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DER YIDDISH-VINKL January 9, 2004

Stanley Siegelman returns to Der Vinkl once again with his inimitable, irresistible, irrepressible sense of humor, penned in Yinglish poetry (a mix of Yiddish and English). His masterpiece this time is inspired by a recent news item from Rio de Janeiro. Gerald Thomas, the Jewish director of a performance of Richard Wagner’s opera “Tristan and Isolde” at Rio’s Teatro Municipal, responding to alleged antisemitic catcalls from the audience, removed his trousers and exposed his backside to the startled assemblage.

A Naye “Moon”* Kumt Tsu Rio

Zol zayn sha! M’heybt a finger!

Hert dem “operatic” zinger!

Plutsling fun der hoykher bime

Kumt a tokhes, nit a shtime!

Fregn mir: “Vos geyt yetst un?”

Un “Vemen tsaygt azoy a ‘moon?’”

Der entfer iz: der balabos!

Di gantse velt fregt im: “Far vos?”

Er zogt tsu alemen, tsufridn,

“Ikh tu dos vayl zey hasn Yidn!”

(Bamerkt a zinger mit a lakh

Er hot tsvey sheyne bekelakh!)

Thomas shvitst — az fun a sauna

Fe! ver darf aza matone?

Shrayt er mit a kol gezintn:

“Hob ikh nit a faynem hintn?”

Azelkhe verter fun dem yold!

— Der suf tsu “Tristan un Isolde”!

Efsher, yo, a naye levone

Makht a man tsu zayn a “mooner”?

Azoy yoyveln zey mit “zest” un “brio.”

Rosh Khodesh dortn bloyz in Rio.

A New Moon Comes to Rio

“Silence!” bids the upraised finger,

“Listen to the opera singer!”

But, suddenly, upon the stage

Appears a tush, a damn outrage!

The sight seems most inopportune—

A fleshy and a flashy moon.

A shocking act: so unrefined!

One asks the question: “Whose behind?”

It is the great director’s a**!

Such cheek! How did this come to pass?

He shouts, “This is my little joke

Because you hate the Jewish folk!”

Offstage, a solo singer speaks:

“This fellow has the cutest cheeks.”

(Our man perspires; he stops to cuss—

How gross and how gratuitous.)

He yells: “To all it’s evident

I have a comely fundament!”

’Twas at this point the curtain rolled

And ended “Tristan and Isolde.”

Oh can it be the lunar sky

Created such a moonstruck guy?

Is this the way, with zest and brio,

One marks Rosh Chodesh down in Rio?

  • “Moon” is a slang expression referring to the act of exposing one’s bare backside to signify contempt and defiance.

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