Thursday, November 5, 2009

Jewish English: Distinctive Lexicon

This page will be a list of distinctive words - mostly from Yiddish, Hebrew, and Aramaic - that are used in the speech and/or writing of English-speaking Jews. Many of these words appear in one or more of the published dictionaries (see list below), but many are recorded here for the first time.

Started as a class project for Dr. Sarah Bunin Benor's Hebrew Union College course "American Jewish Language and Identity in Historical Context," this lexicon is in its early phase. Ideally, it will be a searchable database designed by professional programmers and updated regularly by a team of volunteers. If you are interested in participating in this exciting project by collecting data, editing the lexicon, or contributing financially, please e-mail Dr. Benor: sbenor @ huc.edu (remove the spaces).

Word Language(s) of origin Definition Example sentence(s) Alternative spellings Notes about who uses it, pronunciation, etc. Dictionaries where it appears (**volunteers needed to check dictionaries and fill in this column**) Who added this entry



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a klug Yiddish a curse, but not a severe one "A guy tries to attack you on a dark street, and you hit him over the head with a pipe. He stays the same, but the pipe breaks. That's when you say, 'Oy, a klug.'" -Jackie Mason a klog people influenced by Yiddish cultural heritage Josh

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a yiddishe kop Yiddish lit. 'a Jewish head'; having a good mind in the sense of traditional Jewish thinking or scholarship "I like studying with her. She has a yiddishe kop, that one." yidishe kop people influenced by Yiddish cultural heritage; engaged Jews Reuben

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ad k'dei kach Hebrew So much. Has it gone this far? Weiser: "Expression of wonder regarding the extent or intensity of something." "Yes, you may occassionally hear stories from that neck of the woods that conjure up images of unscrupulous Jews taking advantage of the less fortunate, but Ad K'dei Kach?" (http://blogindm.blogspot.com/2008/02/wigged-out-follow-up.html). "The way I was taught tanya there are no simanim to differentiate between a tzadik and a beinoni, ad k'dei kach that a tzaddik does not neccesarily know that he is a tzadik." (http://www.chabadtalk.com/forum/archive/index.php3/t-3283.html) ad kdei kach, ad k'dey kach, ad k'dei kakh... religiously oriented Jews Weiser Benor

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afikoman liturgical Hebrew (orig. Greek) a piece of matzah traditionally hidden, found by the children, and then ransomed for gifts after the meal of a Pesach seder Oh, Dan found the afikoman...again. Dan, aren't you too old to go afikoman hunting? afikomen most Jews, because most have gone to a Pesach seder Lydia

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al regel achat Rabbinic lit lit. "on one foot"; off-the-cuff; quick, quickly, quick answer (from a Talmudic story about Rabbi Hillel summarizing the Torah to a potential convert while standing on one foot) Answering a question that requires a long response: "Al regel achat, [explanation]." "My al regel achat answer is..." "My al regel achat is..." al regel ahat highly engaged Jews Benor

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alte kakker Yiddish elderly people or old-timers (usually said with affection or good humor). Literally 'old shitter' "We'll have to have the program early, so the alte kakkers can come." alter kokker, kocker, cocker people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage Reuben

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altz iz gut Yiddish All is good How are you doing? Altz iz gut. people influenced by Yiddish culture or language Ben

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amcha Biblical the every-man, an everyday person; the folk (as opposed to the elite) In explaining why something is being tried out on the staff of a congregation before bringing it to the rest of the members, a rabbi says, "You're like amcha! We'll learn from your feedback." A Jewish professional wrote in an e-mail to other Jewish professionals: "the gap (if one believes there is one) between the political views of some of the top leadership of our community and amcha" amha Elite Jews, Jewish professionals Erin

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amen selah biblical emphatic agreement "We should donate this extra food to a shelter." "Amen, selah." engaged Jews, biblical scholars Dan

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anava Hebrew humility Conversation with a Reform Rabbinic student: "She has so little anava, it would be a good thing if she had more" mostly engaged Jews with some knowledge of Hebrew Jordana

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ark English translation of Hebrew "aron" area where Torah is kept in the synagogue "Go to the ark with your parents after the Torah is put away for your moment with the rabbi and a blessing." (rabbi to a bar mitzvah student when reviewing the choreography of the bar mitzvah service) highly engaged Jews, clergy Erin

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aron hakodesh Hebrew holy ark where the Torah is kept "Ashkenasi Jews call the place where the scrolls are stored Aron Hakodesh, "Holy Shrine," while Sefardic Jews call it tevah." (A History of the Jewish Experience, by Leo Trepp) aron highly engaged Jews Erin

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aufruf Yiddish event when an engaged couple is called to the Torah the Shabbat before their wedding; lit. "call up" "Are you going to Chaim and Sarah's ufruf this shabbas?" ufruf religiously involved and/or knowledgeable Jews Dan

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aveirah Hebrew, Yiddish a 'sin', religious transgression "Chazir and cheese sandwich--one aveirah, or two aveiros?" (In a halacha class) avera, averah, aveyra.... religiously involved Jews Reuben

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avodah Rabbinic Hebrew work/worship Found on a website for a Reform institution: The mission of our organization is to foster the vibrancy of Reform Judaism through Torah, avodah and gemilut chasadim." Mostly engaged Jews Jordana

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Aye aye aye Yiddish oh, wow; various meanings, depends on the speakers mood, happy or sad Aye aye aye! What am I going to do now? ai ai ai, ay ay ay people influenced by Yiddish culture or language Ben

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B'ruchim Haba'aim Israeli Hebrew welcome On a Reform Synagogue website "B'ruchim Haba'aim- Welcome to our congregation." Often used at the beginning of a religious-oriented gathering. bruchim habaim, bruchim haba'im mostly engaged Jews Jordana

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b'shalom coined in peace "B'shalom, Rebecca" - used to sign off in written correspondence Highly engaged Jews, people working in Jewish organizations (note: some people criticize this form for being incorrect Hebrew and prefer "L'shalom") Benor

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B'tzelem Elohim Biblical Hebrew (created) in God's image On a Jewish website: "the obligations incumbant on us because we are created b'tzelem Elohim." Another: "We affirm that all people are created in God's image and should be able to marry who ever they choose" betselem elohim, b'tselem elohim betzelem elohim Jews with a range of engagement Jordana

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bagel English with Yiddish origin (beygl) a ring shaped bread roll made by boiling and then baking the dough Every Sunday afternoon when I came home from Sunday school, I ate lox and bagels with my family Jews and non Jews Josh


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Bal Tachchit Biblical A Judaic value usually translated as do not destroy This statement was made by a Reform teenager who is part of a youth group. He said: "What are you going to the do with these leftovers, I mean Bal Tachchit, you don't want them to go to waste." bal tashchis Mostly engaged Jews with some knowledge of Hebrew, especially people who attend summer camps or people who study the connection between Judaism and the environment Jordana

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bal tshuvah Hebrew someone who becomes more religious, especially Orthodox. lit. 'one who returns' “[Jim] is now a bal tshuvah” - one friend speaking about our mutual old friend ba'al tchuvah, ba'al teshuva especially Orthodox Jews Ben

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balagan Yiddish a mess "Oy! This is such a balagan!" Highly engaged Jews, Jews who have spent time in or lived in Israel Erin

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bar/bat mitzvah rabbinic/coined son/daughter of the commandment When I was in junior high, I went to so many bar mitzvahs, almost one a weekend. I was so jealous I asked my parents if I could have one. (my Christian friend Trevor reminiscing of his childhood) bar/bas misvah Jews and non-Jews Josh

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bashert Yiddish meant to be It was besherit that David and Rachel met since they were meant for each other. besherit Engaged and somewhat participating Jews Jordana

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be'emes Hebrew/ Yiddish lit. 'in truth'; true. With a question mark, "Really?" "So then Jeff says he had no idea he was supposed to have been at the meeting." "B'emes? He said that?" "B'emes, he actually did." b'emet, b'emes, be'emet people with some knowledge of spoken Hebrew (be-emet); people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage (b'emes) Reuben

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behemoth English version of Hebrew “behemot” beast, cattle That old Cadillac is a behemoth! entered general English lexicon Ben

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bekitzur Yiddish/Hebrew Briefly, succinctly "He explained the sugya to me bekitzur, but I think I should go back for more details." (Weiser) b'kitser, b'kitzur, b'kitsur, bekitser Highly engaged Jews (esp. Orthodox). beKITzer, bekiTZUR Weiser, Yiddish Benor

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bench gomel Yiddish, liturgical Hebrew blessing said after someone survives a life threatening situation This was said by a Reform rabbi: "whenever I pass through the security line at the airport, I feel like I should bench gomel for safely reaching the other side." bentsh gomel Mostly engaged Jews Jordana

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bentsh Yiddish to bless, say blessings, say Grace After Meals Are we going to bentsh after dinner? If so, I'l bring my bentsher (said by my JTS friend) bentch, bench Engaged Jews and Yiddish speakers Josh

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beteavon Israeli Hebrew bon appetit; enjoy your meal; dig in OK, everyone's here. B'teavon! b'teavon highly engaged Jews Benor

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bevakasha Hebrew excuse me, please, go ahead, be my guest "Sir, may I cut in front of you?" "Bevakasha, be my guest." "If you want to stay here learning into the next session, b'vakasha." bevakashah, b'vakasha Hebrew speakers Josh

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beyneinu Israeli Hebrew between us Please don't tell anyone else. This is beyneinu. beineinu, beyneynu, beineynu, benenu Israeli Hebrew speakers, Jews who have spent time in Israel, engaged Jews Dan

