Where have all the Yekkes gone?

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  • #1978787
    ujm
    Participant

    In most Shuls we used to almost always see some Yekke bochorim putting on a Talis for Shachris. In the last 10-15 years it’s been hard to ever come across them, anymore, in Shuls. And I’m not talking about in Washington Heights. I’m talking about in most Shuls in the largest frum neighborhoods.

    What happened to them?

    #1978790
    Little Froggie
    Participant

    They came on time (maybe even a minyan of the own). They left by the time the non – Yekkes came together…

    #1978792
    ujm
    Participant

    LF: That reminds me of Feivel’s old joke: A Chosid and a Yekke were getting married. The Chupa started exactly 15 minutes late.

    #1978796
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    We find the gemora mentioning how the bird burned infront of Rebbi Yonasan ben Izuel. Each group looks at it differently. The chossid sees how great he was. The litvak asks, was he a mazik? The yekke asks, war es gut gebraten? Was it baked well?

    #1978802
    smerel
    Participant

    Even in my days as a bocher (thirty years ago) most yekke bochurim I knew only wore talesim because their fathers wanted then to. None of them are insisting that their sons do.

    Also with the decline of Washington Heights kehila it is harder to be a yekke in general. Which kehila without a main base and nucleus did survive? Plenty of other groups and minhagim died out for the same reason

    #1978825
    ujm
    Participant

    smerel: Since when does a bochor get to pick and choose which minhagim to follow or discard?

    Although, what you’re saying might also apply to the Oberlanders. They, too, there seems to be much less of over the last 20-30 years.

    #1978844
    mylogic37
    Participant

    They are in the Heights, Lakewood, Baltimore, Queens, Monsey, Northern NJ and basically everywhere in the WORLD except Brooklyn where there are still a few here and there. So I have no idea where you are looking. You must not get out of Brooklyn that much anymore. There is a big world out there you know.

    #1978882
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    Its more then just wearing of a tallis, I asked a Yikkish guy in his mid 20 when he is going to make a wimple so he said he is not, there are no yekkish shuls near him and he wont make one, this is in Monsey were there is 2 yekkish shuls and one is basicly changing to yeshivish because no one want to keep up with minhagim and the old members are dwindling, even in the other one there are hardly any young memebers

    #1978903
    yekkish guy
    Participant

    Hi there, not quite sure what you mean. When I was in BMG just a few years ago there where plenty of tallaisim wearers spread among the tzibur. I heard recently that there is a thriving yekkishe minyan in the heart of Lakewood (Choshen Mishpat Kollel). I was speaking with a friend of mine who told me that there is even a chabura in the Mir, Yerushalayim which focuses on perpetuating yekkishe minhagim. While it is true that the community in Washington Heights is dwindling, they are putting many resources into their kollel. Rumor has it that there is a kollel opening in Eretz Yisroel which will be republishing all of the Toras Ashkenaz which has been sidelined for the last period of time. You should hear some of the material which these chevra are talking about – Gedolim and Poskim which make your hair stand on end!
    While its true that you don’t hear too much about the yekkes, in my opinion, it is because they have taken a modest approach. As always, the yekkes march to a “hatzneya leches” mantra and therefore the individuals in the tzibur don’t like to stand out. From my experience there are plenty of fiery yekkes all around.

    #1978913
    ujm
    Participant

    Et tu, squeak?

    #1978931
    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    Mylogic,

    I don’t know of any in Far rockaway

    #1978945
    Pekak
    Participant

    IMHO: The problem is that the younger generation is learning in litvishe yeshivos and they assume that if they daven nusach ashkenaz it means that they’re litvaks, the oiberlender shifted to chassidish.

    #1978950
    5townsyekke
    Participant

    @coffee addict
    Indeed there are – talis wearing, wimple bearing, yashrus adhering – yekkes in Far Rockaway and the Five Towns.

    #1978953
    ujm
    Participant

    Suddenly all the Yekkes are coming out of the woodwork.

    #1978952
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    Intersting this topic got two newbies, welcome to CR

    #1978959
    ujm
    Participant

    For our newly identified Yekkes here, as well as those who proudly wear the label on their sleeve, is their any truth to smerel’s above contention that today’s generation of Yekke parents only donned the Talis as a bochor out of respect for their father’s (rather than from their own volition), but they don’t enrobe their own Bar Mitzvah bochor’lech with a Talis?

