the schmooze
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York

In Yiddish, the word "heymish" means homey, homespun, friendly, down-to-earth, cozy, and unpretentious

Ruth and Bob Grossman ("The French-Kosher Cookbook," copyright 1964) defines "haymisha" as "that nice politician who, when he comes to your neighborhood, ate knishes and
kissed the baby."

The authors also gave us the recipe and
cooking directions for "Haymisha Hollandaise Sauce":

  4 large eggs      
  1/2 lb. melted sweet butter
  A sprinkle cayenne pepper 
  1 tablespoon cold water
  A little pinch salt
  l tablespoon lemon juice

Beat very good the egg yolks in the top of a double boiler and make sure the bottom has hot, but not boiling, water.  When the yolks are a nice lemon color and thickened, you'll add very slowly, drop by drop (there's no reason to hurry) the melted butter and you'll keep stirring.  Soon it'll start to thicken a little like mayonnaise.  Dribble in the rest of the butter very slowly and remember, you're still stirring.  Add next the lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Stir it in a little and it's done.  Be careful it doesn't get too hot or, believe me, you won't have Hollandaise Sauce, you'll have scrambled eggs which would look pretty silly sitting on top vegetables, fish or even poached eggs

Ellis Weiner and Barbara Davilman ("Yiddish with Dick and Jane") define heymish as an adjective, not a noun).  It can be used about people as well as about places:  "The Archbishop of Canterbury?  Lovely man. Very heymish, for an Anglican."

In a May 20, 2008 New York Times article by Tanzina Vega, we read about the stores on Orchard and Grand Streets on the Lower East Side.  The author writes about the Orchard Corset Center at 157 Orchard Street.  Peggy Bergstein, who owns the store, claims, "I can walk down the street and I can look at a person and tell you exactly what their bra size is."  At Howard Sportswear, customers report, as they look around the store, "This is character..There's a word for it in Yiddish," she said,  "Haimish...It's like you've come home."

And Jeffrey Shandler, in Pakn Treger Magazine, wrote a piece titled, "Shopping for Yiddish in Boro Park" in which he says, "In Boro Park, Yiddish on a shop's sign serves not so much to identify what sort of business is within as it does to indicate the business is, in local terminology, heymish--meaning in this context, that it is not only local and familiar, but also appropriate to the specific needs and sensibilities of Brooklyn's Hasidim.."

How many times have you said, "Oyf mir gezogt gevorn aza sheyn heym"?  (I wish I had such a beautiful home.)  Having a beautifully furnished home does not make it a "heymish" home!  In fact, among the best home furnishings ARE CHILDREN!

In the book, "Restful Reflections" by Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky and Rabbi Lori Forman, we read about "Heavenly  Hospitality."  The authors write about Jewish people who set their Sabbath and holiday tables with extra place settings before they leave for the synagogue because they intend to meet guests in the synagogue and invite them home for a meal and a little local hospitality

The authors use the term, term "aggressive Shabbat and holiday hospitality" and it  applies here.  As tired as we are from a week of work, there is something renewing about inviting guests to enjoy Shabbat with our family

In this same book, "Restful Reflections," there's an inspirational piece titled, "Creating a Jewish Home."  We read, "A container is defined by its contents.  A pitcher of water is water.  A crate of apples is apples.  A house, too, is defined by what it contains...Bring those who need a warm home to your table and your house becomes a lamp in the darkness."
       (Rabbi Menachim Mendl Schneerson)

The authors continue, "Our homes are a reflection of our tastes and who we are When we walk into others' homes, we learn a lot about them:  Perhaps our hosts are collectors of special artwork, or we learn that they are slobs...We look around and see Jewish books lining the bookshelves, tzedakah boxes out in the open.  We smell freshly baked or warmed challah and hear the sounds of laughter and life...In fact, we can walk into a home that is sparsely furnished and yet feel great warmth and love."

Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe agrees with Lance Morrow, who wrote, "Home is all the civilization that a child knows.  Home is one of nature's primal forms, and if it does not take shape properly around the child, then his mind will be at least a little homeless all his life."


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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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