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Bikur Holim hebrew visiting the sick On a Reform synagogue's website: "Bikur Holim/Visiting the sick is one of the values of our synagogue" bikur cholim , bikkur cholim, bikkur holim Mostly engaged Jews Jordana

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bimah Hebrew the raised platform from which worship services are led and/or Torah is read "The following Friday, I went to services at a congregation with a friend. Ghosts of my father and his brother seemed to stand before me on the bimah." (from an article in Lilith magazine) bima Jews who are or have ever been engaged in synagogue life Erin

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bisl Yiddish very small bit of something “Can I have just a bisl?” -my co-worker bissel Ben

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bli neder Hebrew "without making a vow" Bli neder, I'll have the schedule set up by Friday. [said in order to avoid making a vow that might be broken] b'li neder religiously/halachically engaged Jews Reuben

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bokbook Israeli Hebrew bottle Where's my bokbook? I left it on the table! (a Jewish man looking for his water bottle in his apartment) bokbuk, bakbuk Jewish who have spent time in Israel or around Israelis Erin

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boker hebrew morning This statement was said by a Reform rabbinic student: "Good night, I'll see you in the boker" Jews ranging from those who know a little to a lot of Hebrew Jordana

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borscht Yiddish a vegetable soup made with beets and usually served with sour cream "We sailed from Greece to Haifa on this rackety old boat with all of the Russian women who didn't speak a word of English, and we had to eat borscht every day for lunch. It was so crazy! But when we finally got to Haifa, it was so beautiful!" borsht, borshtsh anyone who likes and eats "Jewish" or Eastern European foods Lydia


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boychick English and Yiddish an affectionate term for a young boy Saulie, our boychick, such a good litle boy! boytshik people influenced by Yiddish cultural heritage, esp. older people Ben

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bracha Hebrew blessing "I saw a rainbow at camp today!" "Did you make it a Jewish teachable moment and say a bracha?" (a camp director to a staff member) brachah highly engaged Jews Erin

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break fast English the meal breaking the fast after Yom Kippur After havdallah, we will be having break fast together inside. Please stay and join us. (the president of the congregation to congregants before the concluding Yom Kippur service) Jews Erin

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Bubbeh Meissah Yiddish a folk story, often in the realm of superstitions "The whole thing about getting yours eyes stuck when you cross them is not true; it's just a Bubbe meise." Bubbeh Meiseh, Bobe Mayse Various Jews, especially those with superstitious grandparents Dan

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Bubbie Yiddish Grandma, grandmother "My bubbie makes the best gefilte fish this side of the Mississippi." Bubby, bubie, bubbi, bobbe, bobe Variety of Jews, especially those whose grandparents speak, or are familiar with, Yiddish Dan

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Bubkis Yiddish nothing, zero, worthless, lit. 'beans' "Have you heard from Joe in a while?" "No, I haven't heard bubkis." bubkes, bupkis, bupkes, bobkes, bopkes Jews with some Yiddish knowledge Dan

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chai Hebrew the letters equal the value of 18/life Said by a Jewishly engaged couple: "This year we are going to be celebrating our chai anniversary." Jews ranging from not engaged to highly engaged Jordana

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Chanukah Yiddish Chanukah, the festival of lights "Yiddishkayt cordially invites you to a pre-Khanike celebration of Russian-Jewish Wedding Music" (on the Yiddishkeit LA web site 12/9/08) Khanike, Hanukah, Hanukkah, Chanukkah, etc. Jews and non-Jews. The [ch] sound is used mostly just by religiously engaged and older Jews Erin

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chaverim hebrew friends A Reform rabbinic student: "Hello, chaverim. Thanks for coming over." haverim Jews ranging from those who know a little to a lot of Hebrew Jordana

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chazir Hebrew, Yiddish 1. pork 2. a pig, greedy person 1. "Chazir and cheese sandwich--one aveirah, or two aveiros?" (In a halacha class) 2. "Don't be such a chazir. Leave some food for other people." 3. Like you give someone a shirt as a gift. Instead of him accepting the shirt with a thank you, the chozzer says, “What, only one shirt? Can't I have at least three more?” When he exchanges the shirt for one that's twice as expensive, he expects you to pay for that, too. (From "Talking Jewish" website) chazzer, khazer, khazir, chazer, chozzer Jews with Yiddish influence or who are religiously involved Reuben, Lydia

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Chelm, the town of Polish/Yiddish From Yiddish literature, a fictional town full of foolish but kind-hearted people One Jewish Chelm resident bought a fish on Friday in order to cook it for sabbath. He put the live fish underneath his coat and the fish slapped his face with his tail. He went to the Chelm court to submit a charge and the court sentenced the fish to death by drowning. Jews with some knowledge of Ashkenazic folklore Lydia

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cholent yiddish a slow cooking hearty stew, usually eaten on Shabbat "Did you know that you can cook your cholent in a plastic bag so that the cholent doesn't stick to the pot?" tsholent Highly observant Jews Lydia

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chuppah Hebrew Jewish wedding ceremony, canopy "Are you going to Shayna's wedding?" "Of course! What time is the chuppah?" "We made our own chuppah." chuppa, huppa, huppah engaged Jews Erin

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chutzpah Yiddish insolence, guts Can you believe that she had the chutzpah to talk about that during a sermon? (in reference to a sermon on politics) highly involved or semi-involved Jews or older Yiddish speakers Lydia

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cockamammie American Yinglish crazy “What sort of a cockamammie plan is that?” - Dad cockamamie, cockamamy Rosten, Bluestein Ben

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d'var Torah Hebrew literally, a word of Torah. commonly used to refer to a brief drash or teaching about a Torah portion "What are you talking about in your d'var Torah this Shabbat?" (one rabbinical student to another) highly engaged Jews Erin

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dan le-kaf zechut Rabbinic literature give the benefit of the doubt "those in positions of authority invoked a "dan le-kaf zechut" approach" (email by Modern Orthodox rabbi) dan l'chaf zchus… Highly engaged Jews (esp. Orthodox) none Benor

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davka rabbinic literature of course, obviously, even this, specifically In Hillel, we are davka one of the rare organizations that emphasizes the building of relationships. (In a meeting at Hillel) highly involved Jews or Jews that are very familiar with Israeli culture Lydia

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dayeinu Hebrew "It would have been enough." Giving thanks for miracles. "Had you just made challah and not put chocolate chips in it, dayeinu!" Highly-involved Jews and all Jews at Passover Lydia

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Derech Eretz Rabbinic Hebrew respect Found on a website for a Reform institution: the nurturing and care of employees is one of the most sacred responsibilities Jewish institutions since derech eretz is the guiding principle." derekh erets Mostly engaged Jews Jordana


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drash Yiddish V. to expound upon a word, phrase, Biblical passage, etc. Jennie drashed on the meaning of Bereishit after questioning the variety of translations of the word into English. Highly engaged Jews, Jews who are familiar with midrash, Jews who have attended day school, yeshiva or seminary Erin

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dreck Yiddish crap “Oh, dreck!” - an ex girlfriend Ben

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dreidel Yiddish spinning top played on Hanukkah The kids on South Park sing "dreidel dreidel dreidel, I made it out of clay..." dreydl Jews and non-Jews Josh

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dugma Israeli Hebrew role model "[Shira], please get off the top of the couch. You have to be a dugma for [your cousin, Michael]." Highly engaged Jews, especially those who have been to Jewish summer camps Benor

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dybbuk Yiddish, Hebrew in folklore, the wandering soul of a dead person that inhabits a living person's body "The dybbuk attaches itself to the body of a living person and inhabits it." Those educated in Kabbalah or Jewish folklore Lydia

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easy fast likely English translation of Hebrew ”Have an easy fast” is meant to wish that one's day of fasting (esp. on Yom Kippur) not be painful. “Dave, I hope you have an easy fast.” - said to my friend Dave this past Yom Kippur many Jews before and on Yom Kippur Ben

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eidah hebrew group; session/unit "Sephardim and Edot haMizrach" (Jews descended from exiles of the Spanish Inquisition and Jews descended from Jews of Asia and Africa). Camp setting: "Which edah are you in?" Said by a Reform Jewish professional: "Is there an eidah in this bayit called avodah?' edah, eda Jews with connections to summer camp, Israel, and other areas of Jewish life Jordana

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Elul Rabbinic month before Rosh HaShanah Or, should we maybe have lydia over for dinner, talk amongst the three of us and do some elul reflecting and figure out what adjustments/considerations we might want to make for this to be a 'good' year and so that rosh chodesh can fit in nicely? highly engaged Jews, especially those who are accustomed to connecting holiday themes to everyday activities. none Lydia, Ben

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erev Hebrew eve, the night before a holiday (generally Jewish holidays, but also used for secular/Christian holidays) I'll see you at shul Erev Yom Kippur? What are you doing Erev Christmas? religiously engaged Jews Benor

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eruv Hebrew a line or wire that demarcates an area in which it is permissible to carry items of Shabbat without breaking the prohibition against carrying on Shabbat How do they find out if there is a hole in the eruv? They have a team of men who make sure that, whenever a tree falls down or the city moves a building, the eruv is still intact and they fix it if it breaks. highly involved Jews, especially those who observe Shabbat halachically Lydia

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Eshet Chayil liturgical Hebrew woman of valor Said by a Reform husband to his Reform wife, "Honey you will always be my Eshet Chayil." eyshet chayil, eshet hayil, eyshet hayil... mostly engaged Jews Jordana

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ever-dying people English reference to Simon Rawidowicz quote that Jews have long seen themselves in danger of decline "The fright of American Jewry is finally not very surprising, and not only because we are an 'ever-dying people.'" http://plasticlanguage.blogspot.com/2002/05/now-is-later-and-leon-wieseltier-has.html Jewishly knowledgeable Jews

