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 seven Gimpel books I've published.

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

Monday, September 26, 2016

Assimilated Jews and Christmas: a problem long ago as well as today! 12-24-1914

See how the Jewish family, surrounded by Christmas, was struggling even at the start of the 20th century. Why wouldn't Motke and Notke want the pretty things the goyish holiday offers?

December 24, 1914: If he had a frustrating Hanukah, then somebody else is going to have a frustrating Christmas.
  1. Motke: Do you see here? It's Santa Claus with a Christmas tree.
  2. Notke: Let's buy this Christmas tree, we'll decorate it like the one in the book.
  3. GB: Here's a new heshayne* my loafers have discovered. A new insanity.
  4. Notke: Don't you know what this is? It's a Christmas tree, you know.
  5. GB: Out of here, loafers, with your goyish things. Now it's Christmas trees no less.

* Gimpel refers to his sons' Christmas tree as a new insane sort of heshayne, a bundle of willow twigs struck against the ground five times during Sukkot. Outside of the holiday it's usually used this way: er zet oys vi an opgeshlogene heshayne, "he looks like a bunch of willow twigs that's been thrashed till it's limp."

אױב ער האָט געהאַט אַ פֿאַרשטערטען חנוכּה, האָט דערפֿאַר אימיצער אַנדערש דערפֿאַר אַ פֿאַרשטערטען קריסטמעס.

מאָטקע: זעהסט װאָס דאָ שטעהט? הײַנט איז סענטי קלאָוס מיט אַ קריסטמעס טרי.
נאָטקע: לאָמיר קױפֿען אָט דיא קריסטמעס טרי, װעלען מיר זיא אױספּוצען װיא אין בוך שטעהט.
גימפּעל בײניש: עפּעס אַ גאַנצע חושענא האָבען זײ דערטאַפּט מײַנע לױפֿערס. אַ נײַע משוגעת.
נאָטקע: װײסט ניט װאָס דאָס איז? עס איז אַ קריסטמעס טרי, יו נו.
גימפּעל בײניש: אַרױס, לױפֿערס, מיט אײַערע גױ׳אישע זאַכען. האָסטו דיר גאָר קריסטמעס טריס.

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