Jordan Auslander <jordan@...>
Okay, it's abit of a reach genealogically, but it's an amusing tale...
After months of negotiation, a Jewish scholar >from Odessa was granted
permission to visit Moscow. He boarded the train and found an empty
seat. At the next stop a young man got on and sat next to him. The
scholar looked at the young man and thought:
This fellow doesn't look like a peasant, and if he isn't a peasant he
probably comes >from this district. If he comes >from this district, he
must be Jewish because this is, after all, the Jewish district. On the
other hand, if he is a Jew where could he be going? I'm the
only one in our district who has permission to travel to Moscow.
Wait - just outside Moscow there is a little village called Samvet, and
you don't need special permission to go there. But why would he be
going to Samvet? He's probably going to visit one of the Jewish
families there, but how many Jewish families are there in Samvet? Only
two - the Bernsteins and the Steinbergs. The Bernsteins are a terrible
family, so he must be visiting the Steinbergs. But why is he going?
The Steinbergs have only girls, so maybe he's their son-in-law. But if
he is, then which daughter did he marry? Sarah married that nice lawyer
from Budapest and Esther married a businessman >from Zhadomir, so it mustbe Sarah's husband. Which means that his name is
Alexander Cohen, if I'm not mistaken. But if he comes >from Budapest,
with all the anti-Semitism they have there, he must have changed his
name. What's the Hungarian equivalent of Cohen? Kovacs. But if he
changed his name he must have some special status. What could it be? A
doctorate >from the University.
At this point the scholar turns to the young man and said, "How do you
do, Dr Kovacs?"
"Very well, thank you, sir" answered the startled passenger. "But how
is it that you know my name?"
"Oh," replied the scholar, "it was obvious".