. Stempenju is a violinist, the 
leader of a band that plays at weddings. He has great 
talent for music and has developed his powers entirely 
by self-instruction. He is a real artist, and like many 
others of his profession takes life easy, and is of amor- 
ous propensities. He has frequently made love to 
Jewish women, but the latter generally pay no atten- 
tion to his assurances. But once he falls in with a girl 
who takes his words in earnest, and in a prosaic way, 
without any idea of love on her part, compels him 
to marry her. She takes him in her hands and would 
have him lead a settled, prosaic life also. But he 
finds relief from his sordid existence every time he 
journeys away with his band to play at some wedding. 
Once he notices upon such an occasion a young mar- 
ried woman who awakes in him the first inkling of a 
real, romantic love. Rochel that is her name is 
both beautiful in form and kind and lovable in char- 
acter. After many overtures he almost succeeds in 
gaining her love. It is the easier to succumb to Stem- 
penju's importunities since she has a silly, worthless 
man for a husband. She finally comes out victoriously 
from her inner struggle, for her religious conviction of 
the holiness of the marriage ties are stronger in her 
than her natural inclination. Stempenju returns home, 
and tries to find his consolation and relief from his 
scolding wife by having more frequent recourse to his 
violin. He plays even more sweetly and more sadly 
than before. 



198 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

His other large novel, * Jossele Ssolowee,' is also a 
characterization of the life of an artist, this time a 
singer. Of his shorter sketches it is hard to select one 
as the best, as they are all well written. We shall take 
at random the one entitled 4 The Colonization of Pales- 
tine.' Selig, the tailor, has read something about the 
colonization scheme in Palestine. He joins a society 
for the promotion of that idea, and finally abandons his 
work to go to the neighboring town, where he has 
heard there is a society that has a fund from which 
to pay the travelling expenses of prospective settlers in 
the Holy Land. After a great deal of trouble, he finds 
the president of the society, who is vexed at having 
applicants but no members ready as settlers to support 
the scheme, for fund there is none. The tailor offers a 
small coin as his contribution, the first that has been 
given, and returns home a wiser man and more satis- 
fied with his lot. The story is told humorously, and is 
meant as a sarcasm at the readiness of the Jews to form 
new schemes and support them with eloquence of 
speech, but not in a substantial manner. 

Rabinowitsch has also attempted a kind of poetic 
prose in his 4 Nosegay,' but in this he has not been very 
successful. He is at best where he can make use of 
wit and sarcasm, and that he has been able to apply 
better in his stories and comedies. Of the latter his 
' Jaknehos ' is a good picture taken from the life of the 
men who do business on 'Change. Here again the plot 
is the minor part of the play, but the separate scenes 
are drawn in bold strokes. 

When Rabinowitsch came into his fortune, he con- 
ceived the idea of devoting his energy and his money 
to the creation of a periodical such as had never before 
existed in Judeo-German literature. Only two volumes 



PROSE WRITERS SINCE 1881 199 

appeared, when bad speculations on 'Change made him 
a poor man. These two annuals show that had he been 
more fortunate, he soon would have brought Judeo- 
German letters to a height where they would have taken 
place by the side of the best in Europe. His enthusi- 
asm, his critical acumen, his talents, fitted him emi- 
nently for that undertaking. Spektor's aim in issuing 
the Rausfreund was the more modest one of furnish- 
ing the people with wholesome reading. How difficult 
his task has been can be seen from the fact that the 
articles for his periodical are not paid for. They are 
voluntary contributions by those who have the welfare 
of the masses at heart. However good the forces may 
be, it is not possible in these degenerate days to expect 
a natural development of a literature when the writers 
can hope to earn neither glory nor money by their 
labors. No Judeo-German litterateur has ever been 
able to make more than a scanty living, and that only 
sporadically, out of his books. But here came Rabi- 
nowitsch, who paid liberally for all the articles fur- 
nished him. That was an innovation from which only 
good could result. But the editor not only paid his 
contributors; he demanded well-written articles, and 
he accepted only the best of those. In his annual we 
find departments, Belles Lettres, Criticism, Science, 
Bibliography, each being strictly defined in its proper 
sphere. In the division of belles lettres we find all 
the best authors of the time. Here also appeared for 
the first time articles from the pen of Frischmann, 
M. J. Rabinowitsch, and Perez, who belong among the 
most talented of Judeo-German writers. Among the 
scientific articles there are several of a historical char- 
acter, such as On the History of the Jews in Podolia,' 
by Litinski, ; The Massacres of Gonto in Uman and the 



200 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Ukraine,' by Dr. Skomarowski. There are several dis- 
cussions on popular medicine, mainly from the pen of 
the indefatigable worker in that direction for more 
than a quarter of a century, Dr. Tscherny, and there 
is one on 4 The History of Judeo-German Literature * 
by A. Schulmann. The latter is the result of years 
of investigation and is remarkably rich in biblio- 
graphical data. It would do honor to any scientific 
periodical. The part given to bibliography is of great 
importance to the student of Judeo-German literature, 
as that bibliography is in such a bad condition that it 
is not possible for certain periods, especially the older, 
to give absolutely correct data. But the most interest- 
ing department in the periodical is that of criticism, 
which is a new factor in Judeo-German. Heretofore a 
few scattered remarks on books might be found in the 
Volksblatt, but a systematic treatment of that branch of 
literature was unknown to the older writers, and would 
have been of no use to the readers. But here, in the 
Volksbibliothek, we not only find this new departure, but 
there are not less than eighty pages devoted to it in the 
first volume. 

Rabinowitsch had published but a short time before 
a volume entitled * Schomer's Mischpet,' i.e. l The Judg- 
ment of Schaikewitsch,' which marks a new era. In 
this book the author passes in review the writings of 
Schaikewitsch and his like who have been supplying 
the people with a worthless literature. It is written 
in an entertaining style, in the form of a judicial 
proceeding, and has produced to a certain extent the 
effect that it was intended to produce : the sale of 
those books fell off rapidly, and thus the field was 
again free for a new and better class of works. It 
cannot be said that Rabinowitsch has always been just 



PROSE WRITERS SINCE 1881 201 

to the men under judgment, but on the whole his opinion 
is sound, and his verdicts will stand. In his zeal he has 
sometimes been led to make sweeping statements, by 
which he has left some loopholes to the opponents who 
have taken him to task. However, criticism from now 
on becomes an established institution, and no author can 
escape a thorough inspection. The first to follow the 
example of Rabinowitsch was Frischmann, who brought 
out the same year a few sound reviews in the Haus- 
freund. In the Vblksbibliothek that duty is attended to 
by Rabnizki 1 and the editor. They not only criticise 
unworthy productions, but also direct the attention to 
good books, and encourage young writers if they seem to 
deserve encouragement. Rabinowitsch's talent in this 
direction is shown at its best in his biting sarcasm in 
reviewing Perez's poetry 2 (although he is not entirely 
just to him), and still better in his witty criticism of 
the various dictions used in Judeo-German. Perez, 
who is a genius of no mean proportions and who has 
started out in new directions in literature, has some- 
how aroused the displeasure of the critics, who will not 
put up with his symbolism. Frischmann has taken him 
to task for his alleged obscurity and other imagined 
faults in a series of masterly caricatures. 3 Frischmann 
also does not spare others who incur his wrath, and 
though one need not subscribe to his judgments, one 
cannot help learning useful things by his anatomies. 
By these we see, among other things, what progress 
Judeo-German is making ; for individuality of style 

1 Other articles by Rabnizki in Wecker, pp. 62-74, 115-122 ; Heilige 
Land, pp. 13-25. 

2 In his Kol-mewasser, col. 31-34. 

8 LoJcschen and A Floh vun Tischebow ; see Bibliography, under 
Frischmann, 



202 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

must be pronounced to deserve imitation and parody. 
Frischmann has also written some pretty tales of a 
fantastic nature, such as fairy tales, and a few from 
actual life. 1 His stories are all well worth reading, 
particularly on account of the excellent style he culti- 
vates. M. J. Rabinowitsch's stories are mainly trans- 
lations of his own Russian compositions. 2 They are all 
pictures from the Ghetto in Russia and Roumania, not 
unlike those by Bernstein and Kompert. They lack 
the spontaneity of the Judeo- German writers, but are 
carefully executed as to form. 

By far the most original author of this latest period 
is Perez, 3 whose poetical works have been discussed 
before. With him Judeo-German letters enter into 
competition with what there is best in the world's lit- 
erature, where he will some day occupy an honorable 
place. Among his voluminous works there is not one 
that is mediocre, not one that would lose anything of 
its comprehensibleness by being translated into another 
language. Although they at times deal with situations 
taken from Jewish life, it is their universal human 
import that interests him, not their specifically racial 

1 Frischmann's stories, reviews, and poems may be found in Jud. 
Volksblatt, Vol. VIII. (Beilage), pp. 92, 93 ; Vol. IX. Nos. 23, 30, 32, 
61, 52 ; Familienfreund, Vol. II. pp. 47-49 ; Hausfreund, Vol. II. 
pp. 22-25, 66-73, 151-170 ; Vol. III. pp. 175, 176 ; Vol. IV. pp. 167- 
176; Vol. V. pp. 7-21, 159-161 ; Jud. Volksbib., Vol. I. pp. 211-224; 
Handelskalender, pp. 100-104. 

2 His stories appeared in Jud. Volksbib., Vol. I. pp. 183-210 ; Vol. 
II. pp. 225-246 ; Jud. Volkskalender, Vol. III. pp. 70-81. 

8 In addition to the very large number of stories, etc., in his own 
publications, Perez has contributed to Jud. Volksbib., Vol. I. pp. 148- 
158 ; Vol. II. pp. 126-129, 136-138, 142-147, 167, 168, 195-204 ; Haus- 
freund, Vol. III. pp. 111-113, 179-181 ; Handelskalender, pp. 79-83, 
105-113 ; Kleiner Wecker, pp. 25-29 ; Jud. Volkskalender, Vol. III. 
pp. 105-111. 



PROSE WRITERS SINCE 1881 203 

characteristics. It is mere inertia and the desire to 
serve his people that keep him in the ranks of Judeo- 
German writers. He does not belong there by any 
criterions that we have applied to his confreres, who 
themselves complain that his symbolism is inaccessible to 
the masses for whom he pretends to write. While this 
accusation is certainly just in the case of some of his 
works, it cannot be brought up in many other cases, 
where, in spite of the allegory, mysticism, or symbolism 
underlying his tale, there is a sufficient real residue of 
intelligible story for the humblest of his readers. He, 
too, aims at the education of his people, but in a vastly 
different sense from his predecessors. It is not the 
material information of mere facts that he strives for, 
nor even the broader culture of the schools that he 
would substitute for the Jewish lore and religious 
training, nor is he satisfied, with Spektor, to rouse the 
dormant national consciousness. His sympathies are 
with humanity at large, and the Jews are but one of 
the units that are to be redeemed from the social slav- 
ery under which the wretched of the world groan. It 
is those who have become timid under oppression of 
whatsoever form, who have lost the power of think- 
ing, who have developed only the power of suffer- 
ing, who are saints without knowing it, that Perez 
loves best. To them he would restore the human 
rights so long withheld from them, not by political and 
social enfranchisement, but by a consciousness of their 
human dignity which must precede all reform. To 
those to whom belongs the Kingdom of Heaven must 
also be given the Kingdom on Earth. While, never- 
theless, the material things are withheld from them, 
there is no reason why the spiritual things should not 
be turned over to them. Perez, for one, offers gladly 



204 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

all he has, his genius, in the service of the lowly. 
Literature, according to him, is not to be a flimsy pas- 
time of the otiose, but a consolation to those who have 
no other consolation, a safe and pleasurable retreat for 
those who are buffeted about on the stormy sea of life. 
For these reasons he writes in Judeo-German and not 
in any other language with which he is conversant, and 
for these same reasons he prefers to dwell with the 
downtrodden and the submerged. 

To these people he devotes his best energies, and he 
uses the same care in filing and finishing his works that 
he would use if he were writing for a public trained in 
the best thoughts of the world and used to the highest 
type of literature. His first prose work, though not 
the first to be printed, was a small volume entitled 
4 Well-known Pictures,' containing three stories : ' The 
Messenger,' * What Is a Soul ? ' and 4 The Crazy Beggar- 
Student.' In the first he tells of the last errand of an 
aged messenger who through cold and rain and snow is 
making his way on foot to a distant village where he has 
to deliver an important document. He trudges along in 
hunger and pain, but not a word of complaint escapes 
his lips. Through his head pass old recollections of the 
time when his wife was still alive, when his children 
were all gathered about him. They have left him, but 
he is sure they are getting on well in their new homes, 
for, he consoles himself, bad news travels fast. His 
strength gives out, and he seats himself on a heap of 
snow to take a rest. He begins to dream of the not 
distant inn where the wife of the innkeeper will pre- 
pare a warm broth for him. He already sees himself 
seated at the table when strange persons enter the 
room. He soon recognizes them as his sons, and they 
embrace him and kiss him impetuously. In vain he 



PROSE WRITERS SINCE 1881 205 

begs them to desist from their choking embraces, for 
he is old and feeble. He begs them to be careful with 
him, for he has been intrusted with a sum of money 
that must be brought to its place of destination. . . . 
The old messenger was found dead, his hand upon his 
coat pocket in which he carried the intrusted document. 

The second sketch is of a more cheerful character. 
It tells of the many troubles and doubts that a certain 
boy has ere he discovers what a soul really is. When 
very young his father dies, and they tell him that his 
soul has flown to heaven. Ever after he imagines the 
soul to be a bird. But he is ridiculed for that belief by 
his teacher's monitor. The teacher himself is accus- 
tomed to maltreat the boys and whip them mercilessly. 
He explains to them that the punishment of the body 
is good for the soul. What, then, is the soul? the 
young boy asks himself again. Then the teacher tells 
the children many fairy tales about the prenatal life 
of the soul, when the angel of life instructs it daily in 
the wisdom of the Bible and the Talmud. And that 
belief is soon taken from him by his instructor of pen- 
manship, who has a turn to liberal ideas. So the boy 
keeps on wavering from belief to doubt and back again 
until the age of seventeen or eighteen, when he is study- 
ing the Talmud with a new teacher. Once, in his ab- 
sence, it occurs to him to get the opinion of Giitele, 
his beautiful daughter, who is known by the name of 
the wise Giitele, on the question which has been puzzling 
him so long, and for which he has suffered so often in 
his life. With trembling he asks her : 

"'They say, Giitele, that you are wise. Tell me, 
then, I beg you, what is a soul ? ' 

u She smiled and answered : 

" ' Truly, I do not know.' 



206 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

" Only all at once she grew sad, and tears filled her 
eyes. 

"'I just happened to think,' she said, 'when my 
mother of blessed memory was alive, my father used 
to say that she was his soul . . . they loved each 
other so much! . . . ' 

" I do not know how it came to me, only I suddenly 
took hold of her hand, and trembling, said : 

" 4 Gutele, would you like to be my soul ? ' 

" She answered me, softly : 

"'Yes.'" 

From these two soulful, tender stories, we pass to 
one not less pathetic and an even more profound psy- 
chological study. The beggar-student, harmlessly in- 
sane, has grown faint from two days' fasting and long 
poring over the Talmud, and is discussing with himself 
whether he is one, or two, or more, and whether he is 
really himself. He has finally the same doubts of Wolf 
the Merchant, who is just reading in the Talmud. He 
imagines that three Wolfs are sitting there : one who 
is trying to cheat God with his piety ; one who cheats 
his fellow-men in his shop ; and one who beats his wife 
who furnishes the beggar-student with an occasional 
meal. He takes a violent dislike to the third Wolf, 
and would like to kill him, but he does not wish to 
injure the other two Wolfs. The monologue of this 
beggar-student, told in about twenty octavo pages, is 
one of the most remarkable to be found in any litera- 
ture: it must be read in the original to be fully ap- 
preciated. 

With such a book Perez made his entrance into the 
field of letters. To say that his future works show a 
riper talent would be to place too low an estimate on 
his first book, which, in spite of the many excellent 



PROSE WRITERS SINCE 1881 207 

things he has written, still remains among the very- 
best. In 1891, when Spektor's annual was temporarily- 
suspended, and Rabinowitsch's periodical had ceased 
appearing, Perez issued a new periodical, Die jiidische 
Bibliothek, which he intended to be a semi-annual, but of 
which only three volumes have so far been issued. In 
the introduction to the first volume Perez makes a plea 
for the education of the people, in which are the fol- 
lowing significant words : " Help us educate the poor, 
wretched people ; leave them not a prey to fanatics, 
who will suck out the last trace of blood and the last 
trace of marrow from their lean bones. Leave them 
not in the hands of the visionaries, who will entice 
them into wildernesses! Let not boys and school-chil- 
dren lead them by the nose, have pity on the people ! 
Let them not fall ! The people have in themselves a 
certain amount of vital power, a fund of energy. The 
people are the carriers of a civilization that the world 
does not undervalue, of ideas that would be of great 
use to it. The people are an ever living flower. ... In 
daytime, when the sun shines, when the spirit of man 
is developing, it revives and unfolds its leaves ; but no 
sooner does dark night approach than it closes up 
again, shrivels up, and goes back into itself. ... It is 
then that it has the appearance of a common weed . . . 
and when the sun once more rises, some time passes 
before the sun seeks out the flower and the flower dis- 
covers that the sun shines. ... At night it becomes 
dusty and soiled, so that the beams of light cannot 
penetrate it easily ! Help the people to recognize the 
sun early in the morning ! . . . But the main thing, 
means must be devised for the people to earn a liv- 
ing. ..." 

In conformity with this platform, Perez calls his new 



208 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

periodical a literary, social, and economical periodical. 
Not only did the difficult task of editing this novel 
magazine devolve on Perez : he had also to supply the 
greater part of the literature himself, for there existed 
no writers in Judeo-German who could follow him 
readily in his new departure. He had to write the 
greater part of the scientific department, all of the 
reviews, all the editorials. In addition, he fur- 
nished most of the poetry and the novels. The 
few other writers who published their articles in 
this magazine owed their development to the editor's 
fostering care : they had nearly all been encouraged 
for the first time by him. Of his scientific articles par- 
ticular mention must be made of his long essay 4 On 
Trades,' which is a popularization of political economy, 
brought down to the level of the humblest reader. The 
admirable, entertaining style, the aptness of the illustra- 
tions, and the absence of doctrinarianism make it one 
of the most remarkable productions in popular science. 
Still more literary and perfect in form are his ' Pictures 
of a Provincial Journey.' It seems that Perez had been 
sent into the province for the sake of collecting statis- 
tical data on the condition of the Jews resident there. 
This essay is apparently a diary of his experiences on 
that trip. We do not remember of having read in any 
literature any journal approaching this one in literary 
value. What makes it particularly interesting is that 
it is written so that it will interest those very humble 
people about whom he is writing. The picture of 
misery which he unrolls before us, however saddening 
and distressing, is made so attractive by the manner of 
its telling that one cannot lay aside the book until one 
has read the whole seventy quarto pages. 

Perez has written more than fifty sketches, all of 



PROSE WRITERS SINCE 1881 209 

them of the same sterling value as the three described 
above. Every new one is an additional gem in the 
crown he is making for himself. They are all charac- 
terized by the same tender pathos, the same excellence 
of style, the same delicacy of feeling. He generally 
prefers the tragic moments in life as fit objects for his 
sympathetic pen, but he has also treated in a masterly 
manner the gentle sentiment of love. But it is an 
entirely different kind from the romantic love, that he 
deems worthy of attention. It is the marital affection 
of the humblest families, which is developed under diffi- 
culties, strengthened by adversity, checkered by mis- 
fortune ; it is the saintliest of all loves that he tells about 
as no one before him has ever told. In the same manner 
he likes to dwell on all the virtues which are brought 
out by suffering, which are evolved through misery and 
oppression, which are more gentle, more unselfish, more 
divine, the lower we descend in the scale of humanity. 
Nor need one suppose that in order to show his char- 
acters from that most advantageous side, the author has 
to resort to disguises of idealization. They are no 
better and no worse than one meets every day and all 
around us ; but they are such as only he knows who is 
not deterred by the shabbiness of their dress and the 
squalor of their homes from making their intimate 
acquaintance. They do not carry their virtues for 
show, they do not give monetary contributions for 
charities, they do not join societies for the promotion 
of philanthropic institutions, they do not preach on 
duties to God and on the future life, they are not even 
given to the expression of moral indignation at the 
sight of sin. But they are none the less possessed of 
the finer sentiments which come to the surface only in 
the narrower circle of their families, in their relations 



210 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

to their fellow-sufferers. Not even the eloquent advo- 
cate of the people generally cares to enter that un- 
familiar sphere as Perez has done. His affection for 
the meanest of his race is not merely platonic. He not 
only knows whereof he speaks : he feels it ; and thus we 
get the saddest, the tenderest, the sweetest stories from 
the life of the lowliest of the Jews that have ever been 
written. 

In 1894 Perez published a collective volume, ' Litera- 
ture and Life,' which contains, like his periodical, 
mostly productions of his own. As they were com- 
posed at some later time than those spoken of above, 
and as they contain some matter in which he appears 
in a new role, we shall discuss the volume at some 
length. In the introduction are given his general aims, 
which are not different from those expressed in his 
former publication. The final words of it are : " We 
want the Jew to feel like a man, to take part in all 
that is human, to live and strive humanly, and if he 
is offended, to feel offended like a man ! " The first 
sketch is entitled 'In the Basement.' It is the story 
of the incipient marital love of a young couple who 
are so poor that they live in a dark basement, in a room 
that serves as a dwelling for several families whose 
separate ' rooms ' are divided off from each other only 
by thin, low partitions. The second is ' Bontsie Silent,' 
which is given in our Chrestomathy. It belongs to the 
same category of sketches as his 'The Messenger.' It 
presents, probably better than any other, the author's 
conception of the character of the virtues of the long- 
suffering masses. Who can read it without being 
moved to the depth of his heart ? There is no exag- 
geration in it, no melodrama, nothing but the bitter 
reality. It expresses, in a more direct way than any- 



PROSE WRITERS SINCE 1881 211 

thing else he has written, his faith that the Kingdom 
of Heaven belongs to the lowly. 

The sketch named The Fur-Cap ' is one of the very 
few that he has written as an attack on the Khassidic 
Rabbi. There is here, however, a vast difference in 
the manner of Perez and of Linetzki. While the 
latter goes at it in a direct way, with club in hand, and 
bluntly lets it fall on the head of the fanatic, Perez 
has above all in mind the literary form in which he 
clothes his attack, and we get from him an artistic story 
which must please even if the thrusts be not relished. 
The Rabbi never appears in public without his enormous 
fur-cap, which is really the insignia of his office. In 
this story we find the furrier engaged in a monologue, 
in which he tells of his delight in making the Rabbi's 
cap. He feels that it is he who gives all importance to 
that dignitary, for it is the cap that makes the Rabbi. 
He relates of the transformation of a common mortal 
into an awe-inspiring interpreter of God's will on earth. 
No important occurrence in life, no birth, marriage, or 
death, can take place without the approval of him who 
wears that fur-cap. It is the cap, not the man, and his 
wisdom, that sanctions and legalizes his various acts. 
Were it not for the cap, it would not be possible to tell 
right from wrong. This fine bit of sarcasm is not a 
mere attack at the sect of the Khassidim ; it is also 
meant as an accusation of our whole social system, with 
its conventional lies. Perez does not show by his 
writings to what particular party he belongs, but he 
is certainly not with the conservatives. He is with 
those who advocate progress in its most advanced form. 
He is opposed to everything that means the enslave- 
ment of any class of people. In Russia, where one 
may not express freely views which are not in accord 



212 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

with the sentiments of the governing class, authors 
have to resort frequently to the form of allegory, 
fable, or distant allusion, instead of the more direct 
way of writers in constitutional countries. For these 
reasons pure literature is generally something more 
to the Russians than mere artistic productions. The 
novel takes frequently the place of a political pamphlet, 
of an essay on social questions. The stories of the 
Judeo-German authors share naturally the same fate 
with those of the Russians, and, consequently, can- 
not be free of 4 tendencies ' whenever the writers have 
in mind the treatment of subjects which would be dealt 
with severely by the censor. Much of the alleged 
obscurity of Perez's writings is just due to the desire 
of avoiding the censor's blue pencil, and the more 
dangerous a more direct approach becomes, . the more 
delicate must be the allegory*. The best of that class 
of literature is contained in this volume in a series 
entitled 'Little Stories for Big Men.' 

The first of these is called ' The Stagnant Pool.' We 
are introduced here to the world of worms who live in 
the pool, who regard the green scum as their heaven, 
and pieces of eggshells that have fallen into it as 
the stars and the moon upon it. A number of cows 
stepping into the pool tear their heaven and kill all 
who are not hidden away in the slime. Only one 
worm survives to tell the story of the catastrophe, and 
he suggests to his fellows that that was not the heaven 
that was destroyed, that there is another heaven which 
exists eternally. For this the narrator was thought to 
be insane and was sent to an insane asylum. The 
second sketch, 'The Sermon of the Lamps,' in which 
the hanging lamp instructs a small table lamp to 
send its flame heavenwards and not to flicker in anar- 



PROSE WRITERS SINCE 1881 213 

chistic fashion, is a fine allegory in which the social 
order of things is criticised. There are altogether ten 
such excellent allegories, or fables, in the collection, all 
of the same value. The last of Perez's articles in the 
book is a popular discussion of what constitutes prop- 
erty; it is written in the same style as his scientific 
works spoken of before. 

From 1894 to 1896 Perez has been issuing small 
pamphlets of about thirty octavo pages at irregular 
intervals. They are called ' Holiday Leaves,' and bear 
each a special name appropriate for each particular 
occasion. A certain part of these pamphlets has stories 
and discussions to suit the occasions for which they are 
written, but on the whole their contents do not differ 
from those of his periodicals. Here again Perez has 
furnished most of the matter. The other writers are 
David Pinski, J. Goido, Solomon Grossgliick, M. J. 
Freid, who also contributed to his earlier magazines. 
It is evident that they follow their master in the 
general manner of composition, though at a respectable 
distance. Of these, Freid 1 has written some good 
sketches of animal life. His 4 Mursa ' is the story of a 
bitch who has given birth to some puppies : her love 
for her offspring, her madness when she finds her young 
ones drowned and gone, and her death by strangulation. 
4 Red Caroline, a Novel of Animal Life,' is a similar 
story from the life of a cow. They are well told and 
display talent in the author. Of the others, Pinski 2 
deserves to be mentioned specially, both on account of 

1 In Hausfreund, Vol. V. pp. 136-145 ; Spektor's Familienkalender, 
Vol. V. pp. 45-51 j Widerkol, pp. 5-18 ; Jud. Bibliothek, Vol. III. pp. 
89-94 ; Literatur wn' Leben, pp. 89-95 ; Jontew-blattlech, No. 16. 

2 In Hausfreund, Vol. III. pp. 231-241, 265-277 ; Jud. Bibliothek, 
Vol. III. pp. 84-89 ; Literatur uiV Leben, pp. 23-47, 163. Jontew- 
blattlech, Nos. 1, 3, 20, 22, 24, 29 ; 2d Series, Nos. 1, 2, 5. 



214 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

the quantity and the quality of his work. Most of 
his sketches do not rise above the mediocre, but there 
are several that are as good as those of Spektor. The 
best of his are those that are entitled ' The Oppressed,' 
the first of which appeared in i Literature and Life.' In 
this he tells of the tyranny exercised by a shopkeeper 
on his clerk, and of the timidity of his wretched subor- 
dinate, who merely ekes out an existence by working 
for him from daybreak until late at night from one end 
of the year to the other. The brutal master, the cow- 
ardly, downtrodden clerk, his courageous daughter 
who urges her father to leave the store in spite of the 
shopkeeper's protest, the scene at home, where his wife 
has just given birth to a child, where there is no money 
for a fire or for medicine, all this is drawn dramati- 
cally and naturally. Goido 1 began to issue a series of 
stories in Wilna, in the manner of Perez's 4 Holiday 
Leaves,' and they attracted Perez's attention, who en- 
couraged him in his literary career. Regarding his 
career in America, we shall find him more especially 
mentioned in the next chapter. 

After the financial failure of the different magazines 
started since 1887, only Spektor's Hausfreund has been 
able to survive with some degree of regularity. The last 
of this series appeared in 1896, after which Judeo-Ger- 
man letters seem to have been checked entirely. There 
still appear publications by societies, but they are all of 
a Zionistic nature. It is hard to foretell what the future 
of this literature will be. But having worked out such a 
variety of styles in the last fifteen years, it can hardly fail 
of presenting the same interesting features with which 

1 In addition to his own publications see Hausfreund, Vol. III. pp. 
294-304 ; Jud. Bibliothek, Vol. I. pp. 90-98 ; Jontew-blattlech, Nos. 
7, 8, 18. 



PROSE WRITERS SINCE 1881 215 

we have just become acquainted, unless, indeed, the in- 
telligent classes abandon this field for other European 
languages and turn it over to the class of writers who 
have in view the filling of their pockets and not the 
good of the people. Then it will revert to the chaos into 
which it was led by Schaikewitsch and the like. In any 
case it will reflect the conditions from without ; it will 
flourish in proportion as the Jews are oppressed by the 
government and public opinion ; it will disappear when 
full rights shall have been accorded them. The latter 
are not to be hoped for in any appreciably near time, 
hence Judeo-German letters will continue to be an 
anomaly in Russia, in Galicia, and in Roumania for 
some time to come. 

Although this literature has assumed such great pro- 
portions and has produced a score or more of good writ- 
ers, it has still remained an unknown quantity to a large 
number of the better classes who have not yet broken 
entirely with their mother-tongue. They continue 
looking with disdain at the popular language and thus 
make it hard for those who devote themselves to the 
service of the people to produce the desired effect ; for, 
failing to get the support of those whose opinion might 
weigh with the masses, the latter are somewhat indif- 
ferent themselves. Another unfortunate factor in the 
development of this literature is the petty jealousies 
of many of the writers, which have again and again kept 
them from uniting for concerted action. If in spite of 
all this it has been able to hold its own and to evolve 
to such perfection, it is due to the untiring, self-sacrific- 
ing, noble efforts of Zederbaum, Spektor, Rabinowitsch, 
and Perez. All honor to these men ! 



XIV. PROSE WRITERS SINCE 1881: IN 
AMERICA 

Many years before the great immigration of the Jews 
had begun, there was a sufficiently large community of 
Russian Jews resident in New York to support a news- 
paper. In the seventies there existed there a weekly, 
The Jewish G-azette, and there was at least one book 
store, that of the firm of Kantrowitz, that furnished 
the colony with Judeo-German reading matter. The 
centre of that Jewish quarter was then as now on 
Canal Street, where there was also the Jewish printing 
office of M. Topolowsky, from which, in 1877, was issued 
a small volume of Judeo-German poetry by Jacob Zwi 
Sobel, probably the first of the kind in America. His 
few songs are all in the style of Goldfaden. One, 
entitled 4 The Polish Scholar in America,' is especially 
interesting, not from a literary standpoint, but from the 
light it throws on the condition of the Jews before the 
eighties. Whether they wished so or not, they were 
rapidly being amalgamated, on the one side by the Ger- 
man Jews, on the other by the American people at 
large. Many tried to hide their nationality, and even 
their religion, since the Russian Jews did not stand in 
good repute then. The vernacular was only used as 
the last resort by those who had not succeeded in 
acquiring a ready use of the English language, and 
its approach to the literary German was even greater 
than that attempted by Dick at about the same time in 
Russia. However, English words had begun to creep 

216 



PROSE WRITERS IN AMERICA 217 

in freely and to modify the Germanized dialect. It is 
evident that the seeds of the American Judeo-German, 
as it may now be found in the majority of works printed 
in New York, had been sown even then. The proneness 
to use a large number of German words is derived from 
the time when the smaller community had been labor- 
ing to pass into American Judaism by means of the 
German Jewish congregations. 

Suddenly, in 1881, began the great forced emigration 
of the Jews from Russia, and in the same year the main 
stream of the unfortunate wanderers commenced to 
flood the city of New York, and from there to spread 
over the breadth and the length of the United States. 
At present there are, probably, not less than three hun- 
dred thousand Russian Jews to be found in New York 
alone. The aspect of the Jewish colony was at once 
changed. It was thrown back into conditions resem- 
bling those in congested Russian cities. There came 
misery, poverty, and squalor. The struggle for exist- 
ence was even harder than it had been at home. They 
had exchanged the tyranny of the autocracy for the 
liberty of the republic, but they did not at the same 
time better their material well-being. It was then that 
the sweat-shop with all its horrors had its beginning, or 
at least found its most objectionable development. And 
they were not all laborers who were forced to tread the 
sewing-machine, or roll cigars and fill cigarettes. Many 
of them had seen better days at home, some had even 
been students at gymnasia and at universities. With- 
out any previous training in their particular occupa- 
tions, forced to do ten and twelve hours' work of the 
hardest labor, they had no time to think of any but the 
most sordid, more immediate physical needs. Some 
indeed succeeded in establishing themselves perma- 



218 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

nently, but the majority groaned under a heavy yoke. 
Only by degrees did more and more of them issue from 
the sweat-shops, to take up other occupations ; but few 
of them ever forgot the horrors of their first years in 
America. The whole course of the Judeo-German 
literature is a reflex, on the one side, of their sufferings, 
on the other, of the greater liberty, the slowly increas- 
ing well-being. 

With the large immigration came also some of the 
literary men : Zunser, Schaikewitsch, Seiffert, Gold- 
faden. They at once set about to produce books with 
the same vim that they had developed at home. But 
the field was not so profitable, and they had to turn to 
other work. Schaikewitsch and Zunser have become 
printers instead of writers of books, and Goldfaden 
gave up his attempt in despair and returned finally 
to Europe. However, in the short time that they 
have been active in America, they have succeeded in 
doing immeasurable harm not only to Judeo-German 
literature, but to the people for whom they wrote as 
well. They have corrupted the language in accord 
with the forms which they found in vogue among the 
Jews who had been here before them, and they started 
out to minister to the sensational tastes of the masses 
who received their nourishment from the lower English 
press of New York. The amount of many-volumed so- 
called novels that they have produced is simply appall- 
ing. These are mainly adaptations of the most sensa- 
tional novels in whatsoever language they could lay their 
hands on. Goldfaden also started TJie New York Illus- 
trated Gazette, the first of the kind in Judeo-German, 
but it lived only a short time. In spite of the mass of 
printed matter in the vernacular, literature did not pay 
in America, and Goldfaden left the country in disgust.- 



PROSE WRITERS IN AMERICA 219 

But the eighties were not by any means devoid of 
interest and far-reaching importance to Jewish letters. 
During that time Judeo-German journalism received its 
fullest development. In Russia a daily press could not 
exist at all, and the few weeklies that had been issued 
from time to time had to move in such closely circum- 
scribed limits that journalism ever remained there in its 
infancy. But on the other side of the Atlantic, the 
first thing the Jews learned to value and to make free 
use of was the newspaper. A large number of these 
were started in the first ten years of the great immi- 
gration, but most of them have been of short duration. 
In the struggle for existence the oldest newspaper, that 
had had its beginning in* 1874, came out victorious. 
It bought out and consolidated twenty Jewish dailies 
and weeklies and now appears in the form of The 
Jewish Gazette, as the representative of the more con- 
servative faction of the Russian Jews of America. But 
the most active in that field of literature were those 
who at the end of the eighties clustered around the 
newspapers that were published in the interest of the 
Jewish laborers. Of these Die Arbeiterzeitung was 
the most prominent. 

A number of causes united in making the socialistic 
propaganda strongest among the Russian Jews. They 
had come from a country where all the elements of oppo- 
sition naturally gathered around the political parties 
that stood in secret conflict with the Government and 
also the social order of things. In America, they came 
at once in contact with the sweat-shop and similar 
industrial oppressions, which only sharpened their dis- 
like of the social structure. Intellectually they stood 
higher than those of their brethren who persevered with 
the conservatives, for they had at least come to think 



220 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

about their condition and the affairs of the world, while 
the others clung to old superstitions and did nothing 
to drag themselves out from the slough of ignorance into 
which they had fallen in Russia. At the same time the 
many intelligent men who had been driven to the United 
States nearly all had belonged to the opposition parties 
at home, and it was from them alone that the masses 
could be saved from the clutches of the sensational 
novelists. This struggle between Schaikewitsch and his 
tribe on the one side and the intelligent writers on the 
other began towards the end of the last decade, and the 
older men are being as surely driven to the wall here 
as they have been in Russia by Rabinowitsch and the 
newer school of writers. These younger men have, 
with but one exception, been driven to Judeo-German 
letters as their last resort. Some of them had never 
before published anything in any language, and none of 
them had ever practised writing in their vernacular. 
They all belonged to that class of Jewish young men 
who had received their instruction in Russian schools, 
or who had in any way identified themselves completely 
with their Gentile comrades. They had all reached 
their school age in the seventies, when everybody was as 
eager to become Russianized as two decades before their 
parents had been to oppose the new culture. Either 
as belonging to the Jewish race, or because of their 
sympathies with the Nihilists, they had to flee from the 
country. These form to a great extent the basis for 
the Russian intelligence in the United States. 

They brought with them the idea of the Narodniks, 
which was that their energies ought to be devoted to 
the uplifting of the masses. They could not hope to 
become in any way influential among the native popu- 
lation in the American cities. They, consequently, 



PROSE WRITERS IN AMERICA 221 

directed their attention to their own race. One of the 
first to arrive in America with the great immigra- 
tion, was Abraham Cahan. He was born in the year 
1860 in Podberezhe, in the government of Wilna. His 
early years had been passed in a Jewish school perfect- 
ing himself in Jewish lore. At the age of fourteen he 
entered the Hebrew Teachers' Institute at Wilna, from 
which he graduated in 1881. He was appointed a 
teacher in a government school in a small town in the 
province of Witebsk, but he had soon to flee, having 
been discovered by the police as a participant in the 
nihilistic movement. The next year he arrived in 
New York penniless. He had a hard struggle for three 
or four years. Since that time he has been active as 
the founder of several excellent Judeo-German periodi- 
cals, as a writer in the dialect himself, as a contrib- 
utor to the English press, and, finally, as a writer of 
English books. Of the latter, i Yekl ' was published a 
short time ago by Appleton & Co., and 'The Imported 
Bridegroom and Other Stories,' by Houghton, Mifflin 
& Co. He has also contributed to the Cosmopolitan, 
Short Stories, and the Atlantic Monthly. 

His Judeo-German activity began with the founda- 
tion of the Arheiterzeitung, devoted to the interest of 
socialism and enlightenment among the Jewish masses. 
To this gazette he contributed largely. Most of his 
articles are popularizations of sciences, but he has also 
written several books of stories, mostly from the life of 
the New York Ghetto. Like his English stories, they 
are composed in a good literary style, and present vivid 
pictures of Jewish life as it is modified under American 
conditions. It may be safely asserted that his English 
sketches are conceived by him first in the Judeo-Ger- 
man, after which they are adapted for an American 



222 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

public. While showing great merit, it cannot be said 
of his novels that they equal those of the writers in 
Russia. In fact, there has not arisen in America any 
author who has shown the same degree of originality 
as those of the mother-country, even though they fre- 
quently surpass them in regularity of structure, and in 
the fund of information they possess. Among the large 
number of writers in New York who have contributed 
to the literature, it can hardly be said that any indi- 
vidual style has been developed. They resemble each 
other very much, both in the manner of their composi- 
tions, and the subjects they treat. Nor could it be 
otherwise. They nearly all are busy popularizing sci- 
ence in one way or other, or they write novels from the 
life of the Jewish community, which, in the less than 
two decades of its existence, has not developed, as 
yet, many new characteristics. They imitate Russian 
models for their stories and novels, mainly Chekhov. 
They are all of them realists, and some have carried 
their realism to the utmost extent. 

One of the most fruitful popularizers of science has 
been Abner Tannenbaum. His works have all the 
merit of being based on real facts, though these are 
presented in the attractive form of novels, whether 
original or translated. He is now exerting an influ- 
ence also on the Jews of Russia, where his works are 
much valued. He was born in 1847, and, up to the 
year 1889, was a wholesale druggist. In that year he 
arrived in America, and, for the first time, began writ- 
ing in the vernacular. At first, he translated novels 
from German and French, especially the works of Jules 
Verne. Later, he wrote some novels after the fashion 
of the German pedagogue, J. H. Campe, in his works 
4 Robinson the Younger ' and ' The Discovery of Amer- 



PROSE WRITERS IN AMERICA 223 

ica.' Since 1893, he has been a permanent contributor 
to The Jewish Gazette, where he has been writing and 
popularizing encyclopedic items. 

The early history of J. Rombro, who is writing under 
the pseudonym of Philip Krantz, does not differ much 
from that of Abraham Cahan, with whom he has been 
active in the publication of the same periodicals. He 
had to flee from Russia about the same time. He went 
to London and Paris, from which place he contributed 
to various Russian magazines. In London he met Win- 
chevsky, who, at that time, had been editing a Judeo- 
German newspaper, The Polish Jew. He was asked by 
him to write a description of the riots against the Jews. 
" It was a hard job for me," so writes the author, " and 
it took me a long time to do it. I never thought of 
writing in the Jewish Jargon, but fate ordered other- 
wise, and, contrary to all my aspirations, I am now 
nothing more than a poor Jargon journalist." The 
author's evil plight has, however, been the people's 
gain, for to his untiring activity is due no small amount 
of the enlightenment that they have received in the 
last ten years. In 1885 he was invited by a group of 
Hebrew workingmen, rather anarchistic than social- 
democratic, to edit a socialistic monthly, The Workers' 1 
Friend. Against his will, for he was a social-democrat, 
he accepted the offer. This monthly became the next 
year a weekly. Later, he translated Lassale's ' Work- 
ingmen's Program' into Judeo-German. About that 
time, in 1890, he was invited by the Jewish socialists 
of New York to come to the United States and edit a 
strictly social-democratic paper. He gladly accepted 
this invitation, and March 6, 1890, the first number of 
the Arbeiterzeitung was issued ; since 1894 it has been 
appearing under the name of the Abend-Blatt as a daily, 



224 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

and it is now the official Jewish organ of the socialist 
labor party. He was also the first editor of the Zukunft, 
started by the Jewish socialist sections of the United 
States in 1892. Now he is contributing to the month- 
lies Neuer Geist and Neue Zeit. His articles are all 
characterized by great earnestness, and by a good flow- 
ing style. He is far from being a blind partisan, and 
he knows how to treat impartially questions of a general 
import. 

The nineties have passed in the United States in the 
often -repeated attempt to establish permanent Judeo- 
German magazines. There have been a large number of 
them in existence, and one after the other has met with 
financial failure. Now, however, there are several that 
promise to last a longer time. Never before has the 
periodical press in Judeo-German been brought to such 
a perfection as regards its outward form and the vari- 
ety of subjects that it has incorporated in its pages. 
The first of the kind was the Zukunft just men- 
tioned. It lasted until the year 1897, when it gave 
way to the Neue Zeit, which is practically a contin- 
uation of the first. It differs little from similar popu- 
lar science magazines in other languages. We find in 
it such articles as, What is Socialism? Philosophy 
and Revolution; A Dog's Brain, by John Lubbock ; 
Shakespeare, his Life and his Works ; Pasteur and his 
Discoveries; and similar scientific articles. To these 
must be added many literary articles, stories, poems, 
reviews, and the like. Among the several good con- 
tributors of the latter class of literature we shall dwell 
at a greater length on B. Gorin and Leon Kobrin. 

B. Gorin is the pseudonym of J. Goido, of whose 
activity in Russia we have spoken before. After the 
failure of his undertaking in Wilna, mainly through the 



PROSE WRITERS IN AMERICA 225 

interference of the censor, who delayed his publication 
in every possible way, he went to Berlin to attend lec- 
tures at the University. He soon went to America, 
where shortly after, in 1895, he became the editor of a 
Philadelphia Judeo-German newspaper. From there 
he went to New York, where he published the 'Jew- 
ish American Popular Library,' a collection of short 
stories in the manner of his Wilna edition; but its life 
was cut short after the seventh number. He has since 
been the editor of the Neuer Geist. The most of his 
sketches were published in the Arbeiterzeitung and in 
the Abend-Blatt, when it was still edited by A. Cahan. 
At first he confined himself exclusively to short sketches 
in the style of the Russian writer, Shchedrin, but soon 
he followed the example of all of those who have writ- 
ten in America, and has translated foreign authors, has 
written reviews, and popularized science. In Russia he 
had begun the translation of * David Copperfield.' In 
America he has translated Chekhov, and has in one way 
or other introduced the Russian Jews to the works of 
Daudet, Maupassant, Sienkiewicz, Korolenko, Dosto- 
yevski, Bourget, Garshin, Potapenko, and many German 
and English novelists. 

One of the most original writers of the realistic 
school in the manner of the Russian Chekhov is Leon 
Kobrin. He has lately started the publication of a 
'Realistic Library,' of which the first number so far 
issued contains several sketches that have been written 
by him in the last two years. One of the best in that 
volume is the first, ' Jankel Boile,' a story from the life 
of Jewish fishermen. One is rather inclined to doubt 
that his Jewish characters really exist as he has de- 
picted them ; it almost seems as if they were a transfer- 
ence of Russian men to Jewish surroundings, for they 



226 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

seem to do things that are not met with as peculiarities 
of the Jews in the many novels by Judeo-German writ- 
ers. But it may be that he speaks from intimate 
acquaintance with a class of people that is not generally 
accessible to the average writer. Barring this, the 
story is very vividly told. It is a sketch of a Jewish 
boy who has grown up with the village boys, and who 
has but the faintest idea of his Jewish faith. He falls 
in love with one of the peasant girls of his acquaintance, 
whom he courts, and for whom he is about to give up 
the faith of his fathers. In the last moment, when out 
in the night on a fishing tour on the stormy lake, he is 
caught with remorse at his impending apostasy, and he 
commits suicide by jumping in the lake. This is but a 
bare outline of a most excellently developed story, in 
which realism has been carried to a ne plus ultra. His 
portrayal of the lower classes with their indomitable 
passions reminds one very much of the remarkable 
sketches of the Russian Gorki. 

At this juncture mention must be made of the many 
short sketches by Gurewitsch, who writes under the 
pseudonym of Z. Libin. They belong among the best 
Ghetto stories that have been written in New York, 
and they display undoubted talent. Cahan, Goido, 
Kobrin, and Libin are all young men yet, and from 
them alone a regeneration of the Jewish novel may be 
expected. 

In 1893 Krantz and Sharkansky started a monthly 
magazine, The City Guide, but only two numbers of 
it appeared. Two years later Winchevsky began issu- 
ing in Boston The Emeth, a weekly family paper for 
literature and culture. It is a pity it was stopped 
before the year was out, for of all the magazines that 
have seen daylight in America, it was by far the most 



PROSE WRITERS IN AMERICA 227 

ably edited. Among his contributors of belles lettres 
we find the names of the authors just mentioned, and 
also several others. Nearly everything else is from the 
pen of the editor. While in many of the leaders his 
socialistic bias is pronounced, yet most of his articles 
deal with subjects of a general interest. Of his poetry 
we have spoken before. His prose style is even better. 
It is smooth, idiomatic, and carefully balanced. He is 
one of the few authors who bestow great care on a good 
Judeo-German style, and file and finish it. Most inter- 
esting are his epigrams and philosophical reflections, 
and his satirical sketches, which he generally ascribes 
to the 'Insane Philosopher.' Winchevsky has been 
very productive. Outside of his many original stories 
and sketches, his poetry, and sociological articles, he 
has translated a number of works, among others the 
Russian Korolenko and Victor Hugo's c Les Miserables.' 
His translations are the very best in the Judeo-Ger- 
man language. Few have equalled him in the art of 
translation. The distinguishing characteristics of all 
his productions are dignity and refinement. Although 
he frequently depicts Jewish life, the Jew is but an 
accident of his themes, for he has ever in mind the 
social questions at large, as they affect the whole world. 
The year before Schaikewitsch began the publication 
of the Hebrew Puck in imitation of the English 
Puck. Being of a humorous nature, that magazine 
does not show the glaring defects of his other works 
to any great extent. In the same year Alexander 
Harkavy started The American People's Calendar, 
which in addition to the matter that more strictly 
belongs to an almanac contains also several useful arti- 
cles of a literary value. Harkavy has developed an 
untiring activity in the publication of books by which 



228 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

his countrymen should be introduced to the English 
language and to a right understanding of American 
citizenship. He has written all kinds of text-books, has 
translated the Constitution and the Declaration of 
Independence, and published The Hebrew American, 
an English weekly with footnotes in Judeo-German. 
He has also written a large number of popular articles 
on linguistic subjects. Many of these contain valuable 
matter, but it is often difficult to disentangle the facts 
from his personal speculations, which are not always 
based on scientific truths. He lacks training, and his 
style is otherwise colorless. But for all that, his deserts 
in the education of the Russian Jews of New York 
must not be undervalued. Of his translations we might 
also mention the 'Don Quixote,' of which so far only 
the first part has appeared in Judeo-German. Among 
the writers of historical essays, the most promising is 
the Roumanian, D. M. Hermalin, whose ' Mohammed ' 
and 4 Jesus the Nazarene ' are not only fair and unbiassed 
statements of the foreign religious teachings, but also 
belong among the very few books in Judeo-German that 
are supplied with a critical apparatus. 

The best magazine now in existence is the Neuer 
G-eist, of which the first seven numbers were edited by 
Harkavy, but which now appears under the editorship of 
Gorin. It is a periodical of science, literature, and art, 
and has no special political bias. We find here the 
same contributors as in former monthlies. To those 
mentioned before may be added the names of Budianov, 
Feigenbaum, and Solotkov, who have written many good 
articles on sociological and philosophical matters, and 
Katz, who is an astute critic. Here has also appeared 
the best translation in verse of one of Shakespeare's 
dramas, 'The Merchant of Venice,' from the pen of 



PROSE WRITERS IN AMERICA 229 

the poet Bovchover. Another, smaller magazine, Die 
Zeit, 1 is published by the Hebrew poet M. M. Dolizki. 
Another well-conducted monthly is the JVeue Zeit, issued 
by the Jewish-speaking sections of the Socialist Labor 
Party of the United States. There is no material dif- 
ference in the composition of the contributors' staff. 
A few more names might be added to the list of men 
who have been active in spreading information among 
the Russian Jews, such as Feigenbaum, Wiernik, Bu- 
kanski. Seiffert has written some interesting accounts 
of the Jewish stage in America, but his language is of 
the order of Dick or even worse ; Rosenfeld and Shar- 
kansky have at various times produced some sketches 
and even dramas, but they are more strictly poets, as 
which alone they will survive. 

