Who knew Darth Vader had such an impressive grasp of the Yiddish language?
I mean, not really, but the folks over at Yidlife Crisis, a Yiddish comedy web series, have done a truly solid job of dubbing over the “Luke, I am your father” line.
The team released a montage of classic movie moments this week — each with a Yiddish twist.
Watch below, and prepare to never see “The Princess Bride,” “E.T.,” and “Good Morning Vietman!,” the same way ever again.
A version of this post originally appeared in the Yiddish Forverts.
Most people associate Yiddish poetry with grandmothers, immigrant workers or the horrors of the Holocaust, if they have associations at all.
What certainly does not come to mind are frank and graphic descriptions of sexual acts. That may soon change thanks to a new documentary, “Burning Off the Page,” which explores the life and work of the Yiddish poet Celia Dropkin, whose haunting and beautiful erotic poems stunned New York’s Yiddish literary world in the 1920’s. Eli Gorn and Bracha Feldman’s film examines how Dropkin’s poems continue to speak to and inspire readers today and how they have been reinterpreted by diverse communities seeking meaning in the Yiddish literary past.
This article originally appeared in the Yiddish Forverts.
Besides Mexico City, which hosts the annual Yiddish Idol competition, there really is nowhere on earth where you would expect to hear a Yiddish song performed as part of a singing competition, let alone on national television. Recently, however, the American-Jewish singer Amalia Rubin performed an excellent rendition of Moishe Nadir’s “The Rebbe Elimelech” on the Mongolian TV show Universe Best Songs, a local take-off of American Idol.
Mongolia? Yes, really in Mongolia. Amalia Rubin, who lives in the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar where she works as an English teacher, specializes in the music of Mongolia and Tibet. As can be gleaned from her Youtube channel, she is comfortable speaking both Mongolian and Tibetan. Rubin is well known in Tibet and among the Tibetan diaspora as one of the few western women who sings traditional songs in that language. Besides Tibetan and Mongolian she performs in a wide range of languages including Hindi, Thai, Ladino, Hebrew and Chinese.
Her performance on Universe Best Songs, which has been viewed more than 43,000 times, was accompanied by traditional Mongolian musicians. Although one judge critiqued her and the musicians for not having practiced together enough it is clear from the audience’s reaction that they greatly enjoyed the song.
Moishe Nadir’s “The Rebbe Elimelech” was written in 1927 and quickly became so popular that most Eastern-European Jews believed it to be a folksong. It is essentially a Yiddish take on the traditional English song “Old King Cole” that describes how the Rebbe Elimelech becomes merrier and wilder the more he drinks.
Jordan Kutzik is a staff writer at the Forverts. He can be followed on Twitter @thrownpeas.
The stereotype-defying Orthodox singer and composer, also known as the Hasidic Lady Gaga, talks to the Yiddish Forward at his latest concert in Manhattan.
In a previous article I explained how people misuse Yiddish and Yiddish curses in American English. Though written to accurately reflect the correct form of Yiddish curses, the following are not meant in any way to poke fun of or make light of the sad events and tragedies of the past twelve months. Rather they are written in the spirit of pointing out the absurdity of so many such occurrences befalling us in a single year. Although I’m no Sholem Aleichem, these are very much written in the spirit of his work, which was often simultaneously bitterly tragic and hilarious. As he put it best, good comedy is there to help people laugh through their tears.
Here are some of the horrid events of 2016 retold as Yiddish-style curses.
1) May the proposed Israeli ambassador be so extreme that even the Anti-Defamation League calls foul.
4) May you live in a country where admitting to sexually assaulting women doesn’t prevent you from becoming president.
5) May you try to relieve your suffering from thinking about said president elect by eating a corned-beef sandwich at your favorite Deli just to learn that it has closed.
6) May you live in such a tumultuous year that Britain leaving the EU seems like an “also ran” in the competition for most questionable electoral decision by a voting public.
7) May the classy Jewish gymnast’s performance be completely overshadowed by some jerk lying about being robbed at gunpoint.
8) May that same idiot then confuse Yom Kippur with Canadian Thanksgiving.
9) May Bob Dylan win the Nobel Prize for literature and not even have the decency to bother showing up.
12) May the news of Abe Vigoda’s death really be true.
13) May the government poison your city’s water supply and then refuse to fix it.
14) May you end 2016 fearing that 2017 may just be worse.
Goodbye 2016. Gey gezunterheyt – in drerd arayn… (Go in good health – straight to hell).
Jordan Kutzik is the staff writer and social media coordinator for the Yiddish Forward. Follow him on Twitter @thrownpeas
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