There are some Yiddish words you’ll need to know to follow this blog:
Schmy = browse, meander; Schlep = lug around; Goyim = non-Jews (goyisha = behavior or habits of the goyim); Shiksa = goyisha girlfriend; Fapitzed = all dolled up; Kvell = pride, particularly that of a parent for a child or grandchild; Mensch = good guy; Oongapatchkie = over the top with too much jewelry; overdressed for the occasion; Kvetch = whine, complain; Shvieg = shut up; Kibbitz = joke around; Mishegas = craziness; Schmooze = schmooze; Yenta = gossip; Gelt = money; Mishpukah = entire family, large group of family members; Chutzpah = nervy.
My brother CJ and I have long wanted to open a store called the Schmy ‘N Schlep. We envision a department called Gifts for the Goyim; a lingerie department called Shake it Like a Shiksa; evening gowns in a department called Feelin’ Fapitzed; baby clothes in a department called Kvelling for the Kids, and a little something for the gents in the Menswear for a Mensch department. Costume jewelry will be housed in the Ogle the Oongapatchkie department.
I have another business idea too—a nursing home called the Kvetch ‘N Kvell. There would be a library called Shvieg A’ready, a game room called Kibbitz and Mishegas, a social hall called Schmooze with the Yentas and a bank called Gelt Real. Family would visit in an area called The Whole Mishpukah. Weekly open mic nights would be billed as Who has the Chutzpah?
Awesome right? I have lots of other beloved Yiddish words too.
Loosely translated, Kenahora means jinx, but it’s not just a word, it’s a whole concept. Jews have such a hard time believing that anything good can happen to them that they think talking about it is bad luck. There is no doubt in my mind that when Moses parted the Red Sea, someone said to his mother “what a strong boy you have!” and she responded “don’t give it a kenahora.”
Shanda means shame, but it is most commonly used in the phrase Shanda for the Goyim, which means bringing shame on all Jews for the goyim to see. Bernie Madoff is the epitome of a shanda for the goyim. On behalf of all my people, I apologize.
Fakakte means dysfunctional, screwed up as in “this fakakte computer is acting up again”
Plotz means have a cow as in “I was plotzing when I met the shiksa my-son-the-doctor is dating.”
Tsuris means heartache, worries as in “Such tsuris I have, my-son-the-doctor is going with a shiksa.”
Mostly I learned Yiddish curse words when I was growing up, but I know it will not come as a surprise to anyone that the first Yiddish word I ever learned was klutz, in reference to my own clumsy ways.
Now you know just enough Yiddish to be dangerous. More to come, I promise!