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‘Ot, Reb Bloom, Vos Makht Ir?’

‘Ulysses’ in Yiddish

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[Note: If you’re viewing this in The Scroll, click on the headline to get the full post, with video.] In case you were wondering, last night’s celebration of Bloomsday went swimmingly. We will try to put more up later.

For now: Here is David Mandelbaum, of the New Yiddish Repertory Theater, and Alyssa Quint, who teaches Yiddish at Columbia, performing, first in English and then in Yiddish (translated by Caraid O’Brien), a scene between Leopold Bloom and an ex-girlfriend of his, Mrs. Breen.

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Sarah V. says:

Cute! Thanks for posting this. From a closet Bloomsday celebrator. What is it about James Joyce’s Ulysses and the Jews? Wonderful connection.

avreyml says:

vos shaykhes mit Ulysees un di yidn? vos far a frage! s’iz klor, avade, az me leyent Joyce, s’iz nisht vayt fun leyenen talmud. di gantse velt is dortn, mit pintele oysyes…

David Star says:

Lovely performance! Is Ms. Quint a relative of the renouned scholar and gentleman Rabbi Emanuel Quint of Yerushelayim?

Yiddish gets laughs?
Even if a tragic section of King Lear would have been read it would get laughs. For a Yiddish using audience, Thomachevsky would bring tears to their eyes in his depiction of the tragic monarch. But for those who don’t speak Yiddish it seems the very sound of her evokes laughter. While the small segment of Joyce’s work chosen for the reading was amusing it certainly wasn’t chortle inducing.

Perhaps the high-pitched laughter we heard in response to the very sound of Yiddish was a displacement of anxiety.
The loss of Yiddish as one of the marvelous contributions to our lives for so many years may underlie this feeling of unsteadiness that is compensated for by raucous laughter.
There are plenty of great Yiddish jokes that evoke laughter because of the punchline, not just because they are told in Yiddish.


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‘Ot, Reb Bloom, Vos Makht Ir?’

‘Ulysses’ in Yiddish

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