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farblondget Yiddish really lost or disoriented "So then I ended up on Sansome Street two miles away--I was so ferblondget!" farblonjet people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage; many of them older adults Reuben

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farbrengen Yiddish get-together "After the farbrengn was over, I was mobbed by Hasidim wanting to know who I was and why I had merited such an honor." (journalist in the Forward describing his experience at a Tu B'Shvat tish in which he was toasted by the rebbe) farbrengn Jews involved in religious life, esp. Lubavitcher Hasidism Erin

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farbrente Yiddish fiery, devout, fervent [lit. 'burning'] "Jake is a farbrente socialist, God bless him." farbrente, farbrent people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage Reuben

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farkakt(e) Yiddish messed up' (possibly from farkocht "cooked up, concocted"; or kakn "to shit" (?) "I'm trying not to crash the car on this farkakte highway." fakakte people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage Reuben

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farshteyst? (farshteyt) Yiddish literally 'do you understand?' colloquially, 'Got it?' or 'OK?' "I'm driving you home because there's no way you're walking all the way there by yourself. Farsheyst?" farshtayst people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage Reuben

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farshtunken(e) Yiddish literally 'stinking'; crappy "It doesn't work because it's a farshtunkene machine, that's why!" people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage Reuben

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Feh!! Yiddish Uuh! Gross! I am so disgusted and frustrated that you might even think that! Me, go out in the rain right now with the dog? Feh! (friend) highly involved Jews or older Yiddish speakers Lydia

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feygl/feygele/fey (abbreviation) Yiddish a gay or nelly man; of, pertaining to,or having qualities of faygls "That is such a faygele minyan! I love it." (a 32-year-old Jewish transgender man) faygl, faygeleh used affectionately by members of queer Jewish community; can be derisive or skeptical when used by others Reuben


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forshpice Yiddish appetizer, small taste of something "I don't want to want to tell the whole story, but I'll give you a little forshpice, as my husband used to say." (a widow, telling the HUC community about how her husband received the Yanov torah) fershpice, forshpayz Jews with a somewhat working or peripheral knowledge of Yiddish Erin

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fresser Yiddish big eater, "pig" "Only a fresser can finish a Factor's Triple Decker sandwich." (on the Factor's menu) freser people influenced by Yiddish cultural heritage Erin

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freylech Yiddish (adj) joyful, happy; (noun) a dance done on a happy occasion 1. (adj) Freylech news! (subject of an e-mail to HUC-LA announcing an engagement) 2. (noun): "we'll dance some freylechs in honor of the occasion." fraylich, freilich, freylekh, freilach... people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage Reuben

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from strength to strength English translation of Hebrew phrase phrase of blessing used on momentous occasions (calque of Biblical Hebrew "mechayil el chayil" - Psalms 84:8) "May you go from strength to strength." Jews and non-Jews Benor

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From your mouth to God's ear English translation of Yiddish proverb Response to a good wish or blessing that mentions future events: I want that to happen, but I'm not sure it will. cf. Yiddish "Fun dayn moyl in gots oyer(n) arayn" Comment on salon.com: " 'A huge, huge Democratic wave'
From your mouth to God's ear, Kos. From your mouth to God's ear." http://letters.salon.com/books/int/2008/09/04/kos/view/?show=all From your mouth to God's ears, From your lips to God's ear(s) Jews and non-Jews Benor

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Frum Yiddish religious, observant, Orthodox First I went to college, then I spent some time in Israel, where I became frum. Now I daven with the Orthodox and eat kosher meat only, which is really expensive. (law student at UCLA Hillel) engaged Jews and orthodox Jews Lydia

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Futz Yiddish tinker with, make small changes He turned the project in late because he could not stop futzing with it. Jews, non-Jews Bluestein (suggests it may be a euphemism combining f*ck with putz) Dan

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G'mar chatimah tova Hebrew Greeting said between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Literally - (may your year be) finished with a good seal This was at the end of an e-mail from a Reform Rabbinic student "I hope this is a good year for you g'mar chatimah tova" gemar hatima tova Mostly engaged Jews with some knowledge of Hebrew Jordana

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gadol Hebrew literally "big," refers to the most revered rabbi of a community He is really a godol in our community. godol used mostly by Haredi Litvish Jews Lydia

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Gam ani Israeli Hebrew me too An instant message conversion with a Reform rabbinic student. Student one: "I'm tired and hungry." Student two: "Gam ani" Mostly engaged Jews with some knowledge of Hebrew Jordana

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gefilte fish yiddish a mishmosh of fish parts rolled together and eaten with horseradish "Gefilte fish is one of those foods that you have to grow to love." Most Jews and probably many non-Jews, especially New Yorkers Lydia

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gelt Yiddish money, chocolate coins My favorite part of Hanukkah used to be winning as much gelt as possible and eating it. Jew and non-Jews who may have Jewish friends Josh

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Geshmak Yiddish a delicious taste, or a wonderful person "He's a geshmakteh mensch!" -Jackie Mason Geshmahk people influenced by Yiddish cultural heritage Josh

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Gesundheit Yiddish health, said after someone sneezes Someone sneezes and anyone near them might say, "gesundheit." gezunteit Jews and non-Jews Josh

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glitch yiddish flaw, slight problem in a process “Well, there seems to be a glitch with your PC!” - said my former roommate when trying to fix my computer. glitsh just about everyone Ben

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Golem Yiddish, Hebrew? a mythical animated clay giant who defends the Jews in times of extreme need "Early on, the notion developed that the main disability of the golem was its inability to speak." Many literary allusions are made about it Lydia

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gonef Yiddish, Hebrew a thief [Hebrew ganav] "That lousy gonef. I turned around and my sandwich was gone!" gonif, ganef, ganev, gonnif people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage Reuben

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good for the Jews English (self-explanatory) "Yes, but is it good for the Jews? That's the punch line of a long-running joke among those of us who grew up among Jewish parents and grandparents whose first reaction to almost any event would be to calculate how it would affect the tribe." (Washington Post, 12/08) Jews concerned with Jewish affairs Benor

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gornisht yiddish "nothing." more polite then bupkes? “That guy knows gornisht.” -A lady said this to her friend while walking down Pico last week. older Jews, especially Yiddish speakers Ben

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goy (pl. goyim) Hebrew a non-Jew "Are you going to seder at your aunt's house?" "No, she doesn't have them any more; she married a goy." goi most American Jews, many non-Jews Lydia


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goyish Yiddish adjective describing something that is decidedly not Jewish; WASPy "All Drake's cakes are goyish. Pumpernickel is Jewish. White bread is very goyish. Instant potatoes - goyish. Black cherry soda is very Jewish. Macaroons are very Jewish - very Jewish cake. Fruit salad is Jewish. Lime jello is goyish. Lime soda is very goyish." (Lenny Bruce routine about which foods are Jewish and which are goyish, as quoted in an article in Moment magazine) goyishe many Jews Erin

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Grogger Yiddish a noise maker used on Purim to drown out the name of Haman, something that makes a lot of noise "That noise is worse than 1,000 groggers!" gragger, grager Jews who celebrate Purim Dan

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Gut Shabbos Yiddish "Good Shabbat I said to him "Gut Shabbos!" good Shabbos, good Shabes, gut Shabes primarily used in Orthodox communities, but also among highly engaged non-Orthodox Jews Ben

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Hafsakah Israeli Hebrew break This statement was made by a professor at HUC. He said: "What do you do when a student returns minutes late from hafsakah?" hashkafa Mostly engaged Jews Jordana

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Haimish Yiddish homey, informal, friendly, cozy "Why don't you talk to David? He's so haimish." "This condo is my favorite so far. It feels so heymish." heymish Jews with a larger pool of Yiddish vocabulary on which to draw Dan

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hakafah Hebrew parade, processional with the Torah After taking the Torah out of the ark, we will then make a hakafah around the sanctuary. hakafa highly engaged Jews, clergy Erin

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Hasid Yiddish a very pious, religious person; adherent of a Hasidic Jewish group "He's wonderful, deep Hasid of a priest!" (A rabbi in speaking about a Catholic colleague) Chasid Engaged Jews Erin

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Haval Hebrew a shame, pity "My car broke down on the 10 and I missed my meeting." "Haval. I'm sorry to hear that." chaval Hebrew speakers or Jews who have spent time in Israel Josh

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Hazarai Yiddish random assortment of stuff; junk; junk food "He walked into the room and was overwhelmed by the amount of hazarai everywhere." "You're really going to eat that chazerai?" Chazarai, chazerai, chazeray Highly engaged and/or knowledgeable Jews, Yiddish speakers Dan, Ben

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hesedik Coined kind "the most hesedik thing to say to the person before us" (Conservative rabbi msg to pluralistic Jewish email list, 8/08) chesedik Note: I don’t think this form exists in Yiddish. khsodimdik does. 8/08: 3 Google hits Benor

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hol hamoed Hebrew profane/non holiday days of a week-long holiday like Passover or Sukkot "On Chol Hamoed many Orthodox families go to amusement parks, the circus, ..." (Jewish Virtual Library). In a newsletter for a Reform Synagogue: "Come celebrate Hol Hamoad in the Sukkah with our rabbis." "Let's get together during chol hamoed Christmas" (i.e., the time between Christmas an New Years). chol hamoed, hol hamoad, hol hamo'ed Mostly engaged Jews Jordana

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hok Yiddish to bother incessantly or nag What! Why the hock? Don't hock me a tchainik. hak, huk, huck, hock People influenced by Yiddish culture or language Ben

