Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My New Favorite Thing: Yiddish Folk tales

Me and my new friend "Truth", a character from one of the
 Yiddish folk tales in "Magic Soup & Other Stories."
Attention Puppet Fans,

I, Bella Monster, have discovered something amazing that I need to share with all of you. It's my new favorite thing, Yiddish folk tales! They are imaginative and entertaining stories that have been passed down from generation to generation in Jewish culture. What makes them different from other folklore is they also help teach you about life, family and community in the Jewish tradition.

These stories are told at festive occasions like weddings or at synagogues and also at home with close friends. Storytelling was a favorite past time among the community. Anyone could tell them, but some people gained reputations as the best storytellers.

I found these stories very interesting because I come from a Monster background. Growing up in my family, my monster parents always told me stories about my people, like the Lochness Monster and Big Foot. What kind of stories did your family tell you about your culture? Please tell me in comments, I love to learn new things!

If you're interested in experiencing traditional Yiddish Folktales, puppet style, come to PST this week! The traditional Yiddish folk tale, "The Magic Soup", teaches us that those with wit, humor and imagination can fulfill their dreams.

Magic Soup & Other Stories
by Brad Shur, PST Artist-in-Residence
August 8-11 | 10:30am &1pm
Buy Tickets

Here are a few more Yiddish stories:

The Instruments: There was a great pipe made of reed in the Jerusalem Temple. The pipe dated back to ancient times and played exquisite music. The King, knowing how valuable the pipe was, ordered it to be covered in gold. But after it was, it no longer played great music. So they took the gold off, and it once again played well.

Story of Chelm: The town of Chełm decided to build a new synagogue. So, some strong, able-bodied men were sent to a mountaintop to gather heavy stones for the foundation. The men put the stones on their shoulders and trudged down the mountain to the town below. When they arrived, the town constable yelled, "Foolish men! You should have rolled the stones down the mountain!" The men agreed this was an excellent idea. So they turned around, and with the stones still on their shoulders, trudged back up the mountain, and rolled the stones back down again.

The Pants: A Rabbi commissioned a tailor to make him a new pair of pants. Six days later, the tailor delivered it to him in person.  “Thank you for the pants,” he said to the tailor. “But allow me to ask this question: Since it took the Lord six days to create this entire vast universe, how is it that it took you six days just to make a single pair of pants!”

“Rabbi,” the tailor replied, “that is easy to explain. Just look around you at the mess that the Lord made. And now look at this exquisite pair of pants!”

If you are interested in even more stories, here are some other traditional Yiddish folk tales that you can read about! Collected from people of all walks of life "Yiddish Folktales" has over 200 tales by research associate at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York, Beatrice Weinreich. 

As Always, Love,

Bella Monster

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