Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



SisterSchmooze

Marcia Stark Meth / Emmy Stark Zitter / Miriam Stark Zakon

To paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors of the Yiddish language’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Just look up these words in the dictionary: Schmooze. Schlep. Schlemiel. Schlimazel. Meshuga. Kvetch. They’re all there! Integrated into English, used even among non-Jews.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Now try shrek, shmatte, mishpacha, and geshmak. Not there — yet. Check back in ten years. We predict they’ll also make it into the dictionary, along with a slew of other Yiddish words. What makes these words so “absorbable”? No other language has words and expressions as unique, colorful, vibrant, or rich. No other language conveys such undertones — whether humor, realism, excitement, even terror — with wisdom that runs the gamut from subtle to outrageous. And Yiddish words just sound better! Ever notice how many “sch” Yiddish words found their way into our English vocabulary? For us Sisters, Yiddish is literally our “mammeh lushen” — we learned it from our mother a”h. She was especially gifted at using Yiddishisms as parental aids. If a daughter was dressed too perfectly, no hair out of place, she would tell her, “You look tse-tish-gegreit.” (Literally, a perfectly set table. Meaning: “Try to look more natural.”). If we became addicted to some food after years of refusing to taste it, she’d compare us to der behr mit’n hunnik. (“The bear with the honey” — there must have been some story behind that!) That’s why we’re on a mission to impart what little Yiddish we know — no matter how tsebrochen (broken), how crudely transliterated. We’re determined to help this living language stay alive — especially the Yiddish of our mother, our mammeh lushen.  

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
Using Our Free Will Effectively
Yonoson Rosenblum The image we carry of ourselves is key
Pitcher-Perfect
Eytan Kobre The ripple effects of one Jew’s kiddush Sheim Shamayim
Living the High Life
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger It is exhilarating to matter, to be truly alive
It’s Time for Us to Speak Up
Rabbi Dovid Eliezrie We must speak out proudly for the values of Yiddishkeit
Kiruv Is Not Dead
Rabbi Meir Goldberg Do these sound like uninspired or closed students?
Frosting on the Cake
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman “Let’s not let a missing chocolate cake ruin our siyum!”
A Warm Corner in Flatbush
Yosef Zoimen It was a simple shul with a choshuve leader
Out of Control
Jacob L. Freedman “That’s illegal, Dr. Fine. I can’t have a part in this”
Song of Reckoning in the Skulener Court
Riki Goldstein “It’s awe-inspiring to watch the Rebbe sing this song”
“U’teshuvah, U’tefillah, U’tzedakah”
Riki Goldstein Throughout the Yamim Noraim, three words accompany us
The Rebbe Held His Gaze
Riki Goldstein A moment etched in Reb Dovid Werdyger’s memory forever
The Road Taken
Faigy Peritzman In the end it’s clear who really merits true happiness
Sincere Apology
Sarah Chana Radcliffe A heartfelt and complete apology can turn things around
Power Pack of Mercy
Mrs. Shani Mendlowitz The 13 Attributes of Mercy are “an infinite treasure”
The Appraiser: Part II
D. Himy M.S. CCC-SLP, and Zivia Reischer “Eli needs to see people who struggled to achieve”