N. Slutzky characterized the Bobover Badkhan, according
to Simeon and Jacob Dobin (David’s father) and others in
the following way (in brief):
"Outwardly, David the Bobover badkhan, a man of
forty-five, with nothing to distinguish him from all the
other Jews of Bobov, except for the fire burning in his
eyes. He wore a long kaftan, a long beard, and payes. He
was not a distinguished student.
He lived with his family in Bobov (a town in Galicia,
Southern Poland), but he used to travel around with a
klezmer company, performing at weddings. His chief
assignment was to amuse the wedding party while the
guests were having dinner. First he used to focus on
sleight of hand magic tricks, and afterwards he would
David the Badkhan was an improvisational badkhan, but he
astutely studied actions he wished to mimic and then
with great enthusiasm performed them.
From his better known skits are “A Goy with Jews at
Pesach,” “The Polish Man," “The Resident of Jerusalem,"
”A Dance with Marlania," and “The Biography."
The most beloved number, with great audience appeal, was
“A Goy with Jews at Pesach.” David used to dress up as a
White Russian peasant with a crooked beard, and both
with his distinctive movements and White Russian
expressions; he used to perform an artistic, humorous,
monologue in which he mimicked with authentic, skilled
facial expressions in the mannerisms of a naïve,
half-witted and boorish peasant, as the peasant narrated
his visit to the Jews during Passover.
The monologue was not written down, but the Bobover
residents, Jacob and Simeon Dobin reported that this
piece was literally sprinkled with healthy humor and
with a deep knowledge of the Jewish and non-Jewish
customs and was memorable with its realistic insights of
the psychology of a peasant who might fall into a
strange, crazy, and unfamiliar environment.
In his piece,”Marlania,” a young Jewish, insolent boy
dances with the non-Jewish woman, Marlene. David the
Badkhan dressed as a young peasant; he used to fold his
hands and throw himself at Marlania's feet and take hold
of her and gradually unfold into a dance and sing happy
songs, with love and ecstasy as a true “sheygets
(insolent boy)." David was in general a good dancer.
his number the “Polish Man”, he dressed as a Polish
landowner, an impoverished man, but still with honor. He
used his beard to supply a prop for his skit “Cheeks and
Beard." He also used his large moustache as a prop. He
twisted it in the style of the Polish landowners and
proclaimed and sang in Polish about the situation of the
fallen landowner. It was a satire both of the rich and
In his “biography” he used to talk about himself with
humorous and preposterous style. The form of his
recitation was part of the humor; in the middle of his
spiel he would fall into a rhythm, like a
purimshpiler. To fall back on his Talmudic training,
he would pose apparent questions, talk nonsense, and
laugh at his pilpl (sophistry); he was even able
to get the serious Jews to laugh at this skit.
In his piece, “The Resident of Jerusalem,” he performed
as a good Jew and was able to ridicule in jest the
leaders of the Jewish communal life.
His other skits, except a short number about “A Goy As
He Accompanied a Corpse,” are not well known.
He did not have any connection to purimshpilers,
as he considered his performances a higher art form.
B.Slutzky -- Yiddish Badkhans and
Actors, the “Magazine” Minsk, 1926, vol.1, 257-259.