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 six Gimpel books I've published.

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

When Jews used the word "kike" in 1913

There is a debate on Wikipedia about this word. Here, find a contemporary usage. Notice that the woman looking for a bridegroom is named "Mrs. Garlic," a sign that she is not from the upper-crust German Jews of the time. If you compare the man in the second frame with the man in the third frame, you'll see (1) one of the recurring themes in the Gimpel comic strip, that a hat makes the man, and (2) the man with an old-fashioned hat is a greenhorn, and that was very undesirable in the matchmaking business. But then we see in the fifth frame that the woman is a greenhorn herself, perhaps a couple years in America. Jews were desperate to lose the taint of an immigrant past.



March 4, 1913: When a lady is too picky, it's a sign there's something wrong with her, herself.
  1. Mrs. Garlic: Mister Matchmaker, keep in mind that I don't want any kike.
  2. Gimpel Beinish (to old-fashioned looking man): You won't do. She doesn't want any kike, you know.
  3. Gimpel Beinish (to modern looking man): You're the one! You don't look to be any kike!
  4. Gimpel Beinish: Come, brother! As long as you're not a kike, it's all good.
  5. Jake (the modern looking guy): This is the proposed bride? Feh! I don't want any kike!
  6. Now you have it, they've kiked up my matchmaker's fee!

3-4-1913
װען אַ לײדי קלײַבט צופֿיעל, איז אַ סימן, אַז מיט איהר אַלײן איז עפּעס דער מעהר.

1
מרס. קנאָבעל: מיסטער שדכן, האָט אין זינען אַז קײן קאַיק װיל איך ניט.
2
גימפּעל-בײניש: דוא װעסט ניט טױגען. זיא װיל ניט קײן קאַיק, יו נו!
3
גימפּעל-בײניש: דוא ביסט דער מאַן! דוא זעהסט נאָר ניט אױס צו זײַן קײן קאַיק!
4
גימפּעל-בײניש: קומ, ברודערקע! אַבי ניט קײן קאַיק, איז שױן גוט.
5
דזשײק: דאָס איז דיא כּלה? פֿע! קײן קאַיק װיל איך ניט!
6
גימפּעל-בײניש: אָט האָסטו דיר, האָבען זײ געמאַכט אַ קאַיק פֿון מײַן שדכנות!

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