Archive for August 16th, 2004

The Caricature Jew

The only Caricature Jew I ever met was in Johannesburg, South Africa.

A Caricature Jew is the one American Jews love to mimic. They sort of scrunch up to be a little old man, they take on a Yiddish accent, and say things that a Jewish stereotype would say. An American Jew will say this is his grandfather or something, but when I met their families, there was not a Caricature Jew in the bunch.

I think the Caricature Jew is just something Jews love to mimic. They heard it and from their parents and they do it. It’s fun.

But some Jews do it so well that, when I met this guy, I thought I had seen him before.

I am willing to bet that, with all the Jews I have talked to, this goy is the only one who ever actually met a real, live Caricature Jew. To start with, how many Jews still have a YIDDISH accent? Lots of American Jews have a Russian accent. Israeli Jews might have a Hebrew accent. But how many Jews today are raised with Yiddish as their native tongue?

Hollywood missed a major bet with this old gent. He was what an echte, as they say in Yiddish, the real thing. He looked and acted elderly, though it was hard to tell how old he really was. He was bent, he was thin.

We talked about Yiddish. Yiddish is basically seventeenth century German but it is written in the Hebrew alphabet. In South Africa, where I met him, Afrikaans was one of the two official languages, along with English. A lot of people there spoke only Afrikaans.

Afrikaans is seventeenth century Dutch. This man told me that his customers would often speak to him in Afrikaans and he would speak to them in Yiddish, and they understood each other very well. I tried it, and it worked. The only limitation was that my Afrikaans wasn’t all that fluent.

But I never knew before how well I could understand Yiddish!

One episode occurred that was too good to be true. I never mention it to Jews because they probably would think I was just trying to one-up them.

This was the incident: I bought a few things from this gent and we were dealing, of course, in South African Rand.

Maybe he had gotten a little too relaxed bargaining with me. At the end of our little deal, he handed me my change. Then he said, “I think I may have sold you (something, I forget what) too cheap. You should give me a few Rand back.”

He meant it. He actually tried to pick some of the Rand out of my hand! Never in my life, before or since, has anybody actually tried to take money out of my hand! Now that is what a Caricature Jew might do in one’s wildest dreams.

No, he didn’t get the money from me. But who would believe it when I say a Caricature Jew did such a caricature thing! He didn’t mind that I wouldn’t give him the money back, and I don’t think he was all that greedy.

I just think that, to him, The Deal was the big thing, the thing he lived for. One line from the Caricature Jew routine Jews will give is, “Such a DEAL! Such a deal I’m givink you as you never saw before!”

His game was The Deal, and he had landed on Boardwalk with a hotel on it.

I enjoyed the hell out of him, and I think he got a kick out of it too.

I am willing to bet that he is still saying to people, “You think Goldfarb is hard to deal with? Well, let me tell you about this American goy …”

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