the schmooze
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York

Judge Judy Sheindlin wrote, “When I was young, you either left your parents’ house in a white dress or a pine box.  The norms have changed.”

It looks like prenuptial agreements aren’t just for married couples anymore. Now more unmarried couples are drawing up similar agreements to protect themselves if their relationship comes to an end.  50 SHADES OF DONE!

Okay, we know it sounds unromantic.  When you’re on cloud nine of cohabitation “himl” (heaven), contracts are the “letst” (last) things you want to talk about.  Most unmarried couples who live together don’t bother to write (“shraybn”) an agreement governing the rights and obligations, but virtually everyone should.  The agreement should cover financial aspects, make provision for children, and state what should happen if you split up or one partner dies.

More than two-thirds of married couples in the U. S. say that they lived “tsuzamen” (together) before getting married.  According to Dr. Galena Rhoades, “Before 1970, living together outside of marriage was uncommon.  Nowadays, it is seen as a normal step in the dating process. In fact, cohabitation is increasingly becoming the first coresidential union formed among young adults.”

Cohabitation is sometimes called de facto marriage, and is becoming a substitute for conventional marriage.  In today’s cohabiting relationship, 40% of households include children.

Judaism states that “a life without marrying is less holy, less complete, and a less Jewish life.”  (Source:  Dennis Prager, Orthodoxy Today)

Let’s look at the television sitcom, “The Big Bang Theory.”  It is an American sitcom created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady.  It premiered on Sept. 26, 2013.

The show is primarily centered on five characters living in Pasadena, CA.
Roommates, Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper, both physicists; Penny, a “kelnerin” (waitress), an occasional bartender at the local Cheesecake Factory, and aspiring “aktrise” (actress), who lives across the hall.  And then there’s the socially awkward friends and co-workers, mechanical “inzhenir” (engineer), Howard Wolowitz, and astrophysicist, Raj Kooyhrappali.

They’re employed at Caltech and have science-related occupations.
The characters banter about scientific theories and make science-related jokes.  They’re all avid sci-fi, fantasy and comic book fans and memorabilia collectors.

Sheldon shares a “dire” (apartment) with Leonard.  Penny relies on both for advice in social situations.  Sheldon is very egotistical, and often boasts about his superior ‘inteligents” (intelligence) and sometimes underestimates that of his friends.

Sheldon relies on his friends (usually Leonard) to drive him around.  He eventually goes for his driver’s license, but fails to complete the task.  He finds many “praktish” (practical) aspects of life difficult to deal with.  He is wary of germs and physical contact.

Sheldon also has an obsession to see things completed (Ex.  sitting in the same spot on “di sofe” (the sofa), or knocking on a door three times before saying the name of whom he’s addressing and repeating this three times, to name a few examples.    (Source:  Wikipedia)

In “The Big Bang Theory”, the roommates sign “The Roommate Agreement,” which was written by Sheldon and was signed by Leonard when they first became roommates.  These agreements are often discussed, usually when one of the articles is being violated. What are some of the agreements?  Let’s take a look.   They’re    :-)
(Note:  The Yiddish terms have been added by Marjorie Wolfe.)

Body Snatchers Clause:
Leonard will help Sheldon destroy someone who they know that has been replaced by a body snatcher.

Section C:
Sheldon can call for an emergency (“noytfal”) meeting. Unnamed Clause:  Leonard will name Sheldon as his sidekick if Leonard obtains superpowers.

Section 9:
The apartment’s flag (“fon”) is a gold lion rampant on a field of azure and should never be flown upside down (“mitn kop arop”) when the apartment is in distress.

Section 9:
If one of the roommates ever invents Time Travel, the first stop has to aim exactly five seconds after this clause of the Roommate Agreement was signed.

Sec. 74C:
Leonard must assist Sheldon if he ever becomes a robot (“goilem”).

