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March 17, 1995 - Image 36

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-03-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



1995 REGAL

I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar

And you thought Pvt. Benjamin was hip?


Q:Is it true that Leon Trotsky's
great-grandson lives in Israel?
A: That's the story going



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around Kiryat Arba, where
David Axelrod, a leader in Kach
(founded by the late Rabbi Meir
Kahane), reportedly lives.

a: Who was the first Jewish
woman to serve in the army in modern
A: The first known Jewish

Q: My immigrant grandmother
said that when she was a little girl
in New York, she worked in a
sweatshop sewing "staynicles." I
would never ask Tell Me Why to
discuss anything indelicate in this
family oriented column, but can you
explain to me just what a
"staynicle" was? Will you have to
clip the Victoria's Secret catalog for
an illustration?
From reader S.G. in Huntington
A: If it's thrills you're looking

woman to serve in the army of
any modern state was Esther
Manuel, better known as Louise
Grafemus (1785-1852).
She was born in Hanau,
Germany, 14 miles east
of Frankfurt am Main, a
center of Hebrew print-
ing and the birthplaces of
the Brothers Grimm.
In 1813, in search of for you've come to the right
her husband in the Russ- place. As billions of readers
ian army, Grafemus dis- worldwide already know, Tell
guised herself as a man Me Why is the most exciting
and enlisted. Before she column in the history of
was discovered to be a mankind.
woman, she was wound-
But when it comes to "stayn-
ed twice and promoted to icle," you would do better to
sergeant major.
turn to a Montgomery Ward
Interestingly enough, catalog than Victoria's Secret.
Grafemus' violation of
"Staynicle" is likely Yid-
regulations was not pun- dishized English, and Tell Me
ished. Instead, she was Why's guess is that your grand-
awarded the Iron Cross mother was sewing stays into the
and returned home with collars of men's dress shirts.
great honor. The fate of
The "nic" part of "staynicle" is
Leon Trotsky, it's 1995. Do you know where your
her husband is
from Slavic, and indi-
grandson is?
cated something or
Axelrod's grandfather, Leon
someone who
Q: I'm going
Trotsky, was founder of the Red
performs a func-
Army and close comrade of V.I. to vomit if I have to
tion. For exam-
Lenin. In fact, Lenin in his will sit through another
ple, in Yiddish
designated the former Lev Bron- of those avant-
a tchainik is a
stein his successor. But then Stal- garde, "this is
teapot. Tchai
in got hold of the document and really profound,"
is the Russian
suddenly there appeared a dif- oh-so-hip Calvin
word for tea,
ferent version which — surprise! Klein perfume
and nik is
— named Stalin the new Soviet commercials in
added to indi-
leader. Trotsky, meanwhile, went which a man says,
cate the uten-
to live in Mexico, where he was "This is our time
sil that helps
murdered in 1940. He was an- and space" and
make tea. The
tagonistic to Judaism for much some androgynous
"ikl" (or "icle")
woman responds,
of his life.
part is a corn-
Two more interesting resi- "Yes, but when?"
mon Yiddish
dents also live in Kiryat Arba, lo- and then he says,
cated about 18 miles south of "Together we are
Jerusalem. Both converts to Ju- an island, and yet
daism, they are the son of a Nazi we are each alone" Hard at work on a collar: Stay boy, stay.
would be a
supreme court judge and the and she says, "Don't
small teapot.
nephew of the former Arab may- let us speak. The trees rustle" and
In addition to those used in
on and on and nobody in the world men's dress shirts, the only oth-
or of Hebron.
understands them and who wants to, er stays in the garment industry
:Q: How did "kike" come to be a anyway?
of your grandmother's time
derogatory term for Jews?
Well, the point is that I know would have been corset stays.
A: Most scholars believe it be- Calvin Klein and a lot of other big The strip of bone or metal used
gan with German-American dress designers like Donna Karan and to stiffen corsets were large com-
Jews mocking the religiosity of Albert Mizrachi are Jewish. But pared to those in collars, hence
their East European counter- somebody told me the other day that your grandmother's use of "stayn-
the late Norman Norell also was icle," or "little stay."
The word "kike" most likely is Jewish. Is that true?
So there's nothing racy going
a derivative of the Yiddish kaikel,
A: Yes. A native of New York, on here. Your grandmother
or circle. European Jewish im- he was born Norman Levinson. was simply helping men look
migrants unable to write English He changed his name while spiffy. ❑
used a circle in place of their sig- studying at the famed Parsons
nature on documents. They opt- School of Design, where a teacher
ed for a circle instead of the told him he needed a fancier Send questions to "Tell Me Why"
c/o The Jewish News, 27676
familiar X because of that letter's name if he wanted to make it in
Franklin Rd., Southfield, MI
use as a Christian symbol (the the world of design.
48034 or send fax to 354-6069.

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