(From "Yahadut Lita", third volume, pages 147- 148)
Druyanov Abba- Avraham- Asher (Alter) was the son of Eliyakum- Pesach
Author, folklorist and Zionist public official. Alter was born in Druya
in 1870 and studied in the Volozhin Yeshiva. Later he moved to Odessa
and was the secretary of Chu"Z. Member of the center of the Russian
Zionists. Editor of "HaOlam","Reshumot" and "Miyamim
Rishonim". Published "'Ktavim Letoldot Chibat Zion Veyeshuv
Eretz Yisrael", "The Book Of Tel Aviv" (1935), "Pinsker
and his times", three-volume anthology of Jewish humor,
Sefer HaBdikha ve-HaKhidud [Book of Jokes and Wit]
He also edited the chapters of Modern Hebrew literature, folklore and
geography of Eretz Israel in the Hebrew and German Encyclopedia "Eshkol".
He died in Tel Aviv. A collection of his assays "Ktavim Nivcharim"
was published in two volumes in Tel Aviv.
Information of Alter Druyanov from the Internet;
by Elisheva Schoenfeld
The writer and public servant Alter Druyanov was born in 1870 in Druja,
a district of Vilna. After serving as a secretary of the Va'ad le-Yishuv
Erets-Yisrael [Committee for the Settlement of the Land of Israel] for
five years in Odessa, he migrated to Palestine in 1906.
Unable to earn a living there, he returned to Russia in 1909 and became
editor of the Hebrew- language newspaper HaOlam, a position he filled
until 1914. In 1921, he settled in Erets-Yisrael
and joined Bialik and Y.-Kh. Ravnitski in editing the first four volumes
of Reshumot (1919-1926), a Hebrew journal devoted to Jewish folklore.
Druyanov's own writing covered
many genres, including feuilletons, critical essays, and journalistic
articles on subjects of public interest.
Druyanov is chiefly remembered today for his three-volume anthology
of Jewish humor,
Sefer HaBedikha ve-HaKhidud [Book of Jokes and Wit]. This work appeared
at a time when other notable Jewish folklore collections were published:
Die Sagen der Juden (1913-1927) and Der Born Judas (1916-1922) by M.J.
bin Gorion (Berditshevski), Sefer Ha-Aggadah by Khayim Nakhman Bialik
and Y.-Kh. Ravnitski (1924), and The Exempla of the Rabbis by Moses
(1924). Innumerable anthologies of Jewish jokes have been published,
but Druyanov's Book of Jokes and Wit, first published in 1922, remains
unparalleled. The much enlarged 1951 edition
(of which the familiar 1963 Dvir edition is a reprint) with its more
than 3000 entries reflects Eastern European Jewish life in the 19th
and the first quarter of the 20th century and to some extent also encompasses
Jewish life in Nazi Germany and in the renascent Land of Israel.
Prior to the 19th century the Jews were "God-fearing and faithful"
and presumably avoided jesting -- homiletic and ethical writings abound
in commands warning the pious to avoid laughter and levity. However,
the Haskalah [Enlightenment] severely criticized the social
condition of Jewish communities and their prevailing religious institutions
and practices. The joke appeared together with the criticism.
The situation of the Jews produced a distinct kind of humor, one that
subsequently came to occupy a special place in world humor. "It
is the result of particular religious, historical and
social tendencies and therefore also a key to Jewish history,"
writes Lutz Roehrich. (Lutz
Roehrich, Der Witz, seine Formen und Funktionen, Munich, 1977, p. 275).
Druyanov claims that Jewish humor "enables the Jew to escape from
reality, to take the measure of all things and,
for a moment, to drink deeply from the intoxicating cup of freedom.
At the same time, it enables
him to raise and exalt his 'simple ego' above everything" (Druyanov,
vol. 1, p. 10). More narrowly, Jewish humor, including the joke, is
a key to the way Jews in Eastern Europe lived in the nineteenth and
early twentieth centuries, their occupations, institutions and
relationships with their surroundings. The 1951 [and later] Book of
Jokes and Wit, fuller than the 1922 edition, treats its subjects in
considerable detail and sharply reflects conflict with
conventions, with the surroundings, differences between various Jewish
groups, between youth and age, between the urban and the rural Jew.