The time is not far away when there will not be a 
Judeo-German press in America. The younger gen- 
eration never looks inside of a Jewish paper now, and 
the next following generation will no longer speak the 
dialect, unless something unforeseen happens by which 
the existence of that anomaly shall be made possible. 
Already The Jewish Gazette, taking time by the fore- 
lock, has begun issuing an English supplement to its 
Judeo-German weekly. It wants to secure its lease of 
life by passing over by successive steps to a periodical 
published entirely in English, without a violent loss of 
its subscribers. Several of the intelligent writers in 
the vernacular are at the same time contributing to the 
English press, while some have entirely abandoned their 
Judeo-German. In the meanwhile that literature is 
developing a feverish activity. From its ashes will 
rise new forces in the English literature of America 

1 Since writing this, both the Neuer Geist and Die Zeit have 
appearing. 



230 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

that will add no small mite to its pages. In the short 
time of the existence of the Judeo-German in America, 
it has passed through three distinct stages : the first 
was the era of the sensational novel ; then followed the 
socialistic propaganda, coupled with the evolution of 
the press, but particularly the magazine. Now, without 
abandoning entirely the social and political ideals, the 
writers are combining to popularize science and to pro- 
duce a pure literature. The latter is more or less under 
the sway of the Russian writers Chekhov, Korolenko, 
and Garshin. What Russia has done for the Jews in 
the seventies is reaped by the masses in the nineties 
in America. 



XV. THE JEWISH THEATRE 

In the beginning of the eighteenth century two plays 
written in Judeo-German appeared in print, 4 The Sale 
of Joseph' and the ' Ahasuerus-play . ' 1 They were in- 
tended for scenic representation on the feast of Purim, 
which even before that time had been given to mimic 
performances. These mysteries, together with another 
written at about the same time, 'David and Goliath,' 
have held uninterrupted sway up to our own time wher- 
ever the Jargon has been spoken. Schudt has left us in 
his ' Judische Merkwiirdigkeiten ' 2 a detailed account 
of the popularity of one of these plays from the start, 
of the manner of its performance at the house of the 
Rabbi of Mannheim, of the formation of the first trav- 
elling company for the execution of the drama at other 
towns, and many other interesting facts connected with 
it. These mysteries differ little from the coarse come- 
dies and burlesques current at the time among the Gen- 
tiles, from whom, no doubt, many of the details were 
borrowed. Soon many imitations of the original ' Ahas- 
uerus-play ' 3 and i The Sale of Joseph ' came to rival 

1 For the bibliography of the older plays see Steinschneider, in the 
Serapeum (1848, '49, '64, '66, '69): Ahasuerus, Nos. 11 a, 387 ; Purim- 
play, No. 417 ; Acta Esther (Ahas.), No. 17 (cf. Litteraturblatt des 
Orients, 1843, p. 59, and J'ud. Litteratur, in Ersch und Gruber, XX. 
Anmerkung 36); Action von Konig David und Goliath dem Philister, 
No. 18 ; Mechiras Josef, No. 146. On the ancient theatre, see Abra- 
hams, Jewish Life, pp. 260-272. 

2 pp. 36 ff. 

8 Part of the Ahasuerus-play, as given at present on the day of 
Purim, may be found in Abramowitsch's Prizyw, pp. 62-65. 

231 



232 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

the older plays in popularity. Of the first a form is 
known to me in which the Leckerlaufer is substituted 
for the original Pickleherring, the grotesque harlequin, 
while of the second I possess at least two widely differ- 
ent versions, not to speak of Zunser's large drama of the 
same subject. Altogether, this matter has not, as far 
as I know, been properly investigated, so that little can 
be said with certainty about the relations that they 
bear to each other. l The Sale of Joseph,' or 4 The 
Greatness of Joseph,' as it is frequently called, was 
translated at the end of the last or the beginning of 
this century into Judeo- German by Elieser Pawier from 
the original Hebrew under the title ' Milchomo be-Scho- 
lom.' It is a much more serious production than the 
older work, and this, rather than the one printed in 
1710, has lain at the foundation of future adaptations. 
At least one, the versified drama under the name of 
4 Geschichte vun Mechiras Jossef u-Gdulas Jdssef,' 
published in 1876 in Jusefov, distinctly claims to be a 
translation from the same Hebrew source. How many 
such plays have been actually performed it is not possi- 
ble to determine now without a more careful inquiry 
among older men in various parts of Russia. There 
have just come to light a number of mysteries once 
popular in the Government of Kowno, while some have 
been printed within our own days. Such, for example, 
is 'The Book of the Wisdom of Solomon,' which is 
based on the Biblical story of Solomon's life, but which 
contains also Talmudical commentaries on certain facts 
connected with his reign. The latest, and by far the 
best, drama on the c Sale of Joseph ' comes from the 
pen of Zunser, who not only has given it a literary finish, 
but has perused all the sources that throw any light on 
several difficult points connected with the play, and has 



THE JEWISH THEATRE 233 

furnished in some perplexing problems solutions of his 
own, so as to make the whole uniform and historically 
correct. In his introduction he mentions a few im- 
portant facts about the popularity of the subject, and 
the manner of its performance, or recitation. He 
says : " No other story from our Holy Scripture has 
made such an impression or has become so known to 
the masses of the Jews as the 'Sale of Joseph.' . . . 
As far back as we can remember it has been played 
among us by beggar-students, or by the old-fashioned 
badchens at weddings." 

It is not uncommon to see a performance of this 
play given at the present time in some small town. 
The actors are generally the beggar-students who 
have to play both the male and female parts, as no 
women are allowed to perform together with the men. 
Some large unoccupied room is furnished with benches 
on which the sexes are generally seated separately. 
The stage is of the most primitive character, without 
decorations of any kind ; and the actors like to parade 
in fantastic clothes which have nothing in common with 
the historical truth. Either the whole of the play, or 
at least certain passages are sung according to tradi- 
tional tunes. In the * Sale of Joseph ' it is always the 
monologue of Joseph before his mother's grave upon 
which the greatest care is bestowed, as it is the most 
pathetic part of the drama. It is probably the proto- 
type of M. Gordon's ballad of 'The Stepmother' and 
similar popular versions, for in them, as in Gordon's 
version, Joseph's mother sends up her consoling words 
to her son from her grave. An excellent description 
of such a performance is given in Dienesohn's 'Her- 
schele,' l where the hero of the novel plays the part of 

Joseph. 

r 1 Cf. Dienesohn, Herschele, pp. 47 ff. 



234 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

These mysteries are not the only form of histrionic 
art. On the Purim, many masqueraders may be seen 
passing from house to house, followed by a curious 
crowd of children, anxious to catch a glimpse of the 
strange mummery of men and impossible animals. 
In some places the children and even grown persons 
manage to enter the house either by sheer force, 
or under the proverbial pretext that they are the 
"bear's brother." The actors begin in a chanting 
way : " Good evening, my good people, do you know 
what Purim means?" after which they proceed with 
the explanation and the performance of some grotesque 
scene. Each group has its own Purim play, which is 
generally some unrecognizable fragment of the 4 Ahasue- 
rus-play,' but frequently also some original production 
which is jealously guarded from being imitated by 
rival boy performers. There is no merit in them, but 
an investigation even of this form of the Purim play 
might bring out some interesting points or bits of 
antiquity. The length of the burlesque is graded 
according to the expectation of the final monetary 
reward, to which they allude with the stereotyped 
phrase : " The play is out, give us a coin, and throw 
us out of doors ! " 1 

The possibility is not excluded that in addition to 
this semi-religious form of the drama, there may also 
have been given performances of profane plays at an 
early date in Russia. It is not known whether any of 
the dramas written by Aksenfeld, Gottlober, or Ettin- 
ger have been played by amateur actors, but we have 
at least one well-attested case of a performance of that 
kind in 1855, twenty years before the establish- 

1 Cf. Abramowitsch, Prizyw, p. 64 : " Heunt is' Purim un' morgen 
is' aus, Gi't mir a Groschen un' stupt mien araus 1 " 



THE JEWISH THEATRE 235 

ment of the Judeo-German theatre by Goldfaden. In 
that year the students of the Zhitomir Rabbinical 
school celebrated the coronation of Emperor Alexander 
II. by a play in which the life of the Jewish soldier and 
the kahal were depicted. This drama is said to have 
been written by one Kamrasch, but never to have been 
printed. It is also asserted that it served as the first 
impulse to Goldfaden to create a Jewish theatre, which, 
however, he realized only much later. 

There existed a dramatic literature long before Gold- 
faden. We have had occasion to mention the works of 
Ettinger, Aksenfeld, Gottlober, Abramowitsch, Falko- 
witsch, Levinsohn, Epstein. After the popular poetry a 
semi-dramatic style was better calculated to impress the 
people with the new culture than simple prose, which 
at that time had not been well worked out. Nearly all 
of the prose style of the early days is more or less 
affected by the drama, and even Abramowitsch has not 
entirely got away from it. Nearly all of his stories are 
introduced by the stereotyped words : " Says Mendele 
Mocher Sforim," and there are other similar dramatic 
effects scattered through them. This, which is an imi- 
tation of Hebrew originals, has also been the usual way 
of introduction with other Judeo-German writers of the 
early days. The drama of Ettinger is entirely con- 
structed after the manner of a German play, has five 
acts, and the laws of dramaturgy are carefully carried 
out. It really looks as though he had intended it for 
the stage. In Aksenfeld the adaptation to the stage is 
less apparent, while the others do not seem to have had 
the performance of their plays in mind at all. What is 
surprising is that Aksenfeld and Gottlober should have 
introduced in their dramas a number of couplets and 
songs which have no meaning unless they were meant 



236 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

to be sung by the actors. Possibly they followed the 
precedent of familiar German plays even in this particu- 
lar, without any other purpose before them ; or it may 
be that they foresaw the possibility of their future repre- 
sentation and thought it best to imitate the Purim plays, 
which had always some songs intermingled with the 
spoken dialogue of the actors. 

In 1872 Goldfaden published two of his comedies. 1 
The first, 4 The Two Neighbors,' is a splendid farce, 
in which two women are discussing the prospective 
marriage of their two babies playing on the floor. 
The children get to fighting, and one of them is hurt. 
This changes the tone of their mothers, and they heap 
curses on each other in the vilest manner. The other, 
1 Aunt Sosie,' is the best he has ever written. We do 
not find in it the rant of his later dramas, and the 
subject is taken strictly from Jewish life. Aunt Sosie 
is a woman of the type of Serkele. She is anxious to 
get her sister married, and maltreats her husband's 
niece. Her husband is under her thumb. By the aid 
of his friend Ispanski he manages to cheat his wife and 
to get his niece married to his wife's brother. Sosie is 
about to marry her sister to a Lithuanian Jew, a cloak- 
maker, who is already married to another woman. His 
lawful wife comes in time to prevent the bigamy of her 
husband. It is easy to see that the whole is a close 
imitation of Ettinger's comedy. 

During the Turco-Russian War, in 1876 and 1877, 
the city of Bukarest in Roumania presented a lively 
spectacle. It was the seat of the Russian staff, and all 
the news from the field of war was carried there, and 
all the contracts for the commissariat were let there. 
The city swarmed with Jews from Russia and Galicia, 
1 In Die Judene, q.v. 



THE JEWISH THEATRE 237 

who had come there to find, in one way or another, 
some means to earn a fortune. Bukarest became a 
Mecca of all those who did not succeed at home. And, 
indeed, as long as the war lasted most of them managed 
to fill their pockets. With the easily gotten gains 
there came also a desire to be amused, and coffee-houses 
were crowded by Jews who came to them to listen to 
the songs of some local ballad singer. It was also not 
uncommon for such singers to give performances of their 
art in private houses to assembled guests. Goldfaden 
had also come there in the hope of bettering his condi- 
tion. It occurred to him that he might widen the 
activity of the balladists by uniting several of them 
into a company for the sake of theatrical performances. 
This he did at once. Bearing in mind the fact that 
Jews had not been used to the regular drama, but that 
they were fond of music, he wrote hurriedly half a 
dozen light burlesques, mostly imitations of French 
originals, in which the songs written and set to music 
by him were the most important thing. There is no 
other merit whatsoever in the plays, as their Jewish 
setting is merely such in name, and as otherwise the 
plot is too trivial. 1 But the songs have survived in the 
form of popular ballads. It is interesting to note that 
this first Roumanian troupe consisted exclusively of 
men, who had also to take the women's parts. 

After the conclusion of the war, in 1878, Goldfaden 
returned to Odessa, where he established a regular 
Jewish theatre. 2 Women were added to the personnel, 

1 Cf. Abramsky, Bomas Jischok, which gives an account of that 
period. 

2 See Die JMische Buhne. (The Jewish Stage.) Herausgegeben 
zum SO jahrigen Jubilaum vun dem judischen Theater. Publisher, 
J. Katzenellenbogen, New York, 1897 ; about 800 pages, irregularly 
marked. In this volume the most important contribution, though 



238 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

and a number of writers began to write plays spe- 
cially adapted for the stage. Katzenellenbogen, Lerner, 
Schaikewitsch, Lilienblum, and the founder of the 
theatre were busy increasing the repertoire. Of these, 
Katzenellenbogen was the most original and most lit- 
erary. It does not appear that his dramas have been 
printed, but the songs taken out of several of them 
and issued by him in a volume of his poetry attest a 
high merit in them. Lerner was satisfied with repro- 
ducing some of the best German plays in a Jewish 
garb. Of these he later published, * Uncle Moses Men- 
delssohn,' a one-act drama ; a translation of Gutzkow's 
'Uriel Acosta'; a rearrangement of Scribe's 'The 
Jewess ' ; and a historical drama, ( Chanuka,' of which 
the original is not mentioned by him. The dramas of 
the other two are quite weak, but they do not yet indi- 
cate that degree of platitude which they have reached 
later in America. The success of the theatre was com- 
plete. The original company divided in two, and one 
part began to play independently under the leadership 
of Lerner, while the other started on a tour through 
the Jewish cities of Russia, visiting Kharkov, Minsk, 
and even Moscow and St. Petersburg. In many towns 

far from exhaustive, is by M. Seiffert, Die Geschichte vun judischen 
Theater, In drei Zeit-perioden, 47 pp. For the condition of the theatre 
at its beginning, in Roumania, see Abramsky, Bomas Jischok. For 
its later development cf. J. Lifschitz, Das judische Theater un* die 
judische Schauspieler, Bezensie uber das judische Theater in War- 
schau, in Jud. Volksblatt, Vol. VIII. (Beilage), pp. 773-784 (No. 20); 
Meisach, Das judische Theater, in Hausfreund, Vol. I. pp. 160-165 ; 
TJnser Theater, in Jud. Volkskalender, Vol. III. pp. 81-86 ; Rombro, 
Der jiidischer Theater in America, in Stadt-anzeiger, No. I. pp. 5-9 ; 
No. II. pp. 8-13 ; J. Jaffa, Der judischer Theater wie er is\ in Jud- 
Amer. Volkskalender, 1895-96, pp. 60-63. See also the bibliography 
in Sistematiceskij ukazateV, p. 211 (Nos. 3137-3149), and pp. 286, 287 
(Nos. 4675 and 4676). 



THE JEWISH THEATRE * 239 

they were received with open hands, in others the in- 
telligent classes saw in the formation of a specifically 
Jewish theatre a menace to the higher intelligence 
which was trying to emancipate itself from the Judeo- 
German language and all its traditions. They went so 
far as to get the police's prohibition against the per- 
formances of Goldfaden's troupe. 

This procedure was only just in so far as it affected 
the character of the plays, for there was nothing in 
them to recommend them as means of elevating or 
educating the masses. They had had their origin at a 
time when amusement was the only watchword, and 
they had had no time to evolve new phases. Seeing 
that in order to succeed he would have to furnish 
something more substantial than his farces, Goldfaden 
produced in succession three historical dramas : 4 Doctor 
Almosado,' 4 Sulamith,' and ' Bar-Koehba,' to which at 
a later time were added ' Rabbi Joselmann, or the Per- 
secution in Alsace,' ' King Ahasuerus, or Queen Esther,' 
and 4 The Sacrifice of Isaac,' and a fantastic opera, 4 The 
Tenth Commandment.' None of these are, properly 
speaking, dramas, but operas or melodramas. They 
have at least the merit of being placed on a historical 
or Biblical basis and of following good German models. 
Their popularity has been very great, and the many 
songs which they contain, especially those from Sula- 
mith ' and Bar-Kochba,' rank among the author's best 
and most widely known. The latter two operas were 
translated into Polish, and given in a theatre in Warsaw. 
Just as the Jewish theatre was entering on its new 
course of the historical drama, the Government, by a 
rescript of September, 1883, closed them in Russia, and 
this was followed later by another prohibition of Jewish 
performances at Warsaw, where the first law had been 



240 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

obviated by giving them in the so-called German 
theatre. 

About that time two young men, Tomaschewski and 
Golubok, of New York, started a theatre in New York. 
The troupe consisted of actors who had just arrived 
from London, where they found it too difficult to estab- 
lish themselves. The first performance was given in 
the Fourth Street Turner Hall. As formerly in Russia, 
the Reformed Jews of the city used their utmost efforts 
to prevent the playing of a Jewish comedy, but in 
vain. It was given in spite of all remonstrances and 
threats. After that the theatre was permanently estab- 
lished in the Bowery Garden, under the name of the 
Oriental Theatre, which soon passed under the direc- 
torship of J. Lateiner. In 1886 another theatre, The 
Roumania Opera House, was opened in the old Na- 
tional Theatre, at 104-106 Bowery. It would not be 
profitable to enter into the further vicissitudes of the 
companies, their jealousies and ridiculous pretensions 
at equalling the best American troupes. Unfortu- 
nately, the authors upon whom they had to depend 
for their repertoires were Lateiner, Hurwitz, and other 
worthy followers of Schaikewitsch, who by rapid steps 
brought the Jewish stage down to the lowest degrees 
of insipidity. Not satisfied with producing dramas 
from a sphere they knew something about, they began 
to imitate, or rather corrupt, existing foreign plays, 
to give foolish versions of 4 Mary Stuart,' ' Don Carlos,' 
'Trilby,' and similar popular dramas. There were, in- 
deed, some men who might have saved the stage from 
its frightful degeneration, but the theatre managers 
would not listen to them, preferring to pander to the 
low taste of the masses by giving them worthless 
productions that bore some distant resemblance to 



THE JEWISH THEATRE 241 

the performances in the lower grades of American 
theatres. 

Only during a short period of time, early in the 
nineties, it looked as though things were going to be 
improved, for the managers accepted a number of adap- 
tations and original plays by J. Gordin. Gordin be- 
longed to that class of educated men who, though they 
had been carried across the ocean with one of the waves 
that bore the Jewish masses from Russia to the shores 
of the United States, had never stood in any relation 
whatsoever to their fellow-emigrants. He had been a 
Russian journalist, and in America he was confronted 
with the alternative of devoting himself to Judeo-Ger- 
man literature or starving. He naturally chose the first. 
Although he had had a good literary training, he had 
never before written a word in the vernacular of his 
people. At first he tried himself in the composition of 
short sketches from the life of the Russian Jews, and 
finding that his articles found a ready acceptance with 
the Judeo-German press, he attempted dramatic compo- 
sitions. He has translated, adapted, or composed in all 
more than thirty plays, of which, however, only one has 
been printed. As his large variety of dramas give a good 
idea of the condition of the stage during its best period, 
they will be shortly mentioned here. Among the trans- 
lations we find Ibsen's 4 Nora ' ; among the adaptations we 
have Victor Hugo's 4 Ruy Bias,' Hernani ' ; Lessing's 
'Nathan the Wise' ; Schiller's * Kabale und Liebe,' under 
the name of ' Rosele ' ; s The Parnes-chodesch,' from Go- 
gol's 4 The Inspector ' ; 4 Elischewa ' and Dworele,' imi- 
tations of two of Ostrovski's comedies; Grillparzer's 
4 Medea ' ; and ' Meir Esofowitsch,' on a subject taken 
from Mrs. Orzeszko's novel of the same name. Several of 
his plays display more original creative power. Of these 



242 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

it will suffice to mention : ' The Wild Man,' treating of 
the degeneration among the Jews ; 'The Jewish Priest,' 
illustrating the struggle between the progressive Jews 
and the old orthodox factions; 4 The Russian Jew in 
America,' dealing with the condition of the Russian 
Jews in New York ; 4 The Pogrom,' in which the late 
riots against the Jews in Russia are depicted. 

Gordin and a few other men, such as Rosenfeld, 
Korbin, Winchevsky, might have introduced new blood 
and life into the Jewish drama, but the managers and 
the silly actors who in their pride permit their names 
to go down on the billboards as second Salvinis and 
Booths have willed otherwise. But then they are 
following in this the common course pursued by all 
dying literatures, and they are not, after all, to be 
blamed more than the public that permits such things, 
and the public in its turn is merely succumbing rapidly 
to the influence of American institutions, which before 
long will overwhelm peaceably, but none the less surely, 
the Jewish theatre and the Judeo-German language. 
Before the inevitable shall happen, they have attempted 
to cling to their old traditions; but it is only a very faint 
glimpse of their old life they are getting now, and in 
the very weak performances that one may still see on 
the Jewish stage there is already a great deal more of 
the reflex of their new home than the glow of their old. 
It is very doubtful whether the Jewish theatre can 
subsist in America another ten years. 

Of late the theatre has been revived in Galicia and 
Roumania ; if I am not mistaken, there exists also a 
Jewish theatre in Warsaw. The plays performed there 
are mainly the productions of Goldfaden, Lerner, and 
a few other writers of the older period. Occasionally 
a play is given there that has previously been played 



THE JEWISH THEATRE 243 

in New York. If the theatre is to survive in Europe, 
it will naturally develop quite independently from the 
American stage. It must remain more national if it is 
at all to be Jewish. And such we really find it to be. 
In addition to the several dramas mentioned through- 
out the book there might be added David Sahik's 'A 
Rose between Thorns ' and Sanwill Frumkis's A Faith- 
ful Love,' which are among the best comedies produced 
in Judeo-German. 

Excepting the peculiar development of the theatre in 
America, the Judeo-German drama has remained more 
or less a popular form of poetry. In the form of Gold- 
faden's farces we may see an evolution of the farcical 
Purim plays, while his historical dramas stand in very 
much the same relation to our time that the mysteries 
occupied two centuries ago. Similarly the theatre, even 
at its best, has remained of a primitive nature. 



XVI. OTHER ASPECTS OF LITERATURE 

In spite of the brilliant evolution of Judeo-German 
literature in the last fifty years, the older ethical works 
of the preceding period continue in power and are 
reprinted from time to time, mostly in the printing 
offices at Warsaw and Lublin. Among these we find 
a large number of biographies of famous Rabbis, testa- 
mentary instructions of wise men, essays on charity, 
faith, and other virtues, and an endless mass of com- 
mentaries on the Bible and other religious books. 
Most of these are translations from the Hebrew. Of 
late there have also begun to appear treatises on 
moral subjects written specially in the vernacular. We 
have had occasion to mention the works of Zweifel. 
There have also been written sermons of a more pre- 
tentious character in Judeo-German, and even the 
missionaries have used the dialect for the purpose of 
making propaganda among them : the first to attempt 
this were the English missionaries, the last have been 
emissaries from the Greek Church. Of course these 
have had no influence of any kind on the minds of 
the people. One of the most fruitful branches of the 
liturgical literature has been the Tchines, or Prayers. 
They are intended for women, and there is a vast 
variety of them for every occasion in life. Some of 
the older ones are quite poetical, being translations or 
imitations of good models. But many of the newer 
ones have been manufactured without rhyme or rea- 
son by young scholars in the Rabbinical seminaries of 

244 



OTHER ASPECTS OF LITERATURE 245 

Wilna and Zhitomir. These were frequently in sore 
straits for a living, and knowing the proneness of 
women to purchase new, tearful prayers, have com- 
posed them to their tastes. They have hardly any 
merit, except as they form a sad chapter in the sad lives 
of Russian Jewish women. The old story-books and 
the prayers have been almost the only consolation they 
have had in their lives fraught with woe. 

In one of Abramowitsch's novels a woman, purchas- 
ing a prayer from an itinerant bookseller, gives the fol- 
lowing reason for being so addicted to them : u For us 
poor women, the Tchines are the only remedy for hearts 
full of sores and wounds ; they furnish us with the 
only means of weeping to our hearts' content, and of 
finding relief for our saddened spirits in a warm stream 
of tears. ... It is truly aggravating and painful to 
see men who do not understand and who do not 
wish to understand our hearts make light of women's 
Tchines and begrudge us the only consolation we have. 
Let them take a seat in the women's synagogue on a 
Saturday or some holiday, and let them watch the 
many poor, unfortunate women who have come away 
from their homes under difficulties : one suffering 
an evil fate from her husband, another a forlorn 
widow ; one heavy with child, another downhearted 
and exhausted from watching long nights at the bed 
of her sick, suckling babe ; one with swollen, blistered 
hands from standing at the stove, and another with 
her face careworn, and pale from heavy slave's work, 
from walking eternally under a yoke ; let them watch 
all these sad, downtrodden women standing around the 
Reader, let them hear them wail and lament with eyes 
uplifted to their merciful, all-kind Father in heaven, 
bathing in tears and ready to tear their hearts out of 



246 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

their bosoms. If the men could see such a scene with 
their own eyes, they would, I am sure, never open their 
mouths again to ridicule the prayers of women." 

Outside of these prayers and ethical treatises the most 
popular books since the middle of our century have been 
two elementary works, one on arithmetic, teaching 
the rudiments of the art, the other a letterwriter. It is 
probably no exaggeration to say that a hundred editions 
of the latter book have appeared in print. It was com- 
posed by Lewin Abraham Liondor, and was intended 
as a guide for Judeo-German spelling and letter-writ- 
ing by children and women. This has been almost 
the only text-book written in and for the vernacular. 
Liondor knew how to make it entertaining by having a 
series of connected stories in the form of letters and 
an occasional song interspersed in them. The book 
begins with an interesting dialogue in the form of 
letters between the letterwriter and the author, and 
ends with a number of letters from and to a schadchen, 
the go-between in marriage affairs. From the dialogue 
one can see what great popularity this humble work 
has had in its time. There have been issued in the 
last ten years a number of similar letterwriters, more 
in accord with the demands of the time, but the naivete 
of Liondor's book has all disappeared in them, and they 
present no interest to the reader. 

It has never occurred to Judeo-German writers to 
treat their language grammatically. They all started 
out with the idea that it was not a language, but merely 
a corrupted dialect which could not be brought under 
any grammatical rules. In this opinion they have per- 
severed up to the present. Where they felt it, never- 
theless, their duty to establish some kind of system, 
they have dealt only with orthography, and thus of late 



OTHER ASPECTS OF LITERATURE 247 

a few pamphlets on that subject, but of no scientific 
value, have been produced by them. Much greater 
has been the attempt of Judeo-German authors to fur- 
nish their people with text-books for the study of 
foreign tongues. As early as 1824 a Polish grammar 
appeared in Warsaw. Wherever the conditions have 
been favorable for it, the Jews have tried to learn the 
languages of their Gentile fellow-citizens. If they 
have so long persevered in the use of their dialect 
in Russia and Poland, the fault is with the Govern- 
ment and not with them, as we shall soon see. In 
the seventies Jewish youths were admitted liberally 
to the gymnasia and universities, and they eagerly 
availed themselves of the privilege and threw them- 
selves with ardor upon the study of the Russian lan- 
guage. The most encouraging time for them was from 
the year 1874 to 1875, when all seemed to presage 
better days for them. The schools were crowded with 
ambitious children, and there were many left at home 
who had to get their Russian education privately or 
through self -instruction. To help these, a number of 
excellent text-books were written. Such were the 
books of Skurchowitsch, Lifschitz, Zazkin, Chadak, 
Feigensohn. All these appeared within the short 
period of two years. Later a number of other simi- 
lar productions followed. Lifschitz also published at 
the same time a Russian-Judeo-German and Judeo- 
German-Russian dictionary, which is one of the most 
valuable stores of Judeo-German that we possess. 
Everything was preparing the way for the extermina- 
tion of the native dialect in favor of the literary 
language of the country, when the short-sightedness 
of the Government drove them once more back into 
their separate existence. 



248 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Previous to the seventies there could be found only 
grammars for the study of German, French, and even 
English, but no works to make the study of Russian 
easy. Since the year 1881, when the forced emigra- 
tion began, new interests have taken hold of the minds 
of the Jews. They have been scattered to the four 
winds, have formed colonies in Germany and France, but 
more especially in England, South Africa, and the United 
States. Most of those who have gone to their new 
homes, and who still intend going there, hardly know 
any other language than Judeo-German. But they must 
learn the tongues of their adopted countries, and we 
find a large number of text-books of all descriptions 
prepared for them. They have been driven also to 
Spanish America, and we find Spanish word-books and 
grammars written for them. Sadder still, they have 
begun to dream of returning to their former home in 
Palestine, and Arabic word-books have become their 
latest necessity. It must not be forgotten that this 
class of publications has no claim to scientific recog- 
nition ; though they are sometimes written by educated 
men, they are meant to serve only for the immedi- 
ate needs of the wandering Jew. They consequently 
reflect, like the belles lettres, the conditions under which 
the Jews are laboring. 

At the dawn of the new era, in the first half of this 
century, few thought of the study of foreign languages. 
The ifiasses were too ignorant in more essential things 
to be ready for that kind of instruction. It was more 
important that they be made acquainted with the most 
obvious facts around them. We saw how one of the 
most popular books of those days was 4 The Discovery 
of America,' which also gave some facts in regard to 
physical geography. In the sixties, when books of 



OTHER ASPECTS OF LITERATURE 249 

instruction for the first time were being printed, his- 
tory and geography were the first to receive the atten- 
tion of those who wished to further popular instruction. 
Almost one of the very first to be issued then was 
Resser's 4 Universal History,' and this was followed not 
long after by a primer on geography. Only after the 
riots, a more direct attempt was begun at the education 
of the people from the standpoint of their vernacular, 
and since then geographies and histories of the best 
foreign authors have been adapted to their humble 
needs. We find then, among others, a translation of 
Graetz's c Popular History of the Jews. ' 

When we reach the nineties, we get a whole litera- 
ture of popular science. We have Bernstein's 4 Natu- 
ral Science,' Brehm's Essays on Animals,' and a large 
number of other similar adaptations for this period. 
The most systematic distribution of such books was 
carried on by A. Kotik and Bressler, who published a 
series of text-books on the useful sciences. Among 
these are several on anthropology, on political econ- 
omy, and even on Darwinism. But none of these can 
compare in literary value with the excellent essays of 
Perez, or even with some of the articles in the various 
periodicals. Within the last few years the popular 
stories of Tannenbaum in New York" have become 
very popular in Russia, where nearly all of his works 
are being reprinted as soon as they have appeared 
in America. One of the most persistent kinds of 
this class of literature has been the one that gives 
instruction in popular medicine. We find such infor- 
mation teaching what to do in case of cholera in the 
first half of the century, and later for nearly forty 
years many such useful essays have been written by 
Dr. Tscherny. This exhausts the scanty collection 



250 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

of a scientific nature that has been produced for the 
masses. 

Conditions have not been favorable in Russia for the 
development of a periodical literature such as the lead- 
ers of the people have always had in mind, and such as 
the writers now would like to see inaugurated. The 
Government has put so many obstacles in the way of 
their publications that they have nearly all been of an 
ephemeral nature, and have had successively to give 
place to new and just as short-lived periodicals. The 
earliest use of Judeo-German, at least of German written 
with Hebrew letters, we find in a gazette published in 
Prague in the beginning of the century ; the next was 
a similar paper that was published in Warsaw in 1824. 
After that there ensued a long silence until the year 1848, 
when a constitution and the freedom of the press were 
announced in Austria. The happy news was brought 
to the Jews of Galicia by a Judeo-German procla- 
mation issued by Jizchok Jehuda Ben Awraham in 
Lemberg. In a simple language the author tells his 
co-religionists of the change that has come over them, 
of the formation of a National Guard, of the Freedom 
of the Press, and of the Constitution. It proceeds to 
give the late occurrences in Lemberg, and expresses the 
hope of a close union with the Gentile population. 
" And to-day when the Gentiles cast away their hatred 
against us, we Jews who have always had good hearts 
shall certainly be one body and one soul with the Chris- 
tians." A month later A. M. Mohr started a political 
gazette under the name of Zeitung, in which a cor- 
rupt German, rather than Judeo-German, was employed. 
This paper has subsisted, with some interruptions 
and various changes of form, up to the present time. 
The following year there was issued a rival paper, Die 



OTHER ASPECTS OF LITERATURE 251 

jiidische Post, which added a commercial column to 
the political news. 

In Russia no periodical appeared until Zederbaum 
issued his supplement, Kol-mewasser, to the Hameliz 
in 1863. This weekly was not only a gazette of 
political news, but also a literary magazine which, as 
we have seen, has fostered the Judeo-German litera- 
ture and has made it possible for Abramowitsch and 
Linetzki to develop themselves. In 1871 its life was 
cut short. In 1867 a short-lived attempt was made 
in Warsaw to issue a weekly, Die War schemer- jiidische 
Zeitung, which followed closely the precedent set by 
the Kol-mewasser. Many of the contributors to the 
older magazine have written articles for the same. For 
some reason, emanating mainly from the censor, no 
periodical in Judeo-German was published in Russia 
during the seventies. The Jews were, however, not 
entirely without reading matter of that class, for at 
different times magazines and gazettes were issued for 
them abroad. The first of the kind was the Jisrulik, 
which appeared in Lemberg in 1875 under the joint 
editorship of Linetzki and Goldfaden. This differed 
from its predecessors in so far as it made the literary 
part the most important division in its columns. Most 
of the matter was furnished by the editors themselves, 
or rather by Linetzki alone, for Goldfaden's name does 
uot figure upon it after the first few numbers. In less 
than half a year, the Jisrulik was discontinued. From 
1877 up to 1881 Brull issued in Mainz a weekly, Ha- 
jisroeli, devoted to the interests of the Russian Jews. 
Upon its pages one may now and then find the names 
of some of the older writers, but on the whole it seems 
to have been only in distant contact with its country- 
men at home. Another weekly of the same character 






252 YIDDISH LITERATURE 



was started in 1880 under the name of Kol-leom in 
Konigsberg. Only the next year Zederbaum succeeded 
in obtaining the Government's permission for his Volks- 
blatt, which appeared uninterruptedly until 1889, some 
time after its chief contributors, Spektor and Rabino- 
witsch had discontinued their connection with it and 
had started annuals of their own. Since then, several 
new ones, all of them of very short duration, have seen 
daylight. At the moment of writing this, permission 
has been granted by the Russian government to a Zion- 
istic society, in Warsaw, to publish a magazine under 
the name of Bas-kol. 

There has been a steady progress in the periodical 
press, such as could be expected under the tantalizing 
restrictions attendant on a Judeo-German press in 
Russia. The Volksblatt is both quantitatively and 
qualitatively an improvement over the Kol-mewasser, 
which in its turn is far superior to the gazettes preced- 
ing it. The Hausfreund and the Volksbibliothek, Das 
heilige Land, and Die jiidische Bibliothek are all more 
systematic, more in accord with the modern form of 
periodicals, than the Volksblatt. 

There has been and still is another potent factor 
in the dissemination of useful knowledge and even 
of good literature, that is furnished by the almanacs, 
of which a large number have been issued at various 
times. The best of these were started in the seventies, 
just at the time when the periodical press was discon- 
tinued. One of the earliest of the kind was The Use- 
ful Calendar, the first of which was issued in Wilna 
in 1875 by Abramowitsch. In addition to the usual 
information given in publications of this sort, there are 
in it tabular data on geography, history, statistics, and 
similar sciences, all gotten together from the best and 



OTHER ASPECTS OF LITERATURE 253 

most reliable sources. It is a close reproduction of 
similar almanacs in the Russian language. Soon after 
a similar series was begun by Linetzki, who added a 
column of anecdotes to those of a more serious nature. 
In the nineties, when there was again a lull in the 
publication of the annuals and magazines, the almanac 
was revived, but in a still more improved form than 
before. In fact, it now differs little from the annuals, 
for the calendar is the minor part in it, while the 
literary division is worked out with great care. The 
first of this new kind was edited by J. Bernas under 
the name of The Jewish Commercial Calendar for the 
years 1891-1896. Among the contributors to the lit- 
erary department we find the familiar names of Pe- 
rez, Dienesohn, Goldfaden, Frischmann. Since 1893 
Spektor has been issuing an annual almanac, The 
Warsaw Jewish Family Calendar, which is constructed 
after the manner of Bernas's publication. Another 
similar series is that issued by Eppelberg of Warsaw. 
The most perfect of the almanacs is the one which was 
started in 1894 by G. Bader in Lemberg under the 
name of the Jewish Popular Calendar, of which not 
less than two-thirds is occupied by literature. As 
contributing editors are mentioned Abramowitsch, 
Frug, Perez, J. M. Rabinowitsch, and a few others 
who have not appeared before in Judeo-German litera- 
ture. These almanacs are calculated to do a great deal 
of good among the masses, as they are circulated in 
much larger editions than any other books, and as they 
generally escape destruction at least for the period of 
one year, whereas the people have not learned to pre- 
serve printed works longer than during the time they 
are perusing them. The rapidity with which books 
disappear from the market and from the possession 



254 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

of private individuals is something astounding. Of 
books printed in the sixties one need hardly hope to be 
able to find more than one in ten asked for, while even 
those that have been printed comparatively late, in 
the eighties, have frequently become a rarity. This 
is partly due to their being sold in uncut, unstitched 
sheets which easily fall to pieces. But much more 
often it is the result of indifference to the printed word 
which, to a certain extent, is also shared by the corre- 
sponding classes of their Gentile countrymen. The 
works that have been published in the last twenty 
years stand a better chance of being preserved, as they 
are well stitched and not seldom even bound. They 
are also printed on much better paper than the majority 
of books of the older time. 

What few Judeo- German books were issued in Russia 
before the sixties were printed mostly in the printing 
offices of Wilna and Warsaw. Up to the forties, the 
books that proceeded from the first place bear the 
names of the printers Manes and Simel, after which 
begins the activity of the firm Romm, which is still in 
existence ; but Romm is not the only firm there now 
as it has been for nearly fifty years. In Warsaw we 
find in the beginning of our century the office of Levin- 
sohn ; in the forties many works were also printed at 
Orgelbrand's. In the sixties and the seventies, most 
of the better works were published in the South. The 
firms of Nitsche, and Beilinsohn in Odessa and of Scha- 
dow, and Bakst in Zhitomir printed nearly all the Judeo- 
German books of the Southern group of writers. The 
books of the Odessa firms are particularly well printed, 
and put together in an attractive form. In the last 
twenty years Berdichev, Kiev, Wilna, Warsaw, have 
been the leading cities to print such books, while 



OTHER ASPECTS OF LITERATURE 255 

Lublin in Poland, and Lemberg in Galicia, have brought 
out a mass of religious and legendary literature. The 
Lemberg chapbooks can hardly be equalled for the 
miserable way in which they are gotten up and printed. 

Anciently Jewish bookstores could be found only 
in the largest cities. In the towns and villages the 
books were disseminated by the itinerant bookseller 
who carried with him a variety of things which did not 
have anything in common with the book trade, such as 
candlesticks, show-threads, prayer shawls, and other 
things necessary in the observance of the Mosaic Law. 
Even now this wandering bookseller has not gone out 
of existence. All the stories of Abramo witch are 
told in the person of Mendele Mocher Sforim, i.e. 
Mendel the Bookseller, of whose part played in the 
distribution of literature and as a newsmonger many 
interesting details will be found in his works. It 
is interesting to note that a few years ago several Rus- 
sians who had undertaken to spread good books among 
the people resorted to the same means that for a hun- 
dred years, if not longer, had been in vogue among the 
Jews. The books were hawked about in a wagon from 
village to village, and to attract the peasants, many 
other useful things were sold by these itinerant book- 
stores. 

Since the dispersion of the Russian Jews in Europe 
and America, there has arisen in the diaspora a large 
number of periodical publications which serve as the 
medium for the dissemination of all kinds of knowl- 
edge. In England there were issued in the eighties 
the weeklies The Future and The Polish Jew, and in 
the nineties a monthly The Free World. Some good 
essays on sociological questions, mostly of a socialistic 
nature, were issued by the 'Socialistic Library' and 



256 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

' The People's Library ' in London. In Paris there has 
appeared since 1896 a weekly, The Hatikwoh, under 
the editorship of Bernas, the former compiler of a 
calendar. In that city Zuckermann is publishing also 
a ' Library of Novels,' in which one may find transla- 
tions of many of the popular French works. Roumania 
has had a gazette, the Hajoez, ever since the seventies, 
which has published a number of novels in book form. 
The most of these are translations; the few original 
ones that have appeared in that collection are of little 
value. A few other papers may be found in J assy 
and other places. In 1896 H. L. Gottlieb started a 
monthly in M.-Sziget in Hungary, but it lived only 
two months. Most of the articles in prose and poetry 
are by the editor himself, whose style resembles that 
of Linetzki and Goldfaden. There have also been pub- 
lished a dozen books, mostly farces or parodies, in 
Judeo-German, but with German letters. Nearly all 
of these appeared in Austria and Hungary. They add 
nothing to the store of the Judeo-German literature. 



CHEESTOMATHY 



As the main intention of the present Chrestoniathy is to give a 
conception of the literary value of Judeo-German literature, and not 
of its linguistic development, the texts have all been normalized to the 
Lithuanian variety of speech. The translations make no pretence to 
literary form : they are as literal as is consistent with the spirit of the 
English language ; only in the case of Abramowitsch's writings it was 
necessary frequently to depart considerably from the text, in order to 
give an adequate idea of the original meaning which, in the Judeo- 
German, on account of the allusions, is not always clear to the reader. 
The choice of the extracts has been such as to illustrate the various 
styles, and only incidentally to reproduce the story ; hence their frag- 
mentariness. Should the present work rouse any interest in the hum- 
ble literature of the Kussian Jews, the author will undertake a more 
complete Chrestomathy which will do justice to the linguistic require- 
ments as well. 

267 



258 YIDDISH LITERATURE 



I. SSEEFER KOHELES 
(Chap. I. 1-11) 

1. Das senen die Worter Koheles, Dawids Suhn, 
Melech in Jeruscholaim. 

2. Hawel Hawolim, flegt Koheles zu sagen, Hawel 
Hawolim, AlFsding is Howel. 

3. Was kummt dem Menschen draus mit all' sein 
Horewanie, was er derhorewet sich nor unter der Sunn'. 

4. Ein Dor geht varbei un' ein anderer Dor kummt 
wieder auf, nor die Erd' bleibt aso ebig stehn. 

5. Geht wieder auf die Sunn', vargeht wieder die 
Sunn', all's wieder in ihr Ruh' arein, sie scheint, sie 
schnappt nor ahin. 

6. Er geht kein Dorem un' dreht sich aus kein 
Zoffen, arum un' arum dreht sich aus der Wind, un' 
aso kummt aber a Mai araus der eigener Wind. 

7. Alle Teichen gehn in Jam arein un' der Jam 
geht noch all's nischt tiber ; wuhin die Teichen gehn, 
varsteh', dorten araus gehn see take wieder zuriick. 

8. Alle Sachen mutschen sich, nor es kann kein 
Mensch gar nischt all's ausreden, kein Aug kann sich 
dran nit satt ankucken, kein Oher kann sich nit genug 
vull anhoren. 

9. Was a Mai is gewesen, das Eigene wet take 
wieder a Mai sein, un' was es flegt sich zu thun, das 
wet sich wieder alle Mai thun : es is' gar all's kein 
Neues nischt unter der Sunn'. 

10. Oftmals wet sich a Sach mit geben, was me sagt : 
" Owa, o das is' schon ja spogel neu, es is 16 hojo ! " Es 
is' schon a Mai aso auch gewe'n, far Zeiten, as mir senen 
noch efscher auf der Welt nischt gewe'n. 



CHRESTOMATHY 259 



I. ECCLESIASTES 

(Chap. I. 1-11) 

1. The words of the Preacher, the son of David, 
king in Jerusalem. 

2. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of 
vanities ; all is vanity. 

3. What profit has a man of all his labour which he 
taketh under the sun ? 

4. One generation passeth away, and another gen- 
eration cometh : but the earth abideth forever. 

5. The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, 
and hasteth to his place where he arose. 

6. The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth 
about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, 
and the wind re turneth again according to his circuits. 

7. All the rivers run into the sea ; yet the sea is 
not full ; unto the place from whence the rivers come, 
thither they return again. 

8. All things are full of labour ; man cannot utter 
it ; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled 
with hearing. 

9. The thing that hath been, it is that which shall 
be ; and that which is done is that which shall be done ; 
and there is no new thing under the sun. 

10. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, 
this is new ? it hath been already of old time, which 
was before us. 



260 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

11. Es gedenkt sich schon azund nischt in dem, was 
a Mai friiher is gewe'n, aber in die spatere Sachen, was 
wollen sich erst thun, wet man noch spater auch in see 
rgessen. M. M. Leeik. 

n. DIE MALPE 

('Mescholim,' etc., p. 106) 
" Weis' mir chotsch eine zwischen die Chajes, 
" Ich soil nischt nachmachen ihre Hawajes ! " 
Aso thut sich a Malpele beriihmen 
Var a Fuchs, was is' zu ihr gekiimmen. 
Das Fiichsel entwert teekef zuruck : 
M Sag' nor du, parschiwe Marschelik ! 
" Wemen wet aber das ein fallen a ganz Jahr, 
" Er soil wollen dir nachmachen auf a Haar ? " 

7f ^jc ?(& if; 1%; 

Das Moschel mag, chleben, ohn' a Nimschel bleiben, 
Itlicher weisst es allein, wemen zuzuschreiben. 

S. Ettinger. 

III. DAIGES NACH DEM TGDT 

('Mescholim,' etc., p. 225) 
Der karger Chaim liegt begraben oto da ! 
Kein Aremen flegt er zu geben a Dreier ; 
Er hat noch Daiges bis der itztiger Scho, 
Was sein Mazeewe hat gekost' ihm teuer. 

S. Ettingek. 

IV. DER ELENDER SUCHT DIE RUHE 

('Makel Noam,' Vol. I. pp. 71-75) 
Sag' mir, ich bett' dich, du Wind, 
Du schwebst dich auf der ganzer Welt, 
Weisst nischt, wu der Elender sich gefindt 
Zu ruhen ein Gezelt, 



CHRESTOMATHY 26l 

11. There is no remembrance of former things ; 
neither shall there be any remembrance of things that 
are to come with those that shall come after. 

King James Bible. 

II. THE MONKEY 

"Show me but one among all the animals whose 
grimaces I cannot imitate ! " Thus a little monkey 
boasted to a fox that came to visit him. The fox 
bluntly replied to him : " Tell me, you nasty marshe- 
lik ! To whom would it ever occur in a year to want to 
imitate you a whit ? " 



The parable, I am sure, may remain without a moral, 
for each one knows himself to whom to ascribe it. 



m. WORRY AFTER DEATH 

Stingy Chaim lies buried in this place ! He never 
gave a penny to a poor man ; he is worried even at the 
present hour because his tombstone has cost him so 
much. 



IV. THE FORLORN MAN LOOKING FOR REST 

Tell me, I pray you, O Wind, you who hover over 
the whole world, do you not know where the forlorn 
man may find a tent in which to rest, where injustice 
has ceased, where there is never a complaint, where no 



262 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Wu Reziches hat aufgehort, 
Me hat keinmal nischt geklagt, 
Wu kein Aug' hat nischt getrahrt, 
Der Gerechter werd nischt geplagt? 
Der Wind schweigt un' bleibt still stehn, 
Siifzt un' entwert : "Nein, nein ! " 

Sag' mir, du tiefes, du gr5sses Meer, 

Du stromst as5 weit 

Bei deine Inslen hin un' her, 

Weisst nischt ergez in a Seit', 

Wu der Frummer gefindt a Trost, 

Zu ruhen a sicher Ort ? 

Weisst nischt, wie die Stadt heisst ? 

Sag' das gute Wort ! 

Der Jam stromt un' brummt : " Nein ! 

"Ich hab' so ein Ort nischt gesehn." 

Du schoene Lewone mit dein Pracht, 
Du kuckst doch iiberall 
Wenn es is' still bei der Nacht, 
Verdeckt mit der schwarzer Schal. 
Du gehst doch aus die ganze Welt 
Tomid durch die Nacht', 
Weisst nischt ergez ein Gezelt, 
Wu dem Guten is' nischt schlecht ? 
Me seht sie in a Wolken bald vergehn, 
Siifzt un' entwert : " Nein, nein ! " 

Sag' ze du mir, mem Seele, fort, 
Liebe un' Hoffnung derneben, 
Wu die Sunn' geht auf jeden Ort, 
Wu gefindt man a ruhig Leben, 
Wu kein Schlechts is' nischt derbei, 
Me lebt nor in Freuden, 



CHRESTOMATHY 263 

eye has ever been in tears, and the just man is not 
vexed? The Wind remains mute and arrests its 
course, sighs and answers : " No, no ! " 



Tell me, you deep, you large Sea, you flow so far 
around your islands here and there, know you not 
somewhere in some corner, where the godly man may 
find his consolation and a safe place of rest? Know 
you not the name of that city ? Tell the good word ! 
The Ocean flows onward and murmurs : " No ! I have 
not seen such a place." 



You beautiful Moon, in your glory ! You look 
everywhere when all is still at night and covered with 
a black shroud. You pass over the whole world ever 
through the nights, know you not somewhere a tent, 
where the good have no sorrow? You may see the 
Moon disappear behind a cloud, and sigh and answer : 
"No, no!" 



Tell me, then, my Soul, and Love and Hope also, 
wherever the Sun passes is there not to be found a 
quiet life, where no evil goes with it, where one may 
live but in joy, where one may be free of sins and sor- 
rows, of troubles and of sufferings ? They all give the 
one answer : " They live quietly up there in heaven ! " 



264 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Vun Siind' un' Sorgen is' man frei, 

Vun Zores un' vun Leiden ? 

See geben Alle ein Antwort : 

" Ruhig lebt man in Himmel dort ! " 

B. W. Ehrenkranz-Zbabzeb. 

V. DIWREE CHOCHMO 

(* Sseefer Musser Haskel,' pp. 22, 23) 
Der Mensch darf sein gut, un' klug, un' frumm. Gut 

allein kann a Scharlatan auch sein ; klug allein kann 

an Apikores auch sein ; un' frumm allein kann a Narr 

auch sein. 