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icht Yiddish a sound make when in disgust Icht! I am not touching that frog! yichtse, ichtsa any Israeli or involved Jew Lydia

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Jerusalemite English someone who lives in Jerusalem Scott has been living in Jerusalem for so long, he's practically a Jerusalemite. English speakers Josh

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Jew Bub English Jewish bubble: domain in which Jews interact mostly with other Jews "You have to get out of the Jew Bub" (from research on a Jewish day school, presented at Association for Jewish Studies) Young Jews in a Jewish day school Benor

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Jew Crew English group of Jews who hang out together "I'm going to go hang out with my Jew Crew today." (Urban Dictionary) young Jews Benor

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Jewdar English ability to detect individuals' Jewishness (on analogy with "gaydar" and ultimately "radar") "You'd be surprised at how many Jews come in here.... my jewdar is off the charts." (UrbanDictionary) young Jews, especially those who interact with many non-Jews Benor

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Jewess English a female Jew "Jewess, The Tribe's Better Half." -From Jewess website English Speakers, possibly hip young women Josh

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Jewfro English a large, frizzy hairstyle, sported by Jewish men (on analogy with "afro") "That kid has a serious jewfro on his head." (UrbanDictionary)

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Jewish Geography Eng a "game" in which Jews attempt to identify common friends or acquaintances. "As soon as I got there, we started playing Jewish Geography, and it turns out he knows my cousin Liz! What a small world." American Jews, especially those active in regional or national events. Dan


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Kadima Israeli Hebrew forward, onward, hurry up, quickly Move, move! Kadima, kadima! (a Israeli-American tour guide to his American participants, trying to get them on the bus) Israelis, Jews who have spent time in Israel Erin

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Kal v'chomer Rabbinic All the more so "If we're tired now at the beginning of the hike, kal v'chomer when we reach the summit." Kal v'homer, kal vachomer Talmud students, engaged Jews Dan

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Katan Hebrew small "I worked at Camp Katan at Newman and loved it but couldn't stand the bratty kids." kattan Jews with some or no familiarity with Hebrew Josh

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kavod Biblical Hebrew Honor, dignity, respect, deference, privilege "The Mashgiach was concerned that the younger bochrim gave so much kavod to the older boys who wore expensive clothes and rented lusury cars." (Weiser) "The older boys convinced the younger bochrim that it's a kavod to put away all the seforim after seder." (Weiser) koved Highly engaged Jews (esp. Orthodox). Name of several Jewish organizations. Weiser, JPS, Glinert, Yiddish Benor

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keinehora/ bli ayin ha-ra Yiddish / Hebrew "There should be no evil eye" [used whenever a statement about something positive or hoped-for might attract the evil eye] He's eighty-seven years old, keinehora. keyn ayin hara, kaynahara people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage, and those influenced by spoken Hebrew, who subscribe to some level of traditional superstition Reuben

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Kibbitz Yiddish to add (not always welcomed) comments or feedback When seeing his friend create a piece of art work, he can't help but kibbitz and share his thoughts. Kibitz Jews, some non-Jews Dan

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kinder Yiddish children "Services for the kinder and their families are upstairs at 10:30." people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage Reuben

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kipah Rabbinic literature skullcap "Don't forget your kipah - we might stop at shul on the way home." kipa, kippah, kippa highly engaged Jews Benor

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Kishkes Yiddish Figurative - belly (Lit. - gut, intenstine, sausage) "I was trying to run away from daddy but he tickled me in the kishkes." kishkas engaged Jews, Yiddish speakers Dan

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Kitah Aleph Israeli Hebrew level one This statement was said by an actively involved Reform congregant. He said: "I feel like I am in Kitah Aleph about this, I am just at the beginnging." kita alef Mostly engaged Jews Jordana

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klal Yisrael hebrew the community of Israel Said by a Reform rabbinic student: "I want my home to be a place where klal Yisrael can eat, that is why I keep kosher." mostly engaged Jews Jordana

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klezmer music Yiddish/Hebrew Jewish folk music with roots in Eastern European music They rock so hard. They play, like, funky klezmer music with a heavy bass. (comment on Balkan Beat Box) Anyone into klezmer music Lydia

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Kol Beseder Israeli Hebrew it's all good In a conversation with a Reform rabbinic student, one person said: "I would like to walk while we eat our ice cream if that is kol beseder with everyone" Mostly engaged Jews with some knowledge of Hebrew Jordana

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kol hakavod Israeli Hebrew good job; lit. all the honor "Kol HaKavod to the Courageous Iranian People" http://elyakatz.wordpress.com/2009/07/09/kol-hakavod-to-the-courageous-iranian-people/ Jewishly engaged Jews, especially those who have spent time in Israel

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Kosher Biblical in origin but Yiddish in pronunciation acceptable It's kosher with me. (Response upon asking to miss a class and making up work) Used even by non-Jews who are familiar with Jewish culture Lydia

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Krav Maga Hebrew “contact combat” and also a modern martial art form for defense or a workout, which is the more popular form in America I had a great workout at Krav Maga last night. the people who currently know about the martial art and Hebrew speakers Ben

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krovim Rabbinic literature, Yiddish relatives "This property is sold to our members and their krovim: parents, spouses, children, siblings and other close relatives and friends" (ad by Mount Sinai Memorial Parks and Mortuaries in Temple Beth Am (LA) newsletter, 8/08) karov, korev Benor

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kugl Yiddish sweet or savory noodle casserole Advertisement on Yiddishkeit LA's web page: "2nd non-annual kugl kukh-off...Whatever you call it and whatever you put in it, kugl is the ultimate in American Jewish culinary creativity, that sweet or savory dish that seems to find its way to your plate at every holiday and family gathering." kugel, kigl, kugeleh Most Jews and those non-Jews who may have spent a holiday meal or two with a Jewish family Erin

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kumkum Israeli Hebrew tea kettle, often electric "Where did you get the hot water?" "There's a kumkum in the kitchen." Jews who have spent time in Israel, where electric kumkums are common

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kvell Yiddish to have enormous pride about something or someone "I hear your daughter will be singing with the SF Opera! So you're kvelling, of course." people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage Reuben


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kvetch Yiddish complain All my 90 year old grandmother does anymore is kvetch about not being able to do the things she used to do. Engaged Jews or secular Jews with Yiddish roots Josh

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L'chaim Yiddish, Hebrew "to life" (used for toasts) "rich niggas, black bar mitzvahs, mazel tof, its a celebration bitches, L'Chayeem! I wish for you a hundred years of success..." Jay-Z (Rock Boys) L'chaim, l'chayeem, l'hayim Jews (and, rarely, non Jews) Josh

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Lalia Tov Israeli Hebrew good night A different instant message conversion with a Reform rabbinic student. Student One: "I should get back to work now." Student Two: "Okay, I'll see you tomorrow, Lalia Tov" Mostly engaged Jews with some knowledge of Hebrew Jordana

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lamah lo? Hebrew why not? "Sorry, I can't make it tonight." "Lamah lo?" "I forgot about my plans with Sarah." Conversation between my Jewish cousin and me. Jews who know Hebrew and spent time in Israel. Josh

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Land of Israel Translation from Hebrew (from Torah?) not just the State of Israel but also the spiritual state of the Jewish people The entire Eastern Roman Empire used Greek in countries including present day Lebanon, Turkey, the land of Israel, etc. (a Jewish history professor in his first lecture to USC Jewish history class) Land of Israel; land of Israel Engaged Jews who have Zionist tendancies none Lydia

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landsman Yiddish someone from the same home community in the old country He was her landsman, so Grandma made arrangements for him to stay with us. people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage Reuben

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lashon horah rabbinic literature speaking badly about someone loshn hora, lashon hara Ben

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Latke Yiddish a potato pancake fried in lots of oil, a symbol of the miracle of Hannukah "I am a Latke and I am waiting for Hannukah to come." - Debbie Friedman Latkey, Latka, latkah ManyJews, including "culinary Jews" Dan

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Lehitraot Hebrew see you later In Hebrew we don't like to say "goodbye," it sounds so final. Rather, we say, "lehitraot," or see you again. (my hebrew teacher) L'hitraot Jews who know Hebrew or have spent time in Israel. Can also be shortened to "l'hit" which is more slang. Josh

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leyn Yiddish to chant Torah, haftarah or megillah “Sorry I can’t help with Shabbes childcare, but I'm leyning that morning." layn ‘Synagogue-literate’ Jews Reuben

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licht bentschen Yiddish to bless the candles on Shabbes or a holiday "Well, I better hang up soon--almost time to bentsch licht." lechtbentschen, likht bentshn, bentshn likht people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage Reuben

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lox Yiddish smoked salmon The salmon is perfect on its own with a bagel or cream cheese or can also be used to make the US-classic Lox and Eggs, scrambled egg with pieces of smoked salmon in it. ORIGIN 1940s: from Yiddish laks. Anyone, Jews and non-Jews Lydia

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Luch in Cup Yiddish hole in the head "I need that like I need a luch in cup." (My dad in response to being asked what he thinks about buying a new boat.) lokh in kop Jews who have spent time with older Jews from the "Old Country" Lydia

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m'dakdek Hebrew exacting "One of the students was very m'dakdek, the other wasn't. This made for a challenging partnership between them." (A thesis advisor in regard to working on a thesis in tandem - an unsuccessful situation) highly engaged Jews Erin

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m'dor l'dor Israeli Hebrew from generation to generation "the folklore that is passed down m’dor l’dor" (from an academic talk at HUC faculty retreat) from dor to dor Benor