    #1978960
    Lostspark
    Participant

    What is a Yekke?

    #1978967
    ujm
    Participant

    Lostspark: German Jews (and their descendants.) But, as squeak would add, not all German Jews.
    ___________________________________
    Which raises the question, for those Yekkes who stopped giving their Bar Mitzvah bochorim a Talis, have they also started waiting six hours, instead of three hours, between fleishigs and milichigs?

    #1978980
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    Genetics. Yekkishkeit is generally passed from father to son (with a few notable exceptions, like one of Rav Breuer’s daughters who married a Litvak but raised her kids to wear tallios and wait three hours) . So if a yekke has no children, or only daughters, it’s unlikely his grandkids will be Yekkish. So every generation there are fewer and fewer tallios in middle school.

    #1978982
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    To add to what everyone is saying, being Yekkish is more than just waiting three hours between meat and milk. It’s an attitude, a mindset, and a hashkafa. I find it incredibly sad that there are individuals who think that Minhagei Ashkenaz can be boiled down to a few rote customs that don’t take much conviction to uphold. It’s not just about showing up on time (although that’s part of it). It means being reliable, being consistent. It means being flabbergasted that another yid could possibly cheat, like the famous story of Rav Schwab ZT”L who was asked about a case involving a frum person who committed tax fraud, “Nu? Was he frum or did he cheat on his taxes? You can’t have both!”. It’s Torah Im Derech Eretz, but it’s so much more than that! It’s understanding what it means to view the world through the lens of Torah and not shut yourself away, but appreciate Hashem’s beauty in all the gashmiyus from science to literature. It’s about change, not clinging to “that’s what was always done”, but to not be afraid to move things around if necessity arises. Do you know why we don’t have any Sifrei Halacha from Rav Breuer or Rav Hirsch? Because it’s a big part of Yekkishkeit that things change, and every psak may be only a Hora’as Shoh. What a Rav said fifty years ago may no longer be applicable and shouldn’t be looked at like Torah MiSinai chas v’shalom. It has it’s own way to make a Kiddush Hashem, to show the world the beauty of the Torah by example by following the Torah to be exemplary human beings in the eyes of the world. It’s not about walling Torah off from the world and cultivating it in a small, fenced garden. But about seeing how there are no walls to the Torah, and the only way to truly be a Ben Torah is to see how everything and anything is Torah!

    But yeah. Wimples and tallios are nice. That’s what people like. Whatever.

    #1978999
    yekkish guy
    Participant

    @ujm – from my experience the yekkes who stopped giving their Bar Mitzvah/3 year olds a talis is rooted in a lack of self confidence. Many Litvishe Rabbaim think its enjoyable to poke fun at the oldest minhagim around today. The torment an average yekkishe bochur must deal with throughout his school years leaves no wonder why many of them feel embarrassed to practice their uniqueness in a public forum. This phenomenon to which I refer is not a select case but rather a widespread illness amongst some Yeshiva Rabbaim.
    Putting that aside, there are staunch yekkes living in virtually every Jewish community on every continent. Whether they are identifiable by their children wearing a tallis, seeing them enjoy a geshmake ice-cream on Shabbos afternoon, or seeing them quietly reciting piyutim to themselves in shul. Those yekkes who understand where they shtam from have a certain shtultz to them. The ones who start taking apart their mesorah, don’t necessarily understand what its all about and therefore may not be consistent with regard to which pieces they hold onto and which ones they allow to fade away.

    #1979036
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The Yekkes also cover the Chasan and Kallah in a talis based on the semicha of gedilim taaseh lecha followed by ki yikach ish isha.

    #1979040
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    The MB explains that not wearing a talis is not right based on the above semicha, so it could be that the yekkes use it for a chasan and kallah and not for a bachur.

    #1979078
    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    My mother’s side was Yekke, my father’s Litvak.
    Opa and Oma were quite unhappy that my mother married a peasant from the east (even though both my parents were third generation in America.
    My Opa was one of three brothers, but all fathered only daughters. My mother’s sister did marry a Yekke. He had one son and that son’s three male children (now in their 30s follow the Yekke ways.

