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DER YIDDISH-VINKL October 1, 2004

An old Yiddish ditty advises us about the drinking habits of a yid and a goy:

Shiker iz a goy

Shiker iz er, trinken miz er,

Vayl er iz a goy.

Nikhter iz a yid

Nikhter iz er, davnen miz er

Vayl er iz a yid.

But this easy characterization of the drinking habits of Jews and Gentiles is refuted in other popular Yiddish songs, such as one titled “Eyn Kol, Eyn Kol, Eyn Kol Vayn,” that appears in a song collection by Ruth Rubin dating back to her recording in 1953. What follows is her transliterated Yiddish version and then her own translation into English.

Eyn Kol, Eyn Kol, Eyn Kol Vayn

Eyn kol, eyn kol, eyn kol vayn

Eyn kol, eyn kol, eyn kol vayn

Ikh kon on dir nit zayn.

Eyn kol vayn, ikh kon on dir nit zayn.

Eyn kol, eyn kol, eyn kol bir. (Repeat 3 times.).

Ikh ken on dir nit zayn

En kol, eyn kol, eyn kol yash (3x)

Kh’vil a fule flash.

Eyn kol, eyn kol, eyn kol konyak (3x)

Ay iz dos geshmak.

Eyn kol, eyn kol, eyn kol kvas, (3x)

Ikh vil a fule fas.

English Version

Sparkling, bubbling, lovely wine (3x)

You make me feel so fine

Fine, fine, fine, you make me feel so fine.

Gurgling, foaming, frothy beer (3x)

You fill me full of cheer

Cheer, cheer, cheer, you fill me full of cheer.

Good old whiskey strong and free (3x)

A bottle is just right for me

Right for me, a bottle is just right for me.

Cognac isn’t bad at all (3x)

It makes me feel so tall

Tall, tall, tall. It makes me feel so tall.

If only cider is around (3x)

I’ll drink that barrel down

Down, down, down.

Our own conclusion on the sobriety of the clans:

A shiker blaybt a shiker

No matter Jew or goy

If he’s in love with liquor

We say for him: “Oy, oy.”

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