By Guest Author

Published July 14, 2006, issue of July 14, 2006.
  • Print
  • Share Share

As readers of Der Vinkl know so well, Stanley Siegelman and Joan Braman are two of the column’s most prolific contributors, but this week’s entry is different from all their previous ones; it is a joint effort. Siegelman explained why. “My usual procedure is to compose in Yiddish and then translate into English. For the present column, I went Moyshe kapoyer: I wrote it in English, and when it came to the Yiddish version, I had difficulty. “So,” Siegelman explained, “for help I turned to Dr. Joan Braman, whose translations of English masterpieces into Yiddish for Der Vinkl I have repeatedly admired. Dr. Braman gladly accepted the assignment.”

Here we have Siegelman’s English version followed by Braman’s Yiddish translation. The subject of the English and Yiddish versions is the Senate’s recent move to make English the official language of the United States.

English for U.S. Official Language

The English language unifies!

So says the U.S. Senate wise;

The solons say with single voice,

“It’s now official, that’s our choice!”

No other language fills the need,

The Senators have all agreed.

But from their edict let’s appeal.

In furtherance of common weal;

Might mameloshn play the role

If long-range unity’s the goal?

They seek a unifying spiel?

The Yiddish tongue might prove ideal;

It’s time that people realized

It’s not just for the circumcised.

Plain English speech has run its course,

It’s Yiddish to the fore perforce;

Already Yiddish words enjoy

Wide use among the hoi polloi;

Non-Jewish folk use words like “nosh”

Hoha, schlemiel, oy vey, mish mash.

Perhaps we could persuade George Bush

To give a talk in “mama lush?”

His Texan twang and accent plain

Would traction give to our campaign.

(The Yiddish movement could begin

With talks by Joseph Lieberman.)

When in the mother tongue one prates

The larynx throbs and resonates;

Felicity resides in short.

In uttering the Yiddish vort.

Once goyim realize this joy,

No other speech will they employ!

These arguments you say are weak

Oh, well. All’s (mother) tongue-in-cheek!

* * *

Yiddish Als Nationaln Shprakh

Nor English in di Fareynikte Shtatn!

Azoy bafelt der U.S. Senat

Zogn di salonen mit eyn shtim,

“S’iz undzer breyere. ‘S’iz nit keyn zind!”

Mir darfn nit kayn ander shprakh,

Di Senatorn hobn opgemakht.

Dokh lomir betrakhtn dos gezets

Vayl eynikayt iz neytik yetst,

Efsher vet “mame loshn” klekn.

“Toyves beklal” vet zayn der tsvek;

Milyonen in di shtatn lebn

Vos kayn English vort nit redn

Lernen English iz tsu shver

Ven fun der fremd me kumt aher;

Lernen Yiddish iz etvos gringer —

Makh Yiddish undzer “franca lingua”!

S’bedarft a nayem dialect,

Vos iz “politically correct.”

Yidish hot azoy fil mayles:

Shayles entfert men mit shayles;

Vi shmalts es glitsht zikh oyf der tsung,

Un oykh s’iz gut far dem gezunt.

In Yidish z’loynt zikh oft tsu krekhtsn.

S’bavegt dem haldz, makht loyz dos leykhets,

Yidish iz nutsik, balebatish,

Un, mer fun alts, s’iz demokratish.

Yidish makht keynmol nit keyn shnit

Tsvishn di vos hobn un hobn nit.

Un es kumt mer gute nayes;

Yidish vet makhn sholem-bayis.

S’vet zayn a naye melukhe a voyle

On konflikt tsvishn royte un bloye

Demokratn un Republicaner —

Nor Litvak kegn Galitsyaner!

Find us on Facebook!
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love.
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

You may also be interested in our English-language newsletters:

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.