Liana Finck is adapting old Yiddish press self-help columns into a book. This week, she’s letting us peek behind the curtain at her source material. On Monday, she looked at the first two pages of her comic. Today, she takes a look at the second story. She will be blogging here for Jewish Book Council and MyJewishLearning all week.
This is the text from the second story (translation by the excellent Jordan Kutzik):
Honorable Mr. Forvertz Editor,
Allow me a little space in your distinguished newspaper to tell your esteemed readers about what transpired at my house in the month before my wedding. As you probably know the bride whom God has blessed with many good friends receives various gifts for her wedding. I too have many friends as well as many acquaintances from the old country. A week before my wedding they all gathered at my mother’s. They brought a whole wagon full of wedding gifts to my room.
Among my countrymen, however, there was also a man who was considered to be somewhat of a “crank.” (I didn’t consider him as such, just my countrymen.) When he saw the presents that they had brought, the spirit took him and he began to scream. “Fools!” “What exactly have you all brought here? Four muslins, ten lamps, three sets of beddings for a couple…Come, it would be better if we all came into this room here and had a meeting to decide what every individual should bring based on what the couple needs to have, and what not to bring if they don’t need it.” But as my clever countryman is of course a “crank,” nobody paid much attention to his proposal.
Therefore I turn to you Mr. Editor. Tell me who’s right, the “crank” with his proposal to give me one coordinated set of wedding gifts or the rest of my fellow countrymen, who’ve brought me four sets of beddings?
And here is a page from my version of the story. This is the one I was least faithful to, and the first one I made.
Liana Finck’s Bintel Brief comic is being made with help from the Six Points Fellowship for emerging Jewish artists, a partnership between Avoda Arts, JDub Records, and the Foundation for Jewish Culture. The comic is being serialized in The Forward Newsaper.
Liana Finck is the author of Passing for Human and Excuse Me and a regular contributor to The New Yorker. She is a recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, and a Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists. She has had artist residencies with MacDowell, Yaddo, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Headlands Center for the Arts, and Willapa Bay.