INDIK (IN-DIK) Turkey
There once was an INDIK named Frank,
An INDIK of high class and rank.
When it came to Thanksgiving,
He ended up living.
To his owners,he declared:
Great, A DANK!
KIND (rhymes with wind (n))--child
KINDER (rhymes with wind-er)--children
Q: What did the mother INDIK say to her disobedient KINDER?
A: If your father could see you now, he'd turn over in his gravy.
KARTOFL (kar'-tof-l) potato
One KARTOFL two KARTOFL three KARTOFL four
You'd better buy alot of them--
Hanukkah's knocking at the door.
LIKHT -- candle
SHAMES (sha'-mes)--helper. The SHAMES is the helper candle used to light the eight candles in the hanukkiah.
Tonight we light the second LIKHT
The SHAMES leads the way
We'll sing a round of Ma'oz - Tzur
Then eat LATKES right away.
BOBEH (boh-beh) -- grandmother
EYNIKL (eyn-i-kl)--grandson, granddaughter
It was the 8th day of Hanukkah and a BOBEH was giving directions to her new apartment to her EYNIKL.
"EYNIKL, I am in apartment 14B. When you come into the building my sweet EYNIKL, use your elbow to push the buzzer for 14B. I'll buzz you in. Take the elevator on the right. Use your elbow to hit the 14. When you get out of the elevator, turn left. Ring my doorbell with your elbow."
"BOBEH, that sounds easy" replied the EYNIKL. "But why am I pushing all of these buttons with my elbow?"
To which the BOBEH replied, "What, you're coming empty handed?"
Can you identify what poem this is, in Yiddish translation? Scroll down for the answer.
A Vald-Bazukh in a Shney-Nakht translated into Yiddish by
Kh'veys vemens vald es iz, mir dakht,
Khotsh hoyz zayns shteyt oyf shtetl shliakh;
Er vet nisht zen, vi kh'blayb do shteyn
Un zayn farshneytn vald bavakh.
Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
Whose woods these are I think I know,
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
Famous Yiddish Proverb:
Zingen ken ich nit, ober a mayven bin ich.
I can't sing, but I'm an expert on it.
FARAKHTOGN(far-akht-tog-n)--a week ago
Farakhtogn it was 2007
This vokh it's 2008
Your vokhndik word will keep on coming
Same vokhntog--new date.
KIBITZER (rhymes with Lib hits 'er) --someone who gives unsolicited advice, someone who joshes or teases
* With great pride, Benjamin Bernstein painted himself a sign to hang over his store: FRESH FISH SOLD HERE DAILY
As Bernstein placed the ladder to hang the sign, a KIBITZER sang out, What kind of a cockamamy sign is that?"
"Why? What's wrong with it?"
"'FRESH' fish, Bernstein? It would never occur to your customers that you sell fish that aren't fresh--unless you advertise it!"
"You're right." Bernstein took his brush and painted out "FRESH."
"Wait!" said the KIBITZER. "What about 'SOLD'? Obviously you sell fish; you don't give them away for free."
Mr. Bernstein painted out "SOLD" and asked, "O.K.?"
"No, why, 'HERE'? Obviously you don't sell fish over there..."
"You're right!" Bernstein proceeded to paint out the word "HERE."
"That leaves 'DAILY'," said the KIBITZER. "I ask you, is that smart? If fish are fresh they must come in and go out daily. Right?"
"Absolutely!" Bernstein crossed out "DAILY," leaving a sign that read only: FISH
"Perfect," said the KIBITZER.
Now Bernstein started up the ladder, when along came another KIBITZER.
"Why are you putting up that ridiculous sign?"
"What's wrong with it?"
"You don't have to put up any signs, Bernstein, your fish everyone smells a mile away!"
So Bernstein put up no sign at all, thinking how lucky he was to have friends of such uncommon acumen.
* from The Joys of Yiddish by Leo Rosten
Next Tuesday, which corresponds to the 15th day of the Jewish month of Shevat, we celebrate TU B'SHEVAT, the Jewish New Year for Trees.
It was a custom in ancient Israel that, when a baby was born, the parents planted a BOYM in it's honor. The BOYM was planted on the Tu B'SHEVAT following the child's birth. For a baby boy, a TSEYDERBOYM was planted. For a girl, they planted a TZEEPRAYS. When the children grew up and got married, the wood from the trees was used to construct the chuppah. As the wood was joined together in the wedding canopy, so were the bride and groom united in marriage.
MAYSEH -- story
NOVELE-- short story
MEGILEH -- long story
BOBEH MAYSEH -- tall story
SO YOU THINK YOU KNOW THE ORIGIN OF THE TERM BOBEH MAYSEH?