Die grosste Reichkeit is' as man is' gesund ; das 

grosste Vergeniigen is' as man hat a ruhig Harz ; das 

grosste Gliick is' as man is' frumm, wie man darf zu 

sein. 

A grosser Mensch is' wie a Feuer : sein mit ihm vun 

weiten, leucht' er un' waremt ; vun nahnten, brennt er. 

Der Narr bei an Ungluck beschuldigt dem Anderen ; 
der Frummer beschuldigt sich allein ; der Kluger Kei- 
nem nit. 

Vun zu viel Ahawo kann man auch viel leiden, wie 
vun zu viel Ssino : Jossef hat zwei Mai gelitten, beide 
Mai vun zu viel Ahawo, ein Mai vun Vater's, das andere 
Mai vun Potifar's Weib. 

Nit alle Mai kann man glauben Trahren : Jossef's 
Briider haben auch geweint, beschas see haben gebracht 
Jainkefn das varblutigte Hemdel. E z ZwBIFBU 

VI. DIE STIEFMUTTER 
(' JMische Lieder,' pp. 40-43) 

Auf'n Bess-hakwores, unter a Mazeewe, 
Hort sich bitter a Kol vun a Nekeewe ; 



CHRESTOMATHY 265 



V. WORDS OF WISDOM 

Man must be good, and wise, and pious. Even a 
charlatan can be good alone ; an apostate can be wise 
alone ; a fool can be pious alone. 

The greatest riches is to be well ; the greatest pleas- 
ure is to have a peaceful heart ; the greatest happiness 
is to be pious as one ought to be. 

A great man is like fire : approach it from a distance, 
and it shines and warms you ; come close to it, and it 
burns you. 

The fool, in misfortune, accuses another of it ; the 
pious man accuses himself ; the wise man no one. 

One may suffer from too much love even as from too 
much hatred : Joseph had suffered twice, both times 
from too much love, once from his father's love, a 
second time from that of Potiphar's wife. 

You cannot always believe tears : even Joseph's broth- 
ers wept as they brought to Jacob the bloodstained 
shirt. 

VI. THE STEPMOTHER 

In the cemetery, under a tombstone the bitter words 
of a woman are heard ; it is a mother that cries : " Oh, 



266 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Das schreit a Mutter : " Oi weh mir, oi wiind ! 
Was thut a Stiefmutter mein teueren Kind ? 

" Mein ganzes Leben, was ich hab' verbracht, 

Is' das nor gewe'n a finstere Nacht ; 

Mein Kind is' mir gewe'n mein Licht, mein Schein, 

Itzt leidet es nebech gross Zores un' Pein. 

" Mit Blut vun Harzen hab' ich ihm erzogen, 

'Ch hab' ihm gewaschen mit Trahren vun meine 

Augen ; 
Itzt zappt man sein Blut, man brecht seine Beiner ; 
Er schreit, er weint, es helft ihm nit Keiner. 

u Es stehen Menschen vun arum un' arum ; 
Was schweigt ihr Alle ? Zu seid ihr stumm ? 
Wenn euer Harz is' vun Eisen un' Stein, 
Vun Kind's heisse Trahren darf es zugehn. 

" Ot seht ! Die Stiefmutter schlagt ihm in Kopp, 
Sie drapet sein Ponim, Blut rinnt arab ; 
Sie schlagt ihm, warft ihm auf die Erd' anieder ; 
Sie beisst ihm, reisst ihm, brecht seine Glieder. 

"Er schreit : O Mutter, O Mutter, helf mir! 
Wenn kannst nit helf en, to nemm mich zu dir! 
Stent auf, alle Tote, stent auf geschwind! 
Stent auf, alle Tote, ratewet mein Kind! 

" Alle Tote liegen ruhig in sejer Ruh' ; 
Zu Gott's Kisse-kowed flieh' ich bald zu. 
Vun Gott's Kisse-kowed well ich nit abtreten, 
Bis Er wet derhoren mein Schreien, mein Beten." 

$fc $| *fc tw tf 

" Ribone-schel-olem, wu senen Deine Rachmones ? 
Der Vater bist Du vun Jess5mim un' Almones, 
Wie kannst Du sehen, wie die Marschas 
Giesst aus auf mein Jossem ihr gif tigen Kas ? 



CHRESTOMATHY 267 

woe to me ! What does the stepmother do to my be- 
loved child ? 

" My whole life that I have passed was nothing but a 
dark night ; my child had been my light, my lustre, 
and now he suffers both sorrow and pain. 

" With the blood of my heart I have reared him, I 
have washed him with the tears of my eyes ; now 
they tap his blood, they break his bones ; he weeps, he 
cries, but no one helps him. 

" People stand all round about ; why are you silent ? 
Are you dumb? Even if your heart is of iron and 
stone, it ought to melt from the child's hot tears. 

" Now look ! The stepmother strikes him upon his 
head, she scratches his face, blood trickles down ; she 
beats him, throws him down on the ground ; she bites 
him, tears him, breaks his limbs. 

u He cries : O mother, O mother, help me ! If you 
cannot help me take me to you ! Arise, all you dead, 
arise quickly ! Arise, all you dead, and save my child ! 

" All the dead lie quietly in their rest ; to God's own 
throne I shall soon fly. From God's own throne I shall 
not depart, ere He will hear my cries, my entreaty." 



" Lord of the World, where are Your mercies ? You 
are the father of orphans and widows, how can You 
look at the evil woman pouring forth her venomous 
anger upon my orphan ? 



268 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

u Meine junge Jahren hast Du mir abgeschnitten, 
Bist Du mechujew mein Jossem zu hiiten ; 
Vun dein Welt hab' ich nit geha't Vergenugen, 
To las mich chotsch ruhig in Keewer einliegen ! 

" Wie kann ich in Keewer einliegen beruht, 
Wenn 's rinnt mir arein mein Jossem's Blut ? 
Wie kann ich zum Grub zuriick sich umkehren, 
Wenn mein Grub is' vull mit mein Jossem's Trahren ? " 

"Nu, schweig schon, mein Kind, sei ruhig mein Ne- 

schome ! 
Ich hab' schon gehort vun Gott a Nechome : 
Gott sagt, 's wet sein zu deine Zores an End', 
Er wet ausloesen dich vun der Stiefmutter's Hand'. 

" Die Reschas, die Stief mutter wet Gott bestrafen, 
Un' du, mein Kind, schweig ! Zu Gott sollst nor hoffen ! 
Far alle deine Zores, far alle deine Leid, 
Wet Gott dir bezahlen mit Nechomes un' Freud'. 

" Nu, schweig schon, mein Kind, wisch' ab deine Trah- 
ren ! 
Du sollst mich nit mehr vun mein Ruh' storen ! 
Gott wet erfullen sein heiliges Wort ; 
Nu kann ich schon liegen ruhig in mein Ort." 

M. Gordon. 

VII. DIE MUME SOSJE 

(' Die Jiidene,' pp. 65-67) 
Vierte Scene 
(Chanzi-Grinendel kummt arein; Sosje uri* Silberseid 
heben sich auf vun die Plaze.) 

Sosje. Awade, awade ! Seht ihr ? O das is' mein 
Schwesterl ! 

Silberseid. QNemmt bei ihr die Hand un J ne'igt sich 
hoeflich.} Es freut mich Ihre Kanntschaft. 



CHRESTOMATHY 269 

"You have cut off my young years, You ought at 
least to watch over my child ; I have not enjoyed much 
pleasure in Your world, at least let me lie in peace in 
my grave ! 

"How can I lie in peace in my grave, when my 
orphan's blood flows into it ? How can I return to my 
grave, when my grave is full of the tears of my orphaned 
child?" 

3fc *!* tJv tj^ 

" Now, be silent, my child, be quiet, my own soul ! 
I have had good news from the Lord ! God says there 
will be an end to your troubles, He will save you from 
your stepmother's hands. 

" God will punish the evil woman, and you, my child, 
be quiet and hope in God ! For all your sorrows, for 
all your suffering, God will pay you with pleasures and 
joys. 

" Now, be silent, my child, wipe off your tears ! You 
must not disturb me in my rest ! God will fulfil His 
holy word ; and now I may lie quietly in my place ! " 



Vn. AUNT SOSIE 

Fourth Scene 

(Ohanzi-Grinendel enters; Sosie and Silberseid rise 
from their seats.') 

Sosie. Certainly, certainly ! Do you see ? Here is 
my sister ! 

Silberseid. (Takes her hand and greets her politely.) 
I am glad to make your acquaintance. 



270 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Sosje. No, meine liebe Kinderlech ! Sitzt euch da 
a Bissele ! Plaudert euch a Bissel ! Un' ich mus gehn 
ihr sent junge Leut', un' mir senen schon, chleben, altere. 
Uns is' schon der Kopp verschlagen mit andere Sachen. 
Man darf balebosten in Stub'. Sitzt euch da ! Ich kumm' 
bald. (Sie last sicht aweggehn uri leben der Thiir' thut 
sie a Ruf.) Chanzi-Ginendenju, mein Leben! Auf 
ein Minut ! (Ohanzi-Ginendel geht zu zu-n ihr.') 

Sosje. (Ihr in Oher.) Vergess' nor nit, wu du bist 
in der Welt ! Weiss nor mit ihm wie aso zu reden, 
der Iker, was weniger reden ! (Sie geht araus un' Jcuckt 
sich unter durch der Thiir\) 

Funfte Scene 

(Silberseid un* Chanzi-G-inendel nehmen Stuhlen un 1 
setzen sich Eins leben' s Andere.) 

Silberseid. (Auf der Seit.) Ichweiss? Soil mich 
aso wissen Boes\ wie ich weiss, vun was-er a Sprache 
mit ihr anzuheben reden ! Ta, la-niir priiwen ! (Zu 
Chanzi-G-inendeln, hoch.) Et comment vous portez- 
vous, mademoiselle ? 

Chanzi-Ginendel. (Thut a Schme'iehel.) Hm! 
Hm! Ihr fragt, zi bin ich noch a Mamzell! Ja! 
Glaubt mir, me hat mir schon iibergeredt Schiduchim 
ohn' an Eck. Die Schadchonim schlagen ab die Thiiren 
bei mein Schwester. Einer hat mich gewollt nehmen, 
aso wie ich steh' un' geh'. Er hat mich gewollt 
bekleiden vun Kopp bis Fuss, waren er allein is' sehr 
reich, un' bei mir will er nit ein Pitak; abi die 
Schwester soil nor araussagen 4 Ja.' -Nor ich hab' sich 
betracht, was hab' ich sich da zu eilen, zi ich bin da 
schon asa-n-alte Maid ? Erst heuntigen Summer is' mir 
gewor'en fufzehn Jahr. (Sie traeht.) Sieben un' neun 
un' neun is fufzehn. 



CHRESTOMATHY 271 

Sosie. Well, my dear children! Sit here a little 
while ! Talk to each other ! I must go away ! You 
are young people, but we have grown to be old. Our 
head is filled with worries of all kind. I must look 
after the household. Sit down ! I shall be back after 
a while. (She starts away, but calls back from the door.) 
Darling Chanzi-Ginendel, my dear ! Just for a minute ! 
(Chanzi-G-inendel goes to her. ) 

Sosie. (In a whisper.) Do not lose your head and 
do not forget where you are in the world. Be sure you 
say the right thing to him, above all, don't talk too 
much. (She goes out, but peeps in through the door.) 

Fifth Scene 

(Silberseid and Chanzi-Ginendel take their chairs and 
seat themselves near each other.) 

Silberseid. (Aside.) I declare ! May I know of 
something evil if ever I know in what language to begin 
to speak to her! Well, let us try. (To Chanzi-G-inendel, 
loud.) Et comment vous portez-vous, mademoiselle? 

Chanzi-Ginendel. (Smiling.) Hm! Hm! You 
want to know if I am still a Miss ! Yes, believe me, 
they have been making matches for me without end. 
The go-betweens have been tearing down the doors of 
my sister's house. There was one who wanted to take 
me just as I am. He wanted to dress me up from head 
to foot, for he is himself very rich, and he does not ask 
for a nickel of mine ; he is only waiting for my sister 
to give her consent. But I have thought over the 
matter ; I thought there was no hurry yet, that I was 
not yet an old maid. I am fifteen years this summer. 
(She thinks.) Seven and nine and nine is fifteen. 



272 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Silberseid. (Die gauze Zeit verwundert, bei der Seif) 
No, no ! A gut Min Franzoesisch ! La-mir priiwen 
weiter! (Hoch.} Haben Sie nicht ein Bandchen Sa- 
phir? 

Chanzi-Ginendel. Was taug' euch a safirn Ban- 
dele ? Awade auf a Halstiichel ! Weiss ich, heunt is' 
der Kolir schon araus vun der Mode. Heunt tragt 
man Havana oder Bismarck. Ich nab' erst nit lang 
a Jungermann geschenkt asons ! Willt ihr ? Kann ich 
euch schenken. . n 

A. GOLDFADEN. 

VIII. SEMER LE-SSIMCHAS TORE 

(' Ssichas Chulin,' pp. 30-34) 
1 
Lechajim, Briider, lechajim, lechajim ! 
Heunt senen mir die Tore messajim, 
Heunt heben mir sie an noch a Mai wieder ; 
Drum lechajim ulescholem, liebe Briider ! 
Seid froehlich un' dankt dem Gott dem lieben 
Far die heilige Tore, auf Parmet geschrieben ! 

2 
Die heilige Tore, geschrieben auf Parmet, 
Is' doch unser Trost in unser Armut ! 
All's auf der Welt haben mir verloren : 
Der Bees-hamikdesch is' chorew gewor'en, 
Chorew das Land, wu mir senen gesessen, 
Afile unser Loschen haben mir vergessen ; 
Nit da unser Meluche, nit da unser Kehune, 
Nor uns is' geblieben unser Emune. 
Gott in Harzen, die Tore in der Hand, 
Senen mir gegangen vun Land zu Land, 
Viel Zores gelitten, doch leben geblieben, 
Durch die heilige Tore, auf Parmet geschrieben. 



CHRESTOMATHY 273 

Silberseid. (Wondering all the time, aside,) Well, 
well ! That's a fine kind of French ! Let us try again ! 
(Loud.) Haben Sie nicht ein Bandchen Saphir? 

Chanzi-Ginendel. What do you want with a sap- 
phire ribbon ? Oh, I suppose for a tie ! I declare, that 
color has now gone out of fashion. Now they wear 
Havana or Bismarck. I just lately gave a young man 
such a ribbon. If you want, I will give you one. 



Vm. SONG OF THE REJOICING OF THE LAW 

1 
Your health, brethren, your health ! Your health ! 
To-day we finish the Law, to-day we begin to read it 
anew; hence, may you prosper in peace, dear brethren! 
Be merry and thank the kind Lord for the holy Law 
written upon parchment ! 

2 

The holy Law written upon parchment has been our 
consolation in our poverty ! All in the world we have 
lost : the Temple has been laid in ruins, in ruins the 
land which we have inhabited; even our tongue we 
have forgotten, we have lost our kingdom and our 
priesthood, only our faith is left to us. God in our 
hearts, the Law in our hands, we went from land to 
land, suffered many tribulations, yet have lived through 
it all by means of the Law written upon parchment. 






274 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

3 

Kummt, liebe Briider, kummt aher gicher ! 

Kummt, la' mir offenen die historische Biicher ! 

Was derzaehlt die Geschichte? Was schreiben die 

Chronikes ? 
Nor Raiibergeschichten, Maisses vun Rasbojnikes ! 
Unser Geschichte, aso gross wie die Erd', 
Is' nit mit a Feder, nor mit a Schwert, 
Nit mit Tint' geschrieben, nor mit Blut un' Trahren, 
Nit in Leipzig gedruckt, nor in Goles dem schweren, 
Nit in Goldschnitt gebunden, nor in Ketten un' Eisen. 
Las mir chotsch Einer kummen un' weisen, 
Wu hat men uns nit verfolgt un' vertrieben 
Far die heilige Tore, auf Parmet geschrieben? 

4 

Noch gar in Anheb, var ganz langer Zeit, 

As mir senen gewesen noch Stucklech Leut, 

Wie Balebatim in der Heim nor gesessen 

Un' in fremde Haiiser kein Tag' nit gegessen, 

Densmal noch, ach ! soil das nit treffen Keinem 

Was mir haben ausgelitten vun unsere Schcheenim ! 

Wer red't schon dernach, weh unsere Jahren ! 

As die Schcheenim seinen Balebatim gewor'en. ... 

Un' mir haben gemust nit geren, beones, 

Areinziehen wohnen bei see in Schcheenes 

Wie haben mir gelebt, wie senen mir gelegen? 

Ach, ihr wollt't schon besser gar nit fragen ! 

Wie Kopplech Kraut, wie a Haufen Ruben, 

Mit der heiliger Tore, auf Parmet geschrieben. 

5 

Zweitausend Jahr, a Kleinigkeit zu sagen ! 
Zweitausend Jahr gemattert, geschlagen ! 



CHRESTOMATHY 275 

3 
Come, dear brethren, come quickly ! Come, let us 
open the historical books ! What does history tell ? 
What do the chronicles write ? Nothing but tales of 
robbers, stories of highwaymen ! Our history, as large 
as earth, has been written, not with a pen, but with a 
sword ; not with ink, but with blood and tears ; has 
been printed, not in Leipsic, but in heavy exile ; is 
bound, not in gold carving, but in chains and iron. 
Let a man come and show me where they have not 
persecuted us and expelled us for the holy Law written 
upon parchment! 



4 

In the very beginning, a long time ago, when we still 
were of some importance, when we were sitting at home 
and did not lodge in strangers' homes alas, may that 
not befall any one, what we have suffered from our 
neighbors ! Not to mention later woe unto our 
years ! when our neighbors became our masters. 
. . . And we were compelled against our will to 
take lodgings in their homes. How did we live, how 
did we rest ? Oh, you had better not ask at all ! 
Like cabbage heads, like turnip heaps, with our holy 
Law written upon parchment. 



5 

Two thousand years, no small matter that ! Two 
thousand years of torture and vexation ! Seventy- 



276 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Sieben un' siebezig finstere Dores 

Gestoppt mit Zores, gefiillt mit Gseeres ! 

As ich wollt' nehmen derzaehlen jede Gseere, 

Wollt' heunt nit gewe'n Ssimchas-Tore ; 

Nor das darf ich gar nit, es is' sehr gut 

Bei Jedem eingeschrieben in sein March, in sein Blut. 

Mir haben All's ausgehalten, All's aweggegeben, 

Unser Geld, unser Kowed, unser Gesund, un' Leben, 

Wie a Mai Chane ihre Kinder, die sieben, 

Far die heilige Tore, auf Parmet geschrieben. 

6 
Un' itzt ? Is' schon besser ? Last man uns zuf rieden ? 
Hat man schon a Mai derkennt, as mir Juden 
Senen auch Menschen as5 wie die Andern ? 
Wellen mir nit mehr in der Welt arumwandern ? 
Wet man sich auf uns mehr nit beklagen ? 
Das weiss ich nit, das kann ich euch nit sagen. 
Eins weiss ich, es lebt noch der alter Gott oben, 
Die alte Tore unten un' der alter Glauben ; 
Drum sorgt nit un' hofft auf Gott dem lieben 
Un' auf die heilige Tore, auf Parmet geschrieben ! 

7 
Lechajim, Briider, lechajim, lechajim ! 
Heunt senen mir die Tore messajim, 
Heunt heben mir sie an noch a Mai wieder : 
Drum lechajim, lescholem, liebe Briider ! 
Sorgt nit un' hofft auf Gott dem lieben 
Un' auf die heilige Tore, auf Parmet geschrieben ! 

J. L. Gordon. 

IX. DIE KLATSCHE 
('Die Klatsche,' Odessa, 1889, pp. 17-20) 
Auf dem Feld, seh' ich, fiittern sich panske Zapes, 
Eslen, ganze Tabunes Ferd, was haben a Jiches-brief, 



CHRESTOMATHY 277 

seven gloomy generations surfeited with sorrows, filled 
with misfortunes ! Were I to begin to tell all the 
persecutions, we should not have the Rejoicing of the 
Law to-day ; but I need not do that, it is too well 
written in each man's marrow, in his blood. We have 
suffered all, given away all, our money, our honor, 
our health, our lives, as Hannah once her seven chil- 
dren, for the holy Law written upon parchment. 



6 

And now? Is it better? Do they leave us in 
peace ? Have they come to recognize that we Jews are 
also men like all others ? Shall we no longer wander 
about in the world ? Will they no longer complain of 
us? That I do not know, that I cannot tell you. 
Thus much I know, there still lives the old God above, 
the old Law below, and the old faith ; therefore do not 
worry, and hope in the kind Lord and in the holy Law 
written upon parchment ! 

7 
Your health, brethren, your health ! To-day we fin- 
ish the Law, to-day we begin to read it anew ; hence, 
may you prosper in peace, dear brethren ! Do not 
worry, and hope in the kind Lord and in the Law 
written upon parchment ! 



IX. THE DOBBIN 

In the field I see feeding noble goats, asses, whole 
herds of horses who have genealogies that prove their 



278 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

as see stammen araus vun edle Eltern. Einems Seede 
is' an englischer Oger, was hat varzeitens, durchfah- 
rendig durch dem Land Kenoan, Chassene geha't mit 
an arabischer Schkape. Dem Anderens Babe wachst 
vun a beruhmter Mischpoche, was hat in Leben genug 
Pulwer geschrneckt, un' Jenems Alter-babe hat genos- 
sen a gute Erziehung, a Edukazje, ergez in a beruhm- 
ten Sawod, is' gewesen a Melumedes un' hat in ihr 
Zeit gegeben Konzert in Tanzen un' Springen in-eineni 
mit noch assach gebildete, gelernte Ferd. Denn ihr 
musst wissen, as bei Ferd spielt Jiches a grosse Rolje, 
bei see kuckt man stark auf edel Blut, un' die was 
fun a guten Sawod heissen edel oder wohlgeborene. 
Die dasige edele Ferd haben sich gefiittert frank un' 
frei, senen auch gegangen in Schaden, kalje gemacht 
die Twues, welche areme Pauern haben gesaet mit 
Schweiss nebech, un' man hat sich nischt wissendig 
gemacht, see nischt gesagt kein umtarbisch Wort. Die 
Ferd haben gesprungen, gehirset, gedriget mit die 
Fuss'. Sejer K5ach, sejer Starkkeit, un' sejer Wild- 
keit is' gewe'n " schelo kederech hatewa " ! Plutzlim 
hor' ich vun der weitens a schrecklich Geschrei, a Rasch 
vun Menschen un' a Billen vun Hiind'. Ich hab' tchilas 
gemeint, das haben die Pauern sich zunaufgenummen 
un' laufen mit a Geschrei, arauszutreiben die panske 
Zapes, die Ferd vun sejere Twues ; nor aber nein. 
Die Koles haben sich alls derweitert un' sich vartragen 
gar in ein ander Seit'. Ich bin gewe'n zikawe un' 
gegangen nach dem Kol, gegangen bis ich bin gekum- 
men zu a ganz grossen Platz varwachsen mit Gras. 
Dort hat var meine Augen sich viirgestellt a schreck- 
liche Scene. Junglech, Kundeessim, haben vun alle 
Seiten sich gejagt nach a darer, a magerer Klatsche, 
geworfen Steiner un' anger eizt auf ihr a ganze Tschate 



CHRESTOMATHY 279 

descent from aristocratic parents. The grandfather of 
one had been an English steed who once, during a jour- 
ney through the country of Canaan, had been married 
to an Arabian mare. Again, the grandmother of an- 
other was descended from a famous family, and had 
smelled much powder in her lifetime, while the great- 
grandmother of still another had been well educated in 
some famous stud, and had, in her time, given perform- 
ances in dancing and jumping in company with many 
other educated, well-trained horses. For you must 
know that with horses breed is of great importance ; 
much attention is paid to noble blood, and those who 
come from a good stud are called noble or well born. 
These noble horses were grazing at their will ; now and 
then they did some damage by ruining the standing 
grain which poor peasants had sown in the sweat of their 
brows, and no one noticed that, or said a harsh word 
to them. The horses jumped about, neighed, kicked. 
Their strength, their power, and their wildness were out 
of the common. Suddenly I heard from afar a terrible 
noise, a hollowing of men and barking of dogs. At 
first, I thought that the peasants had come together and 
were starting on a run with a noise, in order to drive 
out the noble goats and the horses from their corn ; but 
no ! . . . The voice grew more distant, and could be 
heard from an entirely different direction. I became 
curious, and followed the noise until I came to a very 
large place overgrown with grass. There a frightful 
scene presented itself to my eyes. Street urchins were 
pursuing from all sides a thin, lean dobbin ; they threw 
stones at her, and urged on against her a whole pack of 
dogs of all kinds. Some of these dogs were whining, 
barking, gnashing their teeth ; others again were biting 
her as best they could. I could not stand there looking 



280 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Hund' vun allerlei Minim. A Theil Hund' haben gar 
geheult, gebillt, gekrizt die Zaehn', a Theil aber haben 
auch take gebissen, wie nor see haben gekannt. Ich 
hab' nischt gekannt stehn un' zusehn asa Majsse-ra vun 
der weitens. Einmal is' doch glatt a Rachmones, das 
Menschlichkeit derlast nischt zuzusehn asa Achsorjes, 
un' zweitens, awekgenummen schon Rachmones, hat 
doch die Schkape auf mir take a grdss Recht geha't, 
ich soil ihr helfen, machmas ich bin eingekauft in der 
Chewre " Zar-bal-hachaim," was ihr is' nischt niche, 
man soil peinigen, anthon Leid lebedige Beschaffenisch, 
warim see senen auch Bossor-wedom, Fleisch un' Blut, 
un' haben auch das Recht zu leben auf Gotts Welt wie 
mir. Ich will mich da nischt areinlasen in dem alten 
un' sehr tiefen Schmues mikoach dem Menschen un' 
die Beheemes. Las sich sein chotsche wie Jene sagen, 
as ich, Mensch, bin der Tachles, der Zimmes, der Antik 
vun alle Beschaffenisch ; nor zu lieb mir, Tachschit, zu 
lieb mein Bederfenisch un' mein Vergeniigen leben see 
alle auf der Welt ; las sich sein chotsch, as ich, Tach- 
schit, bin der Meelach, der Oberharr liber alle Beheemes, 
was musen mir dienen, was musen gehn in Joch un' 
makriw sein far mir sejer Leben, vun destwegen, 
dacht sich mir, wie bald afile a Klatsche, asa proste 
Podane, hat auf mir eppes a Recht, mus ich al-pi 
Din, wenn nischt al-pi Menschlichkeit, akegen ihr joze 
sein. . . . 

" Kundeessim ! " sag' ich, zugehendig zu die weisse 
Chewre, " Was ha't ihr, ich bett' euch, zu der Schkape 
nebech ? " 

A Theil vun die Kundeessim haben mich garnischt 
gohort, andere haben ja eppes wie gehort un' gelacht 
mit Ases. A Theil Hiind' haben mich eppes varwun- 
dert angekuckt, etliche haben gebillt vun der weitens, 



CHRESTOMATHY 281 

quietly at such misdeeds. In the first place it is a ques- 
tion of pity humanity does not permit to look un- 
moved at such wrong-doing. Secondly, leaving pity 
out, the mare had a great right to my protection, for 
I am a member of the Society for the Prevention of 
Cruelty to Animals, which is opposed to vexing and 
torturing any living being, for they, too, are flesh and 
blood, and have the same right to live in God's world 
that we have. ... I shall not enter here into the old 
and profound discussion in regard to man and beast. 
Let it be as they say that I, man, am the highest aim, 
the perfection of all creation, that only for me and for 
my wants and pleasures they all live upon this world. 
Let it be that I, man, am the king, the supreme lord of 
all the animals who must serve me, must walk under 
the yoke and sacrifice their lives for me, nevertheless, 
it seems to me that even to that dobbin, who is my low- 
est subject, I have certain duties, and I must, in accord- 
ance with the law if not with humanity, do what is 
right by her. . . . 



" Urchins ! " I said, as I approached the crowd of wild 
boys, " what have you, I pray, against that mare ? " 

Some of the urchins paid no attention at all to me ; 
others did hear me, but they laughed at me with brazen 
faces. Some of the dogs looked at me somewhat aston- 
ished; others barked at me from afar, while others 



282 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

noch etliche haben ausgeschtschiret die Augen, gekuckt 
schrecklich boes, senen gewe'n bereit anzufallen auf mir 
vun hinten un' zureissen mich auf Stiicker. 

" Kundeessim ! " ruf ' icli mich noch a Mai an. " Was 
jagt ihr un' peinigt Gotts Beschaffenisch, die Klatsche 
nebech?" 

"A schoener Nebech ! " haben see mit Gespott geent- 
wert. " Far was f utter t sie sich da ? Far was futtert 
sich die schoene Klatsche da ? " 

" Steutsch ! " thu' ich a Sag, " da is' doch a Pasche, 
da fiitteren sich doch alle Stadt-beheemes vun ebige 
Jahren ! " 

" Die Stadt-beheemes," haben see geentwert, " senen 
eppes andersch, see mogen un' sie tor nischt." 

M Far was nischt sie?" ruf ich mich an, " sie hat denn 
nischt kein Neschome wie alle Stadt-beheemes?" 

" Ef scher take nischt ! " haben see a Sag gethan. 

" Schkozim ! " sag' ich zu see, " aber sie hat doch 
sicher a Balebos, was zahlt in der Stadt Zinsch un' 
alle andere Abgaben. Sie is' doch auch a Stadt- 
beheeme ! " 

" Ot das take weissen mir nischt ! " entwern see mir 
mit a Gespott. " Ob sie is' auch a Stadt-beheeme, das 
is' erscht a Schaile ! " 

"Es mag sein, wie es will sich," hab' ich gesagt, 
" aber die Klatsche is' doch derweil hungerig, sie will 
doch nebech essen ! " 

" Las sie essen Werem, Krank', Makes ! " sagen see 
zuriick. "Was hat sie zu uns? Far was soil a solche 
auffressen un' zunehmen bei die Stadt-beheemes?" 

" Gaslonim ! " hab' ich schon mehr nischt gekonnt 
mich einhalten un' a Geschrei gethan mit Kas. M Far 



CHRESTOMATHY 283 

again opened their eyes wide open, scanned me in great 
anger, and were ready to fall upon me from behind, and 
to tear me to pieces. 

" Urchins ! " I cried out again. " Why do you pur- 
sue and torture one of God's creatures the miserable 
dobbin?" 

" Miserable indeed ! " they cried out scoffingly . " Why 
does she graze here ? Why does that fine-looking mare 
graze here ? " 

"How is that?" I exclaimed, "is this not a pasture, 
and have not all the animals of the town grazed here 
from time immemorial ! " 

"The animals of the town," they answered, "are 
an entirely different matter; they may, but she may 
not." 

" Why not she ? " I called out, " has she not a soul 
like all the animals of the town ? " 

" Maybe she has not ! " they retorted. 

" Urchins ! " I said to them, " but she certainly has 
a master who pays all the taxes of the town and other 
duties. She is a town animal like all the others ! " 

" That's exactly what we do not know ! " they an- 
swered in scorn. "Whether she is a town animal, 
that's the question ! " 

"Let it be as it may," I said, "but in the mean- 
while the mare is hungry and wants to eat ! " 

" Let her eat worms, get sick and die ! " they replied. 
"What does she want of us? Why should such a 
creature eat up that which belongs to the town ani- 
mals ? " 

"Murderers!" I could no longer hold myself and 
cried out in anger. " Why do you not pay any attention 



284 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

was kuckt ihr nischt, was dort gehen arum panske 
Zapes, ganze Tabunes Ferd zwischen die Twues un' 
fressen auf arem Blut, arem Schweiss nebech? Da 
vargiinnt ihr nischt a bidner Schkape a Haufen Gras 
un' es art euch klal nischt, as dort thuen Ferd an a 
Jam Heskejes un' machen umgliicklich viel Menschen. 
Das nor allein, was see zutreten, was see machen kalje 
glatt aso, wollt' genug gewe'n der Klatsche bis Kinds- 
kinds-kinds-kinder ! Kundeessim, ihr ha't nischt kein 
Joscher afile auf a Haar, ihr sent Keinem nischt getreu 
un' ihr hat noch a Hose sich arauszustellen klomerscht 
far die Stadt-beheemes ! " 

M He, he ! " haben die Kundeessim sich angerufen, " er 
is' gar in Kas, er fragt gar eppes Kasches ! Kummt 
Chewre ! Was taug' uns die Taines? Las er sich 
schreien ! Wer hort ihm? Kummt, Chewre, kummt ! " 

Ein Kundas hat a Feif gethan un' bald haben die 

weisse Chewre mit sejere Hiind' sich gelast nach der 

Klatsche un' auf ihr wieder angefallen. A lange Zeit 

hat man sie getrieben, gerissen un' gebissen, bis man 

hat sie zum Ssof vartrieben in a tief er Grub un' dort hat 

sie sich eingegrisnet in Blote. 

S. J. Abramowitsch. 

X. TUNEJADEWKE 

('Binjamin ha-Schlischi,' pp. 6-9) 
Tunejadewke, das kleine Stadtel, is' a varworfen 
Winkel, an der Seit' vun dem potschtowen Trakt, 
kimat abgerissen vun der Welt aso, as wenn a Mai 
macht sich, Einer kummt ahin zufahren, offent man 
die Fenster, die Thuren, un' man kuckt varwundert an 
dem frischen Parschon ; Schcheenim fragen Einer beim 
Andern, arauskuckendig vun die offene Fenster, assach 
mehr wie vier Kasches : Ha, wer soil es asons sein ? 



CHKESTOMATHY 285 

to the noblemen's goats, the whole herds of horses who 
run around in the grain and eat up the blood and the 
sweat of the poor ? Here you begrudge the poor dob- 
bin a handful of hay, and do not at all care that there 
the horses are doing no end of damage and making 
many people unhappy. That alone which they trod 
under foot, which they simply destroy, would be enough 
for the mare and her future generations ! You, urchins, 
have no sense of justice, not a hair's-breadth of it, you 
are not true to anybody, and yet you take it upon your- 
self to take the part of the town animals ! " 

" Ho, ho ! " the urchins exclaimed, " he is getting 
angry, and he asks questions of us ! Come, boys ! 
What is the use of discussing ? Let him cry ! Pay 
no attention to him ! Come, boys, come ! " 

An urchin blew his whistle, and the rude company 
started with their dogs to attack once more the dobbin. 
They drove her for a long time ; she was bitten and 
torn until at last she was driven into a deep ditch 
where she sank down in the mud. 



X. PARASITE VILLE 

The small town of Parasiteville is a forgotten corner 
of the earth, to one side of the highway, almost torn 
away from the world. When by accident some one 
visits it, the windows and doors are opened and people 
look in astonishment at the stranger ; neighbors ask of 
each other, as they look out of the open windows, more 
than the usual four questions : I wonder who he may 
be ? How did he all of a sudden get here ? What may 



286 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Vun wannen hat er plutzlim vun der heller Haut aher 
sich genummen ? Was kann asolcher bedarf en ? Eppes 
aso glatt kann es nit sein, glatt aso denn nemmt man 
un' man kummt? Mistome liegt doch da eppes, was 
man mus es dergehn. . . . Derbei will Itlicher araus- 
weisen sein Chochme, sein Genitschaft, un' Bauch- 
swores fallen wie Mist. Alte Leut' derzaehlen Maisses 
un' brengen Mescholim vun Orchim, was senen in dem 
un' dem Jahr gekummen aher zufahren, Balamzojes 
sagen mikoach dem Wortlich, a Bissel eppes nischt 
kein schoene ; Mannsbill' halten sich bei die Bardlich 
un' schmeichlen ; alte Weiber siedlen ab die Balamzojes 
auf Katowes, mit a Boeser i mit a Lachen in einem ; 
junge Weiblich derlangen vun die arabgelasene Augen 
a geb5genem Kuck vun unten arauf, halten die Hand' 
auf'n Maul un' sticken sich lachendig in Kulak. Der 
Schmues mikoach dem dasigen Injen kaukelt sich vun 
Stub' zu Stub' wie a Kaul vun Schnee un' werd kau- 
klendig sich all's grosser, grosser, bis er kaukelt sich 
arein in Bessmedresch ssame unter'n Owen, in dem Ort, 
was ahin varkauklen sich alle Schmuessen vun allerlei 
Injonim, hen S5des vun Stubsachen, hen Politike mi- 
koach Stambul, mikoach dem Toger u-mikdach Kiren, 
hen Geldgeschaften mikoach Rothschild's Varmogen in 
Vargleich mit die grosse Prizim un' die andere gewisse 
Negidim, we-hen Potschten mikoach die Gseeres u-mi- 
k5ach die rothe Judlich uchdome, un' was dort rasbi- 
rajet see kesseeder a besunder Komitat vun schoene 
betagte Jiiden, was sitzen standig a ganzen Tag bis 
spat in der Nacht, senen mafker Weib i Kinder un' 
giben sich mit die alle Geschaften take ernes getreu 
ab, thuen sejer Sach' bischleemes, glatt aso le-Schem- 
schomajim, nischt zu nehmen far sejer Muh', far sejer 
Praze, afile a zubrochenem Heller. 



CHRESTOMATHY 287 

such a one want here ? There is something wrong, for 
without good reason no one would come to this place ! 
There is some secret in it which I must find out. . . . 
And each one wants to show his wisdom, his skill, and 
all kinds of speculations come as fast as hail. All tell 
stories and make allusions to strangers who had visited 
them in such and such a year ; jesters relate anecdotes 
about it, and they are not always within the bounds 
of propriety ; men twirl their beards and smile ; old 
women jokingly scold the jesters, angered and laughing 
at the same time ; young married women stealthily look 
upwards with their drooping eyes, hold their hands 
before their mouths and choke with laughter. The 
conversation in regard to that matter rolls on from 
house to house like a snowball and rolling grows larger, 
larger, until it rolls into the synagogue near the stove, 
the very place where find their final abode gossips of 
all kinds, whether domestic secrets, or politics in re- 
gard to Stamboul, in regard to the Mogul and Cyrus, 
or money matters regarding the wealth of Rothschild 
as compared with that of great lords and the other well- 
known millionnaires, or reports of persecutions and the 
tribe of the Red Jews, and so forth. And there these 
matters are discussed one after the other by a special 
committee of pious Jews advanced in years, who sit 
there whole days until late into the night, who abandon 
their wives and children and earnestly devote them- 
selves to those affairs, doing their business in peace, 
just for the glory of God, without receiving a broken 
penny for their labor and their work. 



288 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Vun dem dasigen Komitat gehen oft die Injonim 
aweg in Bad auf der oberster Bank, un' in a polner 
Ssobranje vun Stadt-balebatim wer'en see dort utwer- 
det, " wehakol schorir wekajom," as dernach sollen afile 
kummen kol Malchej Misrach un' Majrew, sich stellen 
niit dem Kopp arab un' mit die Fuss' arauf, wellen see 
gar nischt poeln. Der Toger is' schier ein Mai nischt 
umglucklich gewor'en in asa Ssobranje auf der ober- 
ster Bank, wenn etliche juste Balebatini sollen nischt 
gewe'n halten mit ihm Blatt, wer weisst, wu er wollt' 
itzt angesparrt. Rothschild nebech hat schier nit var- 
loren dort eppes a zehn, fufzehn Milljon; derfar hat 
ihm Gott geholfen in a Paar Wochen arum : der Olem 
is' gewe'n, wie man sagt, begelufin ; auf der oberster 
Bank is' grad' gewe'n a Bissel leblich ; die Besemlich 
haben sich gehoben, un' man hat ihm mit a Mai 
zugelast rein Vardienst akegen akan Milljon Karblich! 

Die Einwohner allein in Tunejadewke senen nebech 
kimat alle, 16-aleechem, grosse Ewjonim, starke Dal- 
fonim. Nor dem Ernes mus man sagen, see senen 
froehliche Ewjonim, lusti^ Kabzonim, wilde Bal-bito- 
chens. As man soil, a Steiger, plutzlim a Frag geben 
a Tunejadewker Juden, vun wannen un' wie as5 er is 
sich mefarnes, bleibt er tchilas stehn wie zumischt, 
weisst nebech nischt, was zu entwern, nor spater a 
Bissel aber kummt er zu sich un' entwert bitmimes : 
Ich, wie arum ich leb', ich? Et, 's is' da a Gott, sag' 
ich euch, ot-o, was varlast nischt alle seine Beschaffe- 
nisch, Er schickt zu un' wet mistome weiter zuschicken, 
sag' ich euch, ot-o ! Fort, was thut ihr asdns ? Ha't 
ihr chotsch eppes was 's is' far a Meloche oder a Par- 
nosse in der Hand? Gelobt is' ha-Schem-jisborach! 
Ich hab', borchaschem, as5 wie ihr kuckt mich an, ot-o, 
a Matone vun sein lieben Namen, a Keele, a Kol-negine, 



CHKESTOMATHY 289 

From this committee the affairs are frequently trans- 
ferred to the upper bench in the bathhouse, and in a 
plenary assembly of householders they are confirmed, 
" resolved and decreed." If after that even all the kings 
of the East and the West were to come and walk with 
their heads downwards and their feet in the air, they 
could not move them to change their decrees. The 
Mogul came once very near falling into misfortune in 
such an assembly of the higher bench; if some of the 
householders had not taken his part, who knows where 
he would now be resting his head. Rothschild very 
nearly lost there ten or fifteen millions ; but God came 
to his rescue a few weeks later : the people felt, as they 
say, in high spirits; all was alive upon the highest 
bench; the bathing brooms were dancing over their 
backs, and they all at once gave him a clean gain of one 
hundred and fifty million roubles. 

Nearly all the inhabitants of Parasiteville are, may it 
be no evil omen to you, nothing but poor people and 
quite destitute. But the truth must be told, they are 
merry beggars, joyful mendicants, possessed of un- 
bounded hope. If one, for example, suddenly asks a 
Parasiteville Jew where and how he manages to make 
a living, he stops at first bewildered, and does not know 
what to answer, but after a while he collects himself 
and answers in good spirits : I, how I make a living, I ? 
Well, there is a God, I tell you, you see, who does not 
abandon His creatures ; He sends us a living and will 
no doubt continue to send us, I tell you ! After all, 
what is your occupation? Have you some kind of 
trade that you ply, or have you some kind of in- 
come ? Praised be the Lord ! I have, thanks to the 
Lord, as you see me, a gift from Him, a good voice, and 
I lead the prayers of the Mussafim on the great holidays 



290 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

un' dawen' Mussofim Jomim-norojim in der Swiwe ; ich 
bin a Mohel un' a Maze-radler, Einer in der Welt ; ich 
fiihr' a Mai aus a Schidech, fiihr' ich aus. Ich hab' a 
Staat, wie ihr kuckt mich an, ot-o, in der Schul' ; 
heunt halt' ich auch, zwischen uns soil es bleiben, a 
Schenkel, was melkt sich zu bisslich ; ich hab' a Zieg', 
was melkt sich ohn' Anore sehr gut, un' hab' nischt 
weit vun dannen a reichen Korew, ot-o, was last sich 
unter a schlechter Zeit auch a Bissel melken. Heunt, 
chuz die alle Sachen, sag' ich euch ot-o, is' Gott a Tate 
un' die Jisroejel senen Rachinonim-bnee-rachmonim, sag' 
ich euch ot-o, nischt zu varsiindigen! . . . 

Auch mus man die Tunejadewker Einw5hner dem 
Schwach nachsagen, as see senen zufrieden mit was 
Gott gi't un' klauben cholile in der Halbosche un' in 
dem Essen stark nischt liber. As die schabesdige 
Kapote, a Steiger, is' zuhackt, zufallen, zurissen, a Bis- 
sel varschlumpert un' eppes nischt aso rein, macht auch 
nit aus, abi sie is' fort vun Atlas un' glanzt. Ai orter- 
weis kuckt wie vun a Reschete araus das hohle Leib, 
meele was art es wemen? Wer wet sich da as5 stellen 
zukucken? Lemai Pjates, mit was is' das arger vun 
ausgerissene Pjates? Pjates is' denn nischt kein Leib, 
kein Menschenfleisch ? . . . 

A Stiickel Brot mit a Kolisch, abi 's is' nor da, is' 
sehr a guter Mittag. Wer schmuest a Bulke mit a 
Rosselfleisch Freitag, wer es hat nor, das is' take 
a Maichel-Mecholim, kein Besseres dervun is' schon, 
dacht sich, auf der Welt nischt da. Las man see der- 
zaehlen, a Steiger, vun andere Minee Potrawes chuz 
Fischjauch, Gebraten's un' a Mahren- oder Posternak- 
zimmes, kummt see das aus eppes meschune wild un' 
sagen darauf ab varschiedene Wortlich mit dem gross- 
ten Gelachter, gleich wie der, was sagt es, is' narrisch, 



CHRESTOMATHY 291 

in the towns hereabout ; I am a Mohel and a roller of 
matzoth, an expert in my work; I sometimes make a 
match and get people married. I have a pew in the 
synagogue, although you may not think it of me ; be- 
sides I have a grog-shop, between us be it said, that 
brings me in a little income ; I have a goat that gives 
a great deal of milk, and not far from here I have a 
rich relative who in bad times lets himself be milked a 
little too. Besides all these things, I tell you, God is 
a father and the Jews are the recipients of His mercy, I 
tell you, and may we not sin against Him ! . . . 

We must give the inhabitants of Parasiteville their 
due, they are contented with anything God may 
give them, and they are not by any means dainty in 
their garments and their food. If, for example, the 
Sabbath coat is all crushed, threadbare, and torn, a 
little bedraggled and of questionable cleanliness, that 
does not trouble them much, provided it is of satin 
and has a sheen. You will say that in places the bare 
body looks out of it as from a sieve ! What of that ? 
Whose concern is it? Who will stop to look at it 
inquisitively? Is that at all worse than bare heels? 
Are heels no body, no human flesh ? . . . 

A piece of bread with a buckwheat cake, if only 
it can be procured, is a very good dinner indeed. 
And just think of a white roll with some braized meat 
on a Friday ! Whoever can get that, regards it as the 
finest dainty, better than which, it seems, nothing can 
be found in the world. Let anybody tell of any other 
kinds of choice dishes than fish juice, roast meat, and 
carrot or parsnip scallop, he will be looked upon as a 
madman, and they will make all kinds of jests about 
him and burst out in loud laughter, as if he who had 



292 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

meschuge un' will see auch machen meschuge, einreden 
see a Kind in Bauch, a Kuh is' geflogen iiber'n Dach 
un' gelegt an Ei. A Stuckel Bockser in Chamischo 
ossor das is' asa Peere, was is' mechaje Nefosches; 
kuckendig derauf dermahnt man sich in Erzesrojel, 
nischt ein Mai varglotzt man derbei die Augen mit a 
Krachz: Ach, " wessolicheenu kommius," sollst uns, 
harzediger Vater, fiihren kommius, take was kommius 
heisst, "learzeenu" zu unser Land, was Ziegen essen 
dort Boeksern ! . . . Al-pi Mikre hat Einer a Mai in 
dem Stadtel gebracht a Teitel, ha't ihr bedarft sehn, 
wie aso man is' das gelaufen ankucken auf Chidesch ! 
Man hat aufgemischt a Chumesch un' gewiesen, as 
" Tomer " der Teitel stent in Chumesch ! Steutsch, der 
Teitel, ot der Teitel wachst doch vun Erzesrojel ! . . . 
Kuckendig auf'n Teitel, hat sich ausgedacht, Erzesrojel 
is var die Augen, ot geht man liber dem Jarden, ot is' 
die Meoras-hamachpeelo, der Mutter Rochel's Keewer, 
das Kossel-maarowi, ot badt man sich in Chamee-te- 
warjo, man kriecht arauf auf'n Har-haseessim, man esst 
sich an mit Boeksern, mit Teitlen, un' man legt an 
fulle Keschenjes mit Erzesrojel-erd'. Ach, hat man ge- 
krachzt, un' in die Augen haben Itlichen sich gestellt 
Trahren. "Jene Zeit," aso sagt Binjamin, "is' ganz 
Tunejadewke, wie gross sie is', gewe'n in Erzesrojel. 
Man hat geschmack geredt vun Moschiach'n, ot, ot, 
is' schon Gott's Freitag noch halben Tag. . . . Der 
neuer Pristaw, was is' nischt lang angekummen, hat 
grad be-jod-romo denstmal gefuhrt das Stadtel. Bei a 
Paar Jiiden hat er arabgerissen die Jarmelkes, Einem 
abgeschnitten a Peje, Etliche nebech gechappt spat bei 
der Nacht in a Gassel ohn' Pasporten, bei noch Einem 
varnummen a Zieg', was hat aufgegessen a neuem 



CHRESTOMATHY 293 

told that had actually become crazy and wanted to 
drive them crazy too by making them believe of a 
child in the stomach, 1 of a cow that has flown over 
the roof and has laid an egg. A piece of buck's-horn 
on the fifteenth day in the month of Shebat is regarded 
as a fruit that delights the heart. Looking at it they 
are reminded of Palestine, and they frequently raise 
their eyes in ecstasy and say with a sigh : " Oh, wessoli- 
cheenu kommius," lead us, O merciful Father, upwards, 
yes, upwards indeed, "learzeenu," into our land where 
goats feed on buck's-horn. . . . By chance some one 
brought a date to town. You ought to have seen how 
people rushed up to see the wonder ! They opened 
the Pentateuch and pointed out that " Tomer," the date, 
was mentioned in the Bible ! Just think of it ! The 
date, that very date grows in Palestine ! . . . Look- 
ing at the date it appeared to them that Palestine was 
before their very eyes, that, behold, they were crossing 
the Jordan; right there was the cave of Machpelah, 
Rachel's grave, the western wall ; that now they were 
bathing in the Pool of Tiberias, they were climbing the 
Olive Mount, they were eating their fill of bucks'-horn 
and dates, and swelling their pockets with earth of Pal- 
estine. Ah, they sighed, and tears filled the eyes of all. 
" In those days," says Benjamin, " all of Parasiteville, 
as large as it is, was in Palestine. They talked with 
zest of Moses ; and behold, it is already past noon on 
God's Friday. . . . The new police captain who had 
only lately arrived in town ruled it with a firm hand. 
He had torn off the skullcaps from the heads of a few 
Jews, he had lopped off an earlock, had bagged a few 
men late at night in a side street without passports, 
had confiscated another man's goat that had eaten up a 
1 This is a common saying for an impossible thing. 



