Gimpel Beynish the Matchmaker
(Gimpl Beynish der Shadkhn)
Yiddish Comics of the early 20th century

Translation and commentary by Jane Peppler
Click here to read about and order the three Gimpel books I've published.

Comics read right to left. Click on any comic strip for larger view.

Friday, January 15, 2016

That's the last straw! Leaving Coney Island to go to "the country." 7-25-1914, 7-26-1914, 7-27-1914

Sometimes to fill up column inches they gave Samuel Zagat twice as much space for his comics. In this first strip appears the delightful neologism "arumgebomen" for "bumming around." Makes sense. I also love the epithet "Yimakh Shmoynik" - yimakh shmoy being the famous curse "may his name be erased." We don't really have an equivalent for her next insult, treyfenik beyn - unclean bones.

Another Public Service Announcement for Jews from cold countries who spent all day in the Lower East Side sweatshops: you can burn your butt out there on the beach. I don't think they'd invented sunscreen yet and men were too manly for parasols.

Another place Jews who could scrape together the money would go in the summer: "The Country," usually the Catskills. I think of the Borscht Belt (evidently once known as the "Jewish Alps") as a place full of giant rambling hotels where you stuff your face till you plotz, but in 1914 I guess it was a humbler place. Gimpel spent most of the summer of 1913 in the country getting stung by bees and ripped off in various ways. Notice that the first thing Mirke does when she finds out he's come into some money and they're going to the country: she gathers bedding (betgevant) - bedding figures prominently in many tales of immigration, the wives tried to stuff as many cushions, mattresses, and bags of feathers into those wagons as they possibly could.

Khazaystve (household) is a Russian word I haven't seen in Yiddish before.



July 25, 1914: When they say a wife gets in the way of business you can believe it.
  1. GB: Enough bumming around, my loafers. As far as I'm concerned you can go wreak havoc at home.
  2. GB: The girls there are calling for me. Get out of here, hooligans.
  3. GB: Pretty girls, really, and without Gimpel Beynish nothing will be accomplished.
  4. GB: What a question, do I have bridegrooms for you? Sure, I have fine ones.
  5. Motke: Mama, Dad made us come home and he's talking over there with a lot, really a lot, of girls.
  6. Khashe Mushe: He'll soon be talking with the Angel of Death if I have anything to do with it, the old scoundrel.
  7. Khashe Mushe: May your name be blotted out! Dirty old man! What kind of monkey business is this? You want to die?
  8. Khashe Mushe: This is the last time you come to Coney Island, you antisemite.



July 26, 1914: It seems he really will be running away from Coney Island soon.
  1. OK, let the loafers splash around. Meanwhile I'll have a snooze.
  2. B-r-r-r-r!
  3. B-r-r-r-r!
  4. Oy, I'm burning! Gevald, Jews, firemen, save a person! I'm burning!
  5. A plague on Coney Island with the ocean and the sun.



July 27, 1914: He's traveling finally to the country, but we will here about it tomorrow.
  1. Jake: Mr. Gimpel Beynish, here's your matchmaking fee and a cigar extra.
  2. GB: Congratulations to you, Khashe Mushe! I have money. A lot of money.
  3. Khashe Mushe: Well, since you have money, I'll make things all right with you.
  4. (Goodbye; Gimpel Beynish and his household are going to the country. But we will hear about things from there too. There'll already be news tomorrow.)

7-25-1914
אַז מען זאָגט אַז אַ װײַב שטערט צו ביזנעס זאָל מען גלױבען.

1
גימפּעל בײניש: גענוג אַרומגעבאָמט, לױפֿערס מײַנע. איהר׳ט שױן בײַ מיר כאָליען אין דערהײם.
2
גימפּעל בײניש: דיא מײדלעך דאָרטען רופֿען מיך. טראָגט זיך נאָר אָפּ פֿון דאַנען, הוליגאַנעס.
3
גימפּעל בײניש: שעהנע מײדלעך, שעהנע, און אָהן גימפּעל בײניש׳ן געהט עס ניט פֿון אָרט.
4
גימפּעל בײניש: אַ שאלה צי איך האָב חתנים פֿאַר אײַך? שור האָב איך פֿײַנע חתנים.
5
מאָטקע: מאַמאַ, דער פּאַפּאַ האָט אונז אַהײמגעטריבען און ער רעדט דאָרט מיט אַ סך, אַ סך מײדלעך.
6
חאַשע מושע: ער װעט בײַ מיר באַלד רעדען מיט׳ן מלאך המות, דער אַלטער הולטאַי.
7
חאַשע מושע: ימח שמו׳ניק! טריפֿה׳נער בײן! װאָס איז פֿאַר מאָנקי ביזנעס? עס איז דיר פֿאַר׳ן טױט?
8
חאַשע מושע: עס װעט דיר זײַן דאָס לעצטע מאָל מיט קוני אײַלענד, אַנטיסעמיט אײנער.

7-26-1914
דאַכט זיך ער װעט שױן באַלד אַנטלױפֿען פֿון קוני אײַלאַנד.

1
נאַ, זאָלען זיך דיא לױפֿערס פּלושקענען. איך׳ל דערפֿאַר כאַפּען אַ דרימעל.
2
ב-ר-ר-ר-ר!
3
ב-ר-ר-ר-ר!
4
אױ, איך ברען! גװאַלד, אידען, פֿײַערלײַט, ראַטעװעט אַ מענשען. איך ברען!
5
אַ ניכפּע אױף קוני אײַלענד, מיט׳ן ים און מיט דער זונן.

7-27-1914
ער פֿאָהרט ענדליך אין קאָונטרי, אָבער מיר װעלען איהם הערען שױן מאָרגען.

1
דזשײק: מר. גימפּעל בײניש, דאָ האָט איהר אײַער שדכנות געלד און אַ סיגאַר עקסטראַ.
2
גימפּעל בײניש: מזל טובֿ דיר, חאַשע מושע! איך האָב געלד. אַ סך געלד.
3
חאַשע מושע: נו, אַז דו האָסט יאָ געלד, װעל איך מאַכען פֿון דיר אָלל-רײַט.
4
(גוד באַי; גימפּעל בײניש מיט זײַן ״כאַזאַיסטװע״ פֿאָהרען אין קאָונטרי. נאָר מיר װעלען װעגען איהר הערען פֿון דאָרטען אױך. מאָרגען װעט שױן זײַן נײַעס פֿון איהם.)

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