Highly varied though they are, the subjects of the
anthology can be divided conveniently into six major groups, each of
which can again be
A) Jewish trades and occupations: merchants, peddlers, bankers, hotel
and restaurant owners,
tax-gatherers, craftsmen, clerks, doctors, lawyers, teachers (of small
children), rabbis, cantors,
public servants, beggars and writers.
B) The life-cycle: birth (legitimate and illegitimate), circumcision,
kindergartens, schools, match-making, wedding, married life, family,
old age, death.
C) Holidays and Sabbath: faith and reason.
D) Groups: hasidim and mitnagdim, Karaites, maskilim (intellectuals),
Zionists, urban and
rural Jews, small-town Jews, heretics, renegades, various ethnic groups.
E) Types: fools, illiterates, ignoramuses, wise people, clever people,
thieves, liars, misers, profiteers, idlers.
F) The larger world: Jews and non-Jews, clergy and rabbis, war and revolution,
of the Land of Israel.
The anthology entries show a diversity of settings: street, restaurant,
inn, synagogue, kheder,
yeshiva, law court, war front, kibbutz. Since locales such as the legendary
town of Chelm [also
spelled Khelm], inn, restaurant and railway are necessary backgrounds
to many jokes, I have
assembled related texts under rubrics of place within the framework
of the general index. They
appear under the headings: "Chelm and Its Simpletons", "The
Inn and Its Guests", "The
Restaurant and Its Customers", and "The Railway and Its Passengers".
A separate index of
geographical places is added.
Apart from ideal types specified by a single quality or trait (such
as "the glutton," "the
drunk," "the miser", "the thief," "the
liar", "the rich man," "the pauper," "the
illiterate," "the gentile," "the priest," "the
wag," "the wit"), Druyanov gives us individuals who
are identified by their nicknames (such as: "Benny Simpleton",
"Gimpel Naif," "Meir Yozi"
[thief], Khoyzek Simpleton, Motke Thief [cf. Shalom Asch's novel Motke
Ganef] Shmaye Idler,
Yeke Fool and others. For the most part they are not historical persons
and are often stereotypes.
Historical persons are alluded to in many entries dealing with wedding
jesters, preachers, rabbis,
writers, artists, scientists and politicians. Many of these historical
figures express themselves by
a humorous tale, a parable, an aphorism or a pun, but their principal
medium is apt quotation
from a sacred text -- principally Bible, Talmud, Passover Haggadah or
Foremost among the historical personages is Hershele Ostropoler, the
court jester of the
melancholic Rabbi Barukh of Mezbizh (d. 1811). Many sayings and jests
relate to Hershele
himself, but there are also those that are associated with him because
of the similarity of his
personality to that of other wise fools such as the Flemish Til Eulenspiegel
and the Turkish
Nasreddin Hodja. Druyanov has 30 entries on Hershele, about a third
of which are variants of
internationally known tales (e.g. no. 2145). There are also unique sayings
of jesters who were
well known in their communities, such as Leybele of Fiorda (no. 2127),
Hersh-Lev the Jester
(no. 2129), the writer Ayzik-Meyer Dick (no. 2453) and Kalev the Joker
(no. 2166). A partial
list of historical persons is included at the end of the third volume
of 'The Book of Jokes and
The greater part of Druyanov's Chapter XXI, "Between Man and His
Maker," deals with
unbelievers whom we would today call "secular." Among the
non-religious who smoke on the
Sabbath, eat on fast days and are apprehended in non-kosher restaurants,
Shmerl Shnitkaver fills
a prominent place, appearing in no fewer than 30 entries (e.g. nos.
1792, 1833, 2154).
Rabbi Ayzel the Sharp-Witted, immortalized in 18 entries, seems to have
been a well-known
and venerated person. According to the texts, this sharp-tongued individual
(see nos. 570, 571)
was authorized to give imprimaturs to young writers for printing and
distributing their books.
The preacher of Raytsa used to spice his sermons with parables (e.g.
no. 463). From a notebook
of the unusual personality, Yeshaya "the doctor" (he seems
to have been a popular healer), we
learn how to treat toothache, stomach ache, and aches and pains in general
(nos. 893, 896).
Ignorance of Jewish scriptures and customs turns the president of a
Jewish religious school
[Talmud-Torah] in the United States into a comical figure (nos. 3090,
Druyanov introduced a variety of genres into his collection. He recorded
jokes told to him or
written out for him, used books of jokes, memoirs, quotations, biographies,
and aphorisms as well as the collections of stories on Chelm and on
Druyanov followed a chronological order as far as possible in his entries
personalities. Many of the anecdotes and sayings are no longer intelligible
to us, their time and
place being outside our consciousness (e.g. nos. 2384, 2393, 2405).