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Ma la a-sot Israeli Hebrew what can you do? In a conversation with a Reform rabbinic student: "I don't really think that is a good idea, but ma la a-sot." ma la'asot Mostly engaged Jews with some knowledge of Hebrew Jordana

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Ma'ariv Hebrew evening Reform Synagogue website: "Join us for Ma'ariv services where we will blend our roots of the Jewish tradition with a modern sense of joy and innovation Mostly engaged Jews Jordana

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Machaneh Yehudah Israeli Hebrew lit. "Judah's camp" the open air market in central Jerusalem Can't get enough of Machane Yehuda?(from jhappening.com) Anyone who has visited Israel or learns about Israel Lydia

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macher Yiddish important person, hot shot He's a big macher in Hollywood; everyone wants to meet with him. secular & religious Jews, non-Jews Dan

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machzor Hebrew Jewish prayerbook for holidays I got to go over the service with the guy who wrote the actual machzor! mahzor involved Jews Lydia


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Maimonidean Jewish English In the style of Maimonedes, the Jewish rabbi, physician and scholar who lived in the 12th century When drashing about the Shema during t'fillah at a religious school staff orientation, a Reform rabbi asked, "What is one?" One teacher replied, "It's not two." "That's very Maimonidean of you!" exclaimed the rabbi. highly engaged Jews, Jewish professionals Erin

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mamash Rabbinic literature and Israeli Hebrew and Yiddish really, emphatically I was mamash excited to see you at the party. mamesh Engaged Jews, Yeshiva Bochers Dan

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mameleh Yiddish diminutive term for a young girl [lit. 'little mama'] "Sweet dreams, mameleh, I'll see you in the morning." mamaleh people strongly influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage Reuben

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mameloshn Yiddish mother tongue Please call us to discuss the many naming opportunities available at Yiddishkayt. Name one of our education and outreach programs, or one of our upcoming events, as a powerful tribute to mameloshn. (on the Yiddishkeit LA web site donor page) People influenced by Yiddish culture or heritage Erin

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mamzer Hebrew bastard Shocking that there is still a Mamzer status for those born out of wed-lock in the Israeli legal system. Religious Jews and Israeli Legal System Ben

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Manischewitz Yiddish-origin name used for American brand of wine sweet wine used by American Jews for ritual purposes Pass the Manischewitz! (at Passover seder) Most Jews and many non-Jews Lydia

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Mannah Hebrew the stuff, usually translated as "bread," that fell from the sky to feed the wandering Israelites in the Bible It was like manna falling from heaven! (describing the first sight of an all-you-can-eat buffet) Many Americans, Jews and non-Jews, with knowledge of the Bible Lydia

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matbe'a Hebrew blueprint, structure, form (used in Rabbinic Hebrew with regard to prayers and blessings; in Modern Hebrew 'coin') "Our davening follows a traditional matbe'a (order of the service) with great singing and a full Torah reading" (Pico Egal website) matbea, matbeah Highly engaged Jews Benor

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Matzah Pizza Heb & Eng a unique dish eaten by American Jews mostly during the holiday of Passover, wherein a piece of matzah is covered with tomato sauce (or ketchup) and cheese (topings optional) and placed in the oven, toaster oven, or microwave. "I can't wait to have a matzah pizza." matza, matzo Many American Jews who eat matzah on Passover Dan

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Matzav Hebrew situation; situation in Israel / the Middle East "Israel WAS great, and amazing, and wonderful – both in spite of, and yes, even
BECAUSE of the matzav" (http://www.shaareyzedek.org/uploads/287904ParashatVayechi%5B1%5D.pdf). "Hey ma, what's the matzav in the kitchen, any oichel tonight?" (http://northofbrooklyn.blogspot.com/2008/10/whats-matzav-of-that-zach.html) "Think for a moment about the matzav today in both ruchniyus and gashmiyus" (http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/article.php?p=26810) matsav maTSAV: Jews oriented toward Israel; MATsev: strictly Orthodox Jews

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Mazel Tov Yiddish and Israeli Hebrew An elderly congregant at my pulpit said to the bat miztvah "Mazel Tof, Zoe. What a great job you did." MAzel Tov, MaZAL Tov, MAzal Tof Jew and non Jews Josh

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mechaye congratulations (lit. good luck) something that gives great joy "To hear you sing--such a mechaye." (young Reform cantor in Manhattan) m'khaye, mekhaya people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage Reuben

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mechayil el chayil Hebrew (Psalms 84:8) from strength to strength "May Hashem give you the strength to go mechayil el chayil!" http://www.theyeshiva.net/Video/View/18 m'chayil el chayil, m'chayil l'chayil mostly Orthodox Jews Benor

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Mechitzah Hebrew a wall, partition, or other separation between genders. "It's like there's a mechitzah in here!" (said while looking at a religious school class of 7th graders) mechitza, machitzah, machitza Religiously observant Jews and knowledgeable Jews Dan

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meldado Ladino anniversary of someone's death; the study session done in honor of that person; Torah reading "The Meldado / Anos / Yartzeit / Hillulah of Rabbi Alfass[i] is 10 Iyar." http://www.alfassa.com/rif.html. "in public, they will remember their murdered family members on special occasions such as Yom Kippur, meldados and Yom Hashoa." http://www.sbhseattle.org/90th-Anniversary.stm.
Sephardic Jews - Ladino speakers and their desendents Benor

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mensch Yiddish a stand up citizen Robert is such a mensch. Not only does he volunteer at the old age home, but he even goes out of his way to help his friends move. mentsh, mench Jews and some non-Jews Josh

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meshugge Yiddish and Hebrew crazy, refers to a chronic disturbance “That Ben is one meshugge!” - my old boss said that of me often meshuggina, meshuga, meshuge people influenced by Yiddish cultural heritage Ben

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mesorah Hebrew tradition DovBear is committed to the idea that our mesorah (tradition) overflows with competing and contradictory ideas. JOFA blog mesora people with Judaic knowledge and/or Hebrew background Josh

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meydl/meydeleh Yiddish a girl "Yes, such a shayna meydeleh." maidl, meidl, maydel, maidel people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage Reuben

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Mi Shebeirach Hebrew the One who Blesses; reference to the prayer for healing said during a Torah service I can't believe she is so ill. Can we say Mi Sheibeirach for her? (a congregant to the rabbinic student after learning that our cantorial soloist for the high holidays had become quite ill in the Days of Awe and would not be with us for Yom Kippur) Mi Sheibeirach; Mi Sheberach Jews who participate in prayer services Erin


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minhag Hebrew/Yiddish custom "It's not halacha; it's just minhag." "It seems we're developing a minhag for the kids to bless the parents" highly engaged Jews Benor

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minhag hamakom Rabbinic literature local custom; When in Rome "It definitely seems to be a minhag hamakom kind of issue" (Modern Orthodox rabbi). "We don't normally stand for kaddish, but minhag hamakom." Highly engaged Jews Benor

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Mishagos Yiddish craziness "He wanted to avoid going there because of all of the mishagos." mishegas, meshugas, mishugas Engaged Jews, Yiddish speakers, also heard used in NPR report Dan

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Mishpacha Israeli Hebrew family On a wedding celebration invitation: "Come celebrate with us as we welcome a new branch of our Mishpacha" Jews ranging from engaged to somewhat participating Jordana

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mishpocheh Yiddish family David, give your uncle Marvin a hug; he's mishpocheh for God's sake! mishpucheh secular and religious Jews Josh

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Mitzvah Biblical Hebrew good deed; commandment On a Reform synagogue's website: "Mitzvah Day is coming. It will be full of activities for everyone. Sign up for this wonderful fulfilling day of tikkun olam" mitzva Jews with a range of engagement Jordana

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morah Israeli Hebrew teacher, Mrs./Ms. "Morah Ariella said we should bring them home." (student at Pressman Academy Day School (Conservative), Los Angeles) mora Jewish day schools none Benor

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MOT English "member of the tribe." A Jew Rachel went on a blind date and the first question her friend Jacob asked her was, "Is he an MOT?" Engaged late Gen X and Gen Y Jews Josh

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muvan me'elav Hebrew self-evident "In some circles, the ideas in this paper are considered muvan me'elav [well established and obvious]. Yet in too many places they are still considered controversial or disruptive to local ways of doing things." (http://www.wisephilanthropy.com/articles/article.html?aid=13&cid=8&sid=2) muvan me'eilav, muvan meelav Jews with deep exposure to Hebrew Benor

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naches Yiddish, Hebrew pride in someone's success I get so much naches when I see him on the bema. (words of a proud parent about their son, the student rabbi) many Jews, especially grandparents Lydia

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narishkeit Yiddish foolishness, stupidity "Why would we even discuss such narishkeit?" people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage Reuben

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neshama Hebrew soul He already has such a Jewish neshama (upon hearing of the news of a friend who finally converted to Judaism) highly involved Jews Lydia

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nice Jewish boy English Jewish male, usually indicates presumed marriageability. In pop culture it often indicates nebbishy traits and lack of traditional masculinity T-shirt: Nice Jewish Boy; Nice Jewish Boy Moving and Storage; Calendar; "Nice Jewish Boy seeks SJF to join him at the Matzo Ball" (Craigslist posting) nice Jewish guy (see calendar online) Many Jews, including older Jews who want to set younger Jewish women up with Jewish men Urban Dictionary Benor

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nogeia b'dovor Texts [one] has a vested interest in something,is not a disinterested party "Yeah, you think school is important, but you're a teacher. Nogeia b'dovor." (16-year-old ex-yeshiva boy in Manhattan) nogea badavar people with some traditional Jewish education Reuben

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nosh Yiddish to snack or eat; a snack While waiting for the class to start, Bill noshed on some bagels and cream cheese. Let's take a break for a quick nosh. Used by Jews and non-Jews. Can be used as either a verb or a noun, i.e. "He stopped for a nosh after the show." Erin

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Nu Yiddish, Israeli Hebrew So what? or So?; a nudging word Nu - tell us already! Out with it! (one friend to another, trying to hurry up a story) many Jews, sometimes used in conjunction with kadima to get someone to hurry along Erin

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nudnik Yiddish someone who is annoying to others Who could stand to be around Shlomo for very long? He's such a nudnic! Noodnick, nudnic Anyone, Jews and non-Jews http://www.thefreedictionary.com/nudnik, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nudnik Dan

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ob"m English, rabbinic literature RIP, of blessed memory, "the late X" "With great sadness we inform you of the passing of Mrs. Hadassah Greenberg OB”M this Shabbos at the age of 73." (http://www.crownheights.info/index.php?itemid=2185) OB"M, OB'M, OBM Highly engaged Jews (esp. Orthodox) Benor

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Old Country English any country that an immigrant ancestor came from “Back in the old country life was not so great.” -Papa from An American Tail Old people, Jews, others Ben

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olev ha-sholom Yiddish, Hebrew Rest in peace. Lit. 'upon him peace' --said after mentioning the name of someone who is no longer living "My grandpa, olev ha-sholom, would have loved this performance." alav ha-shalom many Jews who have some involvement in Jewish religion or culture
Reuben


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on one foot Rabbinic lit translation of "al regel achat": off-the-cuff; quick, quickly, quick answer (from a Talmudic story about Rabbi Hillel summarizing the Torah to a potential convert while standing on one foot) Resources like this are common: "Reconstructionism on One Foot," "On One Foot: A Middle East guide for the perplexed," "Shabbat On One Foot: Making a Case for its Celebration" al regel ahat highly engaged Jews Benor

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Oy! Yiddish exclamation used often when shocked or hurt Surfboard hitting me in the face, "OY!" used by many to express feeling Ben

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Pa'amayim Israeli Hebrew Twice "We need to add this to the calendar - pa'amayim." (a rabbi in a meeting about upcoming events) Pamayim highly involved Jews, Jews who are familiar with Hebrew Erin

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parnasah Hebrew/ Yiddish earned income, 'a living'; more literally, sustenance "I'd love to have you work here and it would be some extra parnasah for you too." parnasa, parnusa, parnose, parnosa people with some knowledge of textual, liturgical or spoken Hebrew (parnasa); people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage (parnusa) Reuben

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parve Heb/Yid? (lit. neither milk nor meat) uninteresting, plain, generic "So, how was the movie?" "It was kinda parve. Parts were interesting, but nothing so special." parveh, pareve, parev, parv Observant and engaged Jews Dan

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petek Israeli Hebrew note "Maybe you emailed a petek to be placed in the Kotel." (from an academic talk at HUC faculty retreat) Benor

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pisher, little pisher Yiddish a way to refer to a child with a combination of amusement, admiration and annoyance "That little pisher has a big mouth on her."(86-year-old American Jewish woman) people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage Reuben

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plotz Yiddish to freak out, flip out; either for good or for bad [lit. Yiddish to crack, split, burst] "The news was so wonderful I almost plotzed when I heard it!" platz, plots, plats people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage Reuben

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Polkeys Yiddish Thighs (esp. of a chicken or baby) "My favorite part of the chicken is the polkeys." "Oy, look at this baby's polkies!" Polkies Yiddish speakers, Ashkenazi Jews Dan

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potch yiddish a pat or spank, usually on the tuchas (see tuchas) "You've been a bad boy, you're getting a potch on the tuchas." patsh, potsch Older generations of Jews, yiddish speakers Dan

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Potchkey Yiddish to tinker with, make small changes (see "Futz") The project is almost due; I can't potchey with it any more. Yiddish speakers, Ashkenazi jews Dan

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punim Yiddish yiddish for face, or cute face Oh my gosh, look at that punim. Your baby is adorable! punem engaged Jews Josh

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pupik Yiddish belly button “Guess what, your cousin Ben is missing his pupik” - my aunt speaking to my cousins pupic bubbies and zaddies Ben

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pushke Yiddish charity box “Every week you put a little in the pushke.” - RFD teacher, speaking about the “Old Country” Ben

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putz Yiddish a fool, jerk or slang for penis Al D'amato called Chuck Shumer a putz-head in a private meeting. He said afterwards, "The Yiddish word I used to describe you at a private meeting means fool...I stand by my remark 100%." Jews and non-Jews Josh

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rachmones Yiddish - Liturgical connections mercy “I have to ask for your rachmones—I’ve been really pressed for time.” rakhmones Ashkenazi pronunciation of Hebrew rachmanut Reuben

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rega Hebrew wait/just a moment "Sarah, come on! We're going to miss the movie!" "Rega, Yoni, give me a second!" Hebrew speakers Josh

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rosh chodesh Hebrew start of a new month in the Hebrew calendar "In Judaism, Rosh Chodesh has become known as the women's holiday." -www.thecollaborative.org/rosh_chodesh rosh hodesh engaged Jews Josh

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sababah Arabic Loan word in Israeli Hebrew cool In response to a good plan, Todd said "Sababah." Sababa Israeli Hebrew speakers; highly engaged Jews Lydia

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sabra Hebrew a cactus fruit; stereotype of the personality of Israelis "I don't like that guy; he's so standoff-ish." "Oh, don't worry about that. He's Israeli, he's a real sabra." Involved Jews or people who've been to Israel Lydia


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savlanut Hebrew patience Mother to impatient child: "You need to have a little savlanut." "Savlanut is the reason why we don't have drive by shootings, people killing each other while waiting in line, and endless public brawling." -www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3338603,00 savlanoot Hebrew speakers and Jews who have spent considerable amounts of time in Israel Josh

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schecht Yiddish to slaughter meat according to the rituals of kashrut Thanksgiving Invitation: "Come schecht the vegan tofu turkey! Thursday, 5:00 p.m. on!" shekht, shecht people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage; religiously-involved Jews Reuben

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schlogn kapores Yiddish to wave a chicken around one's head to cleanse sins before Yom Kippur I watched someone schlogging kapores in Me'ah Shearim." schloggen kaporos, shlogn kapores people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage, familiar with religious customs Reuben

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schmaltz (schmaltzy, to schmaltz up) Yiddish 1. Chicken fat 2. Adj.: Slightly overwrought, cheesy 3. To make overdone or cheesier. 1. “Of course the latkes are good--they're full of shmaltz!" 2. “I didn’t like the last movement of the Rachmaninoff—too schmaltzy.” 3. “Chorus, this is a love song—please schmaltz up measures 34-50.” people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage. (usage in English is based up on the distinction in Yiddish proper between sefer [a holy book] and buch [any other book] ) Reuben

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schmata Yiddish rag, old/ragged piece of clothing, garment "You just need to use a schmata, soap and water to clean your floors, nothing fancy." "The shmatta industry" / "shmatta district" (marks "garment" as Jewish). shmata, shmatta, shmatte, shmattah, shmatteh... people influenced by Yiddish cultural heritage Erin

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schmear Yiddish to spread; cream cheese “Let me schmear some sun tan lotion on me.” "I'll take a dozen plain bagels and one sesame bagel with a shmeer." schmeer, shmear, shmeer Jews with closer connections to Yiddish; cream cheese: many Americans Ben

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schmooze Hebrew by way of Yiddish (altered along the way) chat If you want your congregants to like you, you need to know how to schmooze with them after services. shmooze Jews and some non-Jews Josh

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schnapps Yiddish booze for l'chaims “Where's the schnapps? That vodka will do!” - a Chabad rabbi shnaps Ben

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schnorr Yiddish mooch You know he's going to try to get you to drive him again today--he's always schnorring rides. shnor people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage Reuben

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schnorrer yiddish a begger, a parasite "That man comes around all the time - what a schnorrer!” -my former boss said that of a man who always came to events for the food when it was free. schnorer, shnorrer, shnorer many Jews Ben

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schvitz Yiddish sweat, steam bath There is no air conditioning, so on days when Wilshire Boulevard Temple is filled, Leder says, it is more like a schvitz, a steam bath, than a synagogue. (from an article in the LA Times) shvitz Non-Jews who have been exposed to Yiddish and/or the Jewish community, Jews Erin

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secular English not religious; not having to do with Jews or Judaism (even if the Jewish concept it's contrasted with is not religious) I'm not religious - I'm totally secular. "Jewish studies and secular studies" (commonly discussed in Jewish Day Schools). "'What Feels So Right' is Rick Recht's first secular release in over five years" (http://www.rickrecht.com/ePromo/quotepress.html) Jews who participate in religious life, Jews who do not Benor

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sforim Yiddish books of a Jewish religious nature "I'm going to get a pointed Mishna at the YU sforim sale next weekend." "Sforim.net: This is an ongoing project bringing sforim to the web in text format." seforim, sefarim, sfarim usually used in the plural, by people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage, especially Orthodox Jews. This word means "books" in Hebrew but has this more specialized meaning in Yiddish and in Jewish English. Reuben

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Shabbas Goy Yiddish construction with Hebrew-origin words A non-Jew who performs tasks on Shabbat that halachically observant Jews are forbidden to do "One of my favorite things about living with all those Jews was being the Shabbas Goy." Shabbos goy, Shabes goy, Shabbes goy non-Jews who live near/with Jews who are shomer shabbat Dan

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shadchen Hebrew matchmaker "It's not like we have a shadchen to help us find husbands anymore." (in explanation of how Jewish marriage works for liberal Jews) shadchan Mid to highly-involved Jews Lydia

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shalom bayit Texts, Hebrew peace in the home For the sake of shalom bayit I will go to the movie I do not want to see without arguing about it. shalom bayis, sholom bayis Jews, especially people who have vague familiarity with the concept Jordana

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Shana Tova Hebrew Happy New Year, lit. 'good year' Facebook message "I would like to wish a Shana Tova to all of my friends and family" shanah tovah Jews with all levels of engagement around the High Holy Days Jordana

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shandah Yiddish scandal, shameful thing “She plans on marring a non-Jew, such a shandah!” In a sermon by a Reform Rabbi: "Our health care system is a shandah" shandeh, shanda, shande, schondeh, schonda Various Jews, especially those who know or have people in their familes who know Yiddish Ben, Jordana

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shehecheyanu Liturgical that happens for the first time and warrants noting "I've never done that before; what a she'he'che'yanu moment!" "One of the unexpected joys of Josie getting older has been our entry into the world of not-so-beginner chapter books. Shehechiyanu, I have a book lover. And we’re starting to share books. Such naches!" (Marjorie Ingall, Forward, 12/18/08) shehechiyanu Engaged Jews, somewhat practicing Jews Dan

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sheitel Yiddish a wig worn by observant Jewish women after marriage "It is so weird. Now that she's married, she all of the sudden wants to wear that sheitel-type thing?" sheytel, shaytel, sheytl, shaytl involved Jews, used by Orthodox women Lydia


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Sheva Brachot Hebrew Seven days of festivities following a traditional Jewish wedding. Literally "the seven blessings" [said in a wedding ceremony and in Grace After Meals after the wedding]. "We're flying out east for Adam & Kate's sheva brachos next weekend." sheva brachos / brochos very engaged Jews, especially Orthodox Dan

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sheygets Yiddish a non-Jewish male (somewhat derogatory) "Sure, he's a sheygets, but such a nice man." shaygets people influenced by Yiddish cultural heritage Reuben

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Shidduch Hebrew, Yiddish connection, match, often leading to marriage "When we set up Adam with Kate it was such a good shidduch!" shidach, shidekh Jews with a larger yiddish vocabulary Dan

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shiksa Yiddish non-Jewish girl of dating age She's a really nice girl but, she's a schickza shikza, schikza, schickza usually slightly derogatory Ben

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shir chadash liturgical Hebrew new song On a Reform Synagogue website "Join Shir Chadash, our adult choir and help delight the congregation with a new song" shir hadash mostly engaged Jews Jordana

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shiva Hebrew traditionally, a period of seven days of mourning after the death of a loved one; for many Jews today, it means going to sit at the house of a mourner to provide comfort and support for an evening or a couple of days We are sitting shiva tonight at her house at 7:30 pm. Please bring your own siddur. shivah Most Jews and even some non-Jews Lydia

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shlemil Yiddish a dope or fool Arnie's such a shlemil, always getting himself into trouble. schlemil, shlemiel Children and grandchildren of Yiddish speakers, Laverne and Shirley fans Josh

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Shlep Yiddish to carry something that appears to be a burden to the person Every time the Goldbergs go on vacation, they have to shlep their daughter's stuffed animal collection with them schlep; shlepp, schlepp Anyone, Jews, non Jewish comedians Josh

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shlock Yiddish cheap, inferior goods That's not a good souvenir, it's just shlock! "Shlock Rock" (parody band) schlock, shlak, schlak engagaed Jews Erin

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shmecky yiddish a little boy's penis My little cousins used to run outside with their shmeckies flappin' in the breeze shmekie, schmekie, schmeky, shmecky not really polite, but it is meant in a cutesey way. Ben

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shmendrik yiddish a jerk, a stupid person “What's up, schmendrik?” Dave said to me, quoting Welcome Back Kotter. used often jokingly now. Ben

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shmuk Yiddish annoying, irritating person (lit. penis) That guy is such a shmuk. I wish he would just leave. Don't listen to a word he says. schmuck, shmuck Jews & non-Jews Dan

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shmutz Yiddish dirt, filth Joshua, let me wash your shirt to get all that shmutz out. shmuts, schmutz Engaged Jews and Yiddish speakers Josh

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shnoz German or Yiddish a nose “Our family has a very distinctive shnoz!” - my Dad says this of our family schnoz, shnaz Origin unclear: likely from German schnauze ('snout') (Rosten 268); Bluestein (103) says Yiddish and English ("shnoltsl" influenced by "nozzle") Bluestein Ben

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shomer hebrew guard (keeps watch over someone or something); short for "Shomer Shabbat" (keeps the laws of Sabbath); short for "Shomer Negia" (keeps the laws prohibiting members of the opposite sex from touching before marriage); best man or maid of honor at a wedding; chaperone (in the laws of negia) "I will be the shomer and wait by the car while you move the stuff inside" (said by an actively engaged non-Orthodox Jew). "Will you be shomer for our yichud room?" (guard the room where bride and groom spend time alone immediately following the wedding ceremony). "Is he shomer [negia]?" "a place where there are three people is considered a public domain and causes Yichud to be permitted. This would also apply if in the same courtyard there lived a person who would be an effective shomer." Mostly engaged Jews. Jordana

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shpatzir Yiddish In Yiddish, literally 'to walk, take a stroll'; in this example, figuratively 'to delay, tarry, procrastinate' "Well, they might come for Thanksgiving if I invite them now; but since I've shpartzired around so much, they might already have plans at this point." (My mother, 62 years old) shpartzir, shatsir people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage Reuben

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shpilkes Yiddish need to move around, lit. 'pins' “Sit still!”, said Gwen. “I've got the shpilkes, I can't”- Me schpilkes, shpielkes used by folks with moderate amount of Yiddish knowledge Ben

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shtetl Yiddish small town occupied mostly by Jews in pre-Holocaust Eastern Europe Before he wound up in the Shtetl in Slobodka, my grandfather lived in a nice home in the center of town. shtetel Mostly Jews, but also non Jews when talking about band Shtetl Superstars. Josh

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shuk Hebrew (from Arabic?) market Unfortunately, if you want the tastes and smells as well as the stories, you'll have to head to the actual shuk earlier in the day and buy your own. Anyone who visits Israel or learns about Israel Lydia

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Shul Yiddish synagogue Featured on a website of Reform Temple: "Shul Shopping? Come check us out": Jews ranging from engaged to somewhat participating Jordana


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shvach Yiddish weak, drivel "One semester we have a plethora of interesting electives offered. The next, we are only offered a bunch of shvach!" (a student in reference to course offerings at HUC). "That talk was shvach - very disappointing." shvakh People influenced by Yiddish culture or heritage, engaged Jews Erin

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simcha Yiddish, Hebrew a joyous celebration What a simchah! (said by a friend to my dad in reference to our wedding which he had attended) simchah, simkhe many Jews, mostly fairly involved Lydia

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Sippur Israeli Hebrew literally means story - sometimes refer to the Exodus from Egypt A phone conversation with a Reform rabbinic student: "what is the sippur, should I bring my books over to study?" sipur Mostly engaged Jews with some knowledge of Hebrew Jordana

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sivuv Israeli Hebrew once-around, look-around Before leaving a hotel room: "I'll do one last sivuv to make sure we didn't leave anything." At the large opening reception of a conference, a woman was looking for someone: "I'll go do a sivuv and see if I can find him." Highly engaged Jews, especially those who have been to Jewish summer camps Benor

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spiel Yiddish stage play; prepared speech or long story I am going to the synagogue tonight to watch the Purim spiel or I am going to tell you the whole spiel over dinner. shpil Purim play: Engaged and somewhat participating Jews. Other: Many Americans. Jordana

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Sukkah Hebrew a temporary dwelling used during the holiday of Sukkot NY times article re: a blind rabbi running for congress, 9/13/08: “it would be foolish to dismiss the possibility that Dr. Shulman could make his own dent in the glass sukkah and mount a serious challenge to one of the most conservative members of Congress.” succah, suka Jews with a range of levels of engagement Jordana

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svives Yiddish groups "By developing and sponsoring neighborhood-based Yiddish reading and conversation groups (svives) for all levels throughout the city, Yiddishkayt Los Angeles promotes an environment in which individuals are encouraged to speak Yiddish, and further extends our overall strategy of engaging people in Yiddish, step by step." On Yiddishkaytla.org, under their Programs section (Programen) people connected to contemporary Yiddish-speaking circles Erin

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t'shuvah Hebrew lit. "return," repentance In order to make t'shuvah, you can't just say your sorry. You also have to not repeat the mistake again. Jews, especially religiously engaged Lydia

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Tachlis Hebrew loan word in Yiddish, which entered Israeli Hebrew & American Jewish English the bottom line; mundane details of a matter "We should decide if we want to focus on the broad vision and philosophy or the tachlis" (a rabbi to her staff when deciding what the topic of the next meeting should be). "He is thinking about these questions in a very sophisticated but also very tachlis sort of way" (an academic to other academics). takhlis highly involved Jews Erin

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Talmudic Hebrew loan word with English morphology a debate that was complex and had many sides They had a Talmudic discussion about what toys were intended for boys and what toys were intended for girls. (in a radio show called "This American Life;" story about gay fathers whose son doesn't want them to get married.) highly knowledgeable people with large vocabularies Lydia

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tashlich Hebrew "to send" A ritual in which Jews throw crumbs into the water on Rosh Hashanah, symbolizing getting rid of one's sins We have a lovely botanical garden where you can do tashlich, if you want. highly-involved Jews during HHDs Lydia