    Opa bought me a Talis for my Bar Mitzvah. I wore it when I went to his shul in NY, but not in my Zaidy’s shul in Brooklyn. Mt father has asked the Rav in our shul in New Haven and was told that I should war it when in shul with my Opa to honor his tradition.

    the demise of the kehilla in Washington Heights has been a sharp blow to the Yekke Community. When I was a teen and twenty something their were loads of Yekkes in the Rockaways. My Opa and Oma had a summer place there, wintering in the city.

    #1979061
    ujm
    Participant

    Yseribus: That explanation doesn’t make sense. All mesoras or kehilos transmits through the sons. Daughters always follow their husband. That isn’t unique to Yekkes. Furthermore, if the sons would continue the mesora, then the population following these sets of minhagim would continue to grow as each son has, on average, multiple sons of their own. Obviously that isn’t happening.

    #1979065
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    @yesrbius123, we took chockas hagoy from whatever land we lived in, the pinklishkiet and officialdom from the German, the elaborate cooking from Hungary, the stingness from the Poles, the hard drinking from the Russians, the emounas peshuta in the North African and the Middle East.
    For example at KAJ they circle the bemah once during each hakafa on simchas torah while hakafos in Karlin or Bobov can take hours, and at a kiddiush in a yekkisher place they will drink a revish of wine and a Chabad kiddush mashkeh flows freely

    #1979067
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    The fact is that quite a number of misorahs have either dwindled or morph [ and in my opinion its sad]
    Beside the yekkish minhagim such as wimple etc that are slowing stopping, the majority of MO shuls are turning right or slowing petering out.
    Adas Yerim Vien has morph from Rav Yonoson Steif to Huthouser Rav to the present Rav, a huge gulf

    #1979081
    takahmamash
    Participant

    I’m not a Yekkie, but I do sing L’Dovid Baruch (by myself) before Arvit on motzie Shabbat. Back when I was a teen, I occasionally stayed with friends who davened at Glen Avenue in Baltimore, which was a long time Yekkie shule. I was fascinated by the tune, learned it, and have sung it (mostly by myself) for years.

    #1979100

    > we took chockas hagoy from whatever land we lived in

    another way to look at it is that we can pick up the good parts from each nation we were sent to visit. The Rav who suggested this idea, list multiple good middos in each of the nations, his suggestion for America is scale of business – so are American yeshivot can grow in quantity. This does not sound very uplifting, if learning will become as popular as coke and as good for your neshama … Maybe we are not long enough here, but we need to find something better, maybe self-reliance and optimism of expansion?

    >> number of misorahs have either dwindled or morp

    it is a general rule that language/customs are better preserved in remote locations and change more in busy centers. Thus, American English is closer to old English than British. Si, I am afraid, we are losing a lot of particular minhagim. Others mentioned pressure in yeshivot .. This might have come from the recent times where yeshivot were trying to elevate kids from lower observance at home. [above mentioned yekkish view that halakha has to be time-specific]
    Maybe this is something that needs to be taught in yeshivot – respect for parents and their minhagim, and respect for minhagim for others.

    One caveat though in the other direction: you are supposed to follow minhag of the community when you are there. So, is it proper for a kid to wear a tallis when others do not?

    #1979103
    mylogic37
    Participant

    Personally I am not aware of any Yekkas who does not have their sons wear a Tallis. So to my knowledge everyone keeps the most common minhagim.

    Now the wimple it was not done for me when I was a kid, and I have not done it for my sons. Although it was done for my oldest brother as at the time we lived in the Heights.

    There is more then one version of Yekkish Minhagim when it comes to certain things. KAJ has their way and other Yeskkish Shuls do not have the Chazzan wear the big hat on their head for example.

    #1979182
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    We are Oberlander and my father sang ledovid boruch motzei shabbos.

    #1979194
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    Reb E, Most oberlandisher khillos have vanished in the past years

    #1979315
    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    We were brought up with the attitude that if you are not 20 minutes early you are late. BUT you arrive exactly on time.
    10am appointment, you are parked outside the place and at 9:58 you exit the car, adjust your clothing, make sure you have everything you need and walk to the door. You ring the bell (or of a business location you enter exactly at 10am…NOT 9:59, NOT 10:01, but 10:00am.

    This comes from my Yekke mother.
    Just as Chicken soup is made with dill
    Yiddish never spoken in the house…..it was used/learned for business, but as OMA called it a gutter language it remained outside.
    BTW>>>>>before someone chimes in with what the Germans did to Jews who were so comfortable in Germany in the 1930s and 40s, our family left Germany for America in the 1860s. Our Litvish family were latecomers, arriving at Castle Garden (Battery Park) in 1872.