The difference between the joke and the short humorous tale is not only
in their shape but
also in their historical and sociological background (see Roehrich,
pp. 8-10). The humorous short
story appears at the end of the Middle Ages, whereas the joke is much
younger. Before the 19th
century, the humorous tale was didactic, which the joke has not been.
Didacticism is found in
Druyanov's anthology in the parables of the preachers (e.g. no. 485),
beggars and rabbis. The
humorous story may involve comic situations, foolish actions (e.g. tales
of the "wise" people of
Chelm), lies and exaggerations of travelers, as well as parables and
satires styled according to
"pilpul" and "Aggadah" (e.g. nos. 2197, 2646).
Roehrich claims that the joke, unlike the humorous tale, is spiritual.
The joke is built up and
sharpened towards its clearly marked point. The humorous tale is based
on the material side of
life. The joke shows no respect for anyone or anything, not for old
age, sickness, ideals, morals,
high-ranking officials, rabbis, scientists. It juxtaposes those who
are socially and educationally
unequal: the soldier and the officer, the teacher and the pupil , the
judge and the culprit, gentile
and Jew, hasid and mitnaged, urban Jew and shtetl Jew. Comic conflict
between two persons
may be expressed by aggression or by illogical repartee. Repartee is
a quick and unexpected
means of defeating the aggressor. The collision between different norms
is seen in jokes of
conflict between Jews and gentiles (e.g. no. 1960), rabbis and priests
(e.g. no. 1954), a despotic
community head and a simple citizen (e.g. no. 363).
Another type of joke is a "competition" between two or more
contenders where the winner
finally loses. Hasidim compete on the holiness or magic power of their
respective rabbis (no.
607), or they compete with a strong-minded mitnaged (no. 613).
Apart from some practical jokes (nos. 1958, 365), there are many other
jokes depending on
A) a comparison two things that have no common denominator (e.g. nos.
1493, 1585, 1578,
B) play on words. or their spelling. or on abbreviations. (The punsters
are often known
persons). Four subdivisions may be recognized:
1) The point of the joke is based on a word that has different meanings
contexts (e.g. nos. 670, 500).
2) A customary abbreviation is "interpreted" according to
a specific situation (no. 398).
3) One letter is changed in a word of a well-known saying, obtaining
thereby a new and
surprising meaning, (e.g. nos. 427, 1793).
4) A letter is changed in a single word, and the "error" (usually
by an new immigrant)
results in a comic situation, (e.g. nos. 2905, 2960, 2640).
The joke often appears as a comic question that can only be answered
by the questioning
person himself. Comic questions are plentiful in Druyanov, particularly
when the answers are a
phrase from the Bible or other sacred texts. It seems that questions
and answers have been
formulated by men well versed in Jewish studies and particularly by
skilled jesters, (e.g. nos.
211, 859). As a whole, phrases from the Talmud, the siddur [prayer book]
and the Passover
Haggadah are abundant. There are almost no changes in the texts themselves
because of their
sacred status. They only appear to be comic in the context, the elevated
language of the text
juxtaposed with a prosaic account of an ordinary event. The differences
in the two levels of
language are a source of humor. The very few changes and faults in the
venerable texts appear in
the speeches of thieves and liars (e.g. nos. 1273, 1336). Phrases from
sacred texts are used as a
biting reply (no. 1117), as an answer to a stupid question (no. 1157),
and as help to a man who
can't decide which of two girls to marry (no. 1495).
Druyanov's Chapter XXXIII presents sayings of children from village,
kibbutz and town. 43
of its entries seem to be authentic (the child's age is given and in
a number of entries the
occasion, e.g. nos. 2922, 2925, 2933). 25 additional entries deal with
children learning in a
kheder or with their fathers. These children reveal keen minds and lack
of respect for adults on
the one hand, and on the other, naivete and inexperience. It seems that
some of these remarks
were uttered by adults for adults and were assigned to children to hide
their own contempt
towards certain teachers and rabbis.
Political jokes abound in the anthology. They are directed against despotic
leaders, and the
underdog usually defeats the man of power. Druyanov recorded several
jokes dealing with the
Russian Revolution as well as with the Nazi period in Germany. World
War I items mock the
Russian czar and his army. The political joke is bound to time and place:
period jokes deal with famine, shortages of supplies, a population fed
up with government
promises (no. 2826). Druyanov also gives us in-group jokes that play
on the perception of a
largely Jewish Bolshevik leadership (no. 2799). During World War I,
the Jews in Russia admired
the German army and ridiculed the Russians and their czar (2763). The
jokes dealing with the
Nazi regime (nos. 3062, 3063) were apparently created before the full
truth of the Holocaust was
Druyanov was puritanical and included almost no jokes centered on sexual
themes in his
anthology. He wrote: "It [i.e. sex] is the subject of an immense
number of jokes told by all
peoples and in all languages, particularly by the Jews
our joke is so keen and
biting as to 'hurt the ear'. In its special language, it reveals what
is hidden in the innermost heart.
However, I do not want to hurt anybody's ear and therefore specialists
of the Jewish joke will
find my selection of the sexual jokes diluted and pale." And, as
though to save his reputation as
a folklorist, he adds: "I have gathered a great number of Jewish
jokes in that field, but only a few
of them could be published in The Book of Jokes and Wit. However, it
must be admitted that they
are of special value from the folkloristic point of view." [Druyanov.
vol. 1, p. 16]. In fact, the
few sexual jokes in the collection deal with an adulterous husband called
to the rabbi, a
pregnancy out of wedlock, a birth "too early" after the wedding,
and a mishap during
While many of Druyanov's entries have lost their meaning to the modern
reader, many more
continue to speak to us. Ayzik-Meyer Dick's observation on the similarity
between an official
and a headless nail has not lost its point: "once lodged in place,
it cannot be moved" (no. 361).yiddish.haifa.ac.il/reference/druyanov/drinteng.pdf
Druyanov's Jewish Humor and Folk Tales:
Druyanov's book is arguably the most comprehensive collection of classic
Jewish humor - late 19th century and early 20th century East European
humor. It is on the whole more subtle and far richer than what passes
in the United States for Jewish humor. However you had better be well
versed in Jewish sources to comprehend it, let alone find it funny.
Unfortunately, I can't find Druyanov's work on the Net, so I'd take
the liberty to breach copyrights and translate a small sample of those
Druyanov arranged the jokes according to topics, and I would roughly
follow his categories. Some of the jokes are of the kind that can't
make your elderly auntie blush, but they all illustrate some aspects
of Jewish humor.
Two wealthy investors in the Romanian bourse were walking along the
river on Saturday. One of them noticed that a kid was trying to steal
the handkerchief of the other one and warned him about it. - It's ok,
let him do it, we also started small...
Hershele sold a wealthy lady anti flea powder. After a while she told
him he was a cheat, his powder is awful. Not at all madam, retorted
Hershele, my powder is excellent, it's your fleas that are awful...
Buying the Shteitel
The gentile owner of the Shteitel (the term for a small village in East
Europe) saw Hershele walking slowly, deep in thoughts.
- What are you thinking about Hershel?
- Well, I was thinking about buying the Shteitel off you.
- You idiot, the Shteitel costs about five million Rubles while you
haven't got 10 kopeks to your name.
- My dear Lord, does the fact that I can't afford to buy it means that
I also can't afford to think about it?
Moishe asks his friend - when are you going to pay me back the money
you owe me?
Haim: What do you take me for, a prophet?
100 damn Kopeks
Moishe demanded from Haim that he paid him back the 100 kopeks he owed
him, but Haim denied it altogether. They approached the rabbi and he
requested that Haim swears on the Bible that he doesn't owe Moishe anything.
Haim did swear and thereby was absolved of his debt. When they left
the rabbi's home Moishe said a shame on you, for 100 damn Kopeks you
lied on oath. A shame on you answered Haim, for 100 damn Kopeks you
forced me to lie on oath...
A Polish nobleman borrowed a fortune from a Jewish lender and 'forgot'
to pay. After a while they happened to meet. The nobleman said long
time no see, you must have assumed I was dead already. Heaven forbid,
answered the Jew, I know you are slow in carrying out your duties...
The old horses were slow and the passengers were getting impatient.
Perhaps you would ask your horses to hurry up a bit before it gets too
dark? When my horses want to they can fly 100 miles per hour the wagon-driver
boasted. Well, said the passengers, so why on earth are they so slow?
Well, they never actually want to fly that fast...
A goy tells a Jewish friend - I wonder why a Jewy Jew like you is stuck
with the same boss for 30 years instead of starting his own business?
What can I do but my boss is also a Jewy Jew and knows all those tricks...
Why do they hate us?
Hershele entered a wealthy benefactor in order to ask for a small donation.
You tell me, questioned the wealthy man, how comes the poor live off
us rich yet still hate us? Well, answered Hershele, it's like the angel
of death. Lots of people make a living off him, yet everybody hates
A Kosher Pig
Someone approached a rich man asking him for the secret of wealth. Simple,
become a pig for 12 years, said the rich man. And then? Then you will
get used to it and stay a pig for the rest of your life.
A rich man lent Hershele a pot. The following day Hershele returned
the pot to his neighbor with a tiny pot inside it. What's that? It's
yours, your pot was pregnant and gave birth to that tiny one.
The following week Hershele borrowed a frying pan. He promptly returned
it with two little frying pans inside it. What's that, smiled the rich
neighbor. Your frying pan happened to be pregnant and gave birth to
twins this morning.
In the height of the winter Hershele asked his neighbor to lend him
his fur coat for his daughter's wedding. The neighbor happily obliged,
expecting one or two tiny fur coats the following morning. Alas, Hershele
failed to return the fur coat. The rich neighbor knocked on his door
and angrily asked, where is my fur coat. Hershele started whipping,
it died a couple of weeks ago while giving birth. You swine, screamed
the rich one, have you ever heard of fur coats dying? Or giving birth?
Have you ever seen pots and frying pens doing so asked Hershele...
Dividing the Load
A couple of Socialists approached rabbi Rabinowitz, the Minsk rabbi,
explained to him their social justice theories in great detail, and
asked for his help. Happily, said the Rabbi, but lets divide the load.
You will convince the rich to give away their money, I will convince
the poor to accept it...
That's my business
A beggar entered a merchant office to ask for a donation. I am much
too busy with business said the merchant as soon as he saw him. I also
came to talk business with you said the beggar. Oh, sorry, I thought
you were a beggar. Sure I am, and that's my business.
Why are the rich more likely to donate to poor and disabled rather than
to poor scholars? Because they can become poor and disabled if hit by
bad fortune, but can't imagine they can ever turn into scholars.
Beating the Lord
A beggar to Rothschild: I know you aren't that fond of beggars, me lord,
but lets make a bet. I'd bet you 100 Francs that I can get something
that you can't. Lord Rothschild took from his pocket 100 Francs and
placed them on the table. The beggar took the coins and put them in
is pocket, taking out a certificate. I can get a certificate for being
poor, you can't...
An old beggar: had I been the king I would have ordered not to have
high rise building so I could go on begging without climbing so many
Grandfather, said the beggar, give a coin to a blind beggar and god
will bless you. If you are blind how do you know that I am old, wondered
the old man. Apologies, give a coin to a deaf and dumb beggar and god
will bless you...
A crooked rabbi accepted 10 Rubles bribe and passed judgment accordingly.
How can a righteous rabbi like you sell his soul for 10 Rubles? Well,
I had already sold my soul beforehand, and for 500 Rubles, so these
10 Rubles were untarnished profit.
A bride didn't cry on her wedding day. Her mother reproached her, saying
that shedding tears is essential on wedding day. Why should I cry, my
groom should weep for marrying me...
A young widow went to her husband's grave and cried on his tombstone.
An insect got into her shirt and started tickling her. Mendel, Mendel,
protested the widow, you have been down there for over two years and
haven't grown up yet...
A man and his wife had endless quarrels. They approached the rabbi and
asked for a Get (divorce). The problem was they had one child and couldn't
agree on who would have him. The rabbi suggested that they go away and
return in 12 months, after having a second child, then each would take
one child. What if we have twins, questioned the husband? The wife chuckled,
look at this procreator rabbi, had I trusted him I wouldn't even had
our only child...
A wife came to the rabbi asking for divorce. Which fault have you found
in him, asked the rabbi. Well, said the wife, I suspect out youngest
child isn't his...
The price of freedom
A man approached the Rabbi asking for a Get (divorce). That would be
50 Rubles said the rabbi. So much for a Get asked the man? Well, arrange
me a Get from my wife and I will pay you 100 Rubles on the spot replied
A fair swap
How much would you give me for my wife, asked Moishe. Nothing, said
Haim. Ok, she's yours.
A merchant told his friend, crying: yesterday I returned home and found
my partner and my wife making love on the stool. The friend got angry
and said you must give her a Get right now. I can't, I have got sons
and daughters from her, what would people say? OK, so get rid of your
partner. I can't, he has got all the money. So what are you going to
do for god sake? Well, I intend to sell the stool...
Rabbi, asked a father in law. I made a terrible mistake with my son
in law, you have to arrange a divorce for my daughter. What fault have
you found in him? He doesn't know to play cards. Is that all? I wish
all the people of Israel wouldn't know how to play cards. Of course
rabbi, but my son in law never stops playing, and losing...
why is it that those who convert to Judaism are poor poppers while those
who convert to Christianity are Rothschild rich? because the formers
have goyish brain but Jewish luck, while the latter have Jewish brain
and goyish luck...
the righteous rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev was told that a seventy-year-old
Jew has just converted to Christianity. Ribono shel Olam, (God in heaven)
he appealed, look from the sky how faithful the people of Israel are.
for 70 years this good man followed you to the letter...
A quacking fish
a catholic priest converted a Jew. the following day he caught him eating
a duck roast on Friday, where Catholics aren't supposed to eat meet.
calm down said the convert, it's a fish. not only have you sinned, you
are also a liar said the priest. not at all, I just followed you. as
u sprinkled pure water on me and said until now a Jew, from now on a
catholic, I also sprinkled water and said, until now a duck, from now
on a fish...
Get a life
a Jew praised his own wife to a friend. a kosher wife she is, blessed
be the lord, may she live to 119. why 119? why not 120? well, all I
ask is one year of life...
Size isn't everything
A shop owner from the provinces came to the big city and was stunned
by the size of a giant superstore. What's the matter asked him the general
manager, haven't you ever seen so many people or so much merchandise?
Neither, answered the shopkeeper, I was just wondering - I have got
a small store and a sizeable debt. You have got a giant superstore so
you must have infinite amount of debt...
Index to Druyanov's Book of Jokes and Wit
edited by Leonard Prager
with the help of Marina Goldstein and Adam Prager
Preface and Introduction
Editor's Preface (Hebrew) [to come]
Editor's Preface (English) [to come]
General Index, Alef to Taf
Alef Bet Gimel Daled Hey Vav Zayin Khet Tet Yod Kaf
Lamed Mem Nun Samekh Ayin Pey Tsadi Kof Resh Shin Taf
1. Index to "Famous Persons" [Druyanov, chapter 27]
2. Index of Persons
3. Corrections to the "Index of Persons" in Druyanov, vol.
3, pp. 354-381]
4. Index of Places
5. Correlation with Story Types in Aarne-Thompson
6. Motifs Correlated with the Motif Index of Folk Tales
Editor, Di Velt fun Yidish:
Senior Consultant: Meyer Wolf
Editor, Yehoyesh Project: Matthew J. Fisher
b. Elisheva Schonfeld's comprehensive Hebrew indexes to Alter Druyanov's
annotated _Sefer habedikha vehakhidud_ ['Book of Jokes and Wit']
(Tel-Aviv: Dvir, 1963) may now be consulted in _The World of
Yiddish_/_di velt fun yidish_/_haOlam haYidi_ website
[http://research.haifa.ac.il/~yiddish]. They are the first of a number
of items in what hopefully will be an entire section devoted to Jewish
humor in Yiddish or with a Yiddish connection. Druyanov's three-volume
collection of jokes is in Hebrew, but its predominant source language
undoubtedly Yiddish. Druyanov transformed a lively colloquial Yiddish
into an elegant and often quite formal pre-State Hebrew. While his
manifest service to Hebrew was in some measure a disservice to Yiddish,
he must be credited for gathering in one publication a large corpus
humor which might otherwise not have been so well preserved. Moreover,
Druyanov's classic anthology served an entire generation of _sabras_
a wimdow to Eastern-European Jewish life and is widely regarded with
affection. The anecdote given here is recorded in a number of variants.
I give Ravnitski's Yiddish version and the considerably different one
Druyanov. Readers are invited to comment on the differences they see.
.....As Porath notes, when
Peters makes reference to Asher Druyanov's collection of early Zionist
settlers' writings, she does not mention "the many passages in
his two volumes referring to the presence of Arabs living in the areas
where Jews had settled."3 .....
3 Yehoshua Porath, "Mrs. Peters's Palestine: An Exchange,"
New York Review of Books, March 27, 1986 (online at <http://www.nybooks.com/articles/5172>).
I have been unable to verify Porath's claim about the passages in Druyanov's
work referring to the presence of Arabs, as the letters in the book
are mainly in Hebrew, with some in Russian and German. Peters cites
Druyanov's book several times: see her note 53 for p. 201, p. 503 note
74, note 81 for p. 204, and note 64 for p. 252.
..We will briefly examine the case of Yiddish versus Hebrew, or the
emergence of a native Hebrew culture in Palestine after the 1880s.2
The following is an anecdote (no. 2636) published by Alter Druyanov
in his collection of anecdotes (Alter Druyanov, Jokes and Witticisms
(Hebrew) (Jerusalem, 1945 )
which will illu strate the case:
Tel Aviv, Herzl Street. (It happens before World War I -- I.E-Z). A
group of children pour out of the Herzlia Gymnasium. Two famous Yiddishists
[zealous of Yiddishist ideology], are passing by, having come to visit
Palestine, and the elder one says to the other: "The Zionists boast
that Hebrew is becoming a natural tongue for the children of Palestine.
I will now show you that they are lying. I will tweak one of the boy's
ears, and I promise you that he will not cry out "Ima" [i.e.,
mummy in Hebrew] but " mame" in Yiddish.
So saying, he approached one of the boys and tweaked his ear. The boy
turned on him and shouted: "hamor" [donkey, in Hebrew]. The
Yiddishist turned to his friend and said: "I'm afraid the Zionists
Chemerinsky, Hayim (Reb Mordechele). Ayarati Motele [Motele My Shtetle].
Edited by Alter Druyanov with advice from Hayim Fialkov . Glossary by
Yom Tov Levinsky. Tel Aviv:
Dvir, 1951. (First appeared in Reshumot Vol II, 1927 pages 5-124.) 209
Hebrew. This 1917 deathbed classic provides an excellent description
of Jewish Motol of about 1865 - 1880. It also provides some background
about earlier decades and impressions of how Motol changed by the early
20th century. The author describes his
own familys immediate genealogy in some detail. He also describes
several dozen individuals. Unfortunately, many names were altered by
the editor. I have been told that a new edition was published recently.
A new Hebrew edition of Ayarati Motele was published in 2002 by the
University Magnes Press with a forward by Dr. David Assaf.
A reasonable attempt to translate the book into English can be found
at the YIVO Library
in New York. It seems to be a photocopy of a word-processed document.
I am trying to obtain an electronic version.....
Alter Druyanow wrote in Hapo'el Hatza'ir newspaper in 1908; About the
harsh living conditions in the ancient port, how they yearned to create
a city of "beautiful houses, and a garden to each house, and a
big garden in the middle of the neighborhood and public buildings in
the middle of that garden,"
A10 Druyanow, Alter (archives)
A9 Druyanow, Alter (collection) (1882-1933) 1.8
Laskov, Shulamit (editor).
Documents on the History of Hibbat Zion Movement and the Settlement
of Eretz Israel.(Hebrew) [originally edited and published by Alter Druyanow].
Hakibbutz Hameuchad, Tel-Aviv.
Volume 1: 1870-1882, 1982. Volume 2: 1883-1884, 1985.
Volume 3: 1885, 1987. Volume 4: 1886, 1987.
Volume 5: 1887, 1988. Volume 6: 1888, 1990.
Volume 7: 1889-1890, 1993.
Zionist Archives - Guide To The Record Groups
the collection of Alter Druyanow
Financed by their own savings and a loan from the Jewish National Fund,
the coterie's dream city was designed by the Viennese court architect
Wilhelm Stiassny. A year later, in 1910, the suburb's main streets,
named after Theodor Herzl, Ahad Ha'am, Judah Halevi, Moses Lilienblum,
and Baron Edmond de Rothschild were laid out, though not without a struggle
with the Turkish authorities and the Jews' former Arab landlords in
Jaffa. Both groups resented the Jews who had the gall to vacate their
apartments and build their own quarter in the sand.The visual history
of early Tel Aviv was captured by the city's first resident photographer.
1919 "Shalom Yaaqov Abramovich," in Masuot (Odessa), 551-580