Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Yiddish and Hebrew Glossary to Expressions Used in "Unorthodox"

I've recently read the book "Unorthodox" by Deborah Feldman, which has been great to to read. It's a coming of age story very well written. It shows how to become a mentsh. The book has been on the market for a while, but I only a couple of weeks ago I noticed an advertisement for the German translation, which made me look for the original version.
I’ve looked for reviews, some professional ones and some by readers, only after I’ve read the book. I think it’s strange to argue with facts instead of emotions on such a book. I can only say, that I enjoyed getting insights into world otherwise shut to me.

In the book you find quite a lot of Yiddish expressions. And though I had studied the book "Jiddisch - Das Abenteuer einer Sprache" (Yiddish - the Adventure of a Language) by Salcia Landmann long ago, I did not understand all Yiddisch. Some words are still like German, but the words, which come from Hebrew or still could be counted as Hebrew, I could not understand. So I prepared a glossary for myself and thought to share it with you. Of course, mistakes are my mistakes. If you find some, please inform me and I'll correct these. So it's a work in progress.

A gute Purim - Best wishes for Purim
Aidel (hairstyle) - cultured
Apikores - "liberated Jews", unbeliever
Aveirah - "sin"
Badeken (Bedeken) – ceremony, in which the groom veils the bride [German: bedecken]
Bas melech - "daughter of a king", princess
Batampte - "tasty", delicous
Berachos - blessings
B'show – Beschau (inspection)?
Bubbe - grandmother
Bubeleh - "darling"
Chametz – leavened foods
Chaptz'm - "catch him"
Charoses - apples, nuts, and wine kneeded together (specially eaten at the Passover seder)
Chasidisher – Hasidic Jew
Chassan (also Hazzn, Chazzan, Khazn) – precentor, leading in songful prayer
Chillul Hashem (chillul haShem) – desecration of the name of God
Chimuch (chimushim) – the five books of Moses
Chinush labe - "slim calves"
Cholov Yisroel – dairy product from milk that have been milked under the supervision of an observant Jew
Choteh umachteh es harashim – “the sinner who makes others sin”
Der emes shteit oif der shteren (shtern) - the truth stands on the forehead
Der tumeneh shprach - "the impure language"
Derech eretz - respect
Drashah - sermon
Dvar Torah – a word of Torah
Ehrlich - "devout" [in German ehrlich means honourable]
Ehrliche Yidden - "good Jews"
Eiruv - "symbolic fence"
Elegante - elegant
Ervah – “refers to any part of a woman’s body that must be covered”
Etrog – the yellow citron to be used with the lulav during the Sukkoth festival
Farfrumteh – overly religious or pious
Farvas vuktzi, die shiksa? - "Why does this gentile woman walk here?"
Feineh maidel – nice girl [German: feines Mädel (oldfashioned)]
Frei Yidden - free Jews, "who thought they could free themselves"
Frimmeh – pious
Frumkeit – piousness [German: Frömmigkeit]
Gabbaim – men assisting running a synagogue
Gan yehudah – name of a park (also in Tel Aviv)
Gartel - "long sash" [German: Gürtel]
Gemach – room [Gemach in German oldfashioned]
Geshikt – skilful, deft, handy [German: geschickt]
Gut Yontif! - Happy Holiday!
Haggadah - ext that sets forth the order of the Passover seder
Hashem – The Name (God)
Hashkafah (also hashkafa) - worldview and guiding philosophy
Hatzolah (also hatzalah) - volunteer Emergency Medical Service
Havdalah – separation, end of Sabbath or holiday
Hersh - "deer"
Heter - "loophole"
Kehillah - "community"
Kichel – sweet cookie
Kiddush - blessing over wine on sabbath eve or festivals
Killah maidel - girl of age to be married [German: Mädel]
Kittel – white overcoat worn at Jom Kippur and other festivals [German: Kittel; I wear a white Kittel at work]
Kohain – (Kohen) priest of Aaronic lineage
Kollel - "learning collectives"
Krach-hit - ?
Kraut pletzlach – fried cabbage noodles
Krepela (kreplach) - small dough pockets filled  with meat etc., ravioli
Kugelech – a game
Kallah (lessons) – concerning marriage, chastity, and moral purity
Ma'aras eyin – “the law of ma’aras eyin, where one appears to sin and so misleads others into judging them as having sinned”
Machanayim - "a more modest version of dodgeball"
Mah nishtanah - the four questions (sung during the Passover Seder)
Maideleh - little girl
Maidlach - girls
Mameleh - "sweetheart" or Mother dear
Marror – (maror) bitter herbs
Mazel – luck, like in Mazel tov! Good luck!
Mechitsef - "insolent one"
Mekor - womb
Menuchas hanefesh - "peace in my soul"
Mesader kiddushin – leads the wedding ceremony
Meyn mahn - "my husband" [German: mein Mann]
Mikvah (mikveh) - ritual bath used by women
Mitzvah tanz - dance of the men in front of the bride on the wedding night
Motzei Shabbos (motza’ei shabbat) - the going out of Sabbath
Muzinka - "an only child"
Nachas (naches)- "pride", joy
Nebach - unlucky, pitiable person
Niddah - "kicked aside", the two impure weeks for women
Nisht besser fun a goy - "no better than a gentile"
Omer – the period of 49 days betweeen Passover and Shavuot
Pashkivilin (pashkevilin) - announcements
Payos (payess) - long side curls
Plotchik (hat) - a wide, flat velvet hat
Pritzus (also pritsus) - "promiscuity", immoral behavior
Pushka - "box", box for coins
Rebbetzin - the Rabbis's wife
Rachmanus (rachmones) - mercy, pity
Rekel – coat worn by men during work week [German: Rock for coat and diminuitive Röckel, very oldfashioned]
Seder (Seyder) – the seder marks the beginning of passover
Sefirah – holy period, also emanations (kabbalah)
Shadchan - "matchmaker"
Shanda (shandeh) - shame, disgrace [German: Schande]
Shavuot – feast of week
Shefaleh - "little lamb" [German: Schäfchen]
Sheid - "ghost"
Sheitelmacher - wig maker [Scheitel in German: prating of the hair]
Sheva berachos – seven blessings (marriage blessings)
Shidduch - "arranged match"
Shigah - "sunset"
Shiur - daily sermon
Shomer - "guardian"
Shomrim - "community guardians"
Shpitzel – head covering with a partial wig
Shtissim – (shtuss?) nonsense
Shtreimel – fur hat worn by married Jewish men
Shul - synagogue [German: Schule for school]
Shvartzes - "blacks" [German: Schwarze]
Shviger - "mother-in-law" [German: Schwiegermutter]
Simchah - joy, joyous occasion
Tante - aunt [German: Tante]
Teshuvah (teshuva) - repentance
Tishtech - "tablecloth" [German: Tischtuch]
T'noyim - "party to sign engagement contract", engagement
Tzaar gidul bunim – (tzar gidul banim) the pain of raising children
Tzaddikim - "righteous ones"
Tzadekes - "saint"
Tzelem Elohim – (b’tselem elohim) in God’s image
Vayoch Moshe - "anti-Zionist bible"
Yahrzeit - anniversary of the death of a beloved person
Yichud - prohibition of seclusion in a private area of a man and a woman, who are not married to each other
Zeide - grandfather
Zohar – foundational work of the kabbalah

Links / References:
Feldman, Deborah: Unorthodox : the scandalous rejection of my Hasidic roots. © 2012 SIMON & SCHUSTER, New York
Landmann, Salcia: Jiddisch. Das Abenteuer einer Sprache. Mit kleinem Lexikon jiddischer Wörter und Redensarten sowie jiddischen Anekdoten.
Ullstein, 1992.

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