    #1979325
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    CTLAWYER, did you get married with the chasan and kallah covered with a talis?

    #1979330
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    They would have nut throwing on Shemini Atzeres

    #1979333
    ujm
    Participant

    Here’s a blatantly plagiarized joke from almost a decade ago. Five points to whoever guesses who posted it (without cheating):

    You can tell everything by observing a kiddush.

    The people scarfing down herring and kichel are chassidish

    The people with a cup of vodka in each hand are Lubavitch

    The litvak is the one with cholent and kugel on his plate, but waiting for it to turn stone cold

    The ungarish oiberlanders are the ones who have their kugel on fancy plates.

    The unterlanders are licking the crumbs from the kichel off the table

    If there are any sephardim, which would be unusual, they are the ones being served by their wives and/or children

    The yekkes are the ones who are sitting at the table with one cookie

    #1979365
    Yserbius123
    Participant

    @ujm A cookie?! You’re so fancy all of a sudden? The Yekke is sitting down with half a piece of unsugared kichel and a cup of seltzer.

    #1979366
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    When starting to say vesein tal umotor, the yekke says to his wife, I am comming home late tonight.

    #1979387
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    @UJM. a socialy distant mask wearing kiddush with a salad is at a MO shul

    #1979406

    CTLawyer > our family left Germany for America in the 1860s.

    I think Yekkes are real survivors – they were mostly first Ashkenazim to experience Haskala, were in totally unchartered waters, and those who stayed Jewish and observant should be very special people. Are you considered vaccinated by modernity – and figured out how to live with it -, and were there less assimilation and Reforming issues with observant Yekkes when families moved to America, or not? maybe this can be seen – did Reform in America consist of those Germans who were Reform already in Germany, or was there also a flow from observant Yekkes already in US?

    #1979426
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    @AAQ, IDK, the whole gist of this thread is the yikkish way of life are slowing disappearing.
    Reb E, interesting most of the Oberlander khillos changed since WWII, Vien now davens sefard and rebbeh feers tish unheard of in the days of Rav Y Steif, Sopron had a yikkisher rav and tzelem as well.
    Mattesdorf [chasan sofer] was one of the shivah khillos and now is a chasidus complete with a Rebbah, same is true Erloh and Droger

    #1979480
    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    @Reb Eliezer
    My wife and were married cover by my Opa’s and her father’s Taleisim. I never met her father, she was walked down the aisle by mother and step-father.
    My parents were alive for our sons weddings and were also covered by my Opa’s Tallis. Our daughters did not follow this custom as they followed traditions of their new husbands (none of whom had Yekke forebears_.

    #1979488
    Benephraim
    Participant

    What about piyut?Lecha dodi like Eli Tziyon?

    #1979523
    Reb Eliezer
    Participant

    I follow the Oberlandish minhag on my own by saying marovis on Yom Tov which is not said if falling on shabbos in order not to make the candles burn better when one cannot see the text.

    #1979569
    Participant
    Participant

    @ujm
    Joseph.

    #1979570
    Participant
    Participant

    I’m not impressed with yekishe niggunim, but I like early American tunes (which is yekish as far as I’m concerned): hotzas vahachnasas Torah, halelu, yivoreich es beis yisrael etc.
    but not ein keiloheinu.

    #1979580
    ujm
    Participant

    @Participant Thank you for participating in this thread and adding your two dollars (after inflation) worth.

    #1979581
    ujm
    Participant

    The consensus seems to be that the Yekkes have become Litvaks (Yeshivish), and the few remaining are slowly but surely moving in that direction as well.

    Whereas the Oberlanders have more or less become Chasidish.

    That seems to indicate the Ashkenazic world is basically coalescing around the two big hashkafic kehilos: Yeshivish/Litvish and Chasidish.

    #1979595
    Participant
    Participant

    hmmm sounds like I was just mocked…do yekishe niggunim mean so much to you?

    was I right?

    #1979676
    commonsaychel
    Participant

    @UJM, “Whereas the Oberlanders have more or less become Chasidish.”
    Actual they stopped existing under the old crowd, please name one Oberlandisher Khilla that has not gone chasidish.

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