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teeth suck noise Linguistic marker from Israeli Hebrew slight disapproval, hesitation “(toothsuck) You think I don't know?” - my Israeli friend Ben

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tekes Israeli Hebrew ceremony, usually surrounding something identified as Israeli or Jewish "It was a really nice tekes." Jews with ties to Israel Benor

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tikkun olam Liturgical, text repairing the world “We're about tikkun olam and stopping lashon horah...” - my supervisor Ben

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tisch Yiddish table I loved my tisch! It was so nice to have my friends and family around the table with me before the wedding." (groom reflecting on his wedding day) tish highly engaged Jews Erin

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Tov Israeli Hebrew good, okay When finished with an assignment in class and ready to move on, I said "Tov." none Israeli Hebrew speakers; highly engaged Jews Lydia

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treyf Yiddish (from Hebrew) (adj or noun) prohibited [food] according to traditional laws of kashrut. "Of course the cheeseburger looks good, but it's, like, double treyf!" trayf, treif people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage; religiously-involved Jews Reuben

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triple-h English good-looking Jewish female ("hot hebrew honey") "she's a triple h" (Urban Dictionary) young Jewish men Urban Dictionary Benor

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tuchas yiddish bottom, rear end "You've been a bad boy, you're getting a potch on the tuchas." tush, related to Hebrew "tachat" Older generations of Jews, yiddish speakers Dan

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tuches afn tisch Yiddish lay your cards on the table Stop beating around the bush! Lay your tuches afn tisch! (Rabbinics professor in analyzing the behavior of a character in the text) tukhes People influenced by Yiddish culture or heritage Erin


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tumler Yiddish entertainer or emcee, particularly someone who gets the audience involved Who is this tumler? Why should we get all excited? tummler people influenced by Yiddish culture or language Ben

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Tzahal Hebrew Acronym for: Ts'va Ha-Haganah Le-Yisrael. aka The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) One of the most popular things teenagers buy when visiting Israel is a Tsahal t-shirt. Tsahal, zahal Jews with Israel connections Josh

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tzedakah Hebrew "charity," has connotations of "justice" and "commandedness" We traditionally put tzedakah every Friday afternoon before Shabbat into our tzedakah box. (taught to a class of preschoolers) tsedaka, tsedakah, tzedaka Most Jews and some non-Jews ?

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tzedek, tzedek tirdof Biblical Hebrew justice, justice, shall you pursue In a sermon by a Reform rabbi: "We must take action because we were given the charge tzedek, tzedek, tirdof - justice, justice shall you pursue." Jews with a ranging level of engagement Jordana

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tzniut Hebrew modesty "Classes will cover human anatomy, sexual orientation, body image, STDs, sexual abuse, sexual ethics, tzniut and the Jewish laws concerning physical contact and sexuality." (from an article in Lilith magazine) tznius (Yiddish) highly engaged Jews, more observant Jews Erin

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tzuris, af tzuris Hebrew/Yiddish (lit. Hebrew 'troubles' distress, trouble, worry, drama; af tzuris to be in a state of tzuris "I never would have gotten involved if I'd known it would be this much tzuris." "Don't worry about him; he's just af tzuris about his term paper." tzures, tsuris, tsures, tsuros people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage; engaged Jews Reuben

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ungepatchke Yiddish overdone, tacky, ostentatious, overcomplicated "Those decorations weren't nice. It was just ungepatchke." "Yeah, the recipe is good but honestly, it's ungepatchke." (30-something San Francisco Jew) ongepatchka people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage Reuben

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vildekhaya Yiddish a really rambunctious or wild kid; lit. 'wild animal' "I know, Manny's a vildechaye."(40-something American Jewish woman living in New York, referring to 4-year-old nephew tearing around the room); "We have to have things to do for the vilde chaya kids!" (an educator, in a discussion about activities during the Purim carnival) vilda chaya, vilde chaye people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage Reuben/Erin

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Whole Megillah Yiddish, English an expression of something done completely and/or taking a long time We had to go through the whole megillah all over again. It was such a shanda! Jews, and some knowledgeable non-Jews. Dan

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Yala Arabic loan word in Israeli Hebrew let's go “Yala, ready?” - my Israeli friend yallah Ben

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Yasher Koach Hebrew, Yiddish Lit. "Straight strength." Figuratively, "Good job!" During a service, after someone reads Torah or gives a sermon or drash, community members may say, "Yasher Koach on your sermon (or reading)!" yashar koach, shkoyakh, shkoyach, shkoyekh Highly engaged Jews, people who attend services regularly. "Shkoyach" means 'thank you' in some Orthodox circles Erin

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yemach shemo Hebrew May his name be erased "This is the greatest revenge on Hitler, Yemach Shemo"; "the Hungarian police yemach shemam came for my grandfather" (from website) yemach shmo highly engaged Jews Benor

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Yenta Yiddish a busybody, gossipmonger, or matchmaker "Those three yentas keep trying to set me up with their grandsons." -Urban Dictionary yente Used by Jews with some Yiddish influence Josh

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Yentl Yiddish a woman who tries to make in the man's realm (often through disguising herself) "We've been Yentled!" (Exclaimed by Bart Simpson upon the discovery of his sister, Lisa, dressing up for a boys only Math competition. Yentel Various Jews, especially those who saw the movie of the same name. Dan

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Yerushalyim shel zahav Hebrew "Jerusalem of Gold" name of song written by Naomi Shemer One of my favorite songs is Yerushalyim shel zahav. Everytime I arrive in Jerusalem it plays in my head. Jews who have heard the song Josh

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Yetzer hara Hebrew evil inclination "The yetzer hara is particularly strong during thesis work." (A thesis advisor in regard to working on one's thesis) engaged Jews Erin

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yiches Yiddish pedigree, positively evaluated familial lineage "Ask Dan to head up the committee. He has the right yiches to get the job done." yichus, yikhes people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage Reuben

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Yiddishkeit Yiddish Something that has Jewish characteristics The result of that realization and determination is the Spot On: Jiddischkeit festival, which will take place at the Konzerthaus on September 13 and 14, and features an impressive roll call of top Jewish and Israeli artists and ensembles from a wide range of genres. (from a report on JPost.com) Jiddischkeit, Yiddishkayt used by many Jews, mostly highly involved; used by Orthodox Jews to refer to the religious realm; used by Yiddishists to refer to the Yiddish realm Lydia

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Yofi Israeli Hebrew nice, good 1. After a productive brainstorm session, I said "Yofi!" indicating that we were in a good place and could move on. 2. So how are you doing? I'm doing great, still lovin' school. Yoffie, yoffie. Keep up the good work. (said by a rabbi to me) yofee, yofie, yoffie (also, yafeh is used in a similar way) Israeli Hebrew speakers, Jews who have spent time in Israel, engaged Jews Erin, Josh

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yontef Yiddish, Hebrew a holiday [Hebrew yom tov] "Where will you be for yontef this year?" yomtev, yontev people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage; Orthodox Jews Reuben


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yontefdik Yiddish festive; related to or appropriate for a holiday "You're going to wear that? It's not really yontefdik." yontevdik people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage; Orthodox Jews Reuben

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z"l Translation of Hebrew (from text?) RIP, of blessed memory, "the late X" "[Bill Rosenberg], z"l" (in an academic e-mail exchange, referring to a deceased academic) Highly engaged Jews (esp. Orthodox) Benor

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zaftik Yiddish round; plump Ezra's aunt looked exactly as he had described her: clever, gentle, zaftik. zaftig, zoftig, zoftik people influenced by Yiddish-speaking cultural heritage Reuben

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Zaidie Yiddish Grandpa, grandfather "We're going to visit Zaidie for Hannukah this year." Zaddie, Zaidy, zayde, zeydie... Variety of Jews, especially those whose grandparents speak, or are familiar with, Yiddish Dan

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zehu Israeli Hebrew That's all. That's it. "I couldn't find any cheese I wanted. They had cheddar, mozzarella, American, and zehu." Jews with ties to Israel Benor

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zitsfleysh Yiddish lit. "sitting-flesh" : 'the ability to sit down for a long period fo time' "Well, it's 3:30 and besides my zitsfleysh is worn out. That's it for today, class dismissed." (80-year-old professor) zitsfleish, zitsflaysh people influenced by Yiddish cultural heritage Reuben

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ברק אובמה English words or names in Hebrew orthography The name of the 44th president of the United States written in Hebrew letters. "ברק אובמה '08" (bumper sticker) gear with names of politicians in Hebrew letters is used by politically engaged Jews who are also Jewishly engaged (bumper stickers, buttons, kippot, shirts, etc.) Dan

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tuchus offen tish Yiddish "tush on the table"--get moving on the matter? I don’t really speak Yiddish, but one of the few phrases I got from my grandmother who did was tuchus offen tisch – put your tush on the table. In my family at least, it means “get some skin in the game,” or “put your money where your mouth is.” --Rabbi Brent Chaim Spodek in an email to AJWS RSD Alumnni tuches offen tisch? apparently grandparents, or people trying to convey a message to a group of future Jewish professionals Rachel Ackerman

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shteytn geshribn Yiddish literally "what was written stands"--not really sure if that's it--idiomatically, "it stands" in the Talmud not sure

2 comments:

Unknown said...

Rob,
This has been turned into a full interactive website. Please direct your readers to: http://www.jewish-languages.org/jewish-english-lexicon/welcome.

Thanks,
Sarah Benor

Unknown said...

Rob,
This has been turned into a full interactive website. Please direct your readers to: http://www.jewish-languages.org/jewish-english-lexicon/welcome.

Thanks,
Sarah Benor