Many have come to think that the term BOBEH MAYSEH refers to a tall tale that a BOBE (grandmother) might make up. Actually, the term BOBEH MAYSEH has a different origin. In Italy in 1507, Elia Levita published a Yiddish book called the Bobeh Bukh. Levita's book tells of the fantastic adventures of one "Prince Bovo." A BOBEH MAYSEH, thus, was actually the term used to describe one of Prince Bovo's fantastic tales. Somewhere along the line, however, the origins of the term were forgotten. The rest is history.
Warning: If you think this will upset your BOBE, don't tell her.
A special thank you to Rita Ratson for sharing this story with us.
In the spirit of the political season that is upon us, let's learn our PRIMARY COLORS:
GEL -- yellow
BLO -- blue
ROYT -- red
We know our primary colors: GEL, BLOY and ROYT. Why stop there?
GEL + BLO + ROYT + GRIN + LILAH + ORANZJ =
IBER YOR -- Leap Year
Every two to three years, the Jewish calendar adds an IBER YOR to correct for the 11 day difference between the lunar year (Jewish Calendar) and the solar year (Gregorian calendar). This Jewish YOR, 5768, is an IBER YOR. The month that we add is called Adar I. It is inserted into the calendar before the regular month of Adar (known in such a YOR as Adar II). Adar II is the 'real' Adar -- the one in which we celebrate Purim, the one in which we observe the YORtzeiten of those who passed on in Adar, and the one in which a child born in Adar becomes a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. So don't despair, hamantaschen days are just around the corner and there's a good chance you'll be sporting your cotton coordinates and donning an umbrella this Pesach, aka. Hag Haaviv ("The Holiday of Spring")!
Mazel tov on your GEBOYRN-TOG, Sholem Aleichem!
That's right, if he were alive today, one of the most famous Yiddish writers of all time would be blowing our 150 licht on his cake (that's 149 + 1 for extra mazel).
Here are a few fun facts about Sholem Aleichem:
Born Sholem Naumovich Rabinovich on March 2, 1859 in Pereyaslev, Russian Empire
As a teenager, he adopted the pseudonym Sholem Aleichem -- "peace be with you" or colloquially "hi, how are you"
Although he originally wrote in Hebrew and Russian, from 1883 on he produced over 40 volumes in Yiddish.
Pogroms and, later, difficult career, financial and health circumstances forced him and his family to emigrate first to New York, then to Geneva, then back to New York.
He passed away in 1916 at the age of 57. 100,000 mourners attended his funeral in Queens, New York. In his will, which was published in the New York Times and read into the US Congressional Record, he wrote, "Let my name be recalled with laughter or not at all."
His play Tevye der Milkhiger (Tevye the Milkman) was first performed in 1917.
Sholem Aleichem was often referred to as the "Jewish Mark Twain." Upon hearing this,Twain retorted that he considered himself the "American Sholem Aleichem."
SCHMOOZE --talk, conversation, chat
I'll bet that you were not expecting to see such a benign, parve definition of the word SCHMOOZE. Today, when we hear the word SCHMOOZE it tends to carry with it a certain connotation which may not be perceived in such a positive or neutral light.
So what's the real meaning of SCHMOOZE?
In this week's issue of Moment Magazine, Ori Nir tackles this question in a short, information-packed article entitled The Power Schmooze. He traces the origins of the word SCHMOOZE and the evolution of it's use and meaning over time and around the world. Click here to read Nir's article.
In a nutshell, Nir writes that, "Schmooze traces its lineage back to Hebrew; shmu'ot (the plural of shmu'ah) are rumors, or worthless--potentially harmful-chatter... Centuries later, [shmu'ot] was Yiddishized. It evolved to denote worthless discourse among European Jews."
NU, GEGANGN! (new, ge-gangen) Let's get going! Enough with the dawdling!
Famous New York thespians are coming to our community to tell Yiddish maysehs, in English, and I don't want you to miss out. What maysehs, you ask, will they be telling? Here's the gantze megillah:
My First Love by Moishe Nadir
The Quiet Garden Spot by Sholem Asch
Gimpel The Fool by Isaac Bashevis Singer
Did I mention the tea and cookies? And the Klezmer music? Oy, such a lovely program. So NU, GEGANGN! Buy a ticket or two, bring a friend (or three!) and enjoy a Yiddish cultural extravaganza.
