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TOPIC: Jekke - Yekke

Jekke - Yekke 30 Jan 2009 07:41 #851

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What does the word Jekke (Yekke) mean? In which language?

Toda

Meir
Meir Koschland
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Jekke - Yekke 31 Jan 2009 17:45 #855

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Jekke is a created nickname for Jews that come from Germany. The nickname spelling in german is spelled Jecke. The root of the word is from the german word for jacket which is Jacke. The spelling "Jekke" is in correct as is Yeke". In English it is spelled with a "y" because in german the "J" is pronounced like a "Y" (take the word for yes. In German it is Ja or Jawohl and is pronounced Ya or Yavol). The origin of the nickname is due to the fact that even in the heat of the desert and in Eretz Yisroel, Germans maintained their rigidity in how formal they were dressed, even in such a climate. It is an indicator of their overall character and is really, if you think about it, a derogatory reference.

Steven
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Jekke - Yekke 31 Jan 2009 18:12 #856

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Many thanks to Steven for this nice explanation.
In Israel many people believe the word is an abbreviation of "יוצאי קהילות אשכנז".
Rav Hamburger told me there are many explanations given to this name, and there was no explanation that he could point out as the correct one. He did mention that the Germans in general (including the gentiles) were called Yekkes by the Slavic nations, and so were the Jews called in Germany, so therefore it cannot be an abbreviation of יוצאי קהילות אשכנז. On the other hand the reason Steven gives could explain the fact the Germans and the Jews still in Germany were called this way.
The Ramban in Parshas Vayechi (Breishis 49:10) explains the words ולו יקהת עמים saying these words:
בעלי הדקדוק אמרו ביקהת ששרשו יקה, ופירשו בו לשון משמעות וקבול המצוה
In free translation this means that a Yekke is someone with proper discipline, and therefore he follows and fulfills the Mitzvos.
Rav Yonah Merzbach liked pointing at this Ramban.

Michael
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Jekke - Yekke 05 Feb 2009 20:02 #877

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Just this week I read another reference to the explanation I gave. There was an article in this past Tuesday's Jerusalem Post (online version) about a group of German ladies living in Tel-Aviv and how they meet once a week for tea and speak in german. In that article the explanation I gave as to the root of the word Jecke was mentioned.

I had also heard of a similar reason. Once again, Jecke coming from the word Jacke but this time the explanantion is that German Jews wore short Jackets (Jacke) vs. long coats (Coat in german is Mantel).

Steven
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Jekke - Yekke 05 Feb 2009 21:54 #879

Years ago, R. Shimon Schwab z"l, wrote against the usage of the term Yekke, saying that it was like a shem genai (derogatory nickname), which Chazal speak strongly against the usage of. On the other hand, I believe that other yotzei Ashkenaz, including gedolim, held that it could be used.

I once spoke to R. Shimon's son, R. M.L.S., נ"י, about this and he said that his father softened his stance later. While he didn't wholeheartedly embrace it, he later adopted an attitude with regard to someone who used it along the lines of אין מוחין בידו. He explained that at one time the term was used in a derogatory sense, but that over the years things had shifted, and today it might be/is used to connotate someone who has within them certain admirable traits, such as scrupulous honesty and punctuality.

Litvak
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Jekke - Yekke 07 Feb 2009 17:57 #880

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I discussed this again with Rav Hamburger and he said that the research done by historians did not get to an agreement on this issue, but most of them hold that it was a term used by the Slavic nations which means something like "Joke", a name they gave the Germans out of jealousy trying to make fun of them, since they were much more sophisticated and more well off than them. Later the Eastern European used this for the same reason trying to make fun of the Western European Jews. This is the reason Rav Schwab at first was against using this term.

Later this term lost its negative meaning and just became a nickname of the western Jews, referring to their jacket, and today the word Yekke is used with pride, referring to the serious and truthful way of living, as mentioned in the Ramban.

This is called - בא לנאץ ונמצא מברך.

Michael
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