294 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

strohenem Dach ; un' er is' dermit auch gewe'n die 
Ssibe dervun, was der Komitat unter'n Owen hat sich 
stark geduret mit'n Toger, ad-mossaj wet der Schar- 
schel-jischmoel aso scholet sein? Man hat aufgemischt 
dem gewoehntlichen Schmues mikoach die Ascheres- 
haschwotim, wie glucklich see leben dort in jene weite 
Mekomes, in Gdule-oscher un' Kowed ; man hat aviir- 
genummen die rothe Jiidlech, die Bneemosche, mit 
Gusmes Maisses vun sejere Gwures uchd5me ; Eldad 
ha-Dani, es varsteht sich, hat auch getanzt in dermit. 
Jene Zeit, zum Meisten, nab' ich zu vardanken die Nes* 
sie meine, was ich hab' dernach gemacht." 

XI. A HARTER BISSEN 
{Hausfreund, Vol. II. pp. 22-25) 
Beim Breg vun dem Wasser, vun Jaflo bis Tarschisch, 
Dort hort sich a Zummen un' Brummen 
Beim Breg vun dem Wasser, vun Jaffo bis Tarschisch, 
Is' finster die Nacht angekummen. 

Un' tief aus dem Wasser dort hort sich das Brummen, 
A Kol vun a Wallfisch gar, dacht sich : 
" Rabossai ! Heunt hat mich der Teuwel genummen, 
Ich starb' heunt, ich spur' schon, es macht sich ! 

" Ich eck' bald ! Mein Bauch, oi, mein Bauch mus mir 

platzen 
Heunt hab' ich a Nowi verschlungen ! 
Da helft mehr kein Glatten, kein Reiben, kein Kratzen 
Bald is' schon der Bauch mir zusprungen ! 

u A Nowi, das is' gar a zu harter Bissen, 

Es kann ihm gar Keiner vertragen ; 

Zu f ett is' sein Frummkeit es soil schon nit wissen 

Vun ihm kein schum ehrlicher Magen ! 



CHRESTOMATHY 295 

newly laid strawthatch. And it was he that was the 
cause of the committee's preoccupation with the Mogul, 
and their discussion of how much longer the Prince of 
the Ishmaelites would be reigning. They returned to 
the usual conversation of the Ten Tribes, how happy 
they lived in those distant lands, enjoying wealth and 
honor ; they recalled the Red Jews, the Sons of Moses, 
and told a mass of stories of their bravery, etc. ; Eldad 
the Danite was naturally also dished up. I owe it 
mainly to those times that I later undertook my jour- 
ney." 



XI. A TOUGH MORSEL 

On the shore of the waters, from Jaffa to Tarshish, 
one may hear a grumbling and growling ; on the 
shore of the waters, from Jaffa to Tarshish, the night 
descended in darkness. 

And deep out of the water one may hear a growling, 

it seems, the voice of a whale. " My lords ! To-day 
the devil has taken me, I am going to die to-day, I feel 
it, I am sure ! 

" My end has come ! My belly, O my belly will burst ; 

I have swallowed this day a prophet ! No massag- 
ing, no rubbing, no scratching will help me ; ere long 
my belly will certainly burst ! 

" A prophet is entirely too tough a morsel, and no 
one can digest him ; his piety is too fat, may no 
honest stomach ever know the like. 



296 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

" A Nowi, derzu noch gar einer, a kleiner ! 
(Punkt zwolf auf a Tutz gar in Ganzen) 
Gar hart is' sein Nef esch, gar hart seine Beiner 
Er lochert mir 's Harz mit sein Tanzen ! 

" Un' Steiner, un' Beiner, un' kolerlei Sachen, 
See hat schon mein Magen zurieben ; 
Un' nor mit Newiim kann gar ich nit machen 
A Make, was stent nit geschrieben ! 

" A Nowi is' gar nit varhanden a weicher 
Nit kann man ihm essen, nit nagen : 
Es wollt' sein a Mizwe, nit lasen kein Seecher 
Vun Frumme, was grablen beim Magen ! 

" A Frummer is' gar nit varhanden kein weicher 

Mir kennen die dasige Helden ! 

Es wollt' sein a Mizwe, nit lasen a Seecher 

Vun see mit Respekt das zu melden ! 

" Rabossai ! Ich spur' jetzt, er grabelt in Bauch mir 

Gewalt ! 's is' die Tewa vun Frumme 

Rak grablen in Jenems Gedarem nu, auch mir 

A Nowi, nor, ach, vun die Krumme ! 

" Rabossai ! Mir dacht sich, er murmelt jetzt eppes 
Un' krummt sich, un' beugt sich gar plutzim 
Du darschenst umsiist gar, du darschenst in Steppes 
Un' wartst gar umsiist auf Tiruzim ! 

" Rabossai ! Ich spur' jetzt sein Grablen, sein Zapplen, 
Es dacht sich, er dawent a Bissel ! 

Un' halt' ich's noch langer jetzt aus, mus ich mapplen 
Gewald ! Gi't mir Brechwein a Schussel ! 



CHRESTOMATHY 297 

"A prophet, and one of the smaller kind at that! 

Just twelve of them to the dozen. Too tough is his 
body, too tough are his bones, he pierces my heart with 
his dancing ! 

" And stones, and bones, and all other kinds of things 
my stomach has digested ; but I am powerless with 
prophets, they are a plague not mentioned in the 
Scriptures. 

" There does not exist a tender prophet, you can 
never eat them or gnaw them. It would be meritorious 
not to leave a trace of pious men who rummage in your 
stomachs ! 

" There does not exist a pious man who is tender, 
we know that class of heroes ! It would be meritorious 
not to leave a trace of them with all due respect per- 
mit me to say that ! 

"My lords! I feel he is now rummaging in my 
stomach, oh, help me ! It has ever been the business 
of pious people to rummage in other people's entrails, 

that's the kind of a prophet he is, only, alas, he is 
crooked ! 

" My lords ! meseems, he is now mumbling something, 
and he is writhing and bending up all of a sudden, 
you preach in vain, you preach in the wilderness, and 
you are waiting in vain for an answer ! 

" My lords ! I now feel his crawling, his sprawling, 
it seems, he is praying now a bit! And if I am to 
endure it much longer, I shall have to abort. Help ! 
Give me a dish full of emetic ! 



298 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

" Ich kann nit derhalten sein Dawnen, sein Singen, 
Das Tanzen arum, wie die Rinder, 
Die falsche, verwilderte Tnues, das Springen. . . . 
Gewald ! Gi't mir Brechwein geschwinder ! 

" Gewald ! Gi't mir Brechwein, gi't Zeitungsmaimorim, 

Gi't Nechbi-ben-Wofsi's Artiklen ; 

Gi't gich Feuilletonen, gi't judische Sforim 

Un' thut mir das All's zunaufwicklen, 

" Un' macht mir a Mittel zum Brechen, zum Brechen ! 
Gi't Sforim vun spatere Dores ! 
Gi't Schomer's Romanen, see senen, ich rechen' 
Zum Brechen vorzugliche S-chores 

" Gi't Sforim vun neunzehnten klugen Jahrhundert, 
Gi't kluge Kritiken ' vun wemen 
Ihr willt sich allein nor ; gi't gicher mich wundert, 
Wie brech' ich schon nit bei die Namen ! " 

Beim Breg vun dem Wasser, vun Jaffo bis Tarschisch, 
Dort hort sich a Zummen un' Brummen 
A Mittel zu Brechen, vun Jaffo bis Tarschisch, 
Hat dorten a Fisch eingenummen. 

Un' still is' un' ruhig ; es kraiiselt die Nacht sich 
Un' flecht ihre tunkele Locken ; 
In Himmel die Steren, see flammen, es dacht sich, 
Wie gelbliche, goldene Pocken. 

Un' still is' un' ruhig, es flecht gar die Nacht sich 
Un' kraiiselt die finstere Locken ; 
Es wandelt gar still die Natur, un' es dacht sich, 
Sie geht wie auf seidene Socken. 



CHRESTOMATHY 299 

" I cannot stand his praying, his chanting, his 
dancing, like a calf, his false, barbaric doings, his 
leaping. . . . Help ! Give me quickly some emetic ! 



" Help ! Give me some emetic, give me newspaper 
discussions, give me Nechbi-ben-Wofsi's articles. Give 
me f euilletons, give me Jewish books, and put them 
all in a bundle, 

" And make me a medicine to vomit, to vomit ! Give 
me books of later generations! Give me the novels 
of Schaikewitsch, I think they are excellent stuff for 
vomiting. 

" Give me books of the wise nineteenth century ; give 
me criticisms, whosesoever you wish yourself ; only give 
them quickly, I am surprised I am not vomiting at 
mentioning these names ! " 

On the shore of the waters, from Jaffa to Tarshish, 
one may hear a grumbling and growling ; an emetic, 
from Jaffa to Tarshish, a fish has swallowed there. 



And all is still and quiet ; night is curling and braid- 
ing her sable locks ; the stars in the sky, they flame, 
it seems, like yellow, golden pustules. 



And all is still and quiet, and night is braiding and 
curling her dusky locks ; nature wanders in silence, 
and it seems she walks on silken stockings. 



300 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Un' plutzling derhort sich a Kol in der Finster, 
Gar fiirchterlich hat er geschriegen ; 
Es hat dort a Wallfisch, vun alle der diinster, 
A groben Frummak ausgespiegen. 

Un' nach dem Ausspeien, un' g'rad zu Oleenu, 

Da thut er noch philosophiren ; 

Er sagt : " Zu Newiim, iiberhaupt zu die kleine, 

Da tor man sich gar nit zuruhren ! M 

D. Frischmann. 

Xn. STEMPENJU'S FIEDELE 

(* Stempenju,' pp. 8-10) 
Aeh, ich fuhl', as mein Feder is' schwach zu beschrei- 
ben, wie Stempenju hat besetzt a Kale ! Das is' nit 
gewe'n glatt gespielt, geriimpelt : das is' gewe'n a Min 
Aweede, a Gott's Dienst mit eppes sehr a hochen 
Gefiihl, mit eppes sehr an edlen Geist. Stempenju hat 
sich gestellt akegen der Kale un' hat ihr Drosche 
^gehalten auf 'n Fiedel, a schoene, a lange Drosche, a 
riihrende Drosche liber dem frei un' gliicklich Leben 
vun der Kale bis aher, vun ihr Maedelstand, un' iiber 
dem finsteren, bitteren Leben, was erwartet sie spater, 
spater : Aus Maedel ! ubergedeckt dem Kopp, var- 
stellt die schoene, lange Haar auf ebig ... nit da das 
Froehlichkeit ! Sei gesund, Jugend, ot werst du a 
Judene ! . . . Eppes sehr nischt froehlich, Gott soil 
nischt strafen far die Red' ! . . . 

Ot asolche Worter horen sich kimat araus vun Stem- 
penju's Fiedele ; alle Weiber varstehen gut dem Pschat 
vun der dasiger stummer Drosche, alle Weiber fiihlen 
es; see fiihlen das, un' weinen derauf mit bittere 
Trahren. 

Wie lang bin ich as5 gesessen, klahrt sich a 



CHRESTOMATHY 301 

And suddenly a voice is heard in the darkness ; ter- 
ribly he did cry ; a whale, the thinnest of them all, has 
there spit out a bigot. 

And after his spitting up, just at the last prayer of 
Oleenu, he still continues to philosophize ; he says : 
u With prophets, particularly the little ones, you must 
have nothing to do ! " 



XH. STEMPENJU'S VIOLIN 

Oh, I feel that my pen is too weak to describe the 
manner of Stempenju's playing at the Enthronement of 
the Bride. That was not mere playing, mere fingering 
of the strings : that was a kind of religious service, 
devotion to the Lord, with a very elevated feeling, 
with such a noble spirit ! Stempenju took his stand in 
front of the bride and began to address her with a ser- 
mon on his violin, a beautiful, a long sermon, a touch- 
ing sermon, on the free and happy life she had led 
heretofore, on her girlish state, and the gloomy, bitter 
life that awaited her later, later. No longer a girl ! 
the head covered, the beautiful long hair disguised for- 
ever . . . gone all merriment ! Farewell, youth, you 
are now turned into a married Jewess ! . . . 'Tis some- 
how very sad ! May God not visit us with punishment 
for such words ! . . . 

Almost these words are heard on Stempenju's violin. 
The women all understand well the purport of that 
silent sermon, all the women feel it ; they feel it, and 
weep thereupon bitter tears. 

" How long have I been sitting," meditates a young 



302 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

jung Weibel, schlingendig die Trahren, wie lang bin 
ich aso gesessen nrit zulaste, zuflochtene Zopp' un' hab' 
nor gemeint, as Malochim spielen sich gar mit mir, as 
ich bin Eine, a gluckliche ? Zum Ssof . . . ach, zum 
Ssof . . . 

Bescher' ihr Gott, thnt beten an altere Jiidene, 
a Mutter vun derwachsene Tochter, bescher' ihr 
Gott, mein alter er Tochter, ihr Siweg in Gichen, nor 
mit mehr Masel wie mir, nor mit a schonere Dolje, wie 
ich hab' bei mein Mann, Gott soil nit strafen far die 
Red'! 

Ot in asolche Machschowes fallen arein die Weiber 
un' Stempenju thut sich sein's: Er arbeit't mit alle 
Keelim, un' das Fiedele redt. Das spielt Stempenju a 
Weinendig's, un' die Kapelje halt't ihm unter, es werd 
still, aus-Ljarem, aus-Gepilder ! Alle, alle willen horen 
Stempenjun. Jiiden wer'en vartracht, Weiber weren 
anschwiegen ; Junglech, Maedlech kletteren arauf auf 
Bank' un' auf Tischen, Jeder will horen Stempenjun ! 

Sch scha ! Stiller ! Olem, las sein still ! ! 

Un Stempenju zugiesst sich auf'n Fiedele un' zugeht 
sich wie a Wachs : Tjoch, tjoch, tjoch, mehr hort man 
nischt. A Hand flieht auf un' ab, mehr seht man 
nit, un' es horen sich allerlei Koles, un' es giessen sich 
verschiedene Minee Gesangen, un' alls umetige, traue- 
rige, as es nemmt an beim Harzen, es zieht die Neschome, 
es nemmt araus das Chijes ; Der Olem geht aus mit 
alle Koches, der Olem starbt, starbt mit alle Eewrim, 
das Harz werd eppes aso vull, un' es stellen sich Trah- 
ren in die Augen ; Jiiden siifzen, Jiiden krachzen, 
Jiiden weinen . . . un' Stempenju ? Wer Stempenju ? 
Me seht ihm gar nit, me seht kein Fiedele, me hort nor 
die susse Koles, die gottliche Gesangen, was fiillen an 



CHRESTOMATHY 303 

woman, swallowing her tears, "how long have I been 
sitting with flowing, unbraided hair, and thinking that 
angels are playing with me, that I am the happiest 
creature ! And yet ... ah, and yet ..." 

"God grant her," so begins her prayer an elderly 
woman, a mother of grown-up daughters, " God grant 
her, my oldest daughter, to be soon united in wedlock, 
but with more happiness than I have had, with a better 
lot than I have had with my husband, may God not 
visit me with punishment for my words ! " 

Such are the thoughts that fall upon the women, and 
Stempenju keeps on playing his way : he directs the 
whole band, and his violin talks eloquently. Stem- 
penju is now playing a sad tune, and his musicians 
support him. All is quiet, there is no noise, not a 
sound ! All, all want to hear Stempenju. Men fall to 
musing, women are grown silent. Boys and girls have 
climbed on benches and tables, all want to hear Stem- 
penju ! 

" Hush ! Keep still ! People, let there be quiet ! " 

And Stempenju dissolves on his violin and melts like 
wax ; pitapat is all you may hear. An arm flies up and 
down, that's all you may see, and you hear all kinds 
of voices, and all kinds of tunes are poured forth, all 
melancholy, sad, so that it tears out your heart, draws 
out your soul, takes away your life. The people grow 
faint, the people grow weak in all their limbs ; the 
heart is full to overflowing, and tears appear in the 
eyes. Men sigh, men groan, women weep . . . and 
Stempenju? But who pays attention to him? No one 
sees him, no one sees his violin ; they only hear his 
sweet tones, the divine music which fills the whole 
room. . . . And Rochele the beautiful who had never 



304 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

die ganze Stub' . . . Un' Rochele die schoene, was 
hat noch bis aher nischt gehort Stempenju's Spielen, 
Rochele, was hat gehort, as 's is' da a Stempenju, nor 
sie hat noch nischt gehort asa Min Spielen, stent un' 
hort sich zu zu die kischefdige Gesangen, zu die seltene 
Koles, un' versteht nit, was das is'. Eppes zieht das 
ihr das Harz, eppes glatt't das sie, nor was das is' 
versteht sie nit. Sie hobt auf die Augen ahin, vun 
wannen es giessen sich die siisse Koles un' derseht a Paar 
wunderschoene, schwarze Augen, feuerdige Augen, was 
kucken gleich auf ihr un' nehmen sie durch, wie 
Spiesen, wie scharfe Spiesen. Die wunderschoene, 
schwarze, feuerdige Augen kucken auf ihr un' winken 
zu ihr un' reden mit ihr ; Rochele will arablasen ihre 
Augen arab, un' kann nit. 

Ot das is' Stempenju ? 

Aso klahrt sich Rochele die schoene, wenn das Be- 
setzen hat sich schon geendigt un' die Mechutonim 
hoben schdn an zu trachten mikoach Fiihren zu der 
Chupe. 

Wu senen ergez die Licht ? fragt Chossen's Zad. 

Die Licht wu senen? entfert Kale's Zad. 

Un' aso werd wieder der eigener Gepilder, was 
friiher; Alle laufen un' me weisst nit wuhin. Me 
kwetscht sich, me stuppt sich, me tret't an auf Masolim, 
me reisst Kleidlech, me schwitzt, me siedelt die Ssarwers 
mit die Schamossim, un' see siedlen zuriick die Mechu- 
tonim, un' die Mechutonim amperen sich zwischen sich, 

es is' borchaschem ganz lebedig ! 

S. Rabinowitsch. 






CHRESTOMATHY 305 

before heard Stempenju's playing, Rocliele who had 
heard before of Stempenju, but who had never before 
heard such playing, stands and listens to the enticing 
music, the rare sounds, and does not understand what 
that all means. Something has touched her heart, a 
soft feeling has passed over her, but she does not under- 
stand what that is. She lifts her eyes to the place from 
which the sweet sounds proceed, and notices a pair of 
very beautiful black eyes, fiery eyes that are looking 
straight at her, and that transfix her like spears, like 
sharp spears. The beautiful, black, fiery eyes look at 
her and beckon to her and speak to her ; Rochele wants 
to lower her eyes, and she cannot. 



" Oh, that is Stempenju ! " 

So meditates Rochele the beautiful, as the Enthrone- 
ment is ended, and the parents of the contracting parties 
are getting ready to lead them under the Baldachin. 

" Where are the candles?" comes the question from 
the bridegroom's side. 

"The candles, where are they?" comes the reply 
from the bride's side. 

And thus the same noise begins as before. All are 
running, not knowing whither. There is a jam, and 
they push each other, and step on people's toes, and tear 
dresses ; they perspire, they scold the ushers and the 
beadles, and these again scold the parents of the marry- 
ing couple, and the parents wrangle among themselves, 
praised be the Lord, all is lively ! 



306 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

XHI. DER TALMUD 
(Jiidische Volksbibliothek, Vol. II. pp. 195-197) 
Alte Blatter vun'm Talmud, 
Alte Sagen un' Legenden ! 
In mein trauerigen Leben 
Oft thu' ich zu euch mich wenden. 

Bei der Nacht, wenn in der Finster 
Lauft der Schlaf vun meine Augen, 
Un' ich sitz' allein un' elend, 
Zu der Brust dem Kopp gebogen, 

In die trauerige Stunden, 
Wie a Steren in der blauer 
Suminernacht, hebt an zu scheinen 
Der Sikoren in mein Trauer. 

Ich dermahn sich auf die Liebe, 
Auf die susse Kindheitsjahren, 
Wenn ich bin noch frei gewesen 
Vun mein Kummer, Leid un' Zoren ; 

Ich dermahn' sich auf die Zeiten, 
Wenn ich fleg' dem ersten, siissen, 
Besten Koss vun Leben, Freiheit, 
Freud' un' Lustigkeit geniessen. 

Ich dermahn' sich auf die alte, 
Auf die susse, liebe Jahren, 
Un' die Blatter vun'm Talmud 
Stehen auf in mein Sikoren. 

Ach, die alte, alte Blatter ! 
Wie viel Licht un' wie viel Steren 
Brennen, scheinen un' see konnen 
Ebig nit verloschen wer'en. 



CHRESTOMATHY 307 



XIII. THE TALMUD 



Old leaves of the Talmud, old stories and legends ! 
In my saddened life I frequently turn to you. 



At night, when in the darkness sleep evades my 
eyes, and I sit alone and deserted, my head bowed to 
my breast, 

In those sad hours, like a star in the azure summer 
night, there begin to shine memories in my sadness. 



I recall my love, my sweet years of childhood, when 
I was still free from sorrow, pain and anger ; 



I recall those times when I quaffed the first, sweet, 
the best chalice of life, freedom, joy and merriness. 



I recall the old, the sweet, delightful years, and the 
leaves of the Talmud arise in my memory. 



Oh, the old, old leaves! As many lights and as 
many stars there burn and shine, they can never be 
extinguished. 



308 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Tausend Stromen, tausend Teichen 
Haben see gethun verfliessen, 
Samd hat sich auf see geschotten, 
Sturems haben see gerissen, 

Un' die alte, alte Blatter 
Leben noch ... see senen take 
Gell, verchoschecht, abgerissen, 
Dort a Loch un' da a Make ; 

Da a Stiickel abgesmalet, 
Dort a Schure taug' auf Zores, 
Un' in Ganzen hat a Ponim 
Vun an alten Bess-hakwores . . . 

Meele was ? Nu, is' das take 
A Bessalinen, wu begraben 
Liegt in Keewer All's, was ebig 
Wollen mir schon mehr nit haben. . . . 

Un' ich, alter, kranker Jossem, 
Vull mit Leid, mit Eemas-mowes, 
Steh', mein grauen Kopp gebogen, 
Steh' un' wein' auf Keewer-owes. . . 

S. Frug. 

XTV. DlS JUDISCHE KIND 

(Hausfreund, p. 44) 
Tief begraben in der Finster, 
Weit vun Luf t un' Licht, 
Sehst du dort dem blinden Worem, 
Wie er kriecht ? 

In der Erd' is' er geboren, 
Un' beschert 

Is' ihm, ebig, ebig kriechen 
In der Erd'. . . . 






CHRESTOMATHY 309 

Thousands of streams, thousands of rivers have 
passed over them, sand has covered them, storms have 
torn them, 



Yet the old, old leaves live on . . . though they be 
yellow, darkened, torn, a hole here, a spot there ; 



Here a bit charred, there a line obliterated, and the 
whole has the appearance of an old cemetery. . . . 



What of that? Yes, indeed, that is a burial-ground 
where lies buried in the grave all that which we shall 
never have again. . . . 

And I, old, sick orphan, full of sorrow, of the awe 
of death, stand with bent head, stand and weep at the 
grave of our fathers. . . . 



XIV. THE JEWISH CHILD 

Deeply buried in darkness, far from air and light, 
do you see yonder the blind worm, as he creeps? 



In the ground he was born, and it is decreed that 
forever, yes forever, he shall creep upon the earth. . . 



310 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Wie a Worem in der Finster, 
Schwach un' stumm un' blind, 
Lebst du ab die Kindheit's Jahren, 
Jiidisch Kind ! 

Auf dein Wiegel singt die Mame 
Nit kein Lied 
Vun a ruhig stillen Leben, 
Freiheit, Fried, 

Vun die Gartner, vun die Felder, 
Wu das frische Kind 
Spielt un' freut sich frei un' lustig, 
Wie der Wind. 

Nein ! A Quail vun tiefen Jammer 
Rauscht un' klingt. . . . 
Oi, wie bitter is' das Liedel, 
Was sie singt ! 

Tiefe Sufzen, heisse Trahren 
Mit a starke Macht 
Klingen, rauschen in dem Liedel 
Tag un' Nacht. 

Tiefe Sufzen, heisse Trahren, 
Hunger, Kalt 

Schleppen sich mit dir zusammen 
Auf der Welt. 

Un' vun Wiegel bis zum Keewer, 
Auf dem langen Weg, 
Wachsen ganze Walder Zores 
Ohn' a Breg. . . . 



S. Frug. 



CHRESTOMATHY 311 

Like a worm in the darkness, weak and mute and 
blind, you live through the years of childhood, Jew- 
ish child ! 



At your cradle your mother sings not a song of a 
quiet, peaceful life, of freedom, peace, 



Of the gardens, of the fields, where the blooming 
child plays and gladdens free and merry like the wind. 



No, a spring of deep sorrow bubbles and resounds. 
. . Oh, how bitter is the song that she sings ! 



Deep sobs, hot tears with a mighty power resound, 
bubble in the song day and night. 



Deep sobs, hot tears, hunger, cold, drag along with 
you in the world. 



And from your cradle to your grave, upon the long 
journey, there grow whole forests of sorrows without 
end. ... 



312 YIDDISH LITERATURE 



XV. DER ADELIGER KlTER 
(Emeth, Vol. I. p. 62) 
A Fuchs, a chitrer Kerl un' a Lez 
Hat in an Unterhaltung mit a Kater 
Gemacht aso viel Chosek vun die Katz\ 
As Jener is' in Kas gewor'en. 
" Du weisst nit, Fiichsel-chazuf " hat er 
Zu ihm gesagt mit Zorn, 
44 As ich gehor' zum allerhochsten Adel 
" Vun Chajes, weil ich kumm' vun a Mischpoche 
44 Vun Helden ohne Furcht un' Tadel, 
44 Was seinen keinmal nit gegangen in Gespann, 
44 Nit in a Fuhr', nit in a Ssoche, 
44 Zum Fuhren Heu, zum Ackern a Feld, 
44 Zum Thon, was passt nit far a Thieren-held ; 
44 Nor lebendig in Woltag, Jederer a Pan, 
44 Durch ehrenhafte Raub. 
44 Ich stamm' bekizer ab vun flinken Tiger, 
44 Was kiinn verzucken jeden Rind ; 
44 Ich bin dem Lempert's Schwesterkind, 
44 Sogar vun seine Majestat, dem Loeb 
44 A Korew nit kein weiter. 
44 Obgleich ich bin allein vielleicht, 
44 Kein Held nit, nit kein grdsser Krieger, 
44 Un' nit kein morediger Streiter." 
u As du bist nit kein Held, is' leicht 
44 Zu sehn " hat ihm geentwert unser Fuchs 
44 1 vun dein schwache Lapke, 
44 1 vun dein Blick, i vun dein Wuchs. 
44 Wer weiss nit, as dem klensten Hiintel's Eck 
44 (Schon gar nit redendig vun seine Zaehner) 
44 Verjagt dich, wie die schwachste Zabke, 
44 In Thom arein var hole Schreck ? 



CHRESTOMATHY 313 



XV. THE NOBLE TOM-CAT 

A Fox, a cunning fellow and a jester, conversing 
once with a Tom-cat, made light of all the cats, so that 
he made him angry. " You know not, arrant Fox," said 
he to him, growing angry, "that I belong to the noblest 
tribe of beasts, for I am descended from a family of 
heroes without fear and reproach, who never have 
walked under a yoke of wain, nor plough, to gather in 
the hay, to till the field, to do what is not meet for a 
beast-hero, nay, living aye in plenty, each his own 
master, by honorable robbery. In short, I am de- 
scended from the swift Tiger, who knows how to slay 
the kine ; I am cousin to the Leopard, and even of his 
Majesty, the Lion, a not distant relative, although I 
myself, perhaps, be not a hero, nor great warrior, nor 
awful champion. 



"That you are not a hero is easily discerned," our 
Fox retorted, "both by your weak paw, and by your 
looks, and by your size. Who does not know that the 
tail of the smallest dog not to speak of his teeth 
will chase you away like the weakest frog into some 
hole, agog with fear? You, my friend, are bold only 
with bones, in a corner of the room, making war on a 
quiet, hungry mouse. I know of the high deeds of 



314 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

" Du bist nor, Freund, a Chwat mit Beiner 

"In Winkele, in Haus, 

" Bekampfendig a stille, hungerige Maus. 

" Ich weiss nit vun die Maissim-towim, 

M Vun deine adelige Krowim, 

" Nor du lebst nit vun ehrenhaften Raub allein, 

" Du, Bruder, schamst sich nit zu ganwenen, 

" Zu bettlen un' zu chanfenen, 

" Afile naschen is' far dir nit zu gemein." 

Das sagendig hat er sein angepelzten Eck 

Mit Spott a Hob gethan un' is' aweg. 

***** 
Die alte Welt 

Is vull mit tausende asolche Katers, 
Jachsonim puste, adelige Pimpernatters, 
Mit Wonzes lange, bliszendige Augen, 
Ohn' Macht, ohn' Sinn, ohn' Geld, 
Nefosches, welche taugen 
Zum Klettern mit Planer in der Hoch, 
Vun welche jeder endigt sich in Rauch ; 
Was lecken Teller bei dem Reichen 
Un' mjauken sich mit sejersgleichen 
Aristokratisch fein zusammen, 
Un' Alles, was see weissen, 
Is' mehr nit, wie see heissen, 
Un' dann, vun welche Tigerkatz' see stammen. 

M. WlNCHEVSKY. 

XVI. JONKIPER 
(Hausfreund, Vol. II. pp. 88-91) 
. . . Es is' wieder Jonkiper, nor dreissig Jahr senen 
vun jener Zeit aruber. 

Wieder is' die Schul vull mit Tales un' Kittel einge- 
wickelte Jiiden ; der Pol is' mit Heu ausgebett' itzt 



CHRESTOMATHY 315 

your noble relatives, but you do not live by honor- 
able prey alone ; you, my friend, are not ashamed to 
steal, to beg, and to flatter ; you do not think it beneath 
you to nibble secretly at dainties." Saying that, he 
raised his furry tail in scorn and went away. 



The Old World is full of thousands of such Tom- 
cats, empty-headed braggarts, noble dragons, with long 
mustaches and glittering eyes, without power, without 
sense, or money, souls that are good only to crawl on 
high with plans that all end in smoke ; who lick the 
plates of the rich, and miaul together with their kind 
in aristocratic fashion, and all they know is only their 
own names, and then from what Tiger they are de- 
scended. 



XVI. THE ATONEMENT DAY 

... It is again the day of Atonement, but since that 
time thirty years have passed. 

Again the synagogue is full of men wrapped in 
taliths and shrouds ! The floor is strewn with hay now 



316 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

wie demalt ; in zwei grosse Kastens vull mit Samd vun 
beide Seiten Bime brennen heunt die wachsene Ne- 
schome-licht wie mit dreissig Jahr zuriick, chotsch nach 
andere, f rische Neschomes, was senen erst in die dreissig 
Jahr Neschomes gewor'en. Un' see brennen manche 
still un' ruhig un' manche flackerndig un' schmelzendig, 
un' Junglech Kundeessim chappen die Stucklech ab- 
geschmolzene Wachs auch heunt wie a Mai. 

Chotsch die Stimme vun dem Chasen is' itzt andersch, 
aber die Worter, was er sagt, un' der Nigen, was er 
singt, senen dieselbe, gar dieselbe, nit geandert auf ein 
Haar. 

Dieselbe senen auch die Trahren, was giessen sich 
heunt teichenweis dort hinter die varhangene Fen- 
sterlech in der weiberscher Schul, chotsch vun andere 
Augen, vun andere gepeinigte Herzer fliessen see. . . . 

Auf dem Ort, wu mit dreissig Jahr fruher is' die 
ungluckliche Mutter gestan'en un' beweint ihr liebe 
Tochter, was is' aso jung vun der Welt aweg, stent 
heunt auch a Mutter un' zugiesst ihr schwer Harz in 
heisse Trahren. Sie weint un' klagt liber ihr schoene 
Tochter, was sie hat sich a Mai gebentscht mit ihr, 
a Maedel, schoen wie Gold, was is' pluzling wie vun a 
Kischef varfuhrt gewor'en, un' was mit ihr thut sich 
itzt, is' schwer un' bitter selbst auszureden; un' die 
standig getreue Mutter bet' itzt mit Trahren, heiss wie 
Feuer, nit Gesund, nit lange Jahren far ihr Kind, aber 
a Todt a gichen, was wet gleicher sein far dem Kind 
noch mehr wie far der Mutter. 

Sie hat noch ihr mutterliche Treuheit in ihr Harzen, 
v>de noch ehder das Ungluck is' geschehn. . . . Nor take 
derfar bett' sie bei Gott aso heiss ot dem T5dt auf ihr 
Kind. Kein bessere Sach seht sie nit in der Welt un' 
kein ander Sach kann sie bei Gott dem lebedigen heunt 



CHBESTOMATHY 317 

as then ; in two large boxes filled with sand on both 
sides of the altar there are burning to-day the waxen 
soul-lights just as thirty years ago, though for other, 
fresh souls that have become souls only within the last 
thirty years. And they burn, some quietly and softly, 
and some flickering and melting, and urchins are now 
as then picking up the pieces of molten wax. 

Although the voice of the Precentor is now different, 
yet the words which he says, and the tune which he 
sings, are the same, precisely the same, not a bit 
changed. 

And the tears are the same that flow to-day in 
streams there behind the curtained windows in the 
woman's gallery, though from other eyes they flow, 
from other tortured hearts. . . . 

On the same spot where thirty years ago the unfortu- 
nate mother had been standing and mourning her be- 
loved daughter who had departed so young from this 
world, there is to-day also standing a mother and dis- 
solving her heart in hot tears. She is bewailing and 
lamenting her beautiful daughter who had once been 
her blessing, a girl, as pure as gold, who had been mis- 
led as if by witchery, and of whom it would be hard 
and bitter to say what she is doing now ; and the ever- 
true mother prays now with tears, as hot as fire, not for 
health, not for long years for her child, but for quick 
death, which would be better for the child even than 
for the mother. 

She still harbors her mother's truth in her heart, even 
as before the calamity had happened. . . . For that very 
reason she prays to God so fervently to grant death to 
her child. She sees no better thing in the world, and 
she can ask for no better thing to-day of the living God. 



318 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

nit betten. Un' es giessen sich ihre Trahren still un' 
fallen liber die Worter vun ihre Tchines ; sie halt dem 
Kopp in Ssider eingegraben un' schamt sich ihre Augen 
arauszunehmen, tomer begegnen see sich mit Augen, 
was wollen ihr Schand' dersehn, was is' wie a Fleck 
auf ihr Ponim gewor'en. . . . 

Un' punkt dort, wu die areme Aim one is' gestan'en 
mit dreissig Jahr zuriick un' hat minutenweis gekuckt, 
ihre Jessomim in Schul zu sehn, 6b see dawnen, 6b see 
nehmen a jiidisch Wort in Maul arein, un' hat gechlipet 
weinendig, as ihre Augen haben nit gefun'en, was see 
haben gesucht, stent heunt a judische Tochter un' kuckt 
durch das Vorhangel, un' sie weiss allein nit, auf wemen 
sie kuckt mehr, zi auf ihr Mann, was macht wilde Be- 
wegungen mit beide Hand' un' mit sein ganzen Korper, 
oder auf dem jungen Menschen, was sitzt auch in 
Misrach-wand nit weit vun ihm un' da went wie a Jiid' 
un' sitzt ruhig wie a Mensch. 

Welche Gedanken laufen ihr durch ihr Kopp itzund! 
Wieviel Trahren hat sie vargossen vun jenem Tag an, 
as der junger Mann is' gewor'en aus Chossen ihrer un' 
der wilder Chossen is' ihr Mann, ihr Brotgeber gewor'en! 
Wieviel Wunden tragt sie seitdem still un' tief var- 
schlossen in ihr judischen Harzen un' peinigt sich vun 
ihre eigene Gedanken, was tracht sich ihr nit wollendig, 
nor sie hat kein Koach nit, nit zu trachten. Un' wie bett' 
sie itzt Gott, er soil ausloschen das siindige Feuer vun 
ihr siindig Harz, ausloschen All's, was brennt un' kocht 
in ihr, sie soil vargessen, was is' gewesen, nit wissen, 
wie es darf zu sein, nor ein Sach soil sie wissen, wie lieb 
zu haben ihr Mann, welcher wet un' mus ihr Mann 
bleiben bis ihr Todt ! Sie soil ihm lieben bei alle seine 
Unmenschlichkeit, bei sein Wildkeit, un' selbst wenn 



CHRESTOMATHY 319 

And her tears flow quietly and fall on the words of 
her Prayer ; she holds her head buried on the Prayer- 
book and is ashamed to lift her eyes, lest they meet 
some eyes that may recognize her shame which has 
become as a spot upon her face. . . . 

And precisely. there where the poor widow had been 
standing thirty years before and had looked every min- 
ute to catch a glimpse of her orphans, to see whether 
they were praying, whether they were reciting the 
Hebrew words, and had burst out in sobs when her 
eyes did not find that which she had been looking for, 
there is standing to-day a young Jewess, and she peeps 
through the curtain, and she does not know herself at 
whom she is looking more, whether at her husband who 
is wildly gesticulating with both his arms and his whole 
body, or at the young man who is also seated at the 
Eastern wall not far from him and is praying as be- 
hooves a Jew and is sitting quietly as behooves a man. 

What thoughts are now rushing through her head ! 
How many tears she has shed since that day when the 
young man broke off his relations with her, and the 
uncouth man had become her husband, her breadgiver ! 
How many wounds she has been carrying since then 
quietly and deeply buried in her Jewish heart, and has 
been tortured by her own thoughts which crowd upon 
her against her will, and which she has no strength to 
repel ! And how she now implores God that He may 
extinguish the sinful fire from her sinful heart, that He 
may extinguish all that burns and boils within her, that 
she should forget all that had been, that she should not 
know how it ought to have been, that she should know 
but one thing, how to love her husband, who is and 
must remain her husband until her death ! To love 



320 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

er schlagt sie, soil sie nor allein wissen, Ssonim sollen 
nit derfreut wer'en un' sie soil alle ihre Pein far Gut 
konnen annehmen, wie Der, was theilt dem Gorel ein 
jeder Ischo, hat a judischer Frau geboten. . . . 

Un' es fliessen ihre Trahren auf dem eigenem Ort, 
wu es haben asolche Trahren gegossen mit dreissig 
Jahr zuriick vun a ganz ander Grund un' Quelle. Un' 
see fallen auf dieselbe Worter vun Machser, was jede 
jiidische Frau varsteht see andersch als die andere. 

Nor dort in Mairew-seit, nit weit vun Thur', weinen 
die areme jiidische Frauen auch heunt mit dem eigenem 
Nigen, mit dem eigenem betriibten Harzen wie mit 
dreissig Jahr zuriick. 

Aremkeit, Hunger, Not un' Mangel haben alle Mai 
ein Ponhn, ein Tarn un' ein Ort bei der Thur. As5 
sauer un' bitter das Gewein, was kummt vun Nieder- 
geschlagene, is' a Mai gewesen, wet auch ebig sein. 
Alle Wunsche un' Geliiste vun Menschen wollen sich 
uberbeiten un' beiten sich, nor der Wunsch vun dem 
Hungerigen wet ebig bleiben das Stiickele Brot; die 
Geliiste vun dem Notbedurftigen wet auch ebig heis- 
sen : Vun der Not befreit zu wer'en un' nit mehr zu 
wissen vun dem Tam, was es hat ! . . . 

Un' dort bei der Thur stehn itzt auch nit weniger 
Finstere, Ausgetruckente un Schofele, nebech, horen 
oder horen nit die Sagerke un' weinen, wie see zum 
Harzen is', es is' Jonkiper. 

Nor in rechten mitten Misrach-wand, auf dem eige- 
nem Ort, wu die frumme Giitele hat mit dreissig Jahr 
zuriick gedawent, seht man itzt auch a choschewe Frau, 
korew zu fufzig Jahr, sitzt still un'trauerig, wie a Der- 
hargete, ihre Lippen varschlossen. Die Augen kucken 
in off enem Korben-minche, nor see sehn die Worter nit. 



CHRESTOMATHY 321 

him with all his inhumanity, with all his uncouthness, 
and even when he beats her, she alone to know it, lest 
her enemies be not rejoiced, and that she may accept all 
her troubles in good spirits, just as He who gives each 
woman her lot, has bidden a Jewish woman to do. . . . 

And her tears flow on the same spot where just such 
tears have flowed thirty years before for another reason 
and from another source. And they fall on the same 
words of the Prayer-book, which every Jewish woman 
interprets in her own way. 

Only at the Western wall, not far from the door, the 
poor women are weeping to-day with the same intona- 
tion, with the same burdened heart as thirty years ago. 

Poverty, hunger, misery, and want have always the 
same face, the same appearance, and the same place at 
the door. Just as oppressive and as bitter as the weep- 
ing that issues from the downtrodden has been before, 
it will eternally be. All desires and longings will 
change and are actually changing, but the want of the 
hungry will eternally remain a piece of bread ; the long- 
ings of the needy will eternally be : To be freed from 
want and not to know the feeling thereof ! . . . 

And there at the door there now stand just such 
gloomy, emaciated, and dispirited women, who listen 
or do not listen to the Reader and weep out of the 
fulness of their hearts, it is the Atonement day. 

In the very centre of the Eastern wall, in the same 
spot where the pious Giitele had been praying thirty 
years before, one may even now discern a woman, nigh 
unto fifty years, sitting quietly and sadly, like one struck 
dead, with closely pressed lips. Her eyes look into the 
open Prayer-book, but they do not see the words. 






322 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Farwas weint sie nit? 

Is' ihr aso gut zu Muth, as selbst Jonkiper kann sie 
ihr Harz nit zuthun, zu dermahnen, as kein Gut's is' 
nit ebig mi' der lebediger Mensch weiss nit, was morgen 
kann sein? 

Oder is' sie nit a judische Frau, a Frau vun a Mann 
un' Kinder, un' welche judische Frau hat nit ergez eine 
oder mehrere Ursachen, wegen was Jonkiper zu betten 
un' a heissen Trahr lasen fallen? 

Is' sie efscher aso hart un' aso schlecht, as5 stolz un' 
vornehm bei sich, as ihr passt nit zu weinen, Leut' 
sollen ihre Trahren nit sehn un' nit klahren, sie is 
gleich zu Allemen? 

Nein ! Chanele, " die Gute, die Kluge " is' ihr Namen, 
ihre jetzt truckene Augen sagen noch Eedes, as see 
haben in sejer Zeit viel, viel ge weint ; sie is' nit stolz 
un' schamt sich nit zu weinen, bifrat Jonkiper, was 
weint sich memeele ! 

Farwas-ze weint sie nit? 

Es kucken auf ihr viel Augen un' wundern sich : 
Was is' heunt mit ihr der Mahr mehr als alle Jahr? 
Nor sie kuckt trucken, wie varsteinert, in ihr Ssider ; 
nit sie weint, nit sie dawent. A Paar Mai hat sie das 
Vorhangel varbogen, a Kuck gethun in mannerscher 
Schul, sich bald zuriick aweggesetzt un' jeder Mai alls 
traueriger un' beklemmter wie fruher. 

As der Chasen hat angehoben dawnen Mussaf, hat 
sie noch a Mai a Kuck gethun durch das Fensterl, die 
Augen senen unruhig umgeloffen uber der ganzer 
Schul, sie hat sich zuriick aweggesetzt. 

" Er is' noch alls nitda ! " hat ihr Harz geredt inner- 
lich, "Zu Mussaf afile hat er nit gekonnt kummen? 



CHRESTOMATHY 323 

Why does she not weep? 

Is she so happy that even on the day of Atonement 
she cannot prevail over her heart to consider that no 
good is eternal, and mortal man does not know what 
to-morrow may be? 

Or is she not a Jewish woman, a woman having 
husband and children? and where is there a Jewish 
woman that has not some one or more reasons for 
weeping on the Atonement day, and shedding hot 
tears ? 

Is she, perhaps, so hard of heart and so bad, so 
haughty and conceited, that she does not think it 
proper to weep, lest people should see her tears and 
deem her equal with the others? 

No ! Chanele, they call her the good, the wise Cha- 
nele, her very dry eyes are witness that she has wept 
much, very much in her time ; she is not proud and is 
not ashamed to weep, especially on the Atonement day, 
when tears come of their own accord ! 

Why, then, does she not weep? 

Many eyes are looking at her and wondering why 
she is so different from other years, why she looks stol- 
idly, like one turned to stone, into the Prayer-book, 
why she is neither weeping nor praying. A few times 
she pushed aside the curtain, looked down into the 
men's division, seated herself again in her place and 
looked each time sadder and more oppressed than 
before. 

When the Precentor began to read the Mussaf -prayer, 
she once more peeped through the window, her eyes ran 
restlessly over the whole synagogue, and she went back 
to her seat. 

" He has not come yet ! " her heart spoke to her 
inwardly. "Even to the Mussaf he could not come? 



324 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Och, un' das is' mein Kind, mein Bchor ! Vim ihm 
hab' ich das aso viel Jessurim un' Schmerzen aruber- 
getragen, bis ich hab' ihm auf die Fuss' gestellt ! 

u Ja, mein Kind, mein Wund' ! Ein ander Mutter 
wollt' ihm sein Gebein varscholten, sie wollt' gesagt : 
Nit du bist mein Suhn, nit ich bin dein Mutter, ich 
kann es aber nit, sei mir mochel, Gott in Himmel, 
was ich ruf ' ihm noch " mein Kind, mein Suhn ! " . . . 
O, ich kann bei Dir auf sich betten a Todt, aber nit 
auf mein Kind ! Straf mich, Rib5ne-schel-61em, mich, 
sein siindige Mutter, efscher bin ich schuldig in dem, 
was er is' vun rechten Weg arab un' hat Dich, lebediger 
Gott, vargessen un' hat dein Tore varlasen un' thut 
dein Gebot nit? Ja, ich bin schuldig, ich hab' ihm zu 
viel lieb geha't ; was er hat gebeten, hab' ich gethun ; 
ich hab' sich mit sein frummen Vater standig arumge- 
kriegt, as er flegt ihm bestrafen wollen. Ich hab' ihm 
ausgehodewet, wie er is', un' mich straf far ihm! "... 

J. DlENESOHN. 



XVII. AUF'N BUSEN VUN JAM 

(' Songs from the Ghetto,' J pp. 70-76) 
Der schrecklicher Wind, der gefahrlicher Sturem, 
Er rangelt sich dort mit a Schiff auf 'n Meer ; 
Er will sie zubrechen, un' sie mit Jessurim 
Schneid't durch alle Tiefeniss, krachzendig schwer. 

Es treschtschet der Mastbaum, der Segel, er zittert, 
Der rauschender Wasser is' m5redig tief ; 
Es kampfen mit Zoren, es streiten varbittert 
Auf Todt un' auf Leben der Wind mit der Schiff. 

1 Published by Copeland and Day; with permission of the publishers. 



CHRESTOMATHY 325 

Oh, and that is my child, my first-born ! For his sake 
I have borne so many privations and pains, that I 
might be able to place him on his feet ! 

" Yes, my child, my sore vexation ! Another mother 
would have cursed his bones; she would have said: 'You 
are not my son, I am not your mother,' But I cannot 
do that, forgive me, O Lord, that I still call him ' my 
child, my son ' ! . . . Oh, I can ask for my death of 
You, but not for the death of my child ! Punish me, 
Lord of the Universe, me, his sinful mother ! Maybe 
I am to be blamed that he has departed from the road 
of righteousness, and has forgotten You, O living God, 
and has abandoned Your Law and does not do Your 
commandments ! Yes, I am to be blamed for it, I have 
loved him too much ; I always did what he wanted me 
to do ; I have always quarrelled with his pious father 
when he wanted to punish him. I have raised him 
such as he is, and do punish me for him ! " . . . 



XvTI. ON THE BOSOM OF THE OCEAN 

The terrible wind, the dangerous storm, is wrestling 
with a ship on the ocean ; it is trying to break her, but 
she in distress cuts through the deep, groaning heavily. 



The mast cracks, the sail trembles, frightful is the 
depth of the roaring waters ; the wind struggles des- 
perately with the ship in a life and death combat. 



326 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Ot mus sie sich legen, ot mus sie sich stellen, 
Ot treibt es zuriick ihr, ot treibt es varaus, 
A Spielchel is' itzter die Schiff bei die Wellen, 
See schlingen sie ein un' see speien sie aus. 

Es laremt der Jam, un' es heben sich Chwales ; 
Es huzet, es pildert mit Schreck un' mit Graul ; 
Der Sturem, der Gaslen, will umbrengen Alles, 
Der Thoni offent auf sein varschlossene Maul. 

Es horen sich Siifzen, es hort sich ein Beten, 
's is' gross die Ssakone, 's is' schrecklich die Not, 
Un' Jederer bet't bei sein Gott, er soil retten, 
Befreien die Menschen vun sicheren Todt. 

Das weinen die Kinder, es klagen die Weiber, 
Man schreit un' man is' sich miswade aziind : 
Es flatteren Seelen, es zitteren Leiber 
Var Schreck var dem boesen, varnichtenden Wind. 

Doch unten, in Zwischendeck, sitzen zwei Manner 
Ganz ruhig, see riihrt nit der mindester Weh ; 
See suchen kein Rettung, see klaren kein Planer, 
Wie Alls wollt' sein sicher un' still arum see. 

Es laremt das Wasser, die Wellen, see schaumen, 
Es wojet, es mojet meschune der Wind ; 
Es ssappet der Kessel, es huzet der K5men ; 
Doch unten die Zwei, seht, see schweigen aziind. 

See kucken mit Kaltkeit dem Todt in die Augen, 
See riihrt nit dem Sturem's gefahrliche Macht ; 
Es scheint, as der Tddt hat allein nor erzogen 
See Beiden, in Schreck un' in linsterer Nacht. 



CHRESTOMATHY 327 

Now she must lie down, now again she must rise, 
now she is driven back, now forward; the ship is a 
plaything of the waves that swallow her up and spit 
her out again. 

The ocean roars, the billows rise, and lash, and 
thunder in awful terror, the murderous storm wants 
to destroy everything, the abyss opens up its closed 
jaws. 

There are heard sighs and prayers. Great is the 
danger and dreadful the calamity, and everybody 
prays to his God that He may save and liberate the 
people from sure death. 

Children weep, women wail ; the people cry and 
confess their sins ; souls flutter, bodies tremble in 
terror of the angry, destructive wind. 



But below, in the steerage, two men sit quietly ; no 
pain assails them; they seek no salvation, they make 
no plans, just as if all were safe and calm about them. 