SHPIEL (shpeel) -- play
PURIM SHPIEL (pl. shpieln)-- Purim play
Tomorrow night after sundown, Jews around the world will gather together to celebrate the holiday of Purim. Often, the megillah reading is proceeded or followed by a Purim shpiel. Here's the megillah on this tradition, as related by Sunny Yudkoff, an editor at Behrman House publishing, in "Purim, Yiddish and You." Yiddish scholars and historians have spent a great many years (and pages) researching the origin of this holiday spectacle. Some scholars trace the first Purim shpieln to the 13th and 14th centuries in what is now Germany. In that period, Jewish people would celebrate Purim by reciting silly, rhyming monologues about the holiday or other biblical texts. Later in the 15th century Purim shpieln were performed in private residences by local yeshivah boys -- a sort of live Jewish home entertainment system. By the mid-17th century, the Purim shpiel was back in a public setting, such as the shtetl study house. At this point in time, the Purim shpieln had developed a tradition of interspersing the Purim story with contemporary social commentary. Local jokes and local flavor were added to productions -- a tradition we see in today's Purim shpieln that mock local politicians or parody current pop culture. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, many Yiddish authors and dramatists crafted their own Purim plays. Many of these productions, performed by professional actors, were lauded as both hysterical and unflinchingly irreverent. Scholars of 20th century Yiddish theater often identify the predecessor of modern Yiddish drama as the traditional Purim shpiel. Wishing you a freylikhen Purim!
Kashe/Shayle - Question
Question: What kinds of kasha are okay to have at your seder table?
Hint: Not the yummy wheat oat and barley porridge kind with the bow tie pasta that your BOBEH used to make for you (too bad!)!
Answer: Der Fir Kashes -- The Four Questions!
As Pesach approaches, I thought it would be fun to look at the Haggadah through a Yiddish lens. I did some searching and found several versions of Der Fir Kashes and I imagine that there are many more variations out there.
FRAYHEYT -- FREEDOM, SHKLAFERAY -- SLAVERY
Pesach is the holiday when we recount how God delivered us from SHKLAFERAY to FRAYHEYT. Jews around the world celebrate Pesach with different traditions. Many Jews from both Sephardic and Ashkenazic traditions incorporate some kind of a reenactment of the Exodus into their Seder. One such reenactment is recounted of the JEws of Puntok, Hungary. When the Yahatz portion of the seder arrived, the leader would break the middle matzah, wrap the afikoman in scarf, put the package over his shoulder and say to his family, in Yiddish, "Geimir! Geimir!" - "Let us go! Let us go!"
TIR - DOOR
Funny as this may sound, Pesach is a TIR holiday. No, I'm not referring to all those extra trips out the TIR to pick up this ingredient or that for the seder meal. Here's what I am talking about: At two points during the seder, we open the TIR to welcome guests into our houme. The first time is during the Ha Lachma Anya when we invite the poor and hungry to join and partake. The second time is after the meal, when we invite Elijah the prophet to come through our TIR and prepare us for the coming of the Messiah.
KHEYDER - a School of Jewish learning
Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik z"l once wrtoe: The Seder is celebrated by a community within which one shares not onlly one's material goods, but also one's selfhood, spiritual treasures, knowldege, experiences, aspirations and hopes...On the Seder night, every Jewish home becomes a teaching community, a didactic fellowship, a school where a class of siciplies is instructed in Judaism. (Festival of Freedom)
In other words: Your Seder is a KHEYDER.
Wishing you an A+ Zisn Peysekh!
SHVEIGEN haist geret.
Silence gives consent.
We remember the six million. NEVER AGAIN!
CHOLM -- dream (ideal)
If you will it, it is not a CHOLM.
Happy 60th Birthday, Israel!
**Thursday, May 8th--Israel's Independence Day**
HAYNT -- today
HAYNT in history:
On May, 14, 1948, on the day in which the British Mandate over Palestine expired, the Jewish People's Council gathered at the Tel Aviv Museum to hear David Ben Gurion read the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel. Israel was recognized that night by the United States and three days later by the USSR.
KOP -- head
Yiddish is full of expressions that contain the names of body parts. Here are some words and expressions that contain the word KOP.
KEPELE -- Sweet little head, darling little head
DRAIKOP -- Several meanings: A scatterbrain, someone who is annoying ("DRAI" meaning "to spin", like a dreydel on Hanukkah),a liar or swindler
DUMKOP -- a dunce
KOP VAITIK -- a headache
A leben ahf dein KOP -- literally, "A long life upon your head". Can be used for "Well said!" or "Well done!"
Drai mir nit kain KOP-- literally, "Don't twist my head." In other words, "Don't bother me."