The news item that the inimitable Stanley Siegelman chose for his column this week is the announcement that California’s Stanford University is now offering a three-year program in the study of Yiddish literature. Here it is, in Siegelman’s very own brand of Yinglish — a mix of Yiddish and English.
Der Kosher “U”
Bay California’s Stanford U
Shtudirt men vi tsu zayn a Jew!
Dos iz, m’lernt dort vi azoy
Tsu redn Mama Loshn. Oy!
Talmidim zogn s’iz okay
Ven rekhts tsu links gor lezn zey.
FaynYiddish leynt men — alemen!
Nor vu? In Forverts! Ha! (Vu den?)
Un tsu der “editor in chief”
Zey shraybn (tsu dem Bintl Brief)
M’redt nor Yiddish ven in school!
Bay dem iz Mama Loshn “cool.”
Ven Shabes kumt, men arbit nit
Far UJA “they do their bit,”
Zey trogn yarmilkes oyfn kop
Mit goyish esn “they’re fed up.”
Zey fresn khazer-fleysh nit mer,
“Pinochle” shpiln zey mit “flair,”
Zey esn beygl bay der “ton,”
Un zaltsik lox “they do not shun.”
Ven lebn vert tsu shver un “gray”
Zey kvetshn (Yiddish style) “Oy vey!”
Bay Stanford, iz di tsukunft “bright. Far Mama Loshn, Yiddishkeit.
The Kosher “U”
Oy, mamaloshen is “What’s new”
In California’s Stanford U.
There, Yiddish language now is taught
In grandma’s accent, as it ought.
The students are becoming deft
At reading from the right to left.
They’re scanning now, with speed and skill
The Forverts in original!
(Some even when they have a beef
Write letters to the Bintel Brief.)
They bask in Yiddish rhetoric
The mother tongue gets in its lick.
They shun work on the seventh day
And flock to join the UJA.
They’re wearing skullcaps on the head.
White bread? They’re eating rye instead.
Pig’s knuckles some ate to their shame
Today, pinochle is their game.
The sale of lox and bagel soars
According to the local stores.
When things are bleak and outlook gray
The students kvetch and moan, “Oy vey!”
At Stanford U., they’re not uptight
They flaunt and fly their “Yiddish-kite.”