The water roars, the billows foam ; the wind whines 
and howls insanely ; the boiler gasps, the chimney 
buzzes, but the men below, behold, they are silent 
now! 

They look coolly into the eyes of Death ; the dan- 
gerous might of the storm touches them not ; it seems 
as though Death had reared the two in terror and dark 

night. 






328 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

" Wer seid ihr, Ungliickliche, lasst es doch horen, 
Was konnen varschweigen die gwaldigste Not, 
Was haben kein Siifzen, un' haben kein Trahren, 
Afile bei'm schrecklichen Thoer vim Todt ? 

" Sagt, haben euch take nor Kworim geboren ? 
Ihr lasst gar kein Elteren, Weib oder Kind, 
Zu weinen auf euch, wenn ihr werd't da varloren 
In tief en, in schrecklichen Abgrund azund ? 

" Wie ? Lasst ihr nit Keinem, was ihm soil vardriessen, 
Was er soil wenn baenken, zu lasen a Trahr, 
Wenn euch wet der nasser Bessolem vargiessen, 
Wenn ihr wet da kein Mai zuruckkehren mehr? 

M Wie ? Ha't ihr kein Vaterland gar, kein Medine, 
Kein Heim, wu zu kummen, kein freundliche Stub', 
Was ihr ha't behalten in sich asa Ssine 
Zum Leben un' wart't auf der finsterer Grub' ? 

" Ihr ha't gar nit Keinem in Himmel dort oben, 
Zu wemen zu schreien, wenn ihr seid in Zar? 
Ihr ha't gar kein Volk nit, ihr ha't gar kein Glauben ? 
Varlorene, was is' mit euch far a Gsar ? " 

Es ganezt der Abgrund, es brausen die Inden, 
Es krachen die Leiters vun Schiff, un' es tragt, 
Es hulet der Sturem, es pfeifen die Winden, 
Un' Einer hat endlich mit Trahren gesagt : 

" Der schwarzer Bess5lem is' nit unser Mutter, 
Nit is' unser Wiegel der Keewer gewe'n ; 
Es hat uns geboren a Malach a guter, 
A teuere Mutter, mit Liebe varsehn. 



CHRESTOMATHY 329 

" Who are you, wretched ones, tell me, that you can 
suppress the most terrible sufferings, that you have no 
sighs and no tears even at the awful gates of Death? 



" Say, have, indeed, graves brought you forth ? Do 
you leave behind you no parents, no wife, no child who 
will lament you when you are lost here in the deep and 
dreadful abyss ? 

"How? Have you no one to be sorry for you, to 
long for you, or shed a tear, when the wet cemetery will 
cover you, when you will no more return to this earth ? 



" How ? Have you no fatherland, no country, no 
home where to go to, no friendly house, that you bear 
such a contempt for life, and are waiting for the dark 
grave ? 

" Have you no one in heaven above to whom to cry 
when you are in trouble ? Have you no nation, have 
you no faith ? Miserable ones, what is your fate ? " 



The abyss yawns, the waves bellow, the shipladders 
crack, the storm rages madly, the winds whistle, and 
finally one says in tears : 



"The black cemetery is not our mother, the grave 
has not been our cradle ; a good angel has borne us, a 
dear mother, endowed with love. 



330 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

" Es hat uns gepjestet a Mame, erzogen 
A zartliche, wareme, freundliche Brust ; 
Gekichelt un' standig gekuckt in die Augen 
Hat uns auch a Vater, un' lieblich gekusst. 

" Mir haben a Haus, nor man hat sie zubrochen, 
Un' unsere heiligste Sachen varbrennt, 
Die Liebste un' Beste varwandelt in Knochen, 
Die Letzte varjagt mit gebundene Hand'. 

" Man kenn' unser Land, o, sie lasst sich derkennen : 
Durch Jagen, durch Schlagen nit werendig mud', 
Durch wilde Pogromen, durch Brechen, durch Brennen, 
Durch Suchen dem Todt far dem elenden Jiid. 

" Un' mir seinen Jiiden, varwogelte Jiiden, 

Ohn' Freund un' ohn' Freuden, ohn' Hoffnung auf 

Gliick. 
Nit fragt mehr, o, fragt nit, o, seht, lasst zufrieden ! 
Amerika treibt uns nach Russland zuruck, 

M Nach Russland, vun wannen mir seinen antloffen, 
Nach Russland derfar, was mir haben kein Geld; 
Auf was bleibt uns itzter zu warten, zu hoffen ? 
Was taug' uns das Leben, die finstere Welt ? 

" Ihr ha't was zu weinen, ihr ha't was zu brummen, 
Ihr ha't was zu schrecken sich itzt far dem Todt, 
Ihr ha't gewiss Alle a Heim, wu zu kummen, 
Un' fahrt vun Amerika auch nit aus Not. 

u Doch mir seinen Elende, gleich zu die Steiner: 
Die Erd' is' zu schlecht, uns zu schenken an Ort 
Mir fahren, doch leider, es wart't auf uns Keiner, 
Erklart mir, ich bet' euch, wu reisen mir fort ! 



CHRESTOMATHY 331 

" A mother has fondled us, a tender, warm, friendly 
breast has nurtured us ; a father, too, has stroked us 
and looked into our eyes, and kissed us tenderly. 



" We have a house, but it has been destroyed, and 
our holy things have been burned ; our dearest and best 
have been turned into bones, and those who survive 
have been driven away with fettered hands. 

" You know our country ; it is easily recognized by 
its unceasing baiting and beating, by its cruel riots, its 
ruthless destruction, and dealing death to the wretched 
Jew. 

" Yes, we are Jews, miserable Jews, without friends 
or joys, without hopes or happiness. Oh, ask us no 
more, ask no more, oh, leave us in peace ! America 
drives us back to Russia, 



"To Russia, whence we have run away, to Russia, 
because we have no money. What is there left for us 
to expect, to hope for ? Of what good is life, and the 
gloomy world to us ? 

"You have something to weep for; you have reason 
to murmur and to be afraid of Death! You have, no 
doubt, a home where to go to, and you have left America 
not from necessity. 

" But we are forlorn and alone like a rock. Earth is 
too mean to give us a resting-place; we are voyaging, 
but, unfortunately, no one waits for us. Explain to me, 
pray, whither we are bound! 



332 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

" Soil sturmen der Wind, soil er brummen mit Zoren, 
Soil sieden, soil kochen, soil rauschen der Grund ! 
Denn 's sei wie 's sei seinen mir Juden varloren, 
Der Jam nor varloscht unser brennende Wund'. ..." 

M. ROSEXFELD. 

XVIII. BONZJE SCHWEIG' 

(Literatur wn' Leben, pp. 11-22) 

Da, auf der Welt, hat Bonzje Sehweig's Todt gar kein 
Roschem nischt gemacht ! Fragt Emizen becheerem, 
wer Bonzje is' gewesen, wie as5 er hat gelebt, auf was 
er is' gestorben ! Zu hat in ihm das Harz geplatzt, zu 
die Koches senen ihm ausgegangen, oder der March- 
bein hat sich ubergebrochen unter a schwerer Last . . . 
wer weisst ? Ef scher is' er gar var Hunger gestorben ! 

A Ferd in Tramwaj soil fallen, wollt' man sich mehr 
interessirt, es wollten Zeitungen geschrieben, hunderter 
Menschen wollten vun alle Gassen geloffen un' die 
Neweele bekuckt, betracht't afile dem Ort, wu die 
Mapole is' gewe'n. . . . 

Nor das Ferd in Tramwaj wollt' auch die S-chie 
nischt geha't, es soil sein tausend Milljon Ferd' wie 
Menschen! 

Bonzje hat still gelebt un' is' still gestorben; wie a 
Schatten is' er durch durch unser Welt. . 

Auf Bonzje's Bris hat man kein Wein nischt getrun- 
ken, es haben kein Kosses geklungen. Zu Barmizwe 
hat er kein klingendige Drosche nischt gesagt . . . 
gelebt hat er wie a gro, klein Kerndel Samd beim Breg 
vun'm Jam, zwischen Milljonen seins Gleichen; un' as 
der Wind hat ihm aufgehoben un' auf der anderer Seit 
Jam ariiber gejagt, hat es Keiner nischt bemerkt. 

Beim Leben hat die nasse Blote kein Schlad vun sein 



CHRESTOMATHY 333 

" Let storm the wind, let it howl in anger : let the 
deep seethe, and boil, and roar ! However it be, we 
Jews are lost, the ocean alone can allay our burning 
wound. ..." 



XVni. BONTSIE SILENT 

Here, in this world, the death of Bontsie Silent pro- 
duced no impression. You will ask in vain who Bont- 
sie was, how he lived, and what caused his death. Did 
his heart burst, did his strength give out, or were his 
bones crushed under a heavy load . . . who knows? 
Maybe, after all, he died of starvation ! 

There would have been displayed more interest if it 
had been a street-car horse that had fallen dead. News- 
papers would have reported about it, hundreds of people 
would have congregated from all the streets to look at 
the carcass and even to survey the spot where the acci- 
dent had occurred ! 

But even the street-car horse would not be honored 
in such a distinguished way if there were as many 
millions of them in existence as there are men. 

Bontsie had lived quietly, and he died quietly. He 
passed through the world like a shadow. 

No wine was drunk on the day of Bontsie's circum- 
cision ; no cups were clinked. At his confirmation he 
made no flowery speech ... he lived like a small, 
yellow grain of sand on the seashore, among millions 
of its kind, and no one noticed how the wind lifted 
it up and carried it on the other side of the Ocean. 

In his lifetime the wet mud kept no impression of his 



334 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Fuss nischt behalten ; nach'n Todt hat der Wind das 
kleine Brettel vun sein Keewer umgeworfen, un' dem 
Kabren's Weib hat es gefun'en weit vun Keewer un' 
derbei a Toppel Kartoffles abgekocht. . . . Es is' drei 
Tag' nach Bonzje's Todt, fragt dem Kabren becheerem, 
wu er hat ihm gelegt ! 

* Wollt' Bonzje chotsch a Mazeewe geha't, wollt' efscher 
titer' hundert Jahr sie an Alterthumsforscher gefun'en 
un' Bonzje Schweig wollt' noch a Mai ubergeklungen in 
unser Luft. 

A Schatten, sein Photographje is' nischt geblieben 
bei Keinem in Harz ; es is' vun ihm kein Seecher in 
Keinem's Moach nischt geblieben ! 
^^Kein Kind, kein Rind," elend gelebt, elend ge- 
^torben ! 

Wenn nischt das menschliche Geruder, wollt' efscher 
Emizer a Mai gehort, wie Bonzje's Marchbein hat unter 
der Masse geknackt : wollt' die Welt mehr Zeit geha't, 
wollt' Emizer efscher a Mai bemerkt, as Bonzje (auch 
a Mensch) hat lebedigerheit zwei ausgeloschene Augen 
un' schrecklich eingef allene Backen ; as afile wenn er 
hat gar schon kein Masse nit auf die Pleezes, is' ihm 
auch der Kopp zu der Erd' gebogen, gleich er wollt' 
lebedigerheit sein Keewer gesucht ! Wollten aso wenig 
Menschen wie Ferd in Tramwaj gewesen, wollt' efscher 
a Mai Emizer gef ragt : Wu is' Bonzje ahin gekummen ? 

Wenn man hat Bonzjen in Spital areingefuhrt, is' 
sein Winkel in Suterine nischt ledig geblieben, es 
haben derauf zehn Seins-gleichen gewart't, un' zwischen 
sich dem Winkel " In-pljum " lizitirt ; wenn man hat'n 
vun Spitalbett in Totenstubel arein getragen, haben 
auf'n Bett zwanzig areme Chaluim gewart't. . . . 
Wenn er is' araus vun Totenstubel, hat man zwanzig 
Harugim vun unter ein eingefallen Haus gebrengt, 



CHRESTOMATHY 335 

footsteps ; after his death the wind threw down the 
small board over his grave, and the grave-digger's wife 
found it far away from the mound and made a fire with 
it over which she boiled a pot of potatoes. ... It is 
but three days since Bontsie's death, but you will ask in 
vain of the grave-digger where he has laid him at rest ! 

If Bontsie had had a tombstone, an archaeologist 
might have found it a hundred years later, and Bont- 
sie's name would have resounded again in our atmos- 
phere. 

He was but a shadow : his picture does not live in 
anybody's heart; his memory does not exist in any- 
body's mind ! 

He left no child, no possessions ! He had lived in 
misery, and he died in misery. 

Had it not been for the noise of the crowd, some one 
might have heard the snapping of Bontsie's bones under 
a heavy burden ; if the world had had more time, some 
one might have noticed that Bontsie's eyes were dim 
and his eyes frightfully sunken for one alive ; that 
even when he carried no load on his shoulders, his head 
was bent to the ground as if he were looking for the 
grave ! If there were as few people as there are horses 
in the street cars, some one might, perhaps, have asked : 
What has become of Bontsie ? 

When Bontsie was taken to the hospital, his corner 
in the basement was not left unoccupied; ten people 
of his sort had been waiting for it, and it was auctioned 
off to the highest bidder ; when they carried him from 
the hospital bed to the morgue, twenty poor people 
were waiting for his bed. When he left the morgue, 
they brought in twenty people who had been killed by 
a falling wall. . . . Who knows how long he will rest 



(hi 



336 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

wer weisst, wie lang er wet ruhig wohnen in Keewer ? 
Wer weisst, wieviel es warten schon auf dein Stiickel 
Platz. . . . 

Still geboren, still gelebt, still gestorben un' noch 
stiller begraben. 

Nor nischt aso is' gewesen auf jener Welt ! Dorten 
hat Bonzje's Todt a grossen Roschem. gemacht ! 

Der grosser Schofer vun Moscliiach's Zeiten hat ge- 
klungen in alle sieben Himmlen : Bonzje Schweig is' 
nifter gewor'en ! Die grosste Malochim mit die breit'ste _ 
Fliigel senen geflogen un' Einer dem Anderen iiberge- 
geben : Bonzje is ? " nischbakesch " gewor'en M bischiwo 
, schel niajlo " ! In Ganeeden is' a Rasch, a Ssiinehe, a Ge- 
ruder : " Bonzje Schweig ! A Spass Bonzje Schweig ! ! ! " 

Junge Malochimlech mit brilljantene Aeugelech, 
goldene draht-arbeitene Fliigelech un' silberene Pan- 
toffelech senen Bonzjen ankegen geloffen mit Ssimche ! 
Der Gerasch vun die Fliigel, das Klappen vun die 
Pantoffelech un' das froehliche Lachen vun die junge, 
frische, rosige Maulechlech hat verfiillt alle Himmlen 
un' is' zugekummen bis zum Kisse-ha-kowed, un' Gott 
allein hat auch schon gewusst, as Bonzje Schweig 
kummt ! 

Awrohom Owinu hat sich in Thoer vun Himmel 
gestellt, die rechte Hand ausgestellt zum breiten 
" Scholem-aleechem ! " un' a susser Schmeichel scheint 
aso hell auf sein alten Ponim ! 
"\ Was radelt aso in Himmel? 

Das haben zwei Malochim in Ganeeden arein far 
Bonzje's wegen a gingoldene Vaterstuhl auf Radlech 
gefuhrt ! 

Was hat aso hell geblitzt? 

Das hat man durchgefuhrt a goldene Kron', mit die 
theuerste Steiner gesetzt ! All's far Bonzjen ! 



CHRESTOMATHY 337 

quietly in his grave? Who knows how many are 
already waiting for his place? 

Born quietly, lived quietly, died quietly, and still 
more quietly buried ! 

But matters went differently in the other world! 
There Bontsie's death produced a sensation ! 

The sound of Moses' ram's horn was heard in all the 
seven heavens : Bontsie Silent has died ! The greatest 
angels, with the broadest wings, were flying about and 
announcing the news to each other : Bontsie has been 
summoned before the Judgment Seat ! There is a 
noise, an excitement, a joy in Heaven : Bontsie Silent ! 
Just think of it, Bontsie Silent ! ! ! 

Young little angels with sparkling eyes, gold-worked 
wings, and silver slippers rushed out to receive Bontsie 
with joy ! The buzzing of their wings, the clatter of 
their slippers, and the merry laughter of the young, 
fresh, and rosy little mouths filled the heavens and 
reached the Seat of Honor, and God himself knew 
that Bontsie Silent was coming ! 

Father Abraham placed himself at the gate of Heaven, 
and he stretched out his right hand for a friendly 
" Peace be with you ! " and a sweet smile lit up his 
old face ! 



What are they rolling there in Heaven ? 
Two angels are rolling into Paradise an armchair of 
pure gold on wheels for Bontsie ! 

What caused that lightning? 

They are carrying a golden crown, all set in the most 
precious stones ! All for Bontsie ! 



838 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Noch var'n Psak vun Bess-din-schel-majle ? fragen 
die Zadikim verwundert un' nischt gar ohn' Kine. 

Oh ! entwern die Malochiin, das wet sein a proste, 
puste Forme ! Gegen Bonzje Schweig wet afile der 
Kategor kein Wort in Maul nischt gefin'en ! Die Djele 
wet dauern funf Minut ! 

Ihr spielt sich mit Bonzje Schweig? 
***** 

As die Malochimlech haben Bonzjen gechappt in der 
Luft un' abgespielt ihm a Semer ; as Awrohom Owinu 
hat ihm wie an alten Kamrat die Hand geschockelt; 
as er hat gehort, as sein Stuhl is' greit in Ganeeden ; 
as auf sein Kopp wart't a Kron', as in Bess-din-schel- 
majle wet man iiber ihm kein iibrig Wort nischt reden, 
hat Bonzje, gleich wie auf jener Welt, geschwiegen 
var Schreck ! Es is' ihm das Harz entgangen. Er is' 
sicher, as das mus sein a Cholem, oder a proster Toes ! 

Er is' Beide gewohnt ! Nischt ein Mai hat sich ihm 
auf jener Welt gecholemt, as er klaubt Geld auf der 
Podloge, ganze Ozres liegen . . . un' hat sich auf- 
gechappt noch a grosserer Kabzen wie nachten. . . . 
Nischt ein Mai hat man in'm a Toes gehat, es hat ihm 
Emiz zugeschmeichelt, a gut Wort gesagt un' bald sich 
ubergedreht un' ausgespiegen. . . . 

Mein Masel, tracht er, is' schon aso ! 

Un' er hat More, die Augen aufzuheben, der Cholem 
soil nischt verschwunden wer'en; er soil sich nischt 
aufchappen ergez in a Hoehl' zwischen Schlangen un' 
Egdissen ! Er hat More vun Maul a Klang arauszu- 
lasen, a Tnue mit an Eewer zu machen, man soil 
ihm nischt derkennen un' nischt awegschleudern auf 
Kaf-hakal. . . . 

Er zittert un' hort nit die Malochim's Komplimenten, 



CHRESTOMATHY 339 

" What ? Even before the sentence of the Supreme 
Court has been passed?" the saints ask not without 
envy. 

" Oh ! " answer the angels, " that will be a mere for- 
mality. The Prosecuting Attorney himself will find 
no words against Bontsie ! The case will last but five 
minutes ! " 

Bontsie Silent that's no trifling matter ! 
***** 

As the angels carried Bontsie through the air and 
played sweet tunes to him ; as Father Abraham shook 
his hand like that of an old comrade ; as he heard that 
his chair was ready for him in Paradise, that a crown 
was waiting for his head, that no trifling words would 
be spoken against him before the Supreme Court, 
Bontsie was frightened into silence just as in the other 
world ! His heart failed him. He was sure that this 
was but a dream, or a mere mistake ! 

He had been used to both. Many a time he had 
dreamed in the other world of picking up money from 
the floor where fortunes were lying. . . . More than 
once they had mistaken him for some one else ; they 
had smiled at him, had said a good word, and then 
had turned aside, and spit out. . . . 

" That's just my luck ! " thought he. 

And he is afraid to raise his eyes for fear that the 
dream would disappear, that he should not awaken 
somewhere in a cave full of serpents and lizards. 
He is afraid to utter a sound, to move a limb, lest he 
be recognized and hurled to perdition. 



He trembles and does not hear the compliments of 



340 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

seht nischt sejer Arumtanzen arum ihm, er entwert 
nischt Awrohom Owinu auf'n herzlichen Scholem- 
aleechem, un' gefuhrt zum Bess-din-schel-majle, sagt 
er ihm kein " Gut Morgen " nischt. . . . 

Bonzje is' ausser sich var Schreck ! 

Un' sein schreckliche Schreck is' noch grosser ge- 
wor'en as er hat, nischt willendig, unter seine Fuss' 
dersehn die Podloge vun Bess-din-schel-majle. Ssame 
Alabaster mit Brilljanten ! " Auf asa Podloge stehen 
meine Fiiss' ! " Er wert in Ganzen verstarrt. " Wer 
weisst, welchen Gwir, welchen Row, welchen Zadik 
man meint . . . er wet kummen, wet sein mein finsterer 
Ssof!" 

Var Schreck hat er afile nit gehort, wie der Prases 
hat befeeresch ausgerufen : " Die Djele vun Bonzje 
Schweig ! " un', derlangendig dem Meeliz-joscher die 
Akten, gesagt : " Les', nor bekizer ! " 

Mit Bonzjen dreht sich der ganzer Salon, es rauscht 
ihm in die Oheren, nor in'm Gerausch hort er alle Mai 
scharfer un' scharfer dem Malech-meeliz's suss Kol wie 
a Fiedel : 

Sein Namen, hort er, hat ihm gepasst, wie zum 
schlank Leib a Kleid vun an Artist a Schneider's Hand." 

Was redt er? fragt sich Bonzje, un' er hort, wie 
an umgeduldig Kol hackt ihm liber un' sagt : 

Nor ohn' Mescholim ! 

Er hat kein Mai, hebt waiter an der Meeliz-joscher, 
auf Keinem nischt geklagt, nischt auf Gott, nischt auf 
Leut' ; in sein Aug' hat kein Mai nischt aufgeflammt 
kein Funk' Ssine, er hat es kein Mai nischt aufgehoben 
mit a Pretensje zum Himmel. 

Bonzje versteht weiter nischt a Wort, un' das harte 
Kol schlagt weiter iiber : 



CHRESTOMATHY 341 

the angels, does not see their dancing around him, 
does not reply to Father Abraham's hearty "Peace 
be with you ! " and being led before the Supreme 
Court he does not say "Good morning" to them. 

Bontsie is beside himself with terror. 

And his terrible fear is still increased when by ac- 
cident he notices the floor of the Court Hall under his 
feet. Pure alabaster and brilliants ! M On such a floor 
do my feet tread ! " He grows stiff with fright. " Who 
knows what rich man, what Rabbi, what saint they 
mean ! . . . I shall fare ill when he will come ! " 



In his terror he did not even hear the Presiding 
Officer's call : " The case of Bontsie Silent ! " and his 
saying to the Advocate, as he handed him the docu- 
ments : " Read, but be short ! " 

The whole hall is turning around with Bontsie, there 
is a din in his ears, and through it he can distinguish 
more sharply and more sharply the voice of the Advo- 
cate as sweet as a violin : 

" His name," he hears him saying, " has fit him like 
an artist-tailor's gown on a graceful body." 

" What is he talking about?" Bontsie asks himself. 
And he hears an impatient voice interrupting him, and 
saying : 

" Pray, without similes ! " 

"He has never, proceeds the Advocate, complained 
against any one, neither against God nor against man ! 
There has never flamed up a spark of hatred in his 
eyes ; he has never uplifted them with any pretensions 
to Heaven." 

Bontsie again does not understand a word, and the 
harsh voice interrupts him : 



342 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Ohn' Retorik ! 

low hat nischt ausgehalten, er is' urngliicklicher 
gewesen 

Fakten, truckene Fakten ! ruft noch umgeduldiger 
der Prases. 

Zu acht Tag' hat men ihm male gewesen 

Nor ohn' Realism ! 

A Mohel, a Fuscher hat das Blut nit verhalten 

Weiter ! 

I Er hat alls geschwiegen, f iihrt weiter der Meeliz- 
| joscher, afile wenn die Mutter is' ihm gestorben un' er 
I hat zu dreizehn Jahr a Stiefmame bekummen ... a 
Stiefmame a Schlang, a Marschaas. . . . 

Meint man doch efscher fort mich ? tracht Bonzje. 

Ohn' Insinuazjes auf dritte Personen, boesert sich 
der Prases. ,o^0, _ 

/! Sie flegt ihm zalewen dem Bissen . . . eher-nachtig 
verschimmelt Brot ... Haar-flachs far Fleisch . . . un' 
sie hat Kawe mit Schmetten getrunken 

Zu der Sach' schreit der Prases. 

Sie hat ihm far das kein Nagel nischt gekargt un' 
sein blo-un'-blo Leib flegt arauskucken vun alle Locher 
vun seine verschimmelt-zurissene Kleider. . . . Winter, 
in die grosste Frost', hat er ihr barwess auf'n Hof 
Holz gehackt, un' die Hand' senen zu jung un' schwach 
gewesen, die Klotzlech zu dick, die Hack zu stumpig 
. . . nischt ein Mai hat er sich die Hand' vun die 
Stawes ausgelenkt, nischt ein Mai hat er sich die Fuss' 
abgefroren, nor geschwiegen hat er afile sich var'n 
Vater 

Var'n Schiker ! lacht arein der Kategor, un' 
Bonzje werd kalt in alle Eewrim 



CHRESTOMATHY 343 

44 Please, without rhetoric ! " 

" Job did not endure, but he has been more unfor- 
tunate " 

44 Facts ! Dry facts ! " the President calls out more 
impatiently. 

44 On the eighth day he was circumcised " 

44 Pray, without realism ! " 

" The surgeon was a quack, and he did not stanch 
the blood." 

" Go on ! " 

"He was always silent," the Advocate proceeds, 
"even when his mother died, and he got upon his 
thirteenth year a stepmother ... a stepmother a 
snake, a witch." 

44 Maybe he really means me ? " Bontsie thinks to him- 
self. 

44 Leave out insinuations against third persons ! " says 
the President, angrily. 

44 She begrudged him every morsel. . . . Musty bread, 
three days old . . . tendons for meat . . . and she drank 
coffee with cream. ..." 

44 Let's come to business ! " cries the President. 

44 And she did not spare him her finger nails, and his 
blue-and-black body peeped through all the holes of 
his musty clothes. ... In winter, in the severest 
frosts, he chopped wood for her in his bare feet, and 
his hands were too young and too weak, the blocks too 
large, the axe too dull. . . . More than once he had 
sprained his wrists, more than once he had frozen his 
feet, but he was silent, and even to his father " 



44 The drunkard ! " the Prosecuting Attorney laughs 
out loud, and a shiver passes over Bontsie's body. 



( 



( 



844 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Nischt geklagt, endigt der Meeliz-joseher dem 
Satz. 

/^Un' standig elend, fiihrt er weiter, kein Chawer, 
kein Talmud-tore, kein Cheeder, kein Schkole . . . 
kein ganz Beged . . . kein f reie Minut 

Fakten ! ruf t weiter der Prases. 

Er hat geschwiegen afile spater, wenn der Vater 
hat'n schikerheit a Mai angechappt bei die Haar un' 
in Mitten a schneewindiger Winternacht arausgeworf en 
vun Stub' ! Er hat sich still aufgehoben vun Schnee un' 
is' entloffen, wu die Augen haben ihm getragen. . . . 

Auf n ganzen Weg hat er geschwiegen . . . beim 
grossten Hunger hat er nor mit die Augen gebettelt. 

Erscht in a schwindeldige, nasse Wjosne-nacht is' 
er in a grosse Stadt areingekummen ; er is' arein wie 
a Troppen in a Jam un' doch hat er die eigene Nacht 
in Kose genachtigt. ... Er hat geschwiegen, nischt 
gefragt far was, far wenn? Er is' araus un' die 
schwerste Arbeit gesucht ! Nor er hat geschwiegen ! 
**"Noch schwerer far der Arbeit is' gewesen sie zu 
(^gefin'en, er hat geschwiegen ! 

Badendig sich in kalten Schweiss, zusammengedruckt 
unter der schwerster Last, beim grossten Krampf vun'm 
ledigen Magen, hat er geschwiegen ! 

Bespritzt vun f remder Blote, bespiegen vun fremde 
Mauler, gejagt vun Trotuaren mit der schwerster Last 
arab in Gassen zwischen Droschkes, Kareten un' Tram- 
wajs, kuckendig jede Minut dem Todt in die Augen 
arein, hat er geschwiegen ! 

Er hat kein Mai nischt iibergerechent, wieviel vun 
Masse es kummt aus auf a Groschen, wieviel Mai er is' 
gefallen bei jeden Gang far a Dreier, wieviel Mai er hat 
schier nischt die Neschome ausgespiegen, mahnendig 
sein Verdienst, er hat nischt gerechent, nischt sein, 
nischt Jenem's Masel, nor geschwiegen ! 



CHRESTOMATHY 345 

" He did not complain ! " the Advocate concludes 
his sentence. 

"And eternally alone, he proceeds, no friend, no 
religious instruction, no school . . . not a whole garb 
. . . not a free minute ! " 

" Stick to facts ! " calls out the President. 

"He was silent even later, when his father, in a 
drunken fit, once grabbed him by his hair and kicked 
him out of the house into a stormy winter night. He 
quietly picked himself up and ran whither his eyes 
carried him. 

"He was silent on his whole journey ... in the 
greatest frost he begged only with his eyes. 

" In a nasty, wet spring night he arrived in a large 
city ; he fell in like a drop in the Ocean, and yet he 
passed that very night in the police jail. . . . He was 
silent, did not ask why. He came out of it, and looked 
for the hardest work ! And he was all the time silent. 

" Much harder than the work was the finding of the 
same, and he was silent. 

"Bathing in cold sweat, bent under the heaviest 
burdens, during the severest cramps of his empty 
stomach, he was silent ! 

" Besmutted by strangers' mud, bespit by strangers' 
mouths, driven with his heavy load from the sidewalks 
into the streets among buggies, coaches, and street cars, 
looking every moment into the eyes of death, he was 
silent ! 

" He never calculated how many pounds of load came 
to every penny, how many times he stumbled on every 
three kopeks' errand, how many times he almost exhaled 
his soul collecting his pay ; he did not beseech or curse, 
he only was silent ! 



346 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

Sein eigen Verdienst hat er nischt hoch gemahnt. 
Wie a Bettler hat er sich bei der Thiir gestellt, un' in 
die Augen hat sich a hiintische Bakosche gemalt ! 
" Kumm' spater ! " un' er is' wie a Schatten still ver- 
schwunden gewor'en, kedee spater noch stiller aus- 
zubettlen sein Verdienst ! 

Er hat afile geschwiegen, wenn man flegt ihm abreissen 
vun sein Verdienst, oder ihm areinzuwarfen a falsche 
Matbeje . . . er hat alls geschwiegen. . . . 

Meint man doch take mich ! troest't sich Bonzje. 



Ein Mai, fiihrt weiter der Meeliz-joscher noch a 
Trunk Wasser, is' in sein Leben a Schinui gewor'en 
. . . es is' durchgeflogen a Kotsch mit gummene Rader 
mit zuploschete Ferd' . . . der Schmeisser is' schon 
lang vun weitens gelegen mit a zuspaltenem Kopp auf 'n 
Bruk . . . vun die derschrockene Ferd's Mauler spritzt 
der Schaum, vun unter die Podkowes jagen sich Funken, 
wie vun Lokomotiw, die Augen blischtschen wie bren- 
nendige Sturkatzen in a finsterer Nacht, un' in Kotsch 
sitzt nischt tot, nischt lebedig, a Mensch. 

Bonzje hat die Ferd' verhalten ! 

Der Gerateweter is' gewesen a Jud, a Balzdoke, un' 
hat Bonzjen die Towe nischt vergessen. 

Er hat ihm dem Gehargenten's Kelnje ubergege- 
ben ; Bonzje is' a Schmeisser gewor'en ! Noch mehr, 
er hat ihm Chassene gemacht, noch mehr, er hat 
ihm afile mit a Kind versorgt, un' Bonzje hat alls 
geschwiegen ! 

Mich meint man, mich ! befestigt sich Bonzje in 
deT Deje, un' hat sich die Hose nischt, an Aug' zu 
warfen auf'n Bess-din-schel-majle. . . . 

Er hort sich weiter ein zum Malech-meeliz : 



CHRESTOMATHY 347 

" He did not ask loud for his pay. Like a mendicant 
he stood at the door with a doglike prayer in his eyes. 
4 Come later ! ' and he disappeared quietly like a shadow, 
in order to ask later still more quietly for his dues ! 



" He was silent even when they knocked off some- 
thing from his pay, or paid him in a counterfeit coin 
. . . he was silent. . . ." 

" It seems they really mean me ! " Bontsie consoles 

himself. 

***** 

" Once," proceeds the Advocate, after taking a drink 
of water, " there came a change in his life ... a coach 
with rubber wheels and frightened horses rushed by 
. . . the driver lay way back on the pavement with 
his head split open . . . foam spurted from the mouths 
of the frightened horses, and sparks flew from under 
their feet, as from a locomotive; their eyes sparkled 
like glowing coals in a dark night, and in the coach 
there was sitting, more dead than alive, a man ! 

" Bontsie stopped the runaway. 

" The person thus saved was a Jew, a charitable man, 
and he did not forget Bontsie's kindness. 

" He transferred to him the seat of the killed man ; 
Bontsie became a driver! More than that, he got 
him married ; still more, he provided him with a child 
. . . and Bontsie kept silent all the time ! " 

" They mean me, they mean me ! " Bontsie strength- 
ens himself in his belief, and he has no courage to raise 
his eyes on the Supreme Judge. 

He listens again to the Advocate. 



348 YIDDISH LITEKATURE 

Er hat geschwiegen afile, wenn sein Baltowe hat 
in Kurzen bankrottirt un' ihm sein S-chires auch. . . . 
Er hat geschwiegen afile, wenn das Weib is' ihm entlof- 
fen un' iibergelast ihm a Kind vun der Brust. . . . 

Er hat geschwiegen afile mit fufzehn Jahr spater, 
wenn das Kind is' aufgewachsen un' genug stark gewe- 
sen, Bonzjen arauszuwarfen vun Stub'. . . . 
^ Mich meint man, mich ! freut sich Bonzje. 
***** 

Er hat afile geschwiegen, hebt an weicher un* 
traueriger der Malech-meeliz, wenn der eigener Bal- 
towe hat sich mit Alle ausgegleicht, nor ihm kein 
Groschen S-chires nischt zuruckgegeben, un' afile 
demelt, wenn er is' Bonzjen (weiter fahrendig auf a 
Kotsch mit gummene Rader un' Ferd' wie Loeben) 
ubergefahren. . . . 

Er hat alls geschwiegen ! Er hat afile der Polizei 
nischt gesagt, wer es hat ihm zurecht gemacht. . . . 

***** 
X^-Er hat geschwiegen afile in Spital, wu man mag 
schon schreien ! 

Er hat geschwiegen afile, wenn der Doktor hat ohn' 
fufzehn Kop. nischt gewollt zu'n ihm zugehn, un' der 
Wachter ohn' fiinf Kop. tauschen die Wasch' ! 

Er hat geschwiegen beim Gossen, er hat geschwiegen 
in der letzter Rege, beim Starben. . . . 

Kein Wort gegen Gott, kein Wort gegen Leut' ! 
Dixi! 

Bonzje hebt an weiter zu zittern auf'n ganzen Leib. 
Er weisst, as nach'n Meeliz-joscher geht der Kategor. 
Wer weisst, was der wet sagen? Er allein hat sein 
ganz Leben nischt gedenkt, noch auf jener Welt hat er 
jede Minut die friiherdige vergessen . . . der Meeliz- 



CHRESTOMATHY 349 

"He was silent even when his benefactor became 
bankrupt and did not pay him his wages. . . . He 
was silent even when his wife ran away and left him 
with a nursing babe. . . . 

"He was silent even fifteen years later when the 
child grew up, and was strong enough to throw Bontsie 
out of doors. . . ." 

" They mean me, they mean me ! " Bontsie says joy- 
fully. 

" He was silent," the Advocate begins again with a 
softer and sadder voice, " when his benefactor resumed 
business, but did not pay him a cent, and even then, 
when he ran over him, again riding in a carriage with 
rubber tires, and horses like lions. 



" He was all that time silent ! He did not even tell 
the police who had maimed him so. 

" He was silent even in the hospital, where one may 
cry! 

" He was silent even when the doctor would not come 
to him unless he was paid fifteen kopeks, and the janitor 
would not change his shirt without five kopeks ! 

" He was silent during the last moments of his life, 
he was silent in his death agony. . . . 

" Not a word against God, not a word against man ! 

Dixi ! " 

***** 

Bontsie begins again to tremble in his whole body. 
He knows that after the Advocate comes the Prosecut- 
ing Attorney. Who knows what he will say? He 
himself had never, during his whole life, preserved the 
memory of anything ... in the other world, he forgot 



350 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

/ joscher hat ihm All's derniahnt . . . wer weisst, was 
\ der Kategor wet ihm dermahnen ! 

/"* Rabossai ! hebt an a scharf-stichedig, bruhendig 

I Ko1 juam <i 

Nor er haekt ab w 

Rabossai ! hebt er noch a Mai an, nor weicher un' 
hackt weiter ab. 

Endlich hort sich, vnn dem eigenem Hals araus, a 
weich Kol, wie a Putter : 

Rabossai ! Er hat geschwiegen ! Ich will auch 
schweigen ! 

Es werd still, un' vun vorent hort sich a neue weiche, 
zitterdige Stimme : 

Bonzje, mein Kind Bonzje ! raft es wie a Harfe. . . . 
Mein harzig Kind Bonzje ! In Bonzjen zuweint sich 
das Harz . . . er wollt' schon die Augen geoffent, 
nor see senen verfinstert vun Trahren. ... Es is' 
ihm aso siiss-weinendig kein Mai nischt gewesen. . . . 
"Mein Kind," "Mein Bonzje," seit die Mutter is' 
gestorben, hat er asa Kol un' asone Worter nischt 
gehort 

Mein Kind ! fuhrt weiter der Ow-bess-din, du 
hast alls gelitten un' geschwiegen ! Es is' nischt da 
kein ganz Eewer, kein ganz Beindel in dein Leib ohn' 
a Rane, ohn' a blutig Ort, es is' nischt da kein ein be- 
halten Ort in dein Neschome, wu es soil nischt bluten 
. . . un J du hast alls geschwiegen. . . . 

Dort hat man sich nischt verstan'en derauf ! Du 
allein hast gar efscher nischt gewusst, as du kannst 
schreien un' vun dein Geschrei konnen Jereecho's 
Mauern zittern un' einf alien ! Du allein hast vun 
dein verschlafenem Koach nischt gewusst. . . . 

Auf jener Welt hat man dein Schweigen nischt be- 



CHRESTOMATHY 851 

every moment the previous . . . the Advocate brought 
back so many recollections . . . who knows what the 
Prosecuting Attorney will remind him of? 

" Judges ! " he begins with a sharp, stinging voice 

But he stops short. 

" Judges ! " he begins once more, but more softly, and 
he interrupts himself again. 

At last there issues from the same throat a voice as 
soft as butter : 

" Judges ! He has been silent ! I shall be silent 
too!" 

All is still, and in front a new soft, trembling voice 
is heard : 

" Bontsie, my child Bontsie ! " Bontsie's heart is dis- 
solved in tears ... he would have opened his eyes, 
but they are covered with tears ... he has never 
wept such sweet tears before. ... " My child," " My 
Bontsie! " ever since his mother had died, he had not 
heard such a voice and such words. 



" My child! " the Highest Judge proceeds, " you have 
suffered all, and you were silent ! There is not a mem- 
ber, not a bone in your body without wounds, without 
a spot of blood. There is not a hidden place in your 
soul where it does not bleed, and yet you were always 
silent. . . . 

" There they did not understand such things ! It 
may be you yourself did not know that you can cry 
and that from your cries the walls of Jericho could 
tremble and fall ! You yourself did not know of your 
hidden power. . . . 

"They did not reward your silence in the other 



352 YIDDISH LITERATURE 

lohnt, nor dort is' der Olem-hascheker, da auf'n Olem- 
emes west du dein Lob bekummen ! 

Dich wet das Bess-din-schel-majle nischt mischpe- 
ten, dir wet es nischt paskenen, dir wet es kein Cheelek 
nischt aus- un' nischt ab-theilen ! Nemm dir, was du 
willst ! Alles is' dein ! 

Bonzje hebt das erste Mai die Augen auf ! Er werd 
wie verblend't vun der Licht vun alle Seiten; Alles 
blankt, Alles blischtschet, vun Alles jagen Strahlen: 
vun die Wand', vun die Keelim, vun die Malochim, vun 
die Dajonim ! Ssame Sunnen ! 

Er last die miide Augen arab. 

Take ? f ragt er messupek un' verschamt. 

Sicher ! entfert fest der Ow-bess-din ! Sicher, sag' 
ich dir, as Alles is' dein, Alles in Himmel gehor' zu 
dir ! Klaub' un' nemm, was du willst, du nemmst nor 
bei dir allein ! 

Take? fragt Bonzje noch a Mai, nor schon mit a 
sicheren Kol. 

Take ! Take ! Take ! entfert man ihm auf sicher 
vun alle Seiten. 

Nu, ob aso, schmeichelt Bonzje, will ich take alle 
Tag' in der Fruh' a heisse Bulke mit frischer Putter ! 

Dajonim un' Malochim haben arabgelast die Kopp' 
verschamt. Der Kategor hat sich zulacht. 

< "' J. L. Perez. 



CHRESTOMATHY 353 

world, but that was the World of Delusion ; here, in 
the World of Truth, you will receive your reward ! 

" The Supreme Court shall not pass sentence against 
you ! It will not weigh and dole out your part to you. 
Take what you wish, all is yours ! " 

Bontsie lifts his eyes for the first time ! He is dazed 
by the light on all sides: everything sparkles, every- 
thing flashes, beams issue everywhere : from the walls, 
from the vessels, from the angels, from the judges ! 
Nothing but suns around him ! 

He wearily droops his eyes. 

" Really ? " he asks doubtfully and abashed. 

" Indeed ! " answers the Highest Judge. " Indeed, I 
tell you all is yours ! All in Heaven belongs to you ! 
Choose and take what you wish ! You take your own." 

"Really?" asks Bontsie once more, but in a firmer 
voice. 

" Really, really, really ! " they answer him on all 
sides. 

" Well, if so," Bontsie smiles, " I should like to have 
every morning a hot roll with fresh butter ! " 

Judges and angels drooped their heads abashed. The 
Prosecuting Attorney laughed out loud. 



APPENDIX 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 



(This Bibliography is a partial list of the works consulted in the 
preparation of the present book. Those marked with an asterisk are 
not in the Harvard Library ; the others were formerly in my private 
possession, together with a large number (1800 titles in all) not given 
here. They now form in the Harvard Library the nucleus of a Judeo- 
German collection, the largest in America. For an additional list of 
newspapers, see Ch. D. Lippe, Bibliographisches Lexicon der ge- 
sammten jildischen Literatur der Gegenwart, Vienna, 1881, pp. 666, 
667.) 

355 






I. APPENDIX 

BIBLIOGRAPHY 

PERIODICALS AND ALMANACS 

*Monatschrift, Jiidisch-deutsche. Prague and Briinn, 1802. 8vo. 

* Beobachter, Der, an der Weichsel. Dostrzegacz nadwislanski. 

Warsaw, 1824. 4to. 
Zeitung. Redacteur : A. M. Mohr ; Verleger : A. I. Madfis. Lem- 

berg. (First number appeared in April, 1848.) 4to. 
Post, Die judische. Das is' a politische un' komerzische Zeitung. 

Verantwortlicher Redakteur, A. N. Bliicher? Lemberg, 

1849. (First number appeared Nov. 2, 1849.) 8vo. 

* Kol-me wasser. In jiidisch-deutscher Sprache von A. Zederbaum 

un' A. I. Goldenblum. Odessa, 1863-1871. Fol. 

* Zeitung, Warschauer judische. Erscheint jeden Freitag. 

Warsaw, 1867. Fol. 

Jisrulik. Zeitungsblatt far kol Jisroel. Erscheint Freitag vun 
die Herausgeber J. J. Linetzki and A. Goldfaden. Lemberg, 
July 23, 1875-Feb. 2, 1876. Fol. 

Kalender, Der niitzlicher. Far die russische Jiiden. Vun S. 
Abramowitsch. Wilna, 1876-. 8vo. 

Volkskalender, Fraktischer. Vun J. J. Linetzki. Lemberg, 
1876- ; Warsaw, 1883-. 8vo. 64 pp. 

Volksblatt, Judisches. A politisch-literarische Zeitung. Er- 
scheint in St. Petersburg ein Mai in der Woch', Donnerstag. 
St. Petersburg, Oct. 1/13, 1881-1889. Fol., except for 1888, 
which consists of the newspaper in large fol., and the Beilage, 
4to. Editors, A. Zederbaum, -1887, Dr. L. O. Cantor, 1888-1889. 

*P61ischer Judel, Der. The Polish Yidel. Editor, M. Win- 
chevsky. London, 1884. 4to. Weekly. Only sixteen numbers 
appeared, after which it was named 

* Zukunft, Die. The Future. First three numbers of 4 pp. each, 

later of 8 pp. each. London, 1884- August, 1885. 4to. 

357 



358 APPENDIX 

* Arbeiterfreund, Der. The Worker's Friend. Published by 

the International Workingmen's Educational Club. London, 

1886-1891. Folio, of 8 pp. each. Started as monthly, then 

weekly of 4 pp., then 8, then again 4 pp. 
Wecker, Der judischer. Redaktirt vun M. L. Lilienblum, 

herausgegeben vun J. H. Rabnizki un' Z. S. Frankfeld. 

Odessa, 1887. 8vo. 
Familienfreund, Der. Herausgegeben vun M. Spektor. 2 vols. 

Warsaw, 1887-1888. 8vo. 
Hausfreund, Der. A historisch-literarisches Buch. Herausgegeben 

vun M. Spektor. Warsaw, 1888-. 8vo. Vol. I. 1888, 2d ed., 

1894; Vol. II. 1889; Vol. III., 2 eds., 1894; Vol. IV. 1895; 

Vol. V. 1896. 
Kalender, Warschawer jiidischer, Eppelberg's. A historisch- 

literarisch-wissenschaftliches Buch, mit Annoncen. Warsaw, 

1888. 8vo. 
Volksbibliothek, Die jiidische. A Buch fur Literatur, Kritik 

un' Wissenschaft. Herausgegeben vun Scholem Aleechem 

(S. Rabinowitsch). 2 vols. Kiev, 1888-1889. 8vo. 
Bibliothek, Die kleine jiidische. A Sammlung vun Gedichte, 

Feuilletons, Erzaehlungen un' Jedies vun die jiidische Kolonies 

in Erzisroel. Herausgegeben vun der judischer Bibliothek in 

Odessa, 1888. 4to. 
Volksfreund. The Volksfreund. The only Jewish Weekly 

Journal of America. Editor, J. S. Glick. New York, 1889. 

8vo. 
Menschenfreund. Der. Belletristische Wochenschrif t fur Neues, 

Literatur, Kunst un' Unterhaltung, von N. M. Schaikewitsch. 

New York, 1889-1891. 4to. 
Wecker, Der kleiner. A Sammlung vun verschiedene Artikel 

un' Gedichte. Herausgegeben vun Odessar gute Freund' vun'm 

jiidischen Loschen. 1890. 4to. 
Bibliothek, Die jiidische. A Zurnal fiir Literatur, Gesellschaft 

un' Oekonomie. Erscheint zwei Mai jahrlich. Redaktirt un' 

herausgegeben durch J. L. Perez. Warsaw, 1891- (Only three 

numbers have so far been issued.) 8vo. 
*Freie Welt, Die. The Free World. A monatlicher sozialisti- 

scher Zurnal, arausgegeben vun der Gruppe 'Freie Welt.' 

London, 1891-1892. 4to. Only ten numbers of 24 pp. each 

have appeared. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 359 

Handelskalender, Der jiidischer. Auf fiinf Jahr, 1891-1896. A 
historisch-literarisch wissenschaftliches Buch mit Annoncen. 
Redaktor un' Flerausgeber J. Bernas. Warsaw, 1891. 8vo. 

Heilige Land, Das. Verschiedene Artiklen, Lieder un' Erzaeh- 
lungen wegen Jischuw Erez Jisroel. Herausgegeben vun 
Berthe Flekser un' Jisroel Narodizki. Zhitomir, 1891. 8vo. 

Zukunft, Die. The Future. A wissenschaftlich-sozialistische 
Monatschrift. Arausgegeben vun die jiidisch-sprechende Sek- 
zionen, S. A. P. vun Nord-Amerika. New York, 1892-1897. 4to. 

Pamilienkalender, Warschawer jiidischer. A Buch vun Li- 
teratur un' Gesellschaft. Herausgegeben vun M. Spektor. 
Warsaw, 1893-. 8vo. 

Stadtanzeiger, Der. Wissenschaftlicher Zurnal fiir Literatur, 
Kunst, Wissenschaf t un' Kommerz. Arausgegeben vun Philip 
Krantz un' A. M. Sharkansky. New York, 1893. 8vo. 

Volksfreund, Der. A literarisch-wissenschaftliche Sammlung 
herausgegeben vun N. Rosenblum. Odessa, 1894. (One num- 
ber only.) 8vo. 

Literatur un' Leben. A Sammelbuch fiir Literatur un' Gesell- 
schaft. Herausgegeben durch J. L. Perez. Warsaw, 1894. 8vo. 

Jontew-blattlech. J. L. Perez's Ausgaben. Warsaw, 1894-1896. 
8vo. Vun Peessach bis Peessach. Erste Serie. 10 Jontew- 
blattlech (1894-1895). 32 columns each. 1) Lekowed Pees- 
sach. 2) Feilenbogen. 3) Griines. 4) Tones. 5) Trost. 
6) Schofer. 7) Hoschane. 8) Lichtel. 9) Schabes-obs. 10) 
Hamen-tasch'. 
Zweite Serie, 1895-1896. 1) Kol Chamiro. 2) Der Omer. 3) 
Bikurim. 4) Tamus. 5) Le-Schono-t5wo. 6) Chamischo 
Osser. 7) Oneg Schabes. The first five of 64 columns each, 
the last two of 32 columns. 

Widerkol, Das. Spektor's Verlag. A Blattel auf wochendige 
Tag'. Warsaw, 1894. 8vo, 32 col. 

