Friday, January 19, 2007

A Resolution You Can Shtick To…

It's been less than three weeks and already my New Year's resolutions are irresolvable. As I toss back an overpriced latte and a super-sized scone, I can only vaguely recall my grande plan to cut out costly caffeine drinks and carbs…

Luckily, I still have one ball in the air that didn't drop faster than the acorn on Fayetteville Street - I resolved that this would be a Year of Yiddish, and I'd kick it off here with this month's shtick. Oy vey.

Sometimes my struggle to find just the right word gives me shpilkes (shpill-kess: a feeling of extreme impatience and frustration). But I've found it nothing short of bashert, (bah-shairt: fate), that once I throw in a little Yiddish, I just naturally know from naches. No, not salty chips and salsa - Naches (nah-kess); that's Yiddish for tremendous joy and happiness!

Yiddish is an old language from the 12th century, spoken by European Jews. It's a melting pot of German, Russian, and Polish with a dash of English thrown in, for taste. Yet, somehow it transcends them all. Yiddish comes from the kishkes - from deep within. It's a lively language whereby a single word can speak volumes - especially when you couple it an arched eyebrow or two.

If you work up a little chutzpah (khoots-pah: nerve), you too can give it a try, starting with the sampling below. Just remember, the “ch” sound is very guttural - like your Bubbeh, (Buhb-ee; grandmother), left a bone in your chicken soup and forgot to tell you.

Don't worry if at first you feel a little verklempt (overwhelmed) and think you might just plotz (plah-tz: explode). Practice and you'll be kvelling (bursting with pride) in no time. Learn a little Yiddish and you'll never be at a loss for words again!

Chutzpah (khoots-pah); Having the nerve or gall. “How about that Britney Spears? What she lacks in proper undergarments, she sure makes up in chutzpah!”

Farbisseneh (far-biss-in-eh); To have a bitter, sour-puss face. “Why am I so farbissener? I just saw a picture of Britney Spears' “chutzpah” on the internet. Feh (yuck)!”

Klutz (kluht-z); Clumsy person. “My daughter is such a klutz, I just hope she marries a doctor.”

Kvetch (kveh-tch); Complain. “Of course, I'd quit kvetching if she became a doctor....”

Loch in kop (lokh-en-kohp); A hole in the head. “But what if she marries an actor? Oy, I need that like a loch in kop!”

Mazel tov (mahz-el toff); Congratulations and good luck! “I guess as long as she's happy, then "Mazel tov!" But would it kill him to at least play a doctor on tv?”

Mench (mehn-sh); A kind and wonderful person. “I'm sure whom ever she picks will be a real mench. He'll have to be - to deal with his kvetch of a mother-in-law!”

Meshuggener (meh-shoog-en-er); Crazy person, nuts. “You want dessert before dinner? What are you...meshuggeneh!?”

Mishegoss (mish-eh-goss); Irrational behavior, a crazy thought or situation. “My meshuggeneh sons want dessert before dinner. What kind of mishegoss is that?”

Mishpocheh (mish-puh-khah); Family, kin. “A klutzy daughter? Meshuggenheh sons? Oy, what mishegoss! But, they're mishpocheh and they bring such naches to my kishkes!”

Oy vey (oiy-vay); an interjection of exasperation, which can be used practically anytime/anyplace. “What? You have shpilkes, too? Oy vey!”

So now we're practically mishpocheh and maybe this will be a Year of Yiddish for you too. I hate to be a yenta (busybody), but if you ask me - this is one resolution you can really shtick to!


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