> The Hull Reform Synagogue - Ne've Shalom
The Hull Reform Synagogue - Ne've Shalom



As there will be a Yiddish "Call my Bluff" during the Purim Social Evening, we felt that the following feature by Arlene Swartzberg Weiss, a former advertising writer who has written several highly successful radio commercials for Manischewitz Wines, would help set the scene. This was first published in the January 2014 edition of the Jewish magazine.

CHUTZPA - Oh, come on - give me a break, everyone knows what that means !

FARBLONPZSHET - Confused, bewildered, etc. Example: The current coalition

KAYN AYNHOREH - Goodness gracious this is one word it is almost impossible to find in any other language! Years ago, people used this phase to ward off the 'evil eye'. Nowadays, however, this phase is said to protect someone or something. Example: "Since my daughter, Sarah got her driving license, she's been driving just great - 'kayn aynhoreh'."

KVETCH - To complain. Wait a minute - I take that back - not just to complain, but to complain bitterly! Example: Leo Rosten's Joys of Yiddish lists eight different ways of 'kvetching', so what do you want from ME?

MAVEN - The dictionary sys a 'maven' is a scholarly, clever person. The real meaning - and especially to us Jews - is actually a 'smart-aleck', or pompous 'know-it-all' Example: You may not believe me, but the latest rocket ship to go into outer space is called MAVEN!! I kid you not. There must be a Jew involved somewhere!

MESHUGGE - Craziness. Example - Every time Harry sees a picture of Rita Hayworth, he goes meshugge.

MISHEGOSS - Close cousin to meshugge - but usually in a sort of affectionate way

Example: Eliot got so involved in playing golf it became his mishegoss. Let's just think of it as an obsession, like having to learn to dance.- even though you know you have two left feet.

MITZVAH - a blessing. Example - "My sister's daughter, Emily, 42 years old - the one with the raspy loud voice - just got engaged - it's a mitzvah ."

(Editor's note: Mitzvah is the same Mitzvah as in "Bar Mitzvah". As an explanation, let me tell you that famous "Today I am a man speech" plus also a lot of presents for the lucky 13-year old. He used to announce to his adoring relatives, "Today I am a fountain pen." Or maybe better, to bring things more up to date, "- Today I am an I-PAD")

NACHES - Naches is when your son or daughter graduates from a fancy school. The word 'Naches' has a special place in the Yiddish lexicon. While it literally means that 'extra special joy' a parent gets from their children. you can't really say 'naches', for instance, about your OWN children. Example: If you were Herbie's mother, you would never say "Herbert has graduated first in his kindergarten class" - it really would not be 'right', but you CAN say, "Look at my nephew, Benny - he gives my sister a lot of naches. he graduated first in Kindergarten."

SHLEMIEL - A guy who is not only a FOOL - but a STUPID fool. Hint: He's usually your next-door neighbour. Example: The guy who goes into a Kosher restaurant and orders a Taco!

SHTICK - Give me a break - everyone in show business knows this one. Lucy Ball used it all the time. And if Lucy used it, it's okay by meir!

SHMATTE - literally a "rag." Example: Any dress your worst enemy is wearing. "Did you see what Elsie wore to the social evening last night - what a shmatte!"

SHMALTZ - Plain old fashioned chicken fat. In the world of show business, however, it indicates a really, really, really HAM actor. Example: You see that over-weight actor - what a HAM!

TZIMMES- a tasty soup made of carrots, sweet potatoes and anything else you may find in the fridge. Nowadays, however, the meaning of tzimmes is simple - making a 'big deal' over something that's really nothing. EXAMPLE: "Yesterday Sadie, my neighbour down the street, found out she lost a few pounds, but I can't understand why she had to make such a tzimmes over it."

YENTA - The local village gossip. EXAMPLE - Joan Rivers

And finally, I give you the most famous Jewish story of all time: One Jew says to another, "Why, Abe, why do all Jews answer a question with another question?" His friend answers, "Why not ?"

Note: OK, already ! Sure I know that I gave you MORE than 10 Yiddish words - so kill me already! Shalom


Ne've Shalom
Great Gutter Lane
HU10 6DP



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