Lamteren, Der. Spektor's Verlag. A Blattel auf wochendige 
Tag'. Warsaw, 1894. 8vo, 32 col. 

Volkskalender, Der amerikanischer. The American People's 
Calendar. A Yearly Literary Review. By Alexander Hark- 
avy. New York, 1894-. 8vo. 

Neue "Welt, Die. The New "World. Ein wochentlicher Zurnal 
vun S. J. Silberstein. Published weekly in Jewish-German 
language. New York, 1894. (Only two numbers were issued.) 
8vo. 



360 APPENDIX 

Puck, Der judischer. The Hebrew 'Puck.' Weekly, editor 
M. R. Schaikewitsch. New York, 1894-1896. Fol. 

Freie Gesellschaft, Die. A monatlicher Zurnal fiir die fortge- 
schrittene Ideen, arausgegeben vun die 'Freie Gesellschaft 
Publ. Association.' Editors, M. Leontiev and M. Katz. New 
York, Vol. I. No. 1, October, 1895. 4to, 32 pp. 

Ernes, Der. The Emeth (Truth). A wochentliches Familien- 
blatt fiir Literatur un' Aufklarung. Editor, M. Winchevsky. 
Boston, 1895. Fol. 

Volkskalender, Judischer. Redigirt vun Gerschom Bader. 
Lemberg, 1895. 8vo. 

Wahrheit, Die. Monatschrift zur Unterhaltung und Belehrung, 
von Hirsch Loeb Gottlieb. M.-Sziget. 1896 (2 numbers only). 
8vo. 

Hatikwoh, Die Hoffnung. Journal Hebdomadaire pour les 
Israelites. Erscheint jeden Freitag. Organ fiir Politik, Lite- 
ratur, Wissenschaft und hauptsachlich jiidisch-nationale Inter- 
essen. Redaktor un' Herausgeber J. Bernas. Paris, 1897-. Fol. 

Neuer Geist, Der. The New Spirit. Monatschrift fiir Wissen- 
schaft, Literatur un' Kunst. Erscheint jeden Monat. Pub- 
lisher, Sigmund Kantrowitz. New York, 1897-1898. 4to. 

Neue Welt, Die. The New World. Erscheint monatlich. 
Arausgegeben vun A. M. Sharkansky. New York, 1897. 8vo. 

Arbeiter, Der judischer. Organ fiir die Interessen der jiidischen 
Arbeiter in Russland, herausgegeben vun der " Gruppe ju- 
discher Sozial-demokraten in Russland," 1897. 4to. 

Zeit, Die. The Time. Monatlicher Zurnal far Literatur, Unter- 
haltung un' jiidische Interessen. Redaktirt un' arausgegeben 
vun M. M. Dolitzky. New York, 1898. 4to. 

Neue Zeit, Die. The New Time. Wissenschaftliche Monat- 
schrift. Arausgegeben vun die jiidisch-sprechende Sekzion 
vun der sozialist. Arbeiterpartei vun Nord-Amerika. New 
York, 1898-. 4to. 



SONG-BOOKS 



Lieder-magasin. Magazine of Songs. Published by J. Katzen- 
ellenbogen. New York, 1898. Folio. Pt. I. 10 pp.; Pt. II. 
10 pp. ; Pt. III. 10 pp. ; Pt. IV. 11 pp. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 361 

Neuer Singer, Der. In 3 Theilen. 1. Theil. Die neueste 
Theaterlieder vun die beste Verfasser. II. Theil. Sehr 
schoene Witzen mit Pictures zum Lachen. III. Theil. Der 
Album. Verschiedene Bilder vun judische Verfasser. New 
York, s. a. 16mo, 29 and (30) pp. and adv. 

Liederalbum, Der. A Sammlung vun alle jadische Theater- 
lieder, Konzertlieder, Kupleten un' Volkslieder. Erster 
Buch. Alle Theaterlieder, mehr wie 200 Lieder vun alle 
judische Theaterstucke, gesammelt un' zusammengestellt in 
Ordnung vun Rosenbaum un' Werbelowski. The Song- 
Album. New York, s. a. 16mo, 240 pp. 

Kupleten un' judische Theaterlieder, Alle Kupleten, komische 
un' humoristische, fur der jiidischer Biihne verfasst vun Sig- 
mund Mogulesco, un' alle Theaterlieder vun Kaprisne Tochter 
vun A. Goldfaden, Katorznik, un' Der Jiidischer Prinz vun 
Schomer. New York, 1888. lOmo, 36 pp. 

Judische Theaterlieder. 25. Auflage. In 4 Theilen, etc. Die 
alle Lieder vun dem Buch seinen verfasst vun die beste Ver- 
fassers un' Dichters so wie A. Goldfaden, A. Zunser, Ben Nez, 
A. Harkavy, Professor Selikowitsch, Edelstadt, D. Apotheker, 
M. Rosenfeld, u. s. w. New York, 1894. 16mo, 74 pp. and 
adv. 

Judische Theater un' Volkslieder. Ausgewahlte Lieder vun 
die beste judische Dichter. Erster Theil. Das Fiedele. 
New York, s. a. 16mo, 56 and (5) pp. and adv. 



AUTHORS 



A. R. S. Reb Tanchum der Mekabel. Einige neue judische 
Volkslieder aus dem Panorama des russisch-polnischen jii- 
dischen Lebens. Jassy, 1883. 16mo, 16 pp. 

Abasch. Jekele Kundas. Sehr a schoene Maisse, was hat sich 
nit lang verloffen in a klein Stadtel in Polen. Geschrieben 
vun dem Korewer Bocher. Warsaw, 1879. 8vo, 95 pp. 

Abramowitsch, Ch. E. Die Jiiden. Ein Lustspiel in drei un' 
zwanzig Vorstellungen von dem weltberiihmten Verfasser in 
der deutschescher Sprache, A. W. Lessing. Wilna, 1879. 16mo, 
68 pp. 



362 APPENDIX 

Abramowitsch, S. J. *Das kleine Menschele, oder A Lebensbe- 
schreibung vim Jizchok Awrohom Takif. Gedruckt be-Hisch- 
tadlus Mendele Mocher Sforim. . . . Begun in Kol-mewasser, 
Vol. II. No. 45. (Odessa, 1864.) 
The same. (Gar in ganzen auf das Neu iibergemacht.) Wilna, 
1879. 8vo, 132 pp. 

* Das Wiinschfingerl, was mit dem k'ann itlicher Mensch dergrei- 

chen allsding, was sein Harz wiinscht un' begehrt, un' durch- 
dem niitzlich sein sich un' der Welt. Warsaw, 1865. (?) 
The same, greatly increased, but unfinished, in Die judische 
Volksbibliothek, Vols. I. and II. 

* Die Takse, oder Die Bande Stadt-bal-towes. Zhitomir, 1869. 

8vo. 
The same. Wilna, 1872. 8vo, 88 pp. 
*Fischke der Krummer, a Maisse vun judische areme Leut'. 

Zhitomir, 1869. 
The same. (In Alle Ksowim vun Mendele Mocher Sforim, Vol. 

I.) Odessa, 1888. (Second edition, written entirely anew.) 

8vo, 158 pp. 

* Der Luf tballon. (Written in conjunction with L. Bienstock.) 

Zhitomir, 1869. 

Der Fisch, was hat eingeschlungen Jone Hanowi. Vun die 
Mechabrim vun'm Luf tballon A. B. (Herausgegeben vun 
der Redakzje vun'm Kol-mewasser.) (In conjunction with 
L. Bienstock.) Odessa, 1870. 16mo, 21 pp. 

Die Klatsche, oder Zar-bale-chaim. A Maisse, was hat sich 
varwalgert zwischen die Ksowim vun Jisrolik dem Meschu- 
genem. Wilna, 1873. 8vo, 119 pp. 

The same. (In Alle Ksowim vun M. M. S., Vol. II.) Odessa, 
1889. 8vo, 128 pp. 

The same. (In Jewish Classics Issued Quarterly, Vol. I. No. I.) 
New York, 1898. 8vo, 121 pp. 

The same. Polish translation : Szkapa (" Die Klatsche ") Z ory- 
ginafu napisanego w zargonie zydowskim przez S. Abramo- 
wicza, przeJozyf i objasnieniami opatrzyf Klemens Junosza. 
Warszawa. NakJadem ksie,garni A. Gruszeckiego, 1886. 
16mo, 197 pp. 

Der Ustaw iiber woinski Powinnost, wissotschaische utwerdet 
dem ersten Januar in Jahr 1874. ttbersetzt vun S. Abramo- 
witsch un' L. Bienstock. Zhitomir, 1874. 8vo, 135 pp. 






BIBLIOGRAPHY 363 

Jiidel. A Ssipur-ha-Maisse in Schirim. In two parts. Warsaw, 

1875. 16mo, 105 + 117 pp. 
The same. (In Jewish Classics Issued Quarterly, Vol. I. No. 2.) 

New York, 1898. 8vo, 123 pp. 
Smires Jisroel. Schabesdige Smires, vardeutscht in Schirim un' 

gut derklart, Bichdej itlicher Jiid' besunder Soil varstehn 

sejer teuern Wert, Wie schoen see senen a Gott's Wunder. 

Zhitomir, 187.5. 16mo, 82 pp. 
Perek Schiro. Zhitomir, 1875. 8vo, 124 pp. 
Kizur Maisses Binjamin ha-Schlischi, das heisst Die Nessie, oder 

a Reisebeschreibung vun Binjamin dem Dritten, was er is auf 

seine Nessies vergangen het weit az unter die Horee Choschech 

un' hat sich genug angesehn un' angehort Chiduschim schoene 

Sachen, was see senen arausgegeben gewor'en in alle schiwim 

Leschones un' heunt auch in unser Loschen. Sseefer rischon. 

Wilna, 1878. 8vo, 96 pp. 
*The same. Polish translation: Donkiszot zydowski, szkic z 

literatury zargonowej zydowskiej. Przez K. Junoszy. War- 

szawa. 8vo, 156 pp. 
Der Prizyw. A Drame in fiinf Akten. St. Petersburg, 1884. 

8vo, 87 pp. 
Abramsky, G. Bomas Jischok, etc. s. 1. e. a. 8vo, 30 pp. 
Aksenfeld, I. Der erste jiidische Rekrut in Russland im Jahre 

5587 (1827) am Tage der Publicirung des betreffenden Ukases. 

Ein komisch-tragischer Roman in j iidisch-deutschem Jargon. 

(Leipsic, 1862.) 8vo, 58 pp. 
Das Stemtiichel, oder Schabes Chanuke in Mesibis. (Leipsic, 

K. W. Vollrath, 1862?.) 8vo, 140 pp. 
Mann un' Weib. Schwester un' Bruder. Ein emesse Maisse, 

bearbet in a Theaterstiick, in zwei Akten. Odessa, M. Bei- 

linsohn, 1867. 8vo, 68 pp. 
Sammtliche Werke. *Das vierte Biichel. Die genarrte Welt. 

Odessa, 1870. 16mo. 
The same. Das fiinf te Biichel. Kabzen-Oscher-Spiel. A Drama 

in zwei Akten. Odessa, 1870. 16mo, 72 pp. 
Apotheker, D. Hanewel. Die Leier. Czernowitz, 1881. 8vo, 

79 pp. 
Beilinsohn, M. A. Gwures Jehudo Michabi oder Nes-Chanuko 

(Chanuke-spiel). A Drama in fiinf Akten. Verfasst in 

Englisch vun dem beriihmten amerikanischen Dichter (Poet) 



364 APPENDIX 

Longfellow unter'n Namen "Judas Maccabaeus"; iibergesetzt 
kimat in alle europ'aische Sprachen, un' auf Russisch in Evrej- 
skaja Biblioteka (Vol. 5, 1875); jetzt in Judisch-deutsch . 
Odessa, 1$82. 4to, 20 pp. 
Golus Schpania. A historischer Roman aus der judischen Ge- 
schichte, etc. Ubersetzt (from the German of Philippsohn) 
im Judischen. Odessa, 1894. 8vo, 158 and (2) pp. 
Berenstein, S. Magasin vun jiidische Lieder far dem judischen 
Volk. Zhitomir, 1869. 16mo, 84 pp. 
The same. Warsaw, 1880. 8vo, 73 pp. 
Bernstein, S. Reb Jochze Dalgeje. A Komodie mit a Roman 

in 5 Akten. Erster Theil. Kishinev, 1884. 8vo, 32 pp. 

Blaustein, E. Die finstere Welt. Ein Bild der vergangenen Zei- 

ten. Ein Roman in vier Theilen. Wilna, 1881. 8vo, 269 pp. 

Die Weisse mit die Schwarze, oder Die Liebe vun a Wilden. 

Frei ubersetzt aus dem Franzoesischen, verbreitet un' bearbei- 

tet. (2 parts.) Wilna, 1894. 8vo, 80 and 78 pp. 

Wichne Dwosche fahrt zunick vun Amerika. Ein humoristische 

Erzaehlung. (2 parts.) Wilna, 1894. 8vo, 40 and 50 pp. 
Wichne Dwosche fahrt nach Amerika. Eine humoristische Er- 
zaehlung. Wilna, 1895. 16mo, 32 pp. 
Brettmann, M. Der chsidischer Unterhalt. Ein emesse Maisse. 

Odessa, 1868. 8vo, 42 pp. 
Brjanski, I. Die erste Aweere. Erinnerungen vun die kin- 

dersche Jahren. St. Petersburg, 1887. 16mo, 23 pp. 
Brodawski, Ch. Die Assife in der Stadt Ezjon Gower. Berdi- 

chev, 1889. 16mo, 100 pp. 
Broder, Berel. Schiree Simro. Zhitomir, 1876. 16mo, 95 pp. 

The same. Warsaw, 1882. 16mo, 96 pp. 
Buchbinder, A. I. Der Blumengarten. Satirische scharf kritische 
erenste Maimorim ; Anekdoten, Schailes u-Tschuwes, Mischlee 
Mussor, Schirim, kurze interessante Erzaehlungen un' wissen- 
schaftliche Artiklen. Wilna, 1885. 8vo, 76 pp. 
Der judischer Minister. A historischer Roman vun der letzter 
Zeit, ehder man hat die Jiiden arausge trie ben vun Spanien. 
Frei ubersetzt. Odessa, 1890. 8vo, 48 pp. 
Das jiidische Aschires in Palestina. Material zu der Historie 

vun Jischuw Erez Isroel. Wilna, 1891. 8vo, 40 pp. 
Die blutige Inquisizie. A historischer Roman, ubersetzt. Wilna, 
1895. 8vo, 104 pp. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 365 

Cahan, Ab. Wie as5 Refoeel Naarizoch is' gewor'en a Sozialist. 

New York, 1896. 8vo, 80 pp. 
Chaschkes, M. Lieder vom Herzen. Cracow, 1888. 16mo, 48 pp. 
Dick, A. M. (Anonymous.) Der Goel. Wilna, 1866. 16mo, 

88 pp. 
(Anonymous.) Der Miljonar. Wilna, 1868. 16mo, 48 pp. 
(Anonymous.) Die freundliche Briider Elieser un' Naftali. 

Wilna, 1868. 16mo, 56 pp. 
(Anonymous.) Der todte Gast. Wilna, 1869. 16mo, 64 pp. 
(Anonymous.) Der Litwak in Wolinien. Wilna, 1870. 16mo, 

40 pp. 
(Anonymous.) Die Bluthochzeit in Paris und ein Etwas vun 

der Reformazion in Teutschland. Wilna, 1870. 16mo, 48 pp. 
(A. M. D.) Feigele der Magid. (Translation from A. Bern- 
stein.) Wilna, 1868. 16mo, 44 pp. 
(A. M. D.) Reb Schlomele der Pair vun der Khile N., oder der 

Depo (Magasin) vun Bakalejen (Bsomim). (Translation from 

the Russian of Lewanda.) Wilna, 1870. 16mo, 144 pp. 
(A. M. D.) Der erster Nabor, was war in dem Jahr ThKPCh 

(1828). Wilna, 1871. 16mo, 36 pp. 
(A. M. D.) Der ungebetene Gast. Wilna, 1871. 16mo, 47 pp. 
(A. M. D.) Der Hauslehrer. Wilna, 1872. 16mo, 48 pp. 
(A. M. D.) Der jiidischer Student Josef Kamenicki. (From 

the Polish.) Wilna, 1872. 16mo, 46 pp. 
(A. M. D.) Witzen un' Spitzen, oder Anekdoten. Wilna, 1873. 

16mo, 44 pp. 
(A. M. D.) Eine Reise in Afrika. (Translation.) Wilna, 1873. 

16mo, 48 pp. 
(A. M. D.) Die edele Rache, oder Die Nekome. Wilna, 1875. 

16mo, 44 pp. 
(A. M. D.) Ssipuree Mussor, oder Moralische Erzaehlungen. 

Wilna, 1875. 16mo, 42 pp. 
(A. M. D.) Alte jiidische Sagen oder Ssipurim. Wilna, 1876. 

16mo, 43 pp. 
(A. M. D.) Die alte Liebe rostet nicht. Wilna, 1876. 16mo, 

79 pp. 
(A. M. D.) Der Schiwim-mahlzeit. W T ilna, 1877. 16mo, 90 pp. 
(A. M. D.) Die Grisetke, oder Die Naehterke un' Putzmacherin. 

Wilna, 1877. 16mo, 50 pp. 
(A. M. D.) Der Fortepianist. Wilna, 1878. 18mo, 88 pp. 



366 APPENDIX 

(A. M. D.) Der jiidische Poslanik un' Die Nacht var der 

Chupe. Wilna, 1880. 8vo, 64 and 36 pp. 
(A. M. D.) Die Lebensgeschichte vun Note Ganew. Wilna, 

1887. 8vo, 76 pp. 
(A. M. D.) Das grosse Geheimniss. Eine sehr interessante 

Erzaehlung. Wilna, 1887. 8vo, 63 pp. 
(A. M. D.) Ewgenie oder die Geheimnisse vun dem franzoe- 

sischen Hof. (From the French of F. Born.) Wilna, 1889. 

8vo, 102 and 122 and 112 and 96 pp. 
(A. M. D.) Der Sultan oder Die Geheimnisse vun dem tiir- 

kischen Hof. (From the French of F. Born.) Wilna, 1895. 

8vo, Vol. I. 80 and 80 pp. ; Vol. II. 80 and 84 pp. ; Vol. III. 76 

and 88 pp. ; Vol. IV. 80 and 74 pp. 
Dienesohn. J. * Himmel un' Erd', Dunner un' Blitz. Wilna. 
Ha-Neehowim weha-Nimim, oder Der schwarzer junger Manzik. 

Roman. Wilna, 1875. 8vo, in four parts; 64 and 102, and? 
The same. Vierte Auflage. Wilna, 1889. 8vo, 53 and 72 and 

57 and 76 pp. 
Zwei Brief zu a Mechaber. (Reprint from the Volksblatt.) St. 

Petersburg, 1885. 8vo, 42 pp. 
Ewen Negef, oder A Stein in Weg. Roman. (Two parts.) War- 
saw, 1890. 8vo, 358 pp. 
Herschele. A Roman vun kleinst'adteldigen Leben. (Reprint 

from Jiidische Bibliothek.) Warsaw, 1895. 4to, 179 pp. 
Dlugatsch, M. Der Schlimmasel. A verschleppte, kritische, 

humoristische Kr'ank. Pankiwet nit Keinem un' sagt Jeden 

aus dem Emes. Lemberg, 1883. 8vo, 30 pp. 
Die Welt-messore. Zusammengeklieben, zunaufgezebert, zu- 

naufgeklapotschet vun alte, verschimmelte, verzwjetete Jii- 

den. . . . Warsaw, 1895. 8vo, 68 pp. 
Edelatadt, D. Volksgedichte. Popular poems. New York, 

1895. 16mo, 124 pp. 
Ehrenkranz-Zbarzer. B. W. Makel Noam. Volkslieder in pol- 

nisch jiidischer Mundart mit hebraischer Uebersetzung. Lem- 
berg, Erstes Heft (second edition), 1969 (sic ! ), 8vo, 164 pp ; 

(second part), 1868. 8vo, 200 pp. ; Drittes Heft, 1873. 8vo, 

125 + (3) pp. ; Viertes Heft, 1878. 8vo, 127 pp. 
Makal Chowlim. Przemysl, 1869. 8vo, 39 pp. 
Eiserkes, M. M. Der Privatlehrer. Bilder aus dem galizischen 

Leben. Drohobycz, 1897-1898. 8vo, 4 vols. 124 and 153 

and 131 and 138 pp. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 367 

Eppelberg, H. Esterke. Drama in 5 Akten, nach verschiedene 

Quellen bearbeitet. Warsaw, 1890. 8vo, 76 pp. 
Epstein, M. Der geschmissener Apikores, oder A Cholere in 

Duranowke. A Theater-spiel. Warsaw, 1879. 16mo, 37 pp. 
Lemech der Balschem, oder Zwei Chassanim unter ein Chupe. 

A Maisse in Schirim geschrieben. Odessa, 1880. 16mo, 

64 pp. 
Ettinger, S. Serkele, oder Die falsche Jahrzeit. Komodie in 

fiinf Akten, geschehn in Lemberg. (New edition from the 

Johannisburg edition of 1861.) Warsaw, 1875. 8vo, 80 pp. 
Mescholim, Liedelech, kleine Maisselech un' Katoweslech, eigene 

un' nachgemachte, vun Dr. Schlome Ettinger. Herausgegeben 

durch W. Ettinger. St. Petersburg, 1889. 8vo, 254 pp. 
The same. Zweite Ausgabe. St. Petersburg, 1890. 
P., A. Der Varblondziter, oder Das Lebensbeschreibung vun 

Wigderil ben Wigderil. Warsaw, 1870. 8vo, 64 pp. 
Falkowitsch, J. B. Reb Chaimel der Kozen. Ein Theater in 4 

Akten. Bearbeitet nach K. Geschrieben in St. Petersburg in 

1864. Odessa, 1866. 8vo, 166 pp. 
Rochele die Singerin. Ein Theater in 4 Akten, bearbeitet nach 

S. und R. K. Zhitomir, 1868. 8vo, 125 pp. 
Feder, S. S. Schiro Chadoscho. Ganz neue unterhaltliche Er- 

zaehlungen. Vorstellungen mit grossartige Volkslieder. Lem- 
berg, 1891. 16mo, 78 and 78 pp. 
Fischsohn, A. Der neuer Singer. Kiev, 1890. 16mo, 24 pp. 
Frischmann, D. Jiidische Volksbibliothek. I. Kleinigkeiten. 

(Tarnow, 1894.) 16mo, 32 pp. 
Lokschen, a Bl'attel zur Unterhaltung. Verfasst durch A. Gold- 
berg. Warsaw, 1894. 8vo, 26 col. 
A Floh vun Tische-bow, verfasst vun Awrohom Goldberg. A 

schwarz, springendig, lebedig, beissendig Blattel. Warsaw, 

1894. 8vo, 30 col. 
Frug, S. Lieder un' Gedanken. Odessa, 1896. 8vo, 160 pp. 
Frumkis, S. Die treue Liebe. Ein Roman der neuer Zeit als 

Lustspiel (Komodie) in 4 Akten. Wilna, 1891. 8vo, 103 pp. 
Gildenblatt, Ch. D. Bei'n Saten in Hand, oder Der verk'aufter 

Chossen. A Roman in zwei Theil. Wilna, 1895. 8vo, 

112 pp. 
Awremele Bal-agole. Ein kleine Erzaehlung. Wilna, 1895. 

16mo, 32 pp. 



368 APPENDIX 

Aisikel Lez, oder Zuriick auf'n gleichen Weg. Ein emesse 
Maisse, was hat sich getroffen in zwei Stadtlach "Naiwke" 
un' Duniowiz." Wilna, 1895. 16mo, 32 pp. 
Ein lebedige Mazeewe. A Bild vun a jiidische Tochter. Wilna, 
1895. 16mo, 32 pp. 
Goido, J. Der neuer Prozentnik. A Maisse. Wilna, 1893. 16mo, 
62 pp. (Two parts.) 
Vun Sawod in Bad. A Bild. (Vun A. Lebensohn.) Wilna, 

1893. 16mo, 32 pp. 
Der Ssowest is' verf alien. Nach Schtschedrin. Wilna, 1894. 

16mo, 32 pp. 
Dawid ben Dawid (Copperfield). A Roman. Frei ubersetzt 
vun Englisch. (4 parts, only half of the novel published.) 
Wilna, 1894. 8vo, 104 and 116 and 127 and 83 pp. 
Die judisch-amerikanische Volksbibliothek. Erscheint perio- 
disch, ein Mai in zwei Wochen. Brooklyn, N.Y., 1897. 8vo, 
16 pp. each. 
No. 1. Die Geschmissene. A Bild vun A. Lebensohn. 

Erster Theil. 
No. 2. The same. Zweiter Theil. 
No. 3. Die Agune. Vun B. Gorin. Erster Theil. 
No. 4. Schalach Mones. Vun B. Gorin. 
No. 5. Die Agune. Zweiter Theil. 
No. 6. Lekowed Peessach. 
No. 7. WemesKorben? Erster Theil. 
Goldf aden, A. Das Jiidele. Jiidische Lieder auf prost jiidischer 
Sprach'. Herausgegeben vun J. Bernas un' N. A. Jakobi. 
Warsaw, 1892. 16mo, 108 pp. 
Die Jiidene. Verscheidene Gedichte un' Theater in Prost- 

judischen. Odessa, 1872. 8vo, 92 pp. 
Schabssiel. Poema in zehn Kapitel. (Gedanken nach dem 

Pogrom in Russland.) Cracow, 1896. 8vo, 44 pp. 
Hozmach's Kr'amel vun verschiedene Antiken, 25 jiidische Volks- 
lieder, was senen gesungen gewor'en in Goldfaden's judischen 
Theater, zusammengeklieben vun Awrohom Jizchok Tanz- 
mann. Warsaw, 1891. 16mo, 88 pp. 
Schmendrig, oder Die komische Chassene. A Komodie in drei 

Akten. Warsaw, 1890. 8vo, 40 pp. 
Die Kischefmacherin (Zauberin). Operette in 5 Akten un' in 
8 Bilder. New York, 1893. 8vo, 66 pp. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 369 

Die kaprisne Kale-maid, oder Kabzensohn et Hungermann. 

Melodrama in 4 Akten un' in 5 Bilder. Warsaw, 1887. 8vo, 

46 pp. 
Der Fanatik, oder Die beide Knni-Lemel. Operette in 4 Akten 

un' in 8 Bilder. Warsaw, 1887. Svo, 62 pp. 
Die Bobe mit dem Enikel, oder Bonzje die Knotlechlegerin. 

Melodrama in 3 Akten mit Gesang. Warsaw, 1891. 8vo, 

40 pp. 
Doktor Almosado, oder Die Jiiden in Palermo. Historische 

Operette in 5 Akten un' in 11 Bilder, bearbeitet vun einem 

deutschen Roman. Warsaw, 1887. 8vo, 62 pp. 
Bar Kochba (Der Suhn vun dem Stern), oder Die letzte Tag' 

vun Jeruscholaim. Eine musikalische Melodrama in Reimen, 

in 4 Akten un' ein Prolog mit vierzehn Bilder. Warsaw, 1887. 

8vo, 84 pp. 
Schulamis, oder Bas Jeruscholaim. Eine musikalische Melo- 
drama in Reimen un' in 4 Akten un' 15 Bilder. Warsaw, 

1891. 8vo, 64 pp. 
Rabbi Joselmann, oder Die Gseeres vun Elsass. Historische 

Oper in fiinf Akten, in 23 Bilder. Lemberg, 1892. 8vo, 

68 pp. 
Theater vun Koenig Achaschwerusch, oder Koenigin Esther. 

Biblische Operetten in 5 Akten und 15 Bildern. Lemberg, 

1890. 8vo, 56 pp. 
Das X. Gebot. Komische Operetten (Zauber-marchen) in 5 

Acten, 10 Verwandlungen u. 28 Bildern. Cracow, 1896. 8vo, 

76 pp. 
Die Opferung Isaak oder Die Zerstbrung von Sodom und Go- 

mora. Biblische Operette in 4 Acten und 40 Bildern. Cracow, 

1897. Svo, 70 pp. 
Golomb, E. Chad Gadjo un' ein Schreckenes vun hundert 

Randlich. Zwei wunderbare Legenden. Vun Peessach zum 

Sseeder. Wilna, 1893. 16mo, 32 pp. 
Gordin, J. Medea, a historische Tragodie in 4 Akten. Bearbei- 
tet fur der jiidischer Biihne fur die grosse tragische Schau- 

spielerin Madam K. Lipziu. New York, 1897. 8vo, 47 pp. 
Gordon, M. Schiree M. Gordon. Jiidische Lieder. Warsaw, 

1889. 8vo, 111 pp. 
Gordon, J. L. Ssichas Chulin. Lieder in der Volkssprache. 

Warsaw, 1886. 16mo, 92 pp. 



370 APPENDIX 

Gottlober, A. B. Der Decktuch, oder Zwei Chupes in ein Nacht. 

A Komodie in drei Akten. Arausgegeben vun Josef Werblein- 

ski. Warsaw, 1876. 16mo, 72 pp. 
*Das Lied vun'm Kugel. Parodie auf Schillers Lied von der 

Glocke. Odessa, 1863. 8vo, 24 pp. 
Der Sseim, oder Die grosse Assife in Wald, wenn die Chajes 

haben ausgeklieben dem Loeb far a Meelech, vun A. B. G. 

Zhitomir, 1869. 16mo, 47 pp. 
Der Gilgel, ein humoristische Erzaehlung. Herausgegeben vun 

dem Gabes Enekel. Warsaw, 1896. 8vo, 74 pp. 
Harkavy, A. Washington, der erster President vun die Vereinigte 

Staaten. Mit Beilage : Die Unabhangigkeitserklahrung in 

Englisch un' Judisch. New York, 1892. 8vo, 32 pp. 
Columbus, oder Die Entdeckung vun Amerika. 2te Auflage. 

New York, 1897. 8vo, 32 pp. 
Geschichte vun Don Quixote vun Miguel Cervantes, ubersetzt 

vun Spanisch mi' verglichen mit der englischer un deutscher 

Ubersetzung. (In The Classical Library, 37 numbers.) New 

York, 1897-98. 8vo, 590 pp. 
Hermalin, D. M. Der terkischer Moschiach. A historisch- 

romantische Schilderung iiber dem Leben un' Wirken vun 

Schabsi Zwi. New York, 1898. 8vo, 64 pp. 
Jdschua ha-Nozri. Sein Erscheinen, Leben un' Todt. Allgemeiner 

Uberblick wegen der Entstehung vun Christenthum. Entwick- 

lung un' Eindruck vun dieser Religion auf der Menschheit. 

Geschildert vun a historischen Standpunkt. New York, 1898. 

8vo, 64 pp. 
Hoclibaura, S. Ein Familien-unterhalt vun drei Geschichten. 

Odessa, 1869. 16mo, 48 pp. 
Hornstein, G. O. Slidniewker lebende Photographie, oder A 

Cholem in Cholem. Eine kritisch-phantastische Erzaehlung. 

Berdichev, 1891. 8vo, iv and 56 pp. 
Kinor Hazwi (Die Harfe). Verschiedene tonisch-metrische 

Gedichte. Berdichev, 1891. 8vo, 68 pp. 
Isabella. Der reicher Vetter. Erzaehlung. Warsaw, 1895. 16mo, 

27 pp. 

Vun Gliick zum Keewer. Erzaehlung. Warsaw, 1895. 16mo, 

28 pp. 

Kalmus, U. Der Kommission'ar Welwele Tareramtschik. Thea- 
ter in 5 Akten. Warsaw, 1880. 16mo, 112 pp. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 371 

Schmerele Trostinezer. Theater in drei Akten. Warsaw, 1883. 

16mo, 50 pp. 
A Weib' an Arure un' a Mann a Malach. Ein sehr interessante 

Begebenheit. St. Petersburg, 1887. 16mo, 24 pp. 
Katzenellenbogen, Raschi. Judische Melodien oder Volks- 

lieder. Wilna, 1887. 16mo, 86 pp. 
Kobrin, L. Jankel Boile. Vun dem jiidischen Fischerleben in 

Russland un' andere Erzaehlangen. Realistic Library. Issued 

quarterly. Vol. I. No. 1. New York, 1898. 8vo, 111 pp. 
Lefin, M. M. Sseefer Koheles. Odessa, 1873. 8vo, 77 and (3) pp. 
Lerner, J. J. Der Vetter Mosche Mendelssohn. A dramatisches 

Bild in ein Akt, nach dem Deutschen far der jiidischer Biihne 

bearbeitet. Warsaw, 1889. 8vo, 26 pp. 
Uriel Akosta. A Tragodie in fiinf Akten vun Karl Gutzkow. 

Far der jiidischer Szene iibersetzt un' arrangirt. Zweite 

Auflage. Warsaw, 1889. 8vo, 80 pp. 
2idowka, Die Jiidin. A Tragodie in fiinf Akten. Nach ver- 

schiedene Quellen bearbeitet. Warsaw, 1889. 8vo, 68 pp. 
Chanuke. A historische Drama in vier Akten in sieben Bilder. 

Warsaw, 1889. 8vo, 54 pp. 
Rothschild. A Beschreibung . . . Odessa, 1869. 8vo, 34 pp. 
Levinsohn, L. Die weibersche Kniipplach, ein Theaterspiel in 

fiinf Akten geschrieben, herausgegeben vun MIWM. Wilna, 

1881 (from ed. of 1874). 16mo, 44 pp. 
Lew, M. A. Hudel. A Poema in Gedichte. Kishinev, 1888. 

8vo, 64 pp. 
Lilienblum, M. L. Serubowel, oder Schiwas Sion. A Drama in 

fiinf Akten. Odessa, 1887. 8vo, 55 pp. 
Linetzki, J. J. *Das polische Jiingel, oder A Biographie vun 

sich allein. Drinnen is' geschildert akurat der polischer Chos- 

sid vun Geborenheit an, sein Erziehung, sein Bocher-leben, 

sein Chassene un' sein Parnosse mit alle Khols-sachen un' 

Gemeinde-leben. Odessa, 1875. 132 pp. 
Das chsidische Jiingel. Die Lebensbeschreibung vun a polischen 

Jiiden, vun sein Geboren bis sein Verloren. Zu der Zeit 

vun'm Anfang des jetzigen Jahrhundert, vun Eli Kozin Haz- 

chakueli. Die zweite, vollkommen ubergearbeitete Ausgabe, 

vun mein (Polischen Jiingel). Wilna, 1897. 8vo, 230 pp. 
Der boeser Marschelik. Satirische Volkslieder. Odessa, 1869. 

8vo, 96 pp. 



372 APPENDIX 

The same. (First part.) Warsaw, 1889. 8vo, 48 pp. 

*Das Meschulachas. Kartines vun'm jiidischen Leben. Odessa, 
1874. 94 pp. 

Der Welt-luach vun'm Jahr Ein Kessef, oder Die allgemeine 
Panorame, vun Eli Kozin Hazchakueli, Mechaber vun'm Po- 
lischen Jiingel. Odessa, 1875. 8vo, 94 pp. 

The same. (Zweite verbesserte Ausgabe.) Odessa, 1883. 8vo, 
86 pp. 

Linetzki's Ksowim. Das erste Heft : Die Pritschepe. Das zweite 
Heft: Der Statek. Kritische, satirische un' humoristische 
Maimorim un' Kartines. Odessa, 1876. 16mo, 127 pp. 

Die blutige Nekome, oder Jakow Tirada. In gesauberten jiidi- 
schen Zlargon. Warsaw, 1883. 8vo, 100 pp. 

The same. Warsaw, 1893. 8vo, 100 pp. 

Nassan ha-Chochem. Eine dramatische Unterhandlung iiber 
Emune un' Religion, verfasst in Deutschen vun G. E. Lessing. 
Odessa, 1884. 8vo, 80 pp. 

Linetzki's Ksowim. Odessa, 1888. Fol. Der Flederwisch, Der 
Schofer, Der Schnorrer, Der Plappler, Der Wicher, Das Dreh- 
del, Der Weiser, Der Milgram, Der Grager, Der Afikomen, 
Das Vogele, each of 8 pp. 

Chag ha-Jowel. Die Jubilee-feierung am siebzehnten Novem- 
ber 1890, welche man hat gefeiert in Odessa dem beriihmten 
Volksschreiber Jizchok Joel Linetzki zur Ende 25 Jahr vun 
seiner literarischer Thatigkeit. Odessa, 1891. 8vo, 48 pp. 
Meisach, J. Eesches Chail. Eine historische Erzaehlung in 4 
Akten un' 6 Bilder. Warsaw, 1890. 16mo, 80 pp. 

Die eifersiichtige Frau, oder Die erste Kochin. A Szene vun a 
Familienleben. Warsaw, 1893. 16mo, 31 pp. 

Der Spiegel fur Alle. Ein literarisches Buch. Enthalt ver- 
schiedene musterhafte Bilder aus dem jiidischen Leben in 
Reimen. Warsaw, 1893. 8vo, 32 pp. 

Nissim we-Nifloes. (Wunderliche Ssipurim), was die Babe oleho 
ha-Scholem hat erzaehlt. Warsaw, 1893. 16mo, 86 pp. 

Perl vun Jam ha-Talmud. Warsaw, 1893. 16mo, 32 pp. 

Ssipuree ha-Talmud. Warsaw, 1894. 8vo, 48 pp. 

Ssipuree Jeruscholaim. (Dritte Auflage.) Wilna, 1895. 16mo, 
72 pp. 

A Spazier-schiffel auf dem Jam ha-Talmud. Warsaw, 1895. 
16mo, 64 pp. 






BIBLIOGRAPHY 373 

Die zwei Wassertr'ager. A Maisse noro, was die Bobe hat der- 

z'ahlt ihr Enikel. Auch a schoene Maisse : A Spei in Ponim. 

Wilna, 1897. 16mo, 31 pp. 

Reb Lemel, oder Der Pariser Bankir. Wilna, 1897. 16mo, 32 pp. 

Mordechai ha-Zadik. A Ssipur aso gut wie a Roman, auch a 

Maisse-noro mit dem Kazew in Ganeeden. Wilna, 1897. 

16mo, 32 pp. 

Der Aschmedai, A schreckliche Maisse, was hat amal getroffen in 

die Zeiten vun Schlome ha-Melech. Wilna, 1898. 16mo, 31 pp. 

Natansohn, B. Papierene Briick', oder Die hefker Welt. RIBL's 

Lebensbeschreibung ; der Ssod vun Magnetism, auch was es 

thut sich auf jener Welt, etc. . . . Warsaw, 1894. 8vo, 78 pp. 

Ostrowski, S. M. Der Maskeradenball. A satirische Poeme in 

Versen. Warsaw, 1884. 16mo, 135 pp. 
Perez, J. L. Poesie. Warsaw, 1892. 16mo, 34 pp. 
Poesie. Zweites Heft. Monisch. Ballada. Warsaw, 1892, 

16mo, 40 pp. 
Bekannte Bilder. Verfroren gewor'en ! (Zweite Auflage.) War- 
saw, 1894. 8vo, 22 and 26 and 22 pp. 
Kleine Erzaehlungen. Zwei Bilder. Jossel Jeschiwe-bocher un' 
Das areme Jiingel. (Ausgabe vun J. Goido.) Wilna, 1894. 
16mo, 32 pp. 
Perel, M. Die Nacht vun Churban Jeruscholaim. Warsaw, 1892. 

8vo, 32 pp. 
Pinski, D. Brehm. Die Alien. Bearbeitet vun D. Puis. (J. L. 
Perez's Ausgaben.) Warsaw, 1894. 12mo, 52 pp. 
Reb Schlome. Erzaehlung. (J. L. Perez's Ausgaben.) Warsaw, 

1894. 12mo, 43 pp. 
Der grosser Menschenfreund un' Arab der Joch. Zwei Bilder. 

(Goido's Ausgaben.) Wilna, 1894. 16mo, 32 pp. 
A Verfallener. Drei Erzaehlungen. (Ausgaben " Zeitgeist.") 
Warsaw, 1896. 16mo, 65 pp. 
Rabinowitsch, S. Supplements of Volksblatt : 
1884, * No. 32-35. Natascha. 

* No. 39-40. Hocher un' Niedriger. 

1886, * No. 1- 6. Die Weltreise. 

* No. 19-22. Kinderspiel. 

1887, No. 20. Kinderspiel. A merkwiirdige Liebe vun 

a gepesteten, a gebaleweten, a reichen 
jiidischen Benjochid. 4to, 89 pp. 



374 APPENDIX 

1887, No. 26. A Chossen a Doktor (A Stubsach). 

16mo, 18 pp. 
No. 27. Lagbomer (A froehliche Geschichte mit 

a traurigen Ende. 16mo, 12 pp. 

1888, No. 23. Reb Sender Blank un' sein vullgeschatzte 

Familie. A Roman ohn' a Liebe. 
8vo, 104 pp. 
* Schomer's Mischpet. 
Das Messerl. (A narrische, nor a traurige Geschichte vun mein 

Kindheit.) St. Petersburg, 1887. 16rno, 26 pp. 
A Biintel Blumen oder Poesje ohn' Gramen. Berdichev, 1888. 

16mo, 45 pp. 
Supplements to the Volksbibliothek : 

Stempenju. A jiidischer Roman. 1888. 8vo, viii and 94 pp. 
Jossele Ssolowee. 1889. 8vo, (4) and 180 pp. 
Auf Jischuw Erzisroel. A Ssipur ha-Maisse. Kiev, 1890. 

16mo, 44 pp. 
Kol-mewasser zu der jiidischer Volksbibliothek. Odessa, 1892. 

4to, 40 pp. (80 columns.) 
Jaknehos, oder Das grosse Borsenspiel. A Komodie in vier 

Akten. Kiev, 1894. 32mo, 172 pp., but p. 32 is repeated 

13 times. 
Der jiidischer Kongress in Basel. Vorgelesen in alle Kiewer 

Botee-midroschim nach dem Ref erat vun Dr. M. Mandelstamm, 

bearbeitet in Zargon. Warsaw, 1897. 8vo, 30 pp. (Published 

by the Zionistic Society Achiassaf.) 
Auf was bedarfen Jiiden a Land? Etliche erenste Worter far'n 

Volk. Warsaw, 1898. 8vo, 20 pp. (Achiassaf). 
Moschiach's Zeiten. A zionistischer Roman. (Verlag Esra.) 

Berdichev, 1898. 16mo, 51 pp. (unfinished). 
Reichersohn, Z. H. Basni Krilow, oder Krilows Fabeln (Mes- 

cholim) in neun Abtheilungen, iibersetzt vun Russisch in 

Jiidisch-deutsch. (2 parts.) Wilna, 1879. 16mo, 156 and 

166 pp. 
Reingold, I. A Biintel Blumen. Volksgedichte. Chicago, 1895. 

16mo, 32 pp. 
Der Weltsinger. Prachtige Volkslieder. Chicago, 1894. 8vo, 

40 pp. 
Rombro, J. Die eiserne Maske, oder der unglucklicher Prinz. Ein 

historischer Roman aus dem Leben vun dem Koeniglichen Hof 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 375 

in der Zeit vun Ludwig dem 13ten in Frankreich. Frei iiber- 

setzt vim Ph. Krantz. Wilna, 1894. 8vo, 114 pp. 
Rosenfeld, M. Poesien un' Lieder. Erster Theil. Nazionale 

Lieder. Gedichte un' Lieder. New York, 1893. 8vo, 46 pp. 
Liederbuch. Erster Theil. New York, 1897. 8vo, 88 pp. 
Songs from the Ghetto. With Prose Translation, Glossary, and 

Introduction, by Leo Wiener. Boston, Copeland and Day, 

1898. 16mo, 115 pp. 
Sahik, D. Die Rose zwischen Darner. Ein Theater in 4 Akten. 

Petrokow, 1884. 8vo, 80 pp. 
Schafir, B. B. Schire-Bas-Ichuda. Lieder iiber die Verfolgung 

der Juden in Russland und den Antisemitismus in anderen 

Landern, in der Mundart der Juden Galiziens mit hebraischer 

Uebersetzung, gesungen von Bajrach Benedikt Schafir aus 

Przemysl [1883]. 16mo, 65 pp. 
Freudele die Maine. Lemberg, 1882. Long 16mo, 21 pp. 
Melodien aus der Gegend am San. Gedichte und Lieder in 

galizisch-judischem Dialekte. (2 parts.) Cracow, 1886. 

16mo, 75 and 85 pp. 
Schaikewitsch, N. M. Der Bal-tschuwe, oder Der falscher 

Chossen. Ein hochst interessanter Roman. Wilna. 1880. 

8vo, 170 pp. 
Der Rewisor. A Komodie in 4 Akten. Umgearbeitet frei vun 

der beruhmter russischer Komodie " Rewisor." Odessa, 1883. 

8vo, 56 pp. 
A Patsch vun sein lieben Namen. A kleiner Roman. Warsaw, 

1889. 8vo, 33 pp. 
Schapiro, W. Der Zwuak, oder Der maskirter Reb Zodek. A Ro- 
man. (Nach Mapu's Ait Zowua.) Odessa, 1896. 8vo, 235 pp. 
Schatzkes, M. A. Der judischer Var-Peessach, oder Minhag Jis- 

roel. A Ssipur Nino vun defn Art Leben vun unsere Juden, 

un' bejosser in der Lito, etc. Warsaw, 1881. 8vo, 180 pp. 

Many editions. 
Seiffert, M. Bei'm Thiir fun Ganeeden, oder A puster Cholem 

mit a grossen Ernes. A phantastischer Roman. New York, 

1898. 8vo, 64 pp. 
Itele un' Giitele. Roman aus dem jiidischen Leben in Lito. 

Wilna, 1891. 8vo, 219 pp. 
Sharkansky, A. M. Judische Nigunim. Poetical Works. New 

York, 1895. 8vo, 62 pp. 



376 APPENDIX 

Sobel, J. Z. Schir Sohow lekowed Jisroel ha-Soken. Ubersetzt 
in Jiidisch-deutsch, Jisroel der Alte. New York, 1877. 16mo, 
36 pp. 

Sobel, S. Siwugim, oder Die Wikuchim. Zum lustigen Zeit- 
vertreiben. Warsaw, 1874. 16mo, 86 pp. 

Spektor, M. * A Roman ohn' a Namen. Ein Erzaehlung vun dem 
jiidischen Leben. Zweite Auflage mit viel neue Kapitlich un' 
Verbesserungen. St. Petersburg, 1884. 8vo, 110 pp. 
Supplements to the Volksblatt : 

1884, *No. 1-31. Der judischer Muzik. 
No. 41-51. Reb Treitel. 

1885, *No. 1- 9. Reb Treitel. 

No. 9-17. A stummer guter Jud\ 8vo, 68 pp. 

*No. 18-50. Aniim we-Ewjonim. 

No. 50-51. Die Kramer in Aleksandria. 

1886, *No. 7-16. Judisch. 

*No. 24-42. A Welt mit kleine Weltelech. 
Der stummer Guter-Jiid'. Ein Erzaehlung vun der letzter rus- 

sisch-tiirkischer Krieg. Wilna, 1889. 8vo, 76 pp. 
Scholem Faiwischke die Kramerke. Zwei Maisses. Warsaw, 

1890. 16mo, 26 pp. 
The same, under the title: Weiberscher Erewjontew. 1892. 

16mo, 26 pp. 
Der modner Schuster. Roman. Berdichev, 1891. 16mo, 32 pp. 
The same. Warsaw, 1894. 16mo, 32 pp. 

A weibersche Neschome. Roman. Berdichev, 1891. 16mo, 32 pp. 
The same. Warsaw, 1894. 16mo, 32 pp. 
The same, under the title : Schoen un' Mies, oder Zwei Chawertes. 

Erzaehlung vun balebatischen Leben. Warsaw, 1895. 16mo. 

23 pp. 
The same. Russian translation, by M. Chaschkes. Dve podrugi. 

Psichologiceskij razskaz. (Reprint of Vilenskij Vestnik.) 

Wilna, 1895. 16mo, 21 pp. 
Chaim Jentes. Erzaehlung. Berdichev, 1892. 16mo, 32 pp. 
Der heuntiger judischer Muzik. Roman. Berdichev, 1892. 16mo, 

32 pp. 
Jiidische Studenten un' jiidische Tochter. Roman. 1892. 8vo, 

124 pp. 
Pnrim un' Peessach. Bilder un' Erzaehlungen. Berdichev, 1893. 

16mo, 36 pp. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 377 

Gut gelebt un' schoen gestorben. Erzaehlung. Warsaw, 1894. 

16mo, 28 pp. 
Supplements to the Hausfreund : 

1895. Reb Treitel. 8vo, 148 pp. 

1896. Drei Parschon. Erzaehlung vun die siebziger un' 

achziger Jahren. 8vo, 71 pp. 
Terr, J. Natur un' Leben. Romanen, Erzaehlungen, Dramen, 
Skizzen, Anekdoten, Poesie un' Witzen, gesammelte un' ori- 
ginelle. New- York, 1898. 8vo. 
Winchevsky, M. Lieder un' Gedichte. Poetical Works. Pub- 
lished by the Group " Yehi-Or." New York, 1894. 16mo, 
128 pp. (unfinished). 

Jehi Or. Eine Unterhaltung iiber die verkehrte Welt. Heraus- 
gegeben vun der Newarker Gruppe "Ritter der Freiheit." 
2te Herausgabe. Newark, N.J., 1890. 8vo, 24 pp. 
Zederbaum, A. Die Geheimnisse von Berdiczew. Eine Charac- 
terschilderung der dortigen jiidischen Gemeinde, als Muster 
der jiidischen Sitten. Warsaw, 1870. 8vo, 84 and (2) pp. 
Zuckermann, M. Der Meschugener in siebeten Himmel, oder 
A Reise auf dem Luftballon, von Jules Verne. Warsaw, 
1896. 8vo, 38 pp. 
Zunser, B. Kolrina. Neue acht Lieder. Wilna, 1870. 32mo, 64 pp. 

Schirim Chadoschim. Acht neue, grosse, feine Lieder. Wilna, 
1871. 32mo, 64 pp. 

Der Ssandek. Eydkuhnen, 1872. 32mo, 64 pp. 

Hamnageen. Vier neue, herrliche Lieder mit Melodien. Wilna, 
1876. 32mo, 31 pp. 

Schiree Om. Volkslieder. Drei neue Lieder zu singen mit Melo- 
dien. Wilna, 1876. 32mo, 32 pp. 

Hamsamer. Neue vier Lieder. Wilna, 1890. 32mo, 31 pp. 

Die Eisenbahn mit noch zwei teuere Lieder. Wilna, 1890. 
32mo, 28 pp. 

Zunser's verschiedene Volkslieder, welche wer'en gesungen vun'm 
Volk mit sejere Melodien. Text mit Musik verfasst un' kom- 
ponirt vun'm Volksdichter Eliokum Zunser, herausgegeben 
durch David Davidoif . New York, 1891. 8vo, 80 pp. 

Zehn jiidische Volkslieder, verfasst mit die Harmonie vun Mu- 
sikbegleitung. Vierte Auflage. Wilna, 1891. 16mo, 95 pp. 

Higojon Bchinor. Neue vier Lieder, was see seinen gesungen ge- 
wor'en mit Begleitung vun Fiedel. Wilna, 1897. 16mo, 60 pp. 



378 APPENDIX 

Zweifel, E. Z. Tochachas Chaim. Strafred'. Wilna, 1865. 32mo, 

96 pp. 
Sseefer Musser Haskel, herausgegeben vun Esriel Epl Weiz. 

Wilna, 1884. 32mo, 52 pp. 
Der glucklicher Maftir. A schoene Maisse, was hat getroffen 

zuriick mit einige Jahren ; wie a Schneider] iingel is' durch a 

Maftir hbchst glucklich gewor'en. . . . Warsaw, 1886. 8vo, 

46 pp. 



FOLKLORE 



Sseefer Ssipuree Maisses. Warsaw, 1874. 8vo, 170 pp. There 
are several editions of it. 



Maisse Rambam we-Reb Jossef dela Reyna. Wilna, 1879. 16mo, 
32 pp. 

Dem Rambam's Zawoe. Da werd beschrieben die Lebensgeschichte 
vun dem grossen heiligen Mann Rabeenu Mosche ben Maimon, 
sehr schoene interessante Ssipurim, 'auch die heilige Zawoe, 
was er hat geschrieben fur seine Kinder, etc. Wilna, 1885. 
16mo, 32 pp. 

Maisse vun Maharscho, herausgenummen vun Ostrer Pinkes, un' 
vun Rambam, un' vun Noda bi-Jehudo. Warsaw, 1879. 16mo, 
16 pp. 

Maisse Gur Arje. Da werd derzaehlt a wunderliche Maisse vun 
dem gbttlichen Mann ha-Raw ha-Goen . . . was er werd geru- 
fen Gur Arje, etc. Warsaw, 1890. 16mo, 43 pp. 



Ssipurim. Erzaehlungen vun Rabi Jizchok Aschkenasi Luria. 

Versammelt vun Jisroel Bemuhrim ZL. Vol. I. Wilna, 1895. 

8vo, 114 pp. 
Sseefer Ewen Schlom. Die Beschreibung vun dem Wilner Goen. 

Sehr wunderliche Ssipurim vun sein Grosskeit in der Tore un' 

in alle Chochmes un' Wissenschaften. Auch sehr wunderliche 

Maisses vun seine beruhmte Talmidim. Wilna, 1895. 16mo, 

112 pp. 
Eine schoene Geschichte vun ha-Raw ha-Goen Haschach und seine 

Tochter, was hat sich passiert in die Gseeres vun Schnas 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 379 

ThCh. Un' 'auch eine schoene Geschichte vun einem polischen 
Koenig, welcher eine grosse Gseere auf Jiiden gegeben hat, un' 
wie HSchI seinem Volk geholfen durch einen vun die LW 
Zadikim. Die Maisse is' verschrieben in ein Maisse-buch in 
Krakau. Vienna, 1863. 32mo, 16 pp. 



Sseefer Ssipuree Maisses. (K'hal Chsidim.) In diesen Sseefer 
werd derzaehlt sehr viel wunderliche Maisses vun ha-Raw ha- 
Kodesch Jisroel Balschemtow, etc. Warsaw, 1881. 4to, 84 pp. 

Sseefer Maisse Zadikim. Hier is' wunderliche Maisses vun Kdo- 
schim, vun dem heiligen Bescht un' vun Boruch vun Mesibos 
un' vun die zwei Briider Reb Alimelech un' Reb Susse vun 
Hanipole un' vun ha-Kodesch Reb Pinches vun Korez un' vun 
ha-Kodesch Reb Mosche Loeb vun Ssassuw un' vun ha-Kodesch 
Reb Jizchok vun Lublin. Cracow, 1889. 16mo, 64 pp. 

Sseefer Rosin Kadischin. In dem Sseefer werd gebrengt sehr 
schoene un' wunderliche Geschichtes vun sehr grosse Leut' 
Zadikim Jessodee Olom. Warsaw, 1890. 8vo, 32 pp. 



Ssipurim me-Rabeenu Nissim. Warsaw, 1892. 16mo, 59 pp. 

Eine ganz neue Maisse vun dem heiligen Zadik Reb Schmelke. 
Lemberg, 1893. 16mo, 16 pp. 

Eine ganz neue Maisse vun ha-Raw ha-Zadik Reb Pinches me- 
Korez. Lemberg, 1893. 16mo, 16 pp. 

Eine ganz neue Maisse vun ha-Raw ha-Zadik Reb Jisroel, der Rusi- 
ner Rebe. Lemberg, 1893. 16mo, 16 pp. 

Mefanejach Nelomim . . . Jechiel Michel mi-Slatschuw. Warsaw, 
1879. 16mo, 22 pp. 9 

Eine ganz neue Geschichte vun dem Saten, wie er hat sich verstellt 
far ein jungen Mann un' hat gesagt, as er is' a Row un' hat 
gewollt iiberreden ein Jud', a Baltschuwe, er soil essen Chomez 
um Erew Peessach, etc. Lemberg, 1892. 16mo, 16 pp. 

Die Gan-eeden-bachurim. Da werd derzaehlt zwei schoene Maisses 
vun zwei Bochurim Baltschuwes, wie aso see haben soche 
gewe'n zu kummen in lichtigen Gan-eeden, aso ein teuer Ort, 
was die grosste Zadikim konnen nit ahin kummen. Warsaw, 
1885. 16mo, 27 pp. 

Die Ssuke in Wald. In diese Geschichte werd derzaehlt, wie Gott 
helft Alle, was versichern sich auf ihm. Auch is' da zugegeben 



380 APPENDIX 

a Maisse vun a Row mit a Ssar un' ein Geschichte vun Ram- 
bam. Wilna, 1891. 16mo, 32 pp. 

Maisse me-G- Achim. Eine sehr schoene wunderliche Geschichte 
vun drei Briider, grosse Leut', hanikro Maisse Plies. Warsaw, 
1870. 16mo. Large number of editions. 

Maisse schnee Chaweerim. A wunderliche Ausschmues mit 22 
Maisses. Zhitomir, 1877. 16mo, 76 pp. 

Mizwas Mlawe Malke u Maisses Plies mischnee Schutfim. Sehr a 
schoene, wunderliche Geschichte vun zwei Schutfim, was haben 
sehr ehrlich gehalten un' gehiit' die verte Ssude Mizwas Mlawe 
Malke. Warsaw, 1881. 16mo, 28 pp. 



Reb Esriel mit dem Bar. A zweite Geschichte vun Reb Chaim 
Baltschuwe un' a dritte vun Reb Sundel Chossid. Wilna, 
1896. 16mo, 32 pp. 

Die Geschichte vun Bovo. Ein schoen Derzaehlung vun Bovo mit 
Dresni. Das is' gemacht auf dem Art vun Tausend un' Ein 
Nacht. Warsaw, 1878. 16mo, 72 pp. 
There are many editions of the same. In the Harvard Library 
are the following : Wilna, 1895, and Warsaw, 1889. The latter 
has for a title : Der Ben Meelach. Da werd derzaehlt vun a 
Chossen-kale, viel see haben gelitten, un' der Ben-meelach, 
viel Milchomes er hat eingenummen, bis es hat ihm gegliickt, 
as er is' gewor'en der grosster Keisser un' sie Keisserin vun 
drei Mediues. 

Eine schoene Geschichte vun Zenture Venture. Da werd derzaehlt 
vun ein grossen Ssocher, was er is' gewe'n vielmal in Angst 
un' Not auf dem Jam un' is' gewe'n in die Hand' vun vrilde 
Menschen un' is' nizel gewqr'en vun die alle Sachen un' is' 
gekummen zu sein Haus le-Scholem mit viel Aschires. Wilna, 
1895. 16mo, 40 pp. There are many editions of this story. 



Ssipuree Haploes, oder Geriihmte Geschichte. Das Sseefer is' 
gedruckt gewor'en bischnas ThSH wenikro be-Scheem Maisse- 
buch, etc. Lublin, 1882. 8vo, 68 pp. Very many editions of 
this book. 

A schoene Geschichte, wie a Loeb' hat ausgehodewet a kleinem 
Prinz, was der Loeb' hat ihm aweggechapt vun sein Mutter, der 
Koenigin, boees er hat gesogen un' hat ihm as5 lang gehalten, 
bis er is' gross gewor'en. Vun A. M. Warsaw, 1878. 32mo, 
31pp. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 881 

Der lichtiger Gan-eeden. Ein schoene Geschichte vun Reb Schme- 
rel Machnis Orach, wie er is' gewe'n in lichtigen Ganeeden, 
nor er hat dort kein ssach nit gew'altigt ; man hat ihm bald 
arausgeworfen. Warsaw, 1878. 16mo, 18 pp. 

Ein schoene Geschichte vun ein Bas-malke, wie sie hat sich ver- 
liebt in ein Suhn vun ein Gartner. Warsaw, 1889. 16rao, 
72 pp. There are many editions of this story. 

Ein wunderliche Maisse vun dem Bocher Jossenke. Lemberg, 1887. 
16mo, 16 pp. 

Anekdoten-buch. Zwei hundert schoene Witzen, sehr satirisch 

zum Lachen, vun M. Kukelstein. Wilna, 1893. 16mo, 96 pp. 

Many editions. 
Reb Herschele Ostrepoler. Beschrieben alle seine siisse Chochmes 

un' alle seine Wortlech, was er hat ubergelast, etc. Warsaw, 

1884. 16mo, 24 pp. Many editions. Second part. Wilna, 

1895. 16mo, 24 pp. 
Der beriihmter Herschel Ostropoler. Zunaufgesammelt vun A. I. 

Buchbinder. Wilna, 1895. 8vo, 32 pp. 
Das froehliche Herschel Ostropoler oder Der wolweler Theater- 

stiick. Warsaw, 1890. 8vo, 52 pp. Many editions. 
Motke Chabad oder Witze iiber Witze. Herausgegeben vun M. 

I. Lewitan. Wilna, 1892. 16mo, 32 pp. Many editions. 
Schaike Feifer, oder Der weltberiihmter Witzling. New York, 

s. d. 8vo, 32 pp. 
Jossef Loksch vun Drazne (in Polen) . . . un' vun sein Gabe Akiwe 

Bias. Wilna, 1895. 16mo, 23 pp. 
Der Chelmer Chochem. Das is' a Gerathenisch vun a Chelmer, 

was er hat gemeint, as er is' a Chochem, un' man mus lachen, 

as man lejent die kluge Einfalle vun a Chelmer Chochem. 

Verfasst vun Hirs Bik. Lemberg, 1887. 16mo, 16 pp. 



JUDEO-GERMAN BOOKS WITH GERMAN 
CHARACTERS 

Gnib, I. D. H. Das Chanuke Trenderl, ein antiques Familienstiick 
von Unsere Leut'. In 2 Aufziigen, renovirt. Vienna, 1884. 
16mo, 30 pp. 



382 APPENDIX 

Der Schadchen von Unsere Leut'. Eiri rewmatisches Zugstiick in 
drei Aufziigen, zusammengeschlempert. Vienna, 1887. 16mo, 
56 pp. 
Der Johrmark zu A . . . z. Eine Charakterschilderung von 
unsere Marktleut'. In 3 Skizzen, aufgenommen. Vienna, 
1871. 16mo, 32 pp. 

Mendelssohn, L. Intimes aus der Liliengass'. Ein Buchdrama 
in I. Akt. Berlin, s. a. 16mo, 62 pp. 

Rose*e, A. Esther und Haman ! Ein Purimspiel in einem Auf- 
zuge. Vienna, 1884. 16mo, 24 pp. 

S(chwarz) A. Aus l'angstvergangenen Tagen. Drei alte Gold- 
stiickchen nebst einem Anhang. Budapest, s. a. 16mo, 31 pp. 

Schwarz, P. lleb Simmel Andrichau. Ein Purimspiel in vier 
Aufziigen. Vienna, 1878. 16mo, 55 pp. 
*Reb Moire Nachrendl. Charaktergem'alde in 5 Aufziigen. 
Eine humoristische Brochure in jiidisch-deutschem Jargon, 
zur Unterhaltung und Belehrung. 
* Reb Jone. Lustspiel zur Unterhaltung und Erheiterung. In 
fiinf Aufziigen. 

Wolfsohn. Reb Chanoch der betrogene Bigott, oder Der entlarvte 
Scheinheilige. Lustspiel in 3 Aufziigen. Pest, s. a. 16mo, 
43 pp. 

Anonymous. *Der Giitsteher. Travestie nach Schillers Bal- 
lade, ' Die Biirgschaft.' 

(Reb Leser Scholetsetzer.) Das Lied vom Scholet. Travestie 
von Schillers 'Lied von der Glocke.' 'n Chosens Kloles. Tra- 
vestie nach Uhlands Des Sangers Fluch.' Vienna, s. a. 16mo, 
20 pp. 



II. APPENDIX 



NAMES OF AUTHORS AND THEIR PSEUDONYMS 



The italicized names are those that are better known than the real names 
of the authors. 



Authors 

Abramowitsch, S. J. 
Baranow, M. 
Bukanski. 
Cahan, Ab. 
Cantor. 

Dawidowitsch. 
Feigenbaum, B. 

Freid, M. 
Frischmann, D. 
Goido, J. 
Goldberg, I. Ch. 
Gurewitsch. 
Katzenellenbogen. 
Kobrin, L. 

Lerner, J. J. 
lie win, I. 
Lewner, J. B. 
Linetzki, J. J. 
Meisach, J. 
Perez, J. L. 



Pseudonyms 

Mendele Mocker Sforim. 

Ben Efraim. 

Ben Pores. 

Bernstein Dawid, Proletarischker Magid. 

Mosche Gl'azel, Graf M. I. Kweetl, Welwel 

Zopzerik. 
Ben Dawid. 
Magid vun Ewjenischok, Raiiberjiidel, 

Scha Pesches. 
Fremder, Ssimchessossen. 
Goldberg A. 

Hoido J., Gorin, Lebensohn A. 
Jaknehuz. 
Libin, Z. 
Buki Ben Jogli. 
Rafaelowitsch Sch., Genosse Cervera, 

Witeblanin, L. 
Herdner. 
Jehalel. 

Nachmen Ben Wowsi. 
Eli Kozin Hazchakueli. 
Ssar-schel-Jam. 
Ben-tomar, Gam-su, Ha-jossem mi-Nimi- 

row, Finkel L., Lampenputzer, Lez vun 

der Redakzie, Luziper, Paloi, Dr. Stizer. 



383 



384 



APPENDIX 



Pinski, D. 

Rabinowitsch, M. J. 
Rabinowitsch, S. 

Rabnizki. 
Rombro, J. 
Samostschin, P. 
Samostschin. Mrs. 
Schaikewitsch, N. M, 
Schapiro, E. I. 
Schatzkes, M. A. 
Seliko wit sch. 

Spektor, M. 
Spektor, Mrs. 
Wechsler, M. 
Winchevsky, M. 



Dofek, Dawid, Puis D. 

Ben-Omi. 

Biicherfresser, Essbiicher, Esther, Sche- 

lumiel, Scholem Aleechem, Schulamis. 
Rebi Kozin. 

Krantz Ph., Jainkele Chochem. 
P. Z., Eli Feelet mi-Sastschin. 
Bas-malke. 
Schomer. 
Isch. 

Selikowitsch M. 
Litwischer Philosoph, Aus Kapelusch- 

macher, Sambation, Wachlaklakes. 
Ernes, Lamedwownik. 
Isabella. 
Isch Nomi. 
Ben Nez, Meschugener Philosoph, Chaim 

Barburim, Chaim Bolbetun, Der Dasi- 

ger, T. E. Debkin, Jankele Traschke. 



INDEX 



Abderitic towns, 52. 

Abendblatt, 223, 225. . 

Abrahams, 90, 231. 

Abramowitsch, Solomon Jacob, 
translated into Polish, 10 ; his use 
of the older language, 20; his 
vocabulary, 22; cradle song, 86; 
translates Sabbath prayers and 
hymns, 97; allegory in 'Judel,' 
97, 98; review of his life and 
writings, 148-100; first work in 
Kol-meivasser, 150 ; his birth, 150 ; 
education, 150; wanderings, 150, 
151 : life in Kremenets, 151 ; meet- 
ing with Gottlober, 151, 152 ; begin- 
ning of literary career, 152 ; artistic 
nature, 152; compared with his 
predecessors, 152, 153 ; his ideal of 
reform, 153; love of the people, 
153, 154 ; style and language, 154 ; 
abandons anonym, 155 ; ' The Lit- 
tle Man,' 155; 'The Meat-Tax, or 
the Gang of City Benefactors,' 
155, 156; a social factor, 156; 
'Fischke the Lame,' 156, 157; 
study of mendicant life, 157 ; ' The 
Dobbin,' 157-159; psychological 
study, 157; prophecy, 158; per- 
sonifies the Jewish race in the 
allegory, 159; prohibition of re- 
issue of book, 159 ; ' The Wander- 
ings of Benjamin the Third,' 159, 
160; study from nature, 159; 
creates the ' Jewish Don Quixote,' 
159; 'The Enlistment,' 160; scien- 
tific articles, 160 ; called ' Grand- 
father,' 160; ceases writing, 178; 
on prayers, 245, 246 ; ' The Useful 
Calendar,' 252; and see ix, 51, 
176, 177, 179, 187, 231, 234, 235, 
251, 252, 255. Extracts and trans- 
lations: 'The Dobbin,' 276-285; 
Parasiteville,' 284-295. 

Abramsky, 237. 

Absorption of Russian Jews by 
America, xi, 119. 

Adelberg, S., 51. 

Africa, Jews in, 248. 

Ahasuerus-play,' 231, 234, 239. 

" A kleine Weile wollen mir spielen," 
56. 



Aksenfeld, Israel, influenced by 
Lefin, 136 ; review of his life and 
works, 140-145; influence of his 
wife, 141; 'The Fillet of Pearls,' 
141, 142; style and language, 142; 
drama, 142-145; 'The First Re- 
cruit,' 142-145; his works as his- 
torical documents, 145; anonym, 
148, 149; and see 137, 138, 154, 
160, 161, 177, 234, 235. 

Alexander stories, compared to 
Schaikewitsch's novels, 174. 

Alexander II., his reforms not lib- 
eral, 158 ; play at coronation, 235. 

Allegory, not employed by Ehren- 
kranz, 77; in Goldfaden's songs, 
87, 88 ; in Abramowitsch's works, 
97, 98 ; why resorted to by Rus- 
sian authors, 211, 212; employed 
by Perez, 212, 213. 

Allgemeine Zeitung des Juden- 
thums, 29, 31. 

Almanacs, Abramowitsch's, 160 ; 
Harkavy's, 227 ; their importance, 
252, 253. 

Alperin, J. J., 155. 

" A Maedele werd a Kale," 62. 

America, difficulty of collecting data 
in, x; absorbing Russian Jews, 
xi, 119; future of J. G. in, 10; 
evolution of J. G., 22; badchen, 
93; poetry, 118-130; increased 
well-being, 118 ; dulling of Jewish 
sensibilities, 119; American bal- 
lads in J. G., 119; in Zunser's 
songs, 120; in J. G. literature, 
134, 135 ; Longfellow in J. G., 168 ; 
H. Beecher-Stowe in J. G., 171; 
prose writers in, 216-230; Rus- 
sian Jews before 1881, 216, 217; 
the immigration, 217, 218; first 
writers, 218; daily press, 219; 
socialistic propaganda, 219, 220; 
authors, 220-224 ; magazines, 226- 
229; instruction in citizenship, by 
Harkavy, 228 ; and see 64, 135, 214, 
248. 

American People's Calendar, 227; 
and see 10. 

Americana Germanica, 76. 

Americanus, 10. 



385 



386 



INDEX 



Amphibrachic measure, in Rosen- 
feld's poetry, 129. 

Amsterdam, viii, 19, 32. 

Anarchists, Jewish, in America, 121- 
123; Edelstadt, 122, 123; periodi- 
cal in J. G., 223 ; and see 126. 

Andersen's fables, in J. G.,44. 

Andover Review, on J. G. literature, 
10. 

Andree, R., attacks J. G., 12. 

Animal life, in literature, 157-159, 
213. 

Anonyms, 148, 149, 155, 171. 

Anthropology, in literature, 249. 

Anuarul pentru Israeliti, 44, 51. 

Apotheker, David, 80, 81. 

Appleton & Co., 221. 

Arabic, in non-Semitic languages, 
15; 'Thousand and One Nights,' 
27 ; word-books in J. G., 248. 

Arbeiterzeitung , as an educator, 
219; its history, 221, 223; and see 
225. 

Archiv fur Litteraturgeschichte, 27. 

'Arise, my People!' M. Gordon's, 
83. 

' Aristocratic Marriage, The,' Gold- 
faden's, 87, 88. 

Arithmetic, in J. G., 246. 

Art, conception of its perfection, 95. 

Arthur, King, in J. G., 2, 4, 43. 

Asiatic Museum, J. G. collection, 
viii. 

Assimilation, advanced by M. Gor- 
don, 83, 84; of no avail, 158; as 
viewed by Spektor, 185 ; no longer 
preached, 191. 

Assyria, 50. 

Astor Library, manuscript of Ettin- 
ger, 101. 

Atlantic Monthly, 221. 

Atonement day, in songs, 67. 

'Atonement Day, The,' Dienesohn's, 
190, 191 ; extract and translation, 
314-325. 

" Auf'n Barg steht a Taubele," 65. 

' Aunt Sosie,' Goldfaden's, 236 ; ex- 
tract and translation, 268-273. 

Austria, J. G. books in German let- 
ters, 256. 

Awramowitsch, coupletist, 119. 

Badchens, imitate Galician poets, 
80; school of, 90-94; his func- 
tions, 91; Zunser's innovation, 
91, 92 ; American modification of, 
93, 94 ; why popular, 104 ; and see 
61, 95. 

Bader, Gerschon, 253. 

Baethgen, F., 29. 

Bakst, printer, 254. 



Ballads, Rosenfeld's, 128; Gold- 
faden's, 237 ; singers of, in Rou- 

mania, 237. 
Bal-schem-tow, birth, 35; legends of, 

38-40 ; legendary life, 39, 40 ; Spek- 

tor's novel of, 186. 
'Bar of Soap, The,' Berenstein's, 

86. 
' Bar-kochba,' Goldfaden's, 239. 
Bas-kol, 252. 

Bastille, in J. G. poetry, 123. 
'Beard, The,' M. Gordon's, 84. 
Beckermann, 174. 
Beecher-Stowe, H., in J. G., 171. 
' Beggar Family, The,' Rosenfeld's, 

127. 
Beggar songs, 66. 
Beilinsohn, printer, 254. 
" Bei'm Breg Wasser thu' ich stehn," 

60. 
Bender, A. P., 50. 
Beranger, translated, 89. 
Berdichev, and Abramowitsch, 31, 

152, 153, 155, 160; printers, 254. 
Berenson, B., on literature, 10. 
Berenstein, S., and M. Gordon, 82, 

83; his German culture, 85, 86; 

poems, 86, 87 ; cradle song, 88. 
Bernas, I., editor of Handelskalen- 

der, 253; of Hatikwoh, 256. 
Bernstein, A., in J. G., translation 

and imitation, 171, 202. 
Bernstein, Ignaz, proverbs, 51, 193. 
Bernstein's Natural Science, in J. 

G., 249. 
Bersadskij, S. A., on Saul Wahl, 54. 
Bescht, see Bal-schem-tow. 
Betrothal, early, 57. 
' Betrothal, The,' Goldfaden's, 87. 
'Bevys of Hamptoun,' in J. G., 8, 

27, 43 ; mentioned by Dick, 169. 
Bibikov, 155. 
Bible, Blitz, 19 ; apocryphal stories, 

29 ; preferred to Czar, 68 ; Biblical 

songs, Goldfaden's, 88. 
Bibliography, imperfect data, ix ; in 

Volksbibliothek, 199, 200. 
Bibliothek, see Jud. Bibliothek. 
Bick, J. S., defends Lefin, 136. 
Bilingualism, of medieval litera- 
tures, 1 ; of Jews, 2. 
Biographies, by Dick, 171; of Rab- 
bis, 244. 
' Bird, The,' Zunser's, 93. 
Blaustein, 174. 
Blitz Bible, its language, 19. 
Blumauer, translated, 101. 
Bodleian Museum, J. G. collection, 

vii. 

ohei 

G., 16. 



INDEX 



387 



'Bontsie Silent,' Perez's, 210, 211 

In Chrestomathy, 332-353. 
' Book of Wisdom of Solomon, The,' 

232. 
Booksellers and bookstores, 255. 
Booth and Salvini, 242. 
Boston, periodical, 124. 
Bourget, translated, 225. 
Bovchover, poetry, 229. 
Bovo, see ' Bevys.' 
Bowery Garden Theatre, 240. 
' Bowery Girl, The,' in J. G., 119. 
Bredow, G. G., 30. 
Brehm, in J. G., 249. 
Bressler, see Kotik. 
Brettmann, Maschil, 166. 
British Museum, J. G. collection, viii. 
Broder, Berel, poetry of, 79-80 ; his 

imitators, 91, 92; and see 103. 
'Broom and a Sweeping, A,' Win- 

chevsky's, 124. 
Brown, John, in J. G. poetry, 123. 
Browning, Robert, 168. 
Briill, 27, 251. 
Buchbinder, on superstitions, 50, 193 ; 

and see 174, 187. 
Budianov, 228. 
Budson, 174. 
Bukanski, 229. 

Bukarest, theatre in, 236, 237. 
Bulgaria, its literature compared 

with J. G., 9 ; its orthography, 21 ; 

language, 23; renaissance, 135. 
Burlesque, older, 231; Goldfaden's, 

237. 
Buxtorf, 29, 42. 
Byplay, see Zuspiel. 

Cabbala, and Khassidism, 168; and 
see 20, 50. 

Cahan, Abraham, review of his life 
and writings, 221, 222; founds 
periodical, 221; writes English 
sketches, 221; style, 221; works 
not of the highest merit, 222 ; and 
see 223, 225, 226. 

1 Cain,' Goldfaden's, 88. 

Calendars, see Almanacs. 

Campe, J. H., translated by Hurwitz, 
134; by Dick, 171; imitated by 
Tannenbaum, 222. 

Canal Street, New York, centre of 
Ghetto, 216. 

Candle tax, in ' Little Man,' 156. 

Cantonment, of Jewish children, 68. 

Career of Jew, in song, 57. 

Cassel, D., 31. 

'Cat and the Mouse, The,' Horn- 
stein's, 117. 

* Cemetery Nightingale, The,' Rosen- 
feld's, 128. 



'Cemetery, The,' Ehrenkranz's, 78; 

Sharkansky's, 121 ; in poetry, 80. 
Cervantes, M., compared to Abra- 

mowitsch, 159. 
Chadak, 247. 
'Chaimel the Rich,' Falkowitsch's, 

174. 
Chaldea, superstitions of, 28, 50. 
' Chanuka,' Lerner's, 238. 
diapers, 68, 90. 

Chaschkes, M., poetry, 106, 107. 
Cheeder, language of, 20; and see 

57, 109, 150. 
Chekhov, his influence on writers, 

222, 230; translated, 225. 
Chelm, wise man of, 52. 
'Child's Play,' S. Rabinowitsch's, 

195, 196. 
Childhood, in folksong, 56. 
Children's songs, 54. 
Chodrower, M. J., 156. 
'Cholera in the Year 1866, The,' 

Ehrenkranz's, 79. 
Chrestomathy, its normalized text, x. 
Chronicle, rhymed, of military ser- 
vice, 68 ; of persecution, 70. 
City Guide, The, 226 ; and see Stadt- 

anzeiger. 
'Clock, The,' Zunser's, 93. 
'Colonization of Palestine, The,' S. 

Rabinowitsch's, 198. 
Columbus, in literature, 134, 135 ; 

and Washington, 120. 
Comedy, Gottlober's, 76, 145, 146; 

L. Levinsohn's, 166, 167; Schai- 

kewitsch's, 173 ; S. Rabinowitsch's, 

108; Ahasuerus play, 231, 232, 234 ; 

Goldfaden's, 236; Sahik's, 243; 

Frumkis's, 243. 
Comical songs, 70, 71 ; Schafir's, 81. 
Commemoration, songs of, by Schafir, 

81. 
Condition, of Jews in beginning of 

century, 131. 
' Consolation,' Berenstein's, 86. 
Consonants, pronunciation of, x. 
Constitution, of United States, in 

J. G., 228. 
' Contented, The,' Ehrenkranz's, 78. 
Contributions, paid by Rabinowitsch, 

199. 
' Conversation of the Khassidim, 

The,' Brettmann's, 166. 
Cosmopolitan, 221. 
Cossacks, massacre by, in folksong, 

69. 
' Countryman and the Townsman, 

The,' Zunser's, 93. 
Cracow, printing offices, 16; local 

legends, 32, 35; and see ix, 37, 

106. 



388 



INDEX 



Cradle songs, as folksongs, 54; 
Abramowitsch's, Linetzki's, Gold- 
faden's, S. Rabinowitsch's, 86; 
Goldfaden's, 88. 

Cradle, The,' Beren stein's, 86. 

I Crazy Beggar-Student.The,' Perez's, 

204, 206. 
Criticism, in Volksbibliothek and 
Volksblatt, 199-202 ; Frischmann's, 
201 ; S. Rabinowitsch's, 201 ; Rab- 
nizki's, 201; Katz's, 228; critical 
apparatus, Hermalin's, 228. 

II Criticus," 10. 

Culture, defined by M. Gordon, 85. 

Czar, in folksong, (58 ; cultural efforts 
of, 74; not praised in literature, 
120 ; calamity of serving him, 143. 

Dactyllic measure, Frug's, 108; 

Winchevsky's, 124. 
' Daisy Bell,' in J. G., 119. 
Dalman, G. H., 76. 
Dan, 50. 

Danish, translation from, 171. 
Dante, compared with Rosenfeld, 

130. 
'Dark Young Man, The,' Diene- 

sohn's, 189. 
Darwinism, in J. G. literature, 249. 
Daudet, in J. G., 225. 

David and Goliath,' 231. 

' David Copperfield,' translated, 225. 

David, King, in legend, 32. 

Day and Night,' Broder's, 80. 

'Decktuch, Das,' Gottlober's, 76, 
145, 146. 

Declaration of Independence, in 
J. G., 228. 

'Despair,' Rosenfeld's, 128. 

' Destiny, or Discussions for Pleas- 
ant Pastime,' S. Sobel's, 96. 

Deterioration, of J. G., since Dick, 
172-174 ; its cause, 175, 176. 

Deutsche Mundarten, 13. 

Dialects, of J. G., 17-22 ; origin near 
the Middle Rhine, 17, 18; contact 
kept up with literary German, 18 ; 
uniformity in books, 18 ; evolution 
of, in Russia, 18, 19 ; in literature, 
21, 22. 

'Dialogue of the New-born Soul 
with the Angel of Life,' 96. 

Dick, Aisik Meier, his corrupt lan- 
guage, 22, 23 ; deterioration of lan- 
guage, 134; review of his works, 
169-172; noble purpose, 169-171; 
earnestness, 171 ; prolific activity, 
171; cheap editions, 171, 172; 
anonyms, 171 ; his followers, 172 ; | 
death, 177 ; and see 35, 68, 145, 
173-175. 179, 189, 193, 216. I 



Dickens, Charles, in J. G., 225. 

Dictionary, Lifschitz's, 247. 

Dienesohn, Jacob, on J. G. litera- 
ture, 10 ; rejoinder to Graetz, 13 ; 
review of his works, 189-191 ; ' The 
Dark Young Man,' 189; his popu- 
larity, 189; creates the sentimen- 
tal novel, 189; activity in the 
Volksblatt, 190; ' Stone in the 
Way,' 190; 'Herschele,' 190; his 
gentleness, 190; 'The Atonement 
Day,' 190, 191 ; compared with 
Rabinowitsch, 195; and see viii, 
192, 233, 253 ; extract and transla- 
tion, 314-325. 

' Dietrich of Bern,' 4, 43. 

Difficulty of study of J. G. litera- 
ture, viii, ix. 

Diminutives, Slavic, in J. G., 108. 

'Discovery of America, The,' 
Hurwitz's, 134 ; its popularity, 
136; and see 147, 248. 

Dispute, songs of, Ehrenkranz's, 78 ; 
Broder's, 80; Linetzki's, 82; Zun- 
ser's, 93; S. Sobel's, 96. 

Dlugatsch, 22. 

'Do, do, Huckleberry, Do,' in J. G., 
119. 

' Dobbin, The,' Abramowitsch's, 157- 
159, and see 176; extract and 
translation, 276-285. 

' Doctor ,' Browning's, 168. 

'Doctor Almosado,' Goldfaden's, 
239. 

' Doctor Kugelmann,' 166. 

Dolizki, M. M., 229. 

' Don Carlos,' on J. G. stage, 240. 

' Don Quixote,' Cervantes's in J. G., 
228 ; and see ' Jewish Don Quixote, 
The.' 

Dostoyevski, in J. G., 225. 

Drama, songs, in Goldfaden's, 89; 
in America, 119, 120; Rosenfeld's 
dramatic character, 129 ; ' Serkele,' 
Ettinger's, 138-140; 'The First 
Recruit,' Aksenfeld's, 142-145 ; 
' The Fillet of Pearls,' Gottlober's, 
145, 146 ; Abramowitsch's, 156, 160; 
Falkowitsch's, 174; older myste- 
ries, 231-233 ; ' David and Goliath,' 
231 ; ' The Sale of Joseph,' 231-233; 
'The Greatness of Joseph,' 232; 
' The Book of the Wisdom of Solo- 
mon,' 232; ' Sale of Joseph,' Zun- 
ser's, 232, '233; present perform- 
ances of mysteries, 233 ; ' Purim 
plays,' 234; Kamrasch's, at coro- 
nation of Alexander II., 235 ; older 
literature, 235, 236; semi-dramatic 
style, 235; German models, 235; 
couplets in Aksenfeld's and Gott- 



INDEX 



389 



lober's, 235, 236 ; Goldfaden's, 236- 
240 ; ' The Two Neighbors ' and 
'Aunt Sosie,'236 ; creation of stago, 
236-238; in Bukarest, 236, 237; in 
Odessa, 237, 238; his immediate 
followers, 238 ; attack on theatre, 
239; Goldfaden's repertoire, 239; 
translated into Polish, 239; in 
America, 240-242; its deteriora- 
tion, 240; Gordin's, 241, 242; re- 
vival of, 242, 243 ; popular form of 
poetry, 243; and see 229 and 
Comedy. 

'Driver, The/ Perez's, 113. 

' Drubbing of the Apostate at Fools- 
town, The,' Epstein's, 166. 

Dukes, L., 29. 

Dutch words, in J. G., 19. 

1 Dworele,' Gordin's, 241. 

' Ecclesiastes,' Lefin's, 136 ; in Chres- 
tomathy, 258-261. 

Economics, in J. G., 208. 

Edelstadt, David, poetry, 122, 123. 

Egypt, 50. 

Ehrenkranz, Wolf, review of his 
works, 77-80 ; improvisations, 77 ; 
his Hebrew translation, 77; songs 
of reflection, 77, 78 ; songs of dis- 
pute, 78; Zuspiele, 78; 'Memento 
mori,' 78; other poems, 79; Khas- 
sid songs, 79 ; imitated by Zunser, 
91, 92; and see 82, 87, 103; poem 
and translation, 260-265. 

Eisenmenger, 29. 

Eisenstadt and Schapiro, printers, 96. 

Eldad ha-Dani, 30. 

Elijah, in legends, 31, 32; and see 
39, 169. 

'Elischewa,' Gordin's, 241. 

Emeth, The, Winchevsky's, 124, 226, 
227. 

'Empty Bottle, The,' Berenstein's, 
86. 

England, poetry in, 121, 122; Win- 
chevsky in, 124; Rosenfeld in, 125 ; 
Russian Jews in, 248; periodicals, 
255, 256. 

English, element in J. G., 22; mis- 
sionaries writing in J. G., 135, 136, 
244; authors, in translation, 168, 
171, 225; for Jews, 228; Jewish 
authors in, 229, 230; and see x, 
17, 27. 

' Enlistment, The,' Abramowitsch's 
160. 

Ephemeral nature, of periodicals, 
xi ; of literature, 253, 254. 

Epic poetry, why none, 54. 

Epigrams, Ettinger's, 101; Win- 
chevsky's, 227. 



' Eppelberg, 253. 

j Epstein, M., poetry, 165, 166; and 
see 99, 235. 

| Ersch and Gruber, 30. 
Erter, imitated by Gottlober, 146. 
Ethical treatises, 5, 244. 
Ettinger, Solomon, Dr., fables, 99; 
review of his life and works, 101- 
103; biography, 101; imitation of 
German models, 101; his works 
not specifically Jewish, 101, 102; 
'Serkele,' 138-140; ideal and real 
characters of his drama, 139; and 
see 20, 73, 108, 109, 111, 136-138, 
147, 148, 152, 154, 177, 234, 235, 236 ; 
poems and translations, 260, 261. 

Expatriation, in songs, 67. 

Fables, 99-101 ; translations of Kry- 
lov, 99, 100; Suchostawer's, 99; 
Gottlober's 'The Parliament,' 99, 
100 ; Krylov translated by Reicher- 
sohn and Singer, 100; by Katze- 
nellenbogen, 100; Ettinger's, 101; 
Winchevsky's, 124. 

Fairy tales, Frischmann's, 202. 

' Faithful Love, A,' Frumkis's, 243. 

Falkowitsch, J. B., dramas, 174 ; and 
see 235. 

'False Hope, The,' Berenstein's, 
86. 

Familienfreund, Der, 106; and see 
83, 87, 91, 101, 164, 179, 194, 202. 

Familienkalender, Spektor's, 91, 96, 
116, 179, 213. 

Farces, with German letters, 256. 

' Fashionable Shoemaker, The,' 
Spektor's, 181-183. 

Faust, bookseller, ix. 

Feder, Tobias, attack on J. G., 136. 

Feigenbaum, 228, 229. 

Feigensohn, Russian Grammar, 247. 

" Ferd hab' ich vun Paris," 71. 

' Ferry, The,' Zunser, 93. 

Feuilletons, in rhyme, Samostschin's, 
117; and see 178. 

' Fillet of Pearls, The,' Aksenfeld's, 
141, 142 ; and see 147. 

" Finster is' mein' Welt," 60. 

'Firebrand, The,' Goldfaden's, 88. 

' First Bath of Ablution, The,' Rosen- 
feld's, 128. 

'First Khassid, The,' Lefin's, 138. 

'First Recruit, The,' Aksenfeld's, 
142-145 ; and see 160. 

' Fischke the Lame,' Abramowitsch's, 
156, 157; psychological study, 157. 

'Floh vun Tischebow, A,' Frisch- 
mann's, 201. 

' Floris and Blanchefleur,' 43. 

' Flower, The,' Zunser's, 93. 



390 



INDEX 



Folklore, German, among Slavic 
Jews, 4 ; its relation to medieval- 
ism, 8; in J. G., 25-52; diffusion 
of, 25; innate love of, 26; long 
survival of, 26, 27 ; its composite 
nature, 27, 28; Mendelssohnian 
Reform opposed to, 28 ; Talmudical 
substratum, 29-32; the Sambation, 
30, 31 ; treated by Meisach, 30, 31 ; 
by Abramowitsch, 31; Elijah, 31, 
32 ; Moses and David, 32 ; medieval 
legends, 32-3G ; Maimonides, 32-34 ; 
local legends in Slavic countries, 
34, 35; in Wilna, 35; the Golem, 
36; the Thirty-six (Lamed-wow) 
saints, 36-38; Khassidic legends, 
38-42; miracles, 38; Bal-schem- 
tow, 38-40 ; stories of his followers, 
40, 41 ; story of penance and the 
grateful dead person, 41, 42; 
strictly Jewish legends, 42 ; med- 
ieval romances of Gentile origin, 
42-44; 'Bevys of Hamptoun,' 43; 
' Zeena-Ureena,' 43 ; oral folktales, 
44-49; their vast number, 44; love 
of story-telling, 44, 45 ; ' The Fool 
is Wiser than the Wise,' 45-49; 
popular beliefs, 49, 50; their com- 
posite nature, 50; imaginary beings 
and animals, 50 ; popular medicine, 
50; proverbs, 51; anecdotes, Ab- 
deritic towns, 52; folklore, in 
Linetzki, 162; in Dick, 169; in 
Meisach, 193. 

Folksong, 53-71 ; retrospective spirit 
in, 53; consideration of nature 
absent, 54 ; no epic poetry, 54 ; 
cradle song, 54, 55; motherhood, 
ideal for women, 55, 56 ; childhood 
in, 56 ; man's career, 56, 57 ; con- 
ception of love, 57-59; songs of 
pining, 59-61; wedding and mar- 
riage in, 61-63; songs, of suffering, 
63, 64; of widowhood, 64, 65; of 
orphans, 65, 66; of military ser- 
vice, persecution, 67-70 ; of soldier's 
life, 68, 69; of massacres, 69, 70; 
gloomy view of life, 70 ; comical 
ditties, 70, 71; songs of Khas- 
sidism, 71 ; Lerner, on, 192. 

' Fool is Wiser than the Wise, The,' 
45-49. 

France, Russian Jews in, 248. 

Francke, K., 63. 

Frankfurt, resemblance of its dialect 
to J. G., 17 : local legends, 32. 

Free World, The, 255. 

Freid, M. J., 213; and see viii. 

French authors, in J. G. translation, 
89, 123, 168, 171, 225, 227, 238, 241 ; 
and see 28. 



Frischmann, David, poetry, 116, 117; 
as a critic, 201 ; his prose, 202 ; and 
see 199, 253 ; poem and translation, 
294-301. 

'From the Marriage Baldachin,' M. 
Gordon's, 84. 

Frug, S., his defence of J. G., 12; 
review of his life and works, 107- 
110 ; why writing in J. G., 107 ; 
previous poetical career in Russian , 
108 ; greater value of his J. G. 
poetry, 108; model of beautiful 
style, 108; mellifluousness of his 
word-formations, 108, 109; his 
subject tears, 109 ; review of his 
songs, 109; absence of dramatic 
qualities, 110; Rosenfeld's greet- 
ing to, 126 ; and see 122, 125, 187 ; 
poems and translation, 306-311. 

Frumkis, Sanwill, dramatist, 243. 

' Fur Cap, The,' Perez's, 211. 

Future, The, 255. 

Galicia, culture of Jews in, 72; its 
periodicals, 72; its poets, 77-82; 
Ehrenkranz, 77-79 ; Broder, 79, 80 ; 
imitated by badchens, 80 ; Apothe- 
ker, 80, 81; Schafir,81, 82; reform 
in, 132; theatre in, 242; periodi- 
cals, 250; printing offices, 255; 
and see ix. 

Gaon, of Wilna, in folklore, 35, 36. 

Garshin, in J. G., 225; and see 230. 

Gaster, M., 28, 29, 34. 

Gelbhaus, S., 27. 

Gentiles, their literature identical 
with Jews', 2, 3; blood in Pass- 
over ceremony, 82. 

Geography, in J. G. literature, 134, 
135, 248, 249. 

German = civilized, 73 ; a nickname, 
149; Jews after Mendelssohn, 6; 
culture in Russia, 73; language, 
not possible for Russian Jews, 7; 
element in J. G., in Russia, 21, 23; 
in America, 22, 216, 217 ; in Gali- 
cia, 72, 132 ; in Schafir's poetry, 
81; in periodicals, 133; literature, 
J. G. songs as, 3; model for J. G., 
7; authors in J. G. translations 
and adaptations, 56, 73, 76, 101, 102, 
146, 147, 165, 168, 225, 238, 241 ; and 
see Blumauer, Grillparzer, Gutz- 
kow, Hauptmann, Lessing, Rich- 
ter, Schiller ; element in folklore, 
28 ; school of poetrv, 89 ; J. G., with 
letters, 256 ; and see 50, 64, 248. 

' Geschichte vun Mechiras Jossef 
u-Gdulas Jossef,' 232. 

Ghetto, in New York, 119, 217, 218, 
et passim. 



INDEX 



391 



Gilgulim, in folklore, 44, 50 ; in 
Gottlober's work, see Transmi- 
gration. 

Girls' songs, 55, 57-59. 

Globus, 12, 38, 44. 

Gloom, in folksong, 90; in Rosen- 
feld, 129. 

Goethe, 128. 

Gogol, translated by Schaikewitsch, 
173; compared with S. Rabino- 
witsch, 195, 196; adapted by Gor- 
din, 241. 

Goido, J., his activity in Russia, 213, 
214 ; in America, 224, 225 ; and see 
10, 226, 228. 

Goldfaden, Abraham, review of his 
poetry, 87-89 ; allegorical and his- 
torical songs, 87, 88; 'The Jew,' 
87 ; ' The Aristocratic Marriage,' 
87, 88; 'That Little Trace of a 
Jew,' 88; his prolific activity, 88, 
89 ; poetry in his dramas, 89 ; ' The 
Jewess,' 89 ; his most original 
period, 89 ; ' Schabssiel,' influenced 
by Abramowitsch,98; in America, 
120, 218; starts periodical, 218: 
founds theatre, 236-239, and see 
Theatre ; and see 86, 92, 103, 10(5, 
118, 187, 235, 242, 251, 253, 256; 
extracts and translation, 268-273. 

Goldstein, Rosa, 116. 

'Gold Watch, The,' Ehrenkranz's, 
78. 

Golem, 36. 

Golubok, 240. 

Gonto, in rhymed chronicle, 70. 

Gordin, J., dramatist, review of his 
life and works, 241, 242. 

Gordon, Jehuda Loeb, not translator 
of 'Two Grenadiers,' 75; review 
of his poetry, 89, 90 ; not surpassed 
in simplicity of diction, warmth of 
feeling, and purity of language, 
90; and see 7, 105, 117, 177, 178; 
poem and translation, 272-277. 

Gordon, Michel, review of his life 
and works, 82-85 ; compared with 
Berenstein, 82, 83 ; his poetry mili- 
tant, 83, 84; 'Arise, my People,' 
83, 84 ; preaches assimilation, 84 ; 
decries evil customs, 84, 85; his 
definition of true culture, 85; his 
ballad, 85; Frug's obligation to, 
108; and see 73, 87-89, 91, 92, 103, 
106, 107, 148, 177, 187, 233 ; poem 
and translation, 264-269. 

Gorki, imitated by Kobrin, 226. 

Gosche, see Archiv. 

Gottlieb, H. L., 256. 

Gottlober, H. L., his popular poems, 
76, 77; adaptations of German 



authors, 76 ; his fable ' The Parlia- 
ment,' 99, 100 ; influenced by Lefin, 
136; his comedy 'The Marriage 
Veil,' 145, 146; his satire "The 
Transmigration,' 146 ; meeting 
with Abramowitsch, 151, 152; his 
daughter, 152; idealized by Abra- 
mowitsch, 155 ; and see viii, 7, 20, 
73, 75, 76, 91, 101, 137, 141, 147, 148, 
154 234 235 

' Grab, Das,' Uhland's, in J. G., 121. 

1 Griiberlied, Das,' Gottlober's, 76. 

Gratz, his dogmatic statements, 13; 
translated, 165, 249. 

Grammar, J. G., why none, 246, 247. 

' Grandfather,' see Abramowitsch. 

' Greatness of Joseph, The,' 232. 

Greek, spelling compared with J. G., 
21 ; Church, its missions among 
Jews, 244. 

' Greeting to Zion,' Schafir's, 81. 

Grillparzer, on J. G. stage, 241. 

Grimm's fairy tales in J. G., 44. 

Grossgluck, Solomon, 213. 

Griinbaum, M., his ignorance of J. 
G., ix, 9, 13. 

Giidemann, M., his attitude to J. G., 
13 ; and see 17, 51. 

Giinsburg, 134 ; and see Hurwitz, Ch. 

Gurewitsch, 226. 

Gutzkow, translated, 238. 

Gypsy, xi. 

Hajisroeli, 251. 

Hajdez, 256. 

Hamagid, 152. 

Hameliz, 148, 149, 177, 251. 

Handelskalender, see Jud. Handels- 
kalender. 

'Happy Reader of the Haphtora, 
The,' Zweifel's, 175. 

Harkavy, Alexander, 227, 228; 
founds almanac, 227; writer of 
text-books, 228 ; teacher of Ameri- 
can citizenship, 228 ; his deserts in 
the education of the Jews, 228; 
translates 'Don Quixote,' 228. 

Harkavy, Professor, his gift of 
books, ix. 

' Harp, The,' Hornstein's, 117. 

Haskala, see Reform. 

Hatikwoh, 256. 

Hauptmann, 111. 

Hausfreund, Der, compared with the 
Volksbibliothek, 110; its popular 
character, 186, 187; contributors 
to, 187; its aim, 199; criticisms in, 
201 ; and see 10, 21, 51, 83, 87, 90, 
91, 96, 107, 116, 164, 179, 190, 194, 
202, 213, 214, 238, 252. 

' He and She,' Perez's, 113. 



392 



INDEX 



Hebrew, compared to Latin, 2 ; learn- 
ing in Slavic countries, 6; in- 
struction in, 16; in Germany, 17; 
religious literature in, 18 ; studies 
of Abramowitsch, 151, 152; lan- 
guage of enlightenment in Galicia, 
72 ; translations, Ehrenkranz's and 
others, 77; literature, affecting J. 
G., 7; in translation, Gottlober's, 
76, 147; Samostschin's, 117; from 
Luzzato, 168 ; words, their spelling, 
x; in J. G., before 16th century, 
15; in J. G., vocabulary, 22; in 
Linetzki, 22; their absence in 
Winchevsky and Edelstadt, 122; 
in mnemonic songs, 56. 

Hebrew American, 228. 

Hebrew Puck, 227. 

Heilige Land, Dan, 87, 91, 201, 252. 

Heine, Perez's obligations to, 111; 
his imitation of, 114; Rosenfeld's 
obligations to, 126 ; and see 75. 

Heinike, H., 50. 

' Hektor and Andromache,' Schiller's, 
parodied, 121. 

Held, Hersch Meier, 155. 

Helwich, Ch., 43. 

Hermalin, D. M., his works, 228. 

'Hernani,' Hugo's, translated, 241. 

'Herschele,' Dienesohn's, 190; and 
see 233. 

Herschele Ostropoler, 52. 

Hidden saints, 36-38. 

High German, J. G. a dialect of, 17. 

Hindustani, compared with J. G., 15, 
17. 

" Hinter Jankeles Wiegele," 54, 55; 
made use of by Berenstein, 86. 

Historical subjects, not used by 
Ehrenkranz, 77; in Goldfaden's 
songs, 87 ; in his dramas, 239. 

History, in literature, 249; of J. G. 
literature, Sehulmann's, ix, 200. 

' History of the Jews,' Gratz's trans- 
lated, 165. 

Hochbaum, S., 166. 

* Hoffnung, Die,' Schiller's, trans- 
lated, 86. 

Holiday Leaves, see Jontewblattlech. 

Holland, Polish Jews in, 19; Rosen- 
feld in, 125. 

' Homesickness,' Schafir's, 81. 

Homunculus, see Golem. 

Hood, Thomas, translated, 123; and 
see 114, 129. 

Hornstein, G. O., his works, 117. 

Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 221. 

' How Grandfather's Child put on 
her First Shoes,' Spektor's, 185. 

' How the Rich Live,' Winchevsky 's, 
124. 



'Hudel,' Lew's, 99. 

Hugo, Victor, translated, poetry, 
123; novel, 227; dramas, 241. 

Humor, Linetzki's, 164; humoristic 
magazine, 227. 

Hungary, periodical in, 256. 

Hurwitz, Chaikel, 133-135 ; his use of 
a Germanized J. G., 134; effect of 
his ' Discovery of America ' on the 
people, 134, 135; not forgiven for 
writing on worldly matters, 136. 

Hurwitz, coupletist, 119, 240. 

Hymns, Abramowitsch's, 97. 

Ibsen, translated, 241. 

1 1 Cannot Understand,' M. Gordon's, 

84. 
" Ich geh' arauf auf'n Gass'," 68. 

Ich lach sich vun euere Traten aus,' 

Gottlober's, 76. 

Iliowizi, H., 36. 

Imitators, Zunser s, 93. 

Imperial Library, at Berlin, viii; 
at St. Petersburg, viii, x. 

1 Imported Bridegroom and Other 
Stories,' Cahan's, 221. 

Improvisations, of badchens, 93. 

' In the Basement,' Perez's, 210. 

' In the Garden of the Dead,' Rosen- 
feld's, 128. 

1 In the Sweat-shop,' Rosenfeld's, 129. 

1 In the Wilderness,' Rosenfeld's, 129. 

Individuality of style, evidenced by 
Frischmann's criticisms, 201, 202; 
not developed in America, 222. 

* Insane Philosopher, The, ' 227 ; and 

see Winchevsky. 

'Inspector, The,' Gogol's, trans- 
lated, 173. 

' Iron Safe, The,' Zunser 's, 93. 

Isaacs, A. S., 29, 31. 

' Isabella,' her works, 187-189; com- 
pared with Spektor, 187; 'The 
Orphan,' 187, 188; points out dan- 
gers from superficial education, 
188. 

Israelitische Annalen, 29. 

Isserls, Rabbenu Moses, in folklore, 
37,38. 

Italian, Frug's language compared 
to, 108. 

' Ivanhoe,' Scott's, translated, 168. 

Iwre-teutsch, 20, 23. 

Jacobs, J., 24, 27, 43. 

Jaffa, J., 238. 

Jahrbiicher f. jiid. Geschichte und 

IAtteratur, 27. 
" Jahren kleine, Jahrenschoene," 56. 
' Jaknehos,' Rabinowitsch's, 198. 
' Jankel Boile,' Kobrin's, 225. 



INDEX 



393 



Jargon, of the Talmud, 2; defined, 

17 ; in Blitz Bible, 19 ; as name of 

J. G., 23, 89 ; of Seiffert, 23 ; ' Songs 

of the Jewish Jargon,' Frug's, 108 ; 

no longer treated with contempt, 

192. 
Jassy, periodical in, 256 ; and see ix. 
Jehuda, Jizchok , Ben Awraham, 

250. 
' Jekele Kundas,' Abasch's, 168. 
Jester, see Badchen. 
'Jesus the Nazarene,' Hermalin's, 

228. 
' Jew, The,' Goldfaden's, 87. 
' Jew, then not a Jew, then a Good 

Jew, and again a Jew, A,' Hoch- 

baum's, 166. 
1 Jewess, The,' Goldfaden's, 89. 
Jewish American Library, The, 225. 
1 Jewish Ante-Passover,' Schatzkes's, 

174. 
Jeioish Chronicle, 27, 28. 
Jewish Commercial Calendar, The, 

see J'dd. Handelskalender. 
'Jewish Don Quixote,' Abramo- 

witsch's, 31, 159; extract and 

translation, 284-295. 
Jeioish Gazette, The, its origin, 216; 

prints English supplement, 229; 

and see 219, 223. 
'Jewish Melodies,' Sharkansky's, 

121. 
Jewish Popular Calendar, see J'dd. 

Volkskalender. 
' Jewish Priest, The,' Gordin's, 242. 
1 Jewish Tunes,' Sharkansky's, 120. 
Jews, in Slavic towns, 3 ; German, of 

the East and West, identical before 

the 18th century, 6 ; as travellers, 

24 ; disseminators of folklore, 25 ; 

fond of story-telling, 44 ; their wit, 

52. 
Jisrulik, 251 ; and see 76, 87. 
Johannisburg, ' Serkele,' printed in, 

149. 
John III. of Poland, his letters patent 

to Blitz Bible, 19. 
Jontewblattlech, Perez's, 213; and 

see 114, 179, 214. 
Jossef Loksch, 52. 
Jossel Bers un' Jossel Schmaies,' 

Perez's, 113. 
'Jossele Journeys to America,' 

Sharkansky's, 121. 
'Jossele Ssolowee,' S. Rabino- 

witsch's, 198. 
Journal of American Folklore, 12. 
Journalism, J. G., in America, 219; 

and see 223. 
'Judas Maccabaeus,' Longfellow's, 

translated, 168. 



'Judel,' Abramowitsch's, an alle- 
gory, 97, 98 ; and see 157. 

Judeo-German, books, first printed, 
4 ; for women, 55 ; language, trans- 
literation, x; abandoned in Ger- 
many, 6; its history, 12-24; its 
neglect, by scholars, 12; by Ger- 
man Jews, 13; prejudice not jus- 
tified, 14; compared with the 
evolution of other languages, 14, 
15; the Hebrew element in, 15-17; 
analogy in non-Semitic languages 
with Arabic element, 17; a Ger- 
man dialect group, 17, 18; evo- 
lution in Slavic countries, 18; 
Lithuanian dialect nearest to lit- 
erary German, 18; probable fur- 
ther development from Lithuanian 
dialect, 18, 19; uniformity in books 
of previous centuries, 19; Jargon 
of Blitz Bible, its cause, 19; older 
stage of, in prayers, 19, 20 ; Lefin 
regenerates the language, 20 ; chaos 
of orthography, 21; no linguistic 
norm, 21 ; German influence, 21, 
22 ; large divergence in diction, 22, 
23 ; various names of, 23, 24 ; dif- 
ferences between J. G. and Ger- 
man, 24; dying out, 103, 104, 130; 
resuscitated by Lefin, 137; style 
from Lefin to Abramowitsch, 154 ; 
and see Jargon; literature, not 
known to the world, xi; in 
newspapers, xi; result of anoma- 
lous situation of Jews, 3; made 
possible through isolation, 5; its 
medieval period in Germany, 5; 
modern period not a continuation 
of old, 5 ; identical in Slavic coun- 
tries and in Germany before 19th 
century, 6; affected by Hebrew, 
7; various phases of, 7-9; com- 
pared with Bulgarian, 9; igno- 
rance of some investigators of, 9, 
10; sympathetic treatment of, 10; 
its future, 10, 11, 214, 215 ; history 
of, Dienesohn's, 192 ; Schulmann's, 
200. 

Judisch, 23. 

Jildisch-amerikanischer Volkskalen- 
der, 238, 253. 

Judisch-teutsch, 23. 

Judische Bibliothek, Die, Perez's, 
its history and its aims, 207, 208 ; 
and see 190, 213, 252. 

'Judische Merk wiirdigkeiten,' 
Schudt's, 231. 

Judische Post, Die, 72, 251. 

Judische Universalbibliothek, 36. 

Judische Volksbibliothek, Die, Ra- 
binowitsch's, its birth and aims, 



394 



INDEX 



110; compared with Hausfreund, 
194; its superiority, 198, 199; its 
criticisms, 200 ; and see ix, 29, 76, 
87, 90, 91, 96, 107, 116, 164, 190, 195, 
202. 

Jiidischer Handelskalender, Der, 
253; and see 87, 202. 

Jiidischer Volkskalender, 253; and 
see 107, 202. 

Jiidischer Wecker, Der, 76, 87, 91, 
106, 194, 201. 

Jiidisches Volksblatt, its birth, 105 ; 
its history, 178, 179 ; literary part 
conducted by Spektor, 179; Spek- 
tor severs his connection with, 186 ; 
criticisms in, 200; and see 12, 13, 
30, 51, 76, 83, 90, 91, 99, 101, 106, 
107, 116, 126, 140, 156, 172, 187, 190, 
194, 202, 238. 

1 Jungling am Bache, Der,' Schiller's, 
translated, 76. 

Junosza, Klemens, on J. G. literature, 
10; translates Abramowitsch, 157, 
159. 

Jusefov, book printed at, 232. 

' Kabale und Liebe,' Schiller's, trans- 
lated, 241. 

Kahal, 90, 156. 

Kaindl, R. F., 44, 54. 

Kaiser, W., 116. 

Kalmus, Ulrich, 91, 167, 168. 

Kamrasch, writer of drama, 235. 

Kantian scholar, 132. 

Kantrowitz, bookseller, 216. 

Karpeles, 9, 13. 

Katz, 228. 

Katzenellenbogen, Raschi, his fables, 
99, 100 ; dramas, 238 ; and see 76. 

Kaufmann, D., 30. 

Khassidim, legends of their founder, 
35 ; in folklore, 38-40 ; in folksong, 
70; songs on, Ehrenkranz's, 79; 
life of, Linetzki's, 162, 163 ; Brett- 
mann's, 166; defined, 168, 169; 
treated by Perez, 211. 

Kiev, Liuetzki in, 82, 149, 164 ; print- 
ing office, 255 ; and see ix, 181. 

' King Ahasuerus and Queen Esther,' 
Goldfaden's, 239. 

Kirkor, A., 36. 

Kleiner Wecker, Der, 179, 202. 

Kobrin, Leon, writer of sketches, 
225, 226 ; and see 224, 242. 

Kol-leom, 252. 

Kol-mewasser, founded by Zeder- 
baum, 148, 149; the rallying ground 
of Jewish writers, 178; and see 
via, 87, 101, 105, 106, 161, 251, 252. 

Kol-mewasser, S. Rabinowitsch's, 23, 
86, 201. 



Kompert, 202. 

Konigsberg, periodical in, 252. 

Konigsberger, Dr. B., 29. 

Kopyl, birthplace of Abramowitsch, 

150. 
Korben-ssider-teutsch, 20. 
Kbrner, quoted by Berenstein, 85, 86. 
Korolenko, translated, 225, 227 ; and 

see 230. 
Kotik and Bressler, publishers, 249. 
Kowno, mysteries in, 232. 
Krafft, C, 30. 

Krantz, Philip, see Rombro. 
Krauss, F. S., 12. 
Kremenets, Abramowitsch in, 150, 

151. 
Krylov, translated, 99, 100. 

Lachrymose novel, Dienesohn's, 189. 

' Lame Marschalik, The,' 93. 

Lamedwownik, see Hidden Saints. 

Lamteren, 116. 

Landau, A., 13, 14. 

Lassale, translated, 223. 

Lateiner, J., 240. 

Latin, compared to Hebrew, 1, 

' Law Written on Parchment, The,' 
M. Gordon's, 90, 105 ; in Chrestom- 
athy, 272-277. 

Learning, see Tore. 

Lefin, Minchas Mendel, founder of 
modern period, 20; review of his 
life and works, 136-138; his op- 
ponents and friends, 136; obliga- 
tions of later writers to, 136, 137; 
introduces the vernacular into 
literature, 137 ; founds popular lit- 
erature, 137, 138; gives himself 
example for new departure, 138; 
and see 101, 133, 147, 152, 154; ex- 
tract and translation, 258-261. 

Legends, of Saul Wahl, 52 ; and see 
Folklore. 

' Leier, Die,' Apotheker's, 80. 

Leipsic, printing of Aksenfeld's 
works, 149. 

' Leipsic Fair, The,' Ehrenkranz's, 79. 

Lemberg, Mendelssohnian Reform 
in, 20; books printed in, 27, 40, 
255 ; and see ix, 250. 

'Lemech the Miracle Worker,' Ep- 
stein's, 99, 165. 

Lenz, 12. 

Lerner, J. J., on folksong, 53, 192; 
his dramas, 238; and see ix, 140, 
195, 242. 

'Les Miserables,' V. Hugo's, trans- 
lated, 227. 

Lesselroth, B., 133, 136. 

Lessing, translated, 101, 103, 138, 
147, 165, 168, 241. 



INDEX 



395 



Letterwriter, in J. G., 246. 

Levi, G., 28. 

Levi, Is., 28, 43. 

Levi, J., 157. 

Levinsohn, J. B., his J. G. work, 140; 
and see 73, 102, 132, 137, 138. 

Levinsohn, Ludwig, his comedy, 167 ; 
and see viii, 235. 

Levinsohn, printer, 254. 

Levita, Elia, 43. 

Lew, M. A., 99. 

Libin, Z., see Gurewitsch. 

1 Library of Novels,' Zuckermann's, 
256. 

Lifschitz, 247. 

Lifschitz, J., 238. 

Lilienblum, his drama, 238. 

Linetzki, Izchak Joel, his Hebra- 
isms, 23; his poetical works, 82; 
compared with Ehrenkranz, 82; 
review of his life and works, 161- 
165; popularity of 'The Polish 
Boy,' 161; graphic description of 
Khassid's life, 161, 162; his life, 
162-164; is too didactic, 164; his 
Rabelaisian humor, 164; absence 
of plot, 164 : later works less read- 
able, 164; his translations, 165; 
publishes almanac, 253; and see 
ix, 20, 51, 54, 86, 91, 103, 106, 149, 
175, 177, 178, 187, 211, 251, 256. 

Ling, L., 123. 

Liondor, L. A., letterwriter, 246. 

Literatur un' Leben, Perez's, 210; 
and see 179, 213, 214. 

' Literature and Life,' see Literatur 
un' Leben. 

Lithuania, its Jewish dialect, de- 
fined, 18; used by authors, 21, 82, 
154; its pronunciation in normal- 
ized text, x ; and see 4, 132, 171. 

Litinski, 199. 

1 Little Man, The,' Abramowitsch's, 
155 ; and see 152. 

Little Russian, influence on J. G., 
19 ; tune in J. G. song, 89. 

* Little Stories for Big Men,' Perez's, 
212, 213; allegory in, 212; con- 
tents, 212, 213. 

Loeb, Is., 28. 

Lokschen, Frischmann's, 201. 

London, collection of J. G. litera- 
ture in, viii ; in J. G. poetry, 124 ; 
theatre in, 240; publications, 256; 
and see 223. 

Longfellow, translated, 168. 

Lotze, H., 27. 

Love, not in vocabulary, 57, 112 ; in 
folksong, 59; Spektor's conception 
of. 181 ; as treated by Perez, 209. 

Loweustein, L., 74. 



Lubbock, John, translated. 224. 
Lublin, printing in, 27, 244', 255. 
Luzzato, translated, 108. 
Lyrics, in folksong, 53; Linetzki's, 

82 ; Ehrenkranz's, 79 ; Perez's, 114 ; 

Rosenf eld's, 129. 

Maase Adonai, 32. 

Maasebuch, offsets Gentile folklore, 

2; intended mainly for Eastern 

readers, 4 ; Jewish legends in, 5 ; 

and see 32, 42. 
Magazines, in America, 224 ; and see 

Periodicals. 
'Maggot in the Horseradish, The,' 

Linetzki's, 165. 
Maimon, Salomon, 132. 
Maimonides, 32. 
Mainz, periodical in, 251. 
Maisse, see Maase. 
Malay, xi. 
Mame-loschen, 23. 
Manes & Simel, printers, 254. 
Mannheim, performance at house of 

Rabbi of, 231. 
Manuscripts, Ettinger's, in New 

York, 101; of J. G. productions, 

137 ; Aksenfeld's, 141. 
Marks, coupletist, 119. 
Marriage, early, 57 ; pleasing to 

God, 58; in folksong, 61. 
' Marriage Veil, The,' Gottlober's, 

145, 146. 
Marschalik, see Badchen. 
' Marschalik with One Eye,' 93. 
1 Mary Stuart,' Schiller's, translated, 

240. 
1 Massacres of Gonto in Uman and 

the Ukraine, The," Skomarowski's, 

199, 200. 
Masse, translated, 168. 
Maundeville, Sir John, 44. 
Maupassant, translated, 225. 
'Measuring of the Graves,' Rosen- 

feld's, 128. 
' Meat-Tax, or the Gang of City Ben- 
efactors, The,' Abramowitsch's, 

156. 
'Medea,' Grillparzer's, translated, 

241. 
Medicine, treated popularly by Dr. 

Tscherny, 200, 249. 
Medievalism, preserved by Slavic 

Jews, 5 ; in folklore, 8. 
" Mein Tochter, wu bist du 

gewe'n?" 63. 
'Meir Esofowitsch,' Orzeszko's, on 

stage, 241. 
Meisach, 193 ; and see 23, 30, 238. 
Melamed, language of, 20; in Frug's 

poem, 109. 



396 



INDEX 



Melancholy, in love songs, 59, 60. 
'Melodies from the Country near 

the River San,' Schafir's, 81. 
Melodramas, in America, 119 ; Gold- 

faden's, 239. 
Me'lusine, 43. 
1 Memento mori,' and ' Memento 

vivere,' 78. 
Mendele Mocher Sforim, 155, 255 ; 

and see Ahramowitsch. 
Mendelssohn, his teacher, 6 ; and see 

Reform. 
Mendicant, in literature, 157, 158. 
'Merchant of Venice, The,' trans- 
lated, 228. 
Mesiboz, birthplace of Bal-schem- 

tow, 35. 
' Messenger, The,' Perez's, 204, 205; 

and see 210. 
Michel, Louise, 123. 
1 Midnight Prayer,' Schafir's, 81. 
' Milchomo be-Scholom,' Pawier's, 

232. 
Militant poetry, M. Gordon's, 83. 
Military service, in folksong, 67-69; 

in literature, 143-145. 
Minski, 107. 
Miracle-workers, 38, 39; and see 

Bal-schem-tow and Epstein. 
Mirror, The,' Ehrenkranz's. 78. 
Misnagdim, defined, 168, l*i;); and 

see 70, 133. 
Missionaries, in J. G v 135 ; translate 

New Testament, 136 ; and see 244. 
Mitteilungen d. Gesellschaft f. jiid. 

Volkskunde, 54, 86. 
' Mlawe Malke,' in legend, 32. 
Mnemonic songs, 56. 
Mogulesco, coupletist, 119. 
' Mohammed,' Hermalin's, 228. 
Mohr, A. M., 250. 
Monatschrift f. Geschichte u. Wis- 

senschaft des Judenthums, 74. 
1 Monisch,' Perez's, 112, 113 ; and see 

125. 
Montefiore, Sir Moses, 81. 
'Moon Prayer, The,' Rosenf eld's, 

128. 
Moore, Thomas, 126. 
Moral treatises, rhymed, 96. 
Morgenstern, bookseller, viii. 
Morgulis, M. G., 157. 
Moscow, The Jewish, 152; and see 

196. 
Moses, in legend, 32. 
Mother-in-law, in folksong, 61, 62. 
Motherhood, in folksong, 55. 
' Mother's Parting, A,' J. L. Gor- 
don's, 90. 
Motke Chabad, 52. 
M.-Sziget, periodical in, 256. 



1 Mursa,' Freid's, 213. 
Music, of cradle song, 86. 
' My Advice,' M. Gordon's, 84. 
' My Boy,' Rosenfeld's, 127. 
Mysteries, 231, 232. 
Mythology, German, in folklore, 
49, 50. 

Nadson, 107, 114. 

Nagl, J. W., 13. 

Narodniks, of Spektor's circle, 192 ; 

in America, 220. 
Natansohn, B., 140. 
' Nathan the Wise,' Lessing's, trans- 
lated, 165; on stage, 241. 
'"National Songs,' Rosenfeld's, 128; 

Schafir's, 81 ; of America, 240. 
National Theatre, Jewish theatre in, 

240. 
Natural Science, translated, 249. 
Nature, consideration of, absent, 54; 

and see 92. 
Nekrasov, imitated by Rabinowitsch, 

106. 
Neubauer, A., 74. 
Neue Zeit, Die, 224, 229. 
Neuer Geist, Der, 228; and see 10, 

224, 225, 229. 
Newspapers, in America, x, xi, 219. 
New Testament, in J. G., 136. 
New York, theatre in, 118, 119, 240- 

242; and see America, and 101, 

125, 217, 223. 
Nev) York Illustrated Gazette, The, 

87, 218. 
Neio Yorker Illustrirte Zeitung, see 

above. 
Nicholas I., his military regime, 67, 

68; Jewish mind under, 145; his 

reforms liberal, 158. 
' Niebelungenlied,' 4. 
' Night of the Destruction of Jerusa- 
lem, The,' M. Perel's, 117. 
1 Night Songs,' Frug's, 109. 
' Nightingale, The,' Ehrenkranz's, 77. 
'Nightingale to the Laborer, The,' 

Rosenfeld's, 130. 
Nihilists, in J. G. literature, 220. 
Nitsche, printer, 254. 
'Noble Tom-Cat, The,' Winchev- 

sky's, 124 ; in Chrestomathy, 312- 

315. 
' Nora,' Ibsen's, on stage, 241. 
Normalized text, x. 
North American Indian, xi. 
' Nosegay, The,' Rabinowitsch's, 

198. 
Novels, in America, 218. 

Obscurity, alleged, of Perez, 201, 
202. 



INDEX 



397 



Odessa, Ettinger in, 101; Aksenfeld 

iu, 141: Linetzki in, 163; theatre 

in, 237; printing in, 254; and see 

ix. 
'Old World and the New, The,' 

Zunser's, 93. 
1 On Michel Gordon's Grave,' Frug's, 

108. 
1 On the Bosom of the Ocean,' Rosen- 

feld's, 128; in Chrestomathy, 324- 

333. 
'On the History of. the Jews iu 

Podolia,' Litinski's, 199. 
' On Trades,' Perez's, 208. 
' One of the Best,' Frug's, 108. 
Operas, Goldfaden's, 239. 
' Ophir,' Frischmann's, 116. 
Oppenheim collection, vii. 
' Oppressed, The,' Pinski's, 214. 
Oppression, in Rosenfeld's poetry, 

130. 
Oral form of popular song, 75 
Orgelbrand, printer, 254. 
Oriental Theatre, at New York, 240. 
Originality, lack of, in American 

writers, 222. 
Orphan, in folksong, 65. 
' Orphan, The,' Isabella, 187, 188. 
Orsanskij, I. G.,53. 
Orthography, in this work, x ; of J. 

G., 21, 246, 247. 
Orzeszko, translated, 241. 
Ostrovski, compared with S. Rabino- 

witsch, 195; adapted for stage, 

241. 
Oxford, collection in Bodleian Mu- 
seum, vii. 

Palestine, Jews in, 248. 

Paris, publications, 256 ; and see 223. 

' Parliament, The,' Gottlober's, 99. 

' Parnes-chodesch. The,' Gordin's, 
241. 

Parsons, A., 123. 

Passover, Gentile blood at, 82. 

Pawier, Elieser, 232. 

' Pedler, The,' Zunser's, 120. 

Penance, in folklore, 41, 42. 

Penkowski, M. M., 116. 

People's Library, The, 256. 

Perel, Minchas, his poetry, 117. 

Perez, Leon, review of his life and 
works, 110-117, among the great- 
est writers of 19th century, 110; 
his productivity, 110, 111 ; his 
course of study, 111 ; not properly 
a popular poet, 111, 112; allured 
by Jewish Muse, 112; 'Monisch,' 
his first production, 112, 113; sto- 
ries in verse, 113, 114; shorter 
poems, imitations, 114 ; ' The Sew- 



ing of the Wedding Gown,' a 
powerful poem, 114-116; his disci- 
ples, 116; criticised by Frisch- 
mann, 201 ; as a novelist, 202-214 ; 
most original author, 202 ; accusa- 
tion of obscurity not entirely jus- 
tified, 203; his sympathies with 
humanity at large, 203 ; writes for 
the lowly, 203, 204; review of 
'Well-known Pictures,' 204-206; 
' The Messenger,' 204, 205 ; ' What 
is a Soul ? ' 205, 206 ; ' The Grazy 
Beggar-Student,' 206; founds Die 
jiidische Bibliothek, 206-208 ; as a 
popularizer of sciences, 208; pre- 
fers the tragic moments in life, 
209; his profound sympathies for 
the masses, 208-210 ; review of his 
sketches in 'Literature and Life,' 
210-213; 'The Fur-Cap,' 211; his 
allegory due to political causes, 
212; 'Little Stories for Big Men,' 
212, 213; his disciples, 213, 214; 
and see viii, 21, 107, 125, 199, 214, 
215, 249, 253; ' Bontsie Silent ' and 
translation, 332-353. 

Periodicals, x, 110, 124, 133, 148, 149, 
177-179, 186, 187, 194, 198-200, 207, 
210, 213, 214, 216, 219, 221, 223- 
229, 250, 255, 256. 

Perovskaya, Sophia, 123. 

Persian, compared to J. G., 7, 15. 

Pessimism, in folksong, 70 ; in cradle 
song, 86. 

Petrikowski, 156. 

Philipson, D., 13. 

Phonetic spelling, of Hebrew and 
Slavic words, x. 

' Pictures of a Provincial Journey,' 
Perez's 208 

Pinski, David, his works, 213, 214. 

Plagiarism, Zunser's, 93. 

'Plough, The,' Zunser's, 120. 

Poetry, 53-130; folksong, 53-71; 
thjgir didactic purpose, 74 ; manu- 
script form of, 74, 75 ; their anony- 
mousness leading to mistakes, 75 ; 
set to music, 74, 75 ; Gottlober, 76, 
77; Ehrenkranz, 77-79; Broder, 
79,80; Apotheker, 80, 81 ; Schafir, 
81, 82; Linetzki, 82; Gordon and 
Berenstein, 82, 83; M. Gordon, 
83-85; Berenstein, 85-87; Gold- 
faden, 87-89; German school of, 
89 ; J. L. Gordon, 89, 90 ; Badchens, 
90, 91; Zunser, 91-94; rhymed 
moral treatises, 95, 96; S. Sobel 
and Zweifel, 96; Abramowitsch, 
96-98; Goldfaden, 98, 99 : Lew and 
Epstein, 99; fables, 99-101 ; Sucho- 
s!;-wer, 99; Gottlober, 99, 100; 



398 



INDEX 



Krylov in J. G., 99, 100 ; Ettinger, 
101, 102; review of development 
of, 103, 104; after 1881, 105-130; 
S. Rabinowitsch, 105, 106; Fam- 
ilienfreund, 106; Chaschkes, 106, 
107 ; Frug, 107-110 ; Perez, 110-116 ; 
minor, 116 ; Frischmann, 116 ; Sa- 
mostschin, 116, 117; Perel, 117; 
Hornstein, 117; in America, 117- 
130; theatre couplet, 119, 120; 
Reingold, 120; Zunser, 120; Gold- 
faden, 120; Sharkansky, 120, 121; 
socialistic songs, 121, 122; Edel- 
stadt, 122, 123; Winchevsky, 123, 
124; Rosenfeld, 124-130; and see 
8, 198, 216, 238. 

Pogrom, in song, 67, 69. 

Pogrom, The,' Gordin's, 242. 

Poland, J. G., dialect of, 18; and see 
3, 50, 53, 69, 132. 

'Polish Boy, The, ; Linetzki's, 161, 
164, 165, 175. 

Polish Jew, The, Winchevsky's, 
223, 255. 

'Polish Scholar, The,' J. Z. Sobel's, 
216. 

Polish, works in J. G., 171, 225, 241 ; 
grammar in J. G., 133, 247 ; J. G. 
works in, 10, 157, 159, 239; words 
in J. G., 16, 19; and see 21. 

Political Economy, in J. G., 249. 

' Popular History of the Jews, The,' 
Graetz's, translated, 249. 

Popular Science, in J. G., 208, 221, 
222, 249. 

Potapenko, translated, 225. 

Prague, printing offices, 16; in leg- 
end, 32, 36 ; periodicals, 250. 

Prayer, see Tchines. 

Prayer-book, in verse, 96, 97. 

'Precentor, The,' Ehrenkranz's, 78. 

Press, in America, 229. 

Printing offices 254, 255. 

'Prizyw, The,' 231, 234; and see 
Enlistment. 

'Progress, Civilization,' S. Rabino- 
witsch's, 106. 

Pronunciation, of J. G., x. 

Prose, 131-256; and see Drama, 
Judeo-German, etc. 

Prost-jiidisch, 23. 

Proverbs, 51, 193. 

' Proverbs,' Lefin's, 136. 

" Przemysl, You my Dear Cradle," 
Schafir's, 81. 

Psalms, versified, by Linetzki, 82; 
Abramowitsch, 97; translated by 
Lefin, 136. 

Pseudonyms, 148, 149; and see ix, 
155. 

Puck, imitated in J. G., 227. 



'Purim and Passover,' Spektor's, 

184, 185. 
Purim plays, 234, 243. 

' Rabbi Joselmann,' Goldfaden's, 

239. 
1 Rabbi on the Ocean, The,' Ehren- 

Rabbinical schools, 74, 235, 244, 245. 

Rabbis, opposed to folklore, 26; in 
legends, 32-36; in folksong, 71; 
and see 6, 50, 91, 124, 163. 

Rabelaisian humor, in Linetzki, 164. 

Rabinowitsch, B. Z., 75. 

Rabinowitsch, M. J., his sketches, 
202. 

Rabinowitsch, Solomon, his poetry, 
105, 106; imitating Nekrasov, 106; 
establishes Judische Volksbiblio- 
thek, 110; review of his prose 
works, 194-201 ; his versatility, 
and comparison with Spektor, 194 ; 
attracts attention of Russian 
critics, 195; his delineations of 
character, 195 ; compared to Gogol 
and Ostrovski, 195, 196; a littera- 
teur, 196; 'Child's Play,' 196; 
'Sender Blank,' 196, 197; ' Stem- 
penju,' 197; 'Jossele Ssolowee,' 
198; his poetic prose not successful, 
198; history of Volksbibliothek, 
198-200; criticises Schaikewitsch, 
200, 201; and see ix, 23, 86, 172, 
179, 199, 215, 220, 252, 253 ; extract 
and translation, 300-305. 

Rabnizki, as critic, 201; and see 21. 

' Rag and the Papershred, The,' 
Winchevsky's, 124. 

' Railroad, The,' Zunser's, 93. 

Rambam, see Maimonides. 

'Realistic Library,' Kobrin's, 225. 

Realists, in America, 222, 225. 

' Reb Jossel,' Perez's, 113. 

' Reb Treitel,' Spektor's, 186. 

Rebe, 71 ; and see Rabbi. 

'Rebecca's Death,' Goldfaden's, 88. 

'Recollections,' see 'Sichrones.' 

' Red Caroline,' Freid's, 213. 

Red Jews, 30, 159. 

Reflection, songs of, 77, 82, 93. 

Reform, Mendelssohnian, finding its 
way into Russia and Poland, 6; 
forcing Jargon on J. G., 23; in 
Galicia, 72 ; not successful because 
of ostracism of J. G. , 135 ; connec- 
tion with, broken, 191, 196; and 
see 8, 89, 101, 131, 132, 148, 149. 

Reformation, by Dick, 171; and see 
4. 

Reichersohn, Zwi Hirsch, translator 
of Krylov, 100. 



INDEX 



399 



Reingold, I., coupletist, 120. 

Remuneration of authors, 160, 199. 

Resser, 249. 

Retrospective spirit, in folksong, 53. 

Revue des Etudes Juives, 28, 30. 

Rhine, Slavic Jews from, 3, 18; J. 
G., resembling dialects of Middle, 
17. 

Richter, Jean Paul, influence on 
Aksenfeld, 141, 147. 

Rivkin, bookseller, ix. 

' Rochele the Singer,' Falkowitsch's, 
174. 

Romancero, Perez, in style of, 111. 

Romantic love, in folksong, 57. 

Rombro, J., his activity, 223, 224; 
and see 226, 238. 

Romm, printing office, 97, 170, 254. 

1 Rose between Thorns, A,' Sahik's, 
243. 

'Rosele,' Gordin's, 241. 

Rosenberg, F., 3,74. 

Rosenfeld, Morris, review of his life 
and works, 124-130; his life, 125; 
experience in sweat-shop, 125 ; first 
attempts in poetry, 125, 126; his 
obligations to various authors, 126 ; 
his cry of anguish and despair, 
126, 127; review of 'The Songs 
from the Ghetto,' 127-129 ; his dra- 
matic and lyrical qualities, 129; 
technical structure of his poems, 
129, 130 ; compared to Dante, 130 ; 
and see 107, 120, 123, 229, 242; 
poem and translation, 324-333. 

Rosenthaliana, at Amsterdam, viii. 

' Roumania Opera House,' New York, 
240. 

Roumania, theatre in, 236, 242; pub- 
lications, 256 ; and see ix, 228. 

Russian, in J. G. translation and 
imitation, 76, 89, 168, 171, 222, 225, 
227, 253; J. G. works translated 
in, 120, 156; education among 
Jews, 7; affecting J. G. litera- 
ture, 8, 103; ideals among J. 
G. writers, 192; intelligence in 
America, 220; grammar in J. G., 
247 ; Russianization unfavorable 
to J. G. literature, 5, 7; Russi- 
cisms in J. G., 22; and see x, xi, 
3, 89, 107, 120, 178, 195, 212, 222, 
241. 
'Russian Jew in America, The,' 

Gordin's, 242. 
' Russian Tea-machine, The,' Ehren- 

' Ruy Bias',' V. Hugo's, on stage, 241. 

' Sabbath Prayers,' Abramowitsch's, 
97. 



Sachor-Masoch, M., 38. 

' Sacrifice of Isaac, The,' Goldfaden's, 

239. 
Sahik, David, his comedy, 243. 
Saineanu, L., 14, 24. 
Saints, see Hidden Saints. 
' Sale of Joseph,' 231-233. 
Sambation, in legend, 30, 31; in 

Abramowitsch's work, 159. 
Samostschin, Paltiel, his poems, 106; 

and see ix, 116, 187. 
Satire, Abramowitsch's, 157 ; Perez's, 

211 ; Winchevsky's, 227. 
Satulowski, M. W., his poems, 116. 
' Savings of the Women, The,' L. 

Levinsohn's, 166, 167. 
Schabssiel,' Goldfaden's, 98. 
Schadow, printer, 254. 
Schafir.Bajrach Benedikt,his poems, 

81, 82. 
Schaikewitsch, M. R., pernicious 

effect of his works, 172-174 ; criti- 
cised by Rabinowitsch, 200, 201; 

in America, 218; and see 9, 22, 

134, 181, 189, 215, 220, 227, 238, 

240, 298, 299. 
Schatzkes, M A , his ' Ante-Pass- 
over,' 174, 175 ; and see 38, 51. 
Scheinfinkel, bookseller, viii. 
Schildburg, 52. 
Schiller, translated, 76, 85, 86, 101, 

103, 147, 241 ; parodied, 121 ; and 

see 126, 
" Schoen bin ich, schoen, un' schoen 

is' mein Namen," 58. 
Schomer, see Schaikewitsch. 
' Schomer's Mischpet,' S. Rabino- 

witsch's, 200, 201. 
Schroder, 43. 
Schudt, 231. 
Schuhl, M.,51. 
Schulmann, A , on literature, 200; 

and see ix, 13. 
" Schwarz bist du, schwarz, aso wie 

a Zigeuner," 59. 
Schwarzfeld, M., 44, 51. 
Sciences in J. G., 160, 199, 208, 224. 
Scott, Walter, translated, 168. 
Scribe, translated, 238. 
Segel, B. W., 31, 32, 38, 44, 51, 53. 
Seiffert, M., 22, 23, 172, 174, 218, 229. 
Selikowitsch, 120. 
'Sender Blank,' S. Rabinowitsch's, 

196, 197. 
Sensational novel, in America, 230. 
Sentimental novel, Dienesohn's, 189; 

and see 181. 
Serapeum, 2, 4, 30, 31, 38, 42, 50, 52, 

74, 231. 
Serious aspects of life, in folksong, 

54. 



400 



INDEX 



'Serkele,' Ettinger's, 138-140; and 
see 101, 149, 236. 

' Sermon of the Lamps, The,' Perez's, 
212, 213. 

' Sewing of the Wedding Gown, The,' 
Perez's, 110, 114, 115. 

Shakespeare, translated, 224, 228. 

Sharkansky, A. M., review of his 
poetry, 120, 121; and see 226, 
229. 

Shchedrin, imitated by Goido, 225. 

Shelley, obligations to, 111, 126. 

' Shoemaker and Tailor,' Broder's, 
80. 

Short Stories, 221. 

' Sichrones,' Gottlober's, 134, 141. 

Siegfried, 4. 

Sieukiewicz, translated, 225. 

Silo, in rhymed chronicle, 70. 

1 Sinbad the Sailor,' in J. G., 44. 

Singer, I., 100. 

SistematicesJcij ukazateV, 10, 28, 38, 
44, 51, 150, 161, 238. 

" Sitz' ich mir auf'n Stein," 58. 

Skomarowski, Dr., 200. 

Skurchowitsch, Russian grammar, 
247. 

Slavic, Jews, more active than Ger- 
man, 5; separated from German, 
6; element in folklore, 28, 50; in 
language, 16, 108; folksongs in J. 
G., 56, 59, 60; words spelled pho- 
netically, x ; and see 137. 

'..Sleep, The,' Berenstein's, 86. 

Sliwien, see Kirkor. 

Sobel, Jacob Zwi, 216. 

Sobel, S., his poetry, 96. 

Socialism, in J. G. literature, 221, 
255, 256; Socialists in America, 
121-124, 126, 219, 221, 229. 

1 Socialistic Library,' London, 255. 

Societe des Etudes Juives, 38. 

Sokolowski, Dr., 70. 

Solotkov, N., 10, 228 

' Song of Summer and Winter,' 
Zunser's, 93. 

1 Song of the Gravedigger,' Broder's, 
80. 

'Song of the Shirt,' Hood's, trans- 
lated, 123; and see 129. 

Songs, set to music, 74, 75, 84; and 
see 3, 239, and Folksong, Poetry, 
etc. 

' Songs from the Ghetto,' Rosen- 
feld's, 127-130. 

' Songs from the Heart,' Chaschkes's, 
107. 

' Songs of Jewish Jargon,' Frug's, 
108. 

' Songs of Labor,' Rosenfeld's, 127. 

' Songs of Zion,' Sharkansky's, 121. 



Sonnet rhymes, Rosenfeld's, 130. 

Southern, dialect in literature, 77, 
83, 154 ; writers, 175. 

Spanish, translation from, 228; and 
see 1, 24, 248. 

Spektor, Mordechai, founds Haus- 
freund, 110 ; review of his life and 
works, 177-193; taking charge of 
Volksblatt, 179; his melancholy 
dignity and even tenor, 180; de- 
scribes life of artisan, 180; his 
simplicity of style, 181; candid 
treatment of love, 181 ; ' The Fash- 
ionable Shoemaker,' 181-183 ; ' Two 
Companions,' 183, 184; shorter 
stories, 185 ; his strict objectivity, 
185; 'RebTreitel,' 186; on the life 
of the Balschem-tow, 186 ; purpose 
and contributors of Hausfreund, 
186, 187; and see viii, 51, 106, 
179, 191, 193-195, 199, 203, 207, 
214, 215, 252, 253. 

Spektor, Mrs., see Isabella. 

Sseefer Maisse Zadikim, 40. 

Sseefer Sikoron, 148, 150, 161, 169, 
179, 195. 

St. Petersburg, Imperial Library of, 
X', periodicals, 105, 179; and see 
viii, 238. 

Stddt-aazeiger, I)er, 10, 238. 

' Stagnant Pool, The,' Perez's, 212. 

Stars and Stripes, in J. G. literature, 
120. 

Steinschneider, M., his ignorance of 
J. G., 9; antipathy to J. G., 13; 
and see 19, 27, 196, and Serapeum. 

' Stempenju,' S. Rabinowitsch's, 196, 
197 ; extract and translation, 300- 
305 

'Stepmother, The,' M. Gordon's, 85, 
233; poem and translation, 264- 
269. 

' Stone in the Way, The,' Diene- 
sohn's, 190. 

' Story of a Piece of Bread,' Masse's, 
translated, 168. 

' Story of Long Ago, A,' J. L. Gor- 
don's, 90. 

Strack, 13. 

Style, Aksenfeld's, 142; from Lefin 
to Abramowitsch, 154 ; since Abra- 
mowitsch, 155 ; Dick's, 172 ; Perez's, 
204. 

Suchostawer, Mordechai, 99. 

' Sulamith,' Goldfaden's, 239. 

Superstitions, 49, 50, 193. 

Siisskind, 3. 

Suwalk, birthplace of Rosenfeld, 125. 

Sweat-shop, and Rosenfeld, 125 ; and 
see 118, 119, 123, 129. 

Symbolism, Perez's, 201. 



INDEX 



401 



Talmud, in Russia, 16, 53, 132 ; folk- 
lore of, 27, 29-32, 49, 50; legends 
treated by Perez, 111 ; by Meisach, 
193; and see 57. 

Tannenbaum, Abraham, popularizer 
of science, 222, 223, 249. 

Tchines, language of, 20 ; literature 
of, 244, 245 ; and see 128. 

Tchines-teutsch, 20. 

Tears, in art, 95 ; in poetry, 109. 

Tendlau, A. M., 28, 52. 

' Tenth Commandment, The,' Gold- 
faden's, 239. 

1 Teudo Beisroel,' J. L. Levinsohn's, 
140. 

Teutsch, 23. 

Text-books, in J. G., 247, 248. 

Thankful Dead, in folklore, 41, 42. 

1 That Little Trace of a Jew,' Gold- 
faden's, 88. 

Theatre, 231-243; old period, 231- 
234; 'The Sale of Joseph,' etc., 
231-233; mysteries, 232; Zunser's 
play, 232, 233; performance of 
'Sale of Joseph,' 233; Purim 
plays, 234; dramas not staged, 

234, 235; early prose style dra- 
matic, 235; structure of drama, 

235, 236; first two comedies of 
Goldfaden, 236; founds theatre in 
Roumania, 236, 237 ; vicissitudes 
of, in Russia, 237, 238; Lerner's 
adaptations, 238 ; Goldfaden's his- 
torical dramas, 239; established 
in New York, 240; deterioration 
of, 240, 241; Gordin's activity, 
241, 242; future of, 242, 243; its 
primitive nature, 243; and see 
Drama, Comedy. 

' Theatre, The,' Ehrenkranz's, 78. 

Thirty-six, The, see Hidden Saints. 

' Thousand and One Nights,' in J. G., 
27, 43. 

'Three Persons,' Spektor's, 185. 

Till Eulenspiegel, 52. 

' 'Tis Best to Live without Worry- 
ing,' Ehrenkranz's, 78. 

Titles, of books, 55. 

' To Michel Gordon,' Frug's, 108. 

' To Our Poet,' S. Rabinowitsch's, 
105. 

'To the Flowers in Autumn,' Rosen- 
feld's, 128, 129. 

Tomaschewski, 240. 

' Tombstone, The,' Ehrenkranz's, 
78. 

' Tombstone-cutter, The,' Ehren- 
kranz's, 78. 

' Tony,' Korner's, quoted, 86. 

Topolowsky, printer, 216. 

Tore, in folksong, 54, 70. 



Tradition, no, in J. G. poetry, 108. 

Tragedy, see Drama. 

Translations, see German, French, 
English, Polish, Russian, etc. 

Transliteration of J. G., x. 

' Transmigration, The,' Gottlober's, 
146. 

' Trilby,' on stage, 240. 

Trubnik, J., 29. 

' True Education and the False Edu- 
cation, The,' M. Gordon's, 85. 

Tscharny, 159. 

Tscherny, Dr., 200, 249. 

Tunes of Songs, 74, 75, 89. 

Turkish, compared with J. G., 15, 17. 

Turner Hall Theatre, New York, 240. 

'Turnip Soup, The,' M. Gordon, 84. 

'Two Companions,' Spektor's, 183, 
184. 

'Two Grenadiers,' Heine's, paro- 
died, 75. 

' Two Neighbors, The,' Goldfaden's, 
236. 

Uhland, translated, 121. 

Ukraine, blood bath of, 70. 

' Uncle Moses Mendelssohn,' Ler- 
ner's, 238. 

'Uncle, The,' Spektor's, 185. 

'Unhappy Man, The,' 96. 

' Universal History,' Resser's, 249. 

Urquell, 29, 31, 38, 44, 50, 52-54. 

Useful Calendar, The, Abramo- 
witsch's, 252. 

Venice, Bovo printed in, 43. 
Verne, Jules, translated, 222. 
Vilenkin, 107. 
Volhynia, dialect of, in literature, 

21 ; and see 77, 150. 
Volksbibliothek, see Jud. Volksbib. 
Volksblatt, see Jud. Volksblatt. 
Volksfreund, 164. 
Voschod, 10, 54, 75, 90, 157, 195. 
Vowels, pronunciation of, x. 

Wagenseil, 42. 

Wahl, Saul, 54. 

' Wanderer, The,' Ehrenkranz's, 80. 

' Wanderings of Benjamin the Third, 

The,' Abrampwitsch's, 159, 160. 
War, Jews opposed to, 67. 
Warsaw, bookstores in, viii; prints, 

27, 244, 254; periodicals, 133, 250; 

Spektor in, 186, 187 ; theatre, 239, 

242 ; and see 97, 125, 132, 148. 
Warsaw Jewish Family Calendar, 

The, 253 ; and see Familienkalen- 

der. 
Warschauer jiidische Zeitung, Die, 

viii, 76, 251. 



402 



INDEX 



" Wasser schaumt,Wasser schaumt," 
66. 

* Watch, The,' Zunser's, 92. 
Wecker, see Jiid. Wecker. 
Wedding, in folksong, 61. 
Weiberdeutsch, 55. 
Weissberg, M., 72. 

1 Well-known Pictures,' Perez's, 
204-206. 

* What is'a Soul ? ' Perez's, 204-206. 

1 While you Live, you Must not 
Think of Death,' Ehrenkranz's, 
78. 

White Russian element in J. G., 19. 

' Whither? ' Rosenf eld's, 128. 

Widerkol, 179. 

Widowhood, in song, 64. 

Wiener, L., 54, 76. 

Wiernik, Ph., 10, 229. 

Wigalois, 4. 

* Wigderl the Son of Wigderl,' 166. 
1 Wild Man, The,' Gordin's, 242. 
Wilna, local tales, 35, 36; books 

printed in, 27, 134, 245, 254; publi- 
cation, 214; and see viii, 74, 145, 
149, 221. 

Winchevsky, Morris, his poetry, 123, 
124 ; his culture and socialism, 123 ; 
treats on social questions, 124 ; his 
fables, 124; his prose, 226, 227; 
edits Emeth, 226, 227; his style 
carefully balanced, 227; excellence 
of his translations, 227 ; and see 22, 
107, 122, 223, 242 ; poem and trans- 
lation, 312-315. 

Wisla, 38. 

Wollmann, 167. 

Woloderski, B., 83. 

Women, as preservers of J. G., 18; 
their love of folktales, 26; books 
for, 55 ; songs on, 89 ; in literature, 
see Isabella, Goldstein. 

Word-building, Abramowitsch's,154. 

Word-painting, Rosenfeld's, 126, 129, 
130. 

Workers' Friend, The, 223. 

' Workingmen's Program,' Las- 
sale's, translated, 223. 



World Turned Topsy-Turvy, The,' 
J. B. Levinsohn's, 140. 

' Yekl,' Cahan's, 221. 
Yiddish, 23. 

' Young Tears,' Berenstein's, 86. 
Youth, songs of, 56. 

Zamoszcz, Ettinger in, 101 ; Perez 
born in, 111 ; seat of Haskala, 132. 

Zazkin, Russian Grammar, 247. 

Zbaraz, Ehrenkranz born in, 77. 

Zbi6r wiadomosci do antropologii 
krajowej, see Segel. 

Zederbaum, founder of Kol-mewas- 
ser, 148, 149; his deserts in J. G. 
letters, 177, 178; the connecting 
link between two generations of 
writers, 177 ; founds Hebrew peri- 
odical, 177 ; his Kol-mewasser, 178 ; 
founds Volksblatt, 178, 179; and 
see 111, 215, 251, 252. 

' Zeena Ureena', 5, 19, 43. 

Zeit, Die, 229. 

Zeitschrift d.Vereinsf. Volkskunde, 
29, 44, 54. 

Zeitschrift f. Ethnologie, 44. 

Zeitung, 72, 250. 

Zhelezniak, in rhymed chronicle, 70. 

Zhitomir, books published in, 83, 87, 
97, 254; Rabbinical school in, 74, 
149 ; and see 245. 

Zionism, 185, 192, 193, 214, 252. 

Zuckermann, publisher, 256. 

Zukunft, Die, 224. 

Zunser, Eliokum, his poetry, 91-93; 
reforming badchen's profession, 
91, 92 ; his obligations to popular 
poets, 91, 92; adopts manner of 
Galicians, 92; his repertoire, 93; 
in America, 120; his drama, 232, 
233 ; and see 74, 106, 187, 218. 

Zunz, 17. 

Zuspiel, nature of, 78 ; and see 86. 

Zweifel, Elieser, Zwi, his poetry, 96 ; 
his moral treatises, 174, 175 ; and 
see 137, 244 ; extract and transla- 
tion, 264, 265.