the schmooze
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York

Erma Bombeck said, "Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not a coincidence."

My late father, Bernard Gottlieb, was a butcher ("katsev"). His stores were located in Lynbrook and Floral Park, New York. He would have agreed with these Yiddish folk sayings--celebrations:

He probably would have enjoyed this Thanksgiving joke:

It's the day before Thanksgiving, and the butcher is just locking up when a man begins to knock ("klapn") on "der fornt" (the front) door.

Please let me in. I'm "fartsveyflt" (desperate). I forgot to buy a turkey ("indik"), and my wife will kill me if I don't come home with one."

"Okay," says the butcher. Let me see what I have left." He goes into the freezer and discovers that there's one last scrawny turkey left. He brings it out to show the man.

"Vi haist dos?" (What do you call this?) That one's too skinny. Do you have a "gresser" (bigger) one?"

The butcher takes the bird back into the freezer and waits a few minutes and brings back the same ("zelbik") turkey to the man.

"Oh, no," says the man. "That one doesn't look any "beser" (better). You better give me both of them!"

This year, if you call Butterball's Turkey Talk Line for some cooking "eytse" (advice), you might get a male voice ("kol") on the line. For the first time, Butterball is hiring men as well as women for its holiday hotline. Most of the operators will have a background in food or nutrition. Some will have culinary degrees or are dietitians, food stylists or scientists. They will also take a crash course in turkey making at Butterball.

This story took place long before we had the Butterball Turkey Hot-Line.

A gentleman worked on a toll road answering "der telefon" (the telephone), collecting money, and issuing toll tickets. One Thanksgiving Day, a woman called to ask about "der veg" (the road) conditions on the turnpike.

After he said "altsding" (everything) was A-okay, she told him that a friend was coming for Thanksgiving "mitog" (dinner). Then came the stumper.

"If my friend just left from exit 12," she asked, "What time should I put the turkey in?"

Rabbi Anchelle Perl (Chabad director to Mineola, Long Island) suggests that "For those considering becoming kosher, this Jewish mashup is a great tim to begin." He suggests starting by buying a kosher turkey and making a completely kosher Thanksgiving Chanukah party for friends and family.

And Abigail Van Buren (AKA "Dear Abby") once received a letter which asked:

Do you think a girl should keep a kosher kitchen for her husband?

And, finally, Laurie Rozakis ("The Portable Jewish Mother") asks her readers to take a Yiddish quiz. Question No. 8 applies to Hanukkah AND THANKSGIVING this year. Can you solve it?

Q: You're lost in the Fortunoff's parking lot the day before Hanukkah. There's no doubt that you're

  1. chozzerai
  2. schlock
  3. faygeleh
  4. farblondzhet

The correct answer is 4). The word "farblonzhet" means lost or thoroughly bewildered. The bad news: Fortunoff's is no longer in business!

MARJORIE GOTTLIEB WOLFE will be celebrating the holidays with her family in Cos Cob, CT. Her granddaughter, Harley, will be experiencing her first combined Thanksgiving/Hanukkah (AKA "Thanksgivukkah"). Marjorie's dilemma: Now, where can she find a turkey-shaped menorah?


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Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe is the author of
two books:
yiddish for dog and cat loversbook
"Yiddish for Dog & Cat Lovers" and
"Are Yentas, Kibitzers, & Tummlers Weapons of Mass Instruction?  Yiddish
Trivia."  To order a copy, go to her

NU, what are you waiting for?  Order the book!

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