Mr. Goldberg, from Minsk, coming to the United States, shared a table in the ship's dining room with M. Lefèbvre, from Paris. Mr. Goldberg could speak neither French nor English; the Frenchman could speak neither Russian nor Yiddish.
The first day out, the Frenchman approached the table, bowed and said, "Bon appétit!"
Goldberg, puzzled for a moment, bowed back and replied "Goldberg."
Every day, at every meal, the same routine occurred.
On the fifth day, another passenger took Goldberg aside. "Listen, the Frenchman is not telling you his name. He is saying 'Good Appetite'. That is what 'Bon appétit!' means." Mr. Goldberg thanks him for this helpful advice, and at the very next meal he puts it into use.
Beaming, he bows to the Frenchman and says, "Bon appétit!"
And the Frenchman, beaming, replies: "Goldberg!"