Unnamed Clause:
If Sheldon turns into a Zombie, Leonard cannot kill him,  (Note:  The Yiddish words meaning “to kill” are “der hargenen.”)

Friendship Clause:
Sheldon will take Leonard swimming to Bill Gates’ house should he ever be invited.  (Note:  The Yiddish word meaning “to swim,” is “shvimen.”)

Unnamed Clause:
The thermostat must be kept at 71 degrees at all times.

Unnamed Clause:
Leonard must drive Sheldon to work (“arbet”).

Section 37B:  Miscellaneous Duties
Leonard is obligated to drive Sheldon to his various appointment, such as the dentist.  Leonard must also provide a ‘confirmation sniff’ to tell if questionable dairy (“milkhik”) products are edible.

Addendum J:
When Sheldon showers second, any and all measures should be taken to ensure an adequate supply of hot water (“heys vaser”).

Unnamed Clause:
Thursday night is Jets Pizza night.

Unnamed Clause:
Selection of a new takeout restaurant (“restoran”) requires a public hearing and a 60-day comment period.

Clause 209:
Sheldon and Leonard both have the option of nullifying their roommate agreement, having no responsibilities or obligations toward each other other than paying rent (“dire gelt”) and sharing utilities.

Unnamed Addendum:
Once a year (“yor”), Leonard and Sheldon take one day to celebrate (“yoyvin”) the contributions Leonard gives to Sheldon’s life, both real and imaginary.  Leonard does not get breakfast  (“frishtik”) in [the] bed (“di bet”), the right to sit in Sheldon’s spot, or permission to alter (“iberbaytn”) the thermostat. The only thing that Leonard gets is a thank-you (“a dank”) card.  This day is called “Leonard’s Day.”

Roommate Review:
Once a year (presumably), Sheldon assesses Leonard’s worthiness as a roommate.

Unnamed Clause:
Leonard has to put up with Sheldon’s craziness.  (He’s “meshuge.”)

Section 27, Paragraph 5:
The roommate agreement, like the American flag, cannot touch the ground (“di erd”).

Unnamed Clause:
Once a day Sheldon must ask how Leonard is.  (“Vos makht ir?”--How are you?)

Unnamed Clause:
Roommates must notify each other 12 hours in advance if they wish to have a house guest (“gast”).

Unnamed Clause:
Sheldon settles all ties.

Unnamed Clause:
Any changes in furnishings have to be approved by the furnishing committee (who is Sheldon) which meets on alternate years on his spot.  (Note:  The Yiddish word for “furniture” is “mebl.”)

Unspecified Clauses:
Leonard has the right to allocate 50 (“fiftsik”) percent of the cubic footage of the common areas in the apartment, but only if Sheldon is notified in advance by e-mail (“blits post,” “blitz-post” or “elektronish post”).

Pets are banned under the roommate agreement, with the exception (“der oysnem”) of service animals such as cybernetically-enhanced helper monkeys and seeing-eye dogs.

No “hootennanies,” “sing-alongs,” raucous laughter (“gelekhte”), clinking of glasses, celebragory gunfire, or barbershop quartets after 10 p.m., as well as no whistling, no spontaneous Biohazard drills, or Tuvan throat singing.  (Note:  The Yiddish word meaning “to whistle” is “fayfn.”)
Friendship Rider:
If one friend is bitten by a zombie, the other can’t kill him.  (Note:  The Yiddish word meaning “to bite” is “boysn.”)
MARJORIE GOTTLIEB WOLFE agrees with Judge Judy who wrote,
“How do you reduce the financial stressor for yourself in a living-together situation?  You don’t take a place to live that you can’t afford together or alone.  You don’t lease a car together.  You don’t strap yourself with lavish vacations and credit-card debt.  Once you are financially in the hole, unhappiness will surely follow.” (Source:  What Would Judy Say?  A Gron-Up Guide To Living Together With Benefits” by Judge Judy Sheindlin.)


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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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