the schmooze

*The Yiddish word for bad is "shlecht"

Dan Greenberg ("How To Be A Jewish Mother") says that "whenever anything good happens, you must, of course, point out the UNFORTUNATE aspects of the situation." This is necessary in order that the Evil Eye should not suspect that things are going too well. Greenberg gives this example:

"Ma! Ma!"
"So what's the trouble now?"
"The Youth Group Raffle! I won a Pontiac convertible!"
"You won a Pontiac automobile in the Youth Group Raffle? Very nice. The insurance alone is going to send us to the poorhouse."

And cartoonist and comic maven, Jordan B. Gorfinkel, wrote about a Jewish Guide to Milestones of Misery. The first: Labor: 9 months. Second: Studying for Bar Mitzvah 2 baseball seasons (at least).

Shown below is a guide to what you never knew could be "shlecht" for you:

"Makh nit keyn tsimes fun dem."
(Don't make a fuss about it.)
NASA lost the original film of the moon landing. Imagine not being able to see the heart-stopping moments when Neil Armstrong took his first steps onto another world. The magnetic tapes that recorded the first moon walk have gone missing at NASA's Goddard Space Centre in Maryland.

Remember what Jimmy Kimmel said, "Did you have trouble at the airport? I had to throw away all my makeup. I believe it's an elaborate ruse perpetrated by the big cosmetic industry. Maybe it's not terrorism. Maybe it's Maybelline."

And do you know where the characters go when you use the backspace or delete them on your PC? According to Dave Barry, the deleted characters are shipped to Battle Creek, Michigan, where they're made into Pop-Tart filling. This explains why Pop-Tarts are so flammable, while cheap imitations are not flammable. I'm not making this up.

"Are you referring to the 12 easy appetite cutoff switches?"


"Number 5: Invite Sinatra to dinner. One of the best ways to slow your eating down is to dine to slow, soft music. (Barry Manilo w's "muzik" will also work!)

"Es art aykh"? (Does it disturb you?) Look at these "komish" (funny) messages:

In two, maybe three months, you'll be getting a new mink. Wear it in good health.

Lil bought the same blouse you're wearing and she paid $5 less for it.
But don't say I told you!

You're getting a little heavy, dear, in the hips; so maybe you shouldn't take already anymore strudel.

There's a tall, handsome man in your future! If you're already married--watch out! ; If not, Mazeltuv! (sic)
Source: "The Chinese-Kosher Cookbook" by Ruth & Bob Grossman

  • "Gut nayes" (Good news)
    You've been hired to work as a cruise escort/gentleman host on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines' FREEDOM OF THE SEAS, the world's biggest cruise "shif" (ship).
"Shlecht nayes" (bad news)
You must hit the books and learn these shipboard terms: Port, Bow, Starboard, Forward, Stern, Tender, Gangway, and"Bermuda Triangle"--awkward cruise-ship romances involving "dray" (3) people. And remember, never discuss the Lusitania, Titanic, Andrea Doria, or "The Poseidon Adventure" with any "pasazhir" (passenger).

"Gut nayes!"
You're enrolled in an Elderhostel course titled "Shakespeare for Jews."

"Shlecht nayes!"
You are REQUIRED to read the book"Married To Laughter" by Jerry Stiller.
Stiller and Meara were invited by YIVO--the Yivo Institue for Jewish Research--to perform at a tribute to Joe Pappa at the Shubert Theater. Stiller thinks that the thrust of the evening is that Joe Papp is convinced that William Shakespeare was Jewish. Stiller attempted to make humorous analogies between Shakespeare and Yiddish. Joe is an Anglophile, especially Shakespearean words like "forsooth," "methinks," "perchance," "henceforth"...but he also loves his mother tongue, phrases like "paskudnyak," "nudnick." Joe was a Yeshiva Bocher and he discovered that certain phrases in Shakespeare were interchangeable with Yiddish. The word "perchance" could be "efsher."

So, Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 1, when Horatio sees the ghost of Hamlet's father, he says:

"Efsher it's the King."

And the word "methinks" is "ver veist."
It means, "Who knows?"

  • "Gut nayes!"
    Your son got chicken pox two days AFTER his Bar Mitzvah. "Danken Got!" (Thank God!)
Parents should NOT intentionally expose children to chicken pox. Some parents hold "chicken pox parties" to expose their children to children who have the illness, believing it is safer for them to have the "infektsye" (infection) when they are a "bokher" (youngster) than when they are older. This is not a good idea becaue even young children can have serious (though rare) complications from the "infektsye," including "lungen-entsindung" (pneumonia).

P.S. Always remember to whisper the names of diseases!

  • "Gut nayes"
    Your son was accepted at The University of Texas at Austin and received a financial aid package.
"Shlecht nayes"
"Fundestvegn" (However), on the Princeton Review's list of top PARTY SCHOOLS, the Univ. of Texas was voted NUMBER 1. (Maybe he should have applