Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Joe Gets Suspended from The Union - A Short Story by Y. Y. Zevin - 1909 . Translated from The Yiddish by Dan Setzer - 2015

Joe Gets Suspended from The Union - A Short Story by Y. Y. Zevin - 1909 . Translated from The Yiddish by Dan Setzer - 2015

This story is included in the collection of stories by Y. Y. Zevin, Joe The Waiter, translated  by Dan Setzer

You may read today’s story here

Israel Joseph Zevin published under several names, Y. Y. Zevin and Tashrak were the most common. He also published as himself.  (There is a detailed bio below.)

Born - 1872 in Horki, Belorussia

1887 - Moves to New York City

Dies - 1926 in New York City

Isreael Zevin was a very prolific multi-genre writer.  He published in English, Hebrew, and Yiddish.  It is for his brief humorous fictions about immigrates getting used to New York City that he are still read.

“Joe Gets Suspended” must have made New City readers of Yiddish (estimated at about 250,000) laugh and wryly smile saying “yeah that is how things are for a man trying to make a living as a waiter in New York City.  Joe, a member of the Waiters Union, is serving dinner.  A union official enters the restuarant and advises him he has been suspended from the Union.  If he keeps serving, they will throw a strike closing The place down.  Through some weird Union rules sevice cannot be resumed to the customers.  They must start over with a new waiter.  Some get mad and walk out.  Joe asks “why am I suspended.?”  He is told he must come to a union meeting at one A. M, waiters often work until midnight.

The reason for his suspension was just so crazy I was delighted by inventiveness of the author.

TASHRAK (Heb. 1926–1872; תּשר״ק), most common pseudonym of Israel Joseph Zevin, a humorist and pioneer of the Yiddish press in America. Born in Horki (Belorussia), Zevin immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1880s. From 1893 until his death he was on the staff of the Orthodox daily Yidishes Tageblat in New York, and wrote under his own name and the pseudonym Yudkovitch. He became a member of the paper's editorial board and for a time served as its editor-in-chief. From 1924 he wrote, under the names Dr. A. Adelman and Meyer Zonenshayn, for the Morgn Zhurnal, also in New York. His writings – stories, feuilletons, and articles on current affairs – appeared in other American newspapers and in the foreign press. He won recognition principally for his humorous tales about the typical Jewish immigrant's adventures in the U.S. (later these appeared in book form as Y.Y. Zevins Geklibene Shriftn ("Selected Works of Y.Y. Zevin," 1906); Geklibene Shriftn ("Selected Works," 1909); and Tashraks Beste Ertseylungen ("Tashrak's Best Stories," 4 vols., 1910). He also published anthologies of aggadot, midrashim, and proverbs (Ale Mesholim fun Dubner Magid ("The Complete Proverbs of the Dubner Maggid," 2 vols., 1925); Ale Agodes fun Talmud … ("The Complete Aggadot of the Talmud," 3 vols., 1922); Der Oytser fun Ale Medroshim, ("The Complete Treasury of Proverbs," 4 vols., 1926)), which he had collected and translated into Yiddish toward the end of his life. Zevin wrote children's stories (Mayselekh far Kinder, "Stories For Children," 1919), a number of stories in Hebrew, and a posthumously published novel. From 1905 he began to write in English, mainly translating his own stories which appeared in the English section of the Tageblat and in the weekly American Hebrew. Between 1914 and 1917 he was a regular contributor to the Sunday issue of the New York Herald, and became known for his essays, interviews, and humorous pieces on New York Jewish life.


Dan Setzer is a Maryland-based translator of Yiddish and Italian. He is currently translating the memoirs of a German soldier who served in World War II.

I offer my thanks to Dan Setzer for making this and other heritage stories available

Mel u


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