2019 flip book website - Page 160



YIDDISHFINITIONS
A YIDDISH POEM by Gene Wilder
Yiddish was the secret code, therefore I don’t farshtaist,
a bisseleh maybe here and there, the rest has gone to waste.
Sadly when I hear it now, I only get the gist,
My Bubbe spoke it beautifully; but me, I am tsemisht.
So oi vei as I should say, or even oy vai iz mir,
Though my pisk is lacking Yiddish, it’s familiar to my ear.
And I’m no Chaim Yonkel, in fact I was shtick naches,
But, when it comes to Yiddish though, I’m talking out my tuchas.
Es iz a shandeh far di kinder that I don’t know it better
(Though it’s really nishtgefelecht when one needs to write a letter).
But, when it comes to characters, there’s really no contention,
No other linguist can compete with honorable mentshen:
They have nebbishes and nebechels and others without mazel,
Then, too, schmendriks and schlemiels, and let’s not forget schlemazel.
These words are so precise and descriptive to the listener,
So much better than “a pill” is to call someone ‘farbissener’.
Or - that a brazen woman would be better called Choleria,
And you’ll agree farklempt says more than does hysteria.
I’m not haken dir a tshainik and I hope I’m not a kvetch,
But isn’t mieskeit kinder, better than to call someone a wretch?
Mitten derinnen, I hear Bubbe say, “It’s nechtiker tog, don’t fear,
To me you’re still a maven, zol zein shah, don’t fill my ear.
A leben ahf dein keppele, I don’t mean to interrupt,
But you are speaking narishkeit.....And ...A gezunt auf dein kop!”
YIDDISHFINITIONS
a bisseleh ............................................ a very little
Chaim Yonkel................. any Tom, Dick or Harry
Choleria .....................................a curse, a plague
Es iz a shandeh far di kinder.................................
it is a shame for the children
farbissener ................................ embittered, mean
farklempt ......................... overcome with emotion
farshtaist..............................................understand
gezunt auf dein kop .......cautiously on your head
haken dir a tshainik ...............................................
boring, long winded and annoying conversation,
talking for the sake of talking
kinder .......................................................children
kvetch ......................................... whine, complain
leben ahf dein keppele..... a long life on your head,
Well Said, Well done, (words of praise)
maven .......................................................... expert
mazel .............................................................. luck
mentshen ..................special men to be respected
THE REAL FLORIDA JEWISH DIRECTORY 2019
MIAMI-DADE 2019_137-158.indd 158
mieskeit ................................ ugly thing or person
Mitten derinnen............ all of a sudden, suddenly
nebbishes ............................ nobodies, simpletons
narishkeit ............................................ foolishness
nebechels .......................nothing, a pitiful person
nechtiker tog ..... it’s gone, forget about it, nonsense
nishtgefelecht .............. not so bad, not so shabby
oi vei......................................................... Dear me
oy vai iz mir.......................................... Woe is me
pisk......................................................a big mouth
schlemazel .................................... unlucky person
schlemiels......................... clumsy or inept person
schmendriks ................nincompoop, inept person
shtick naches.....grandchild or relative who gives
you pleasure
tsemisht....................................................confused
tuchas.......................................... behind, buttocks
zol zein shah.............................................Be quiet
158
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1/7/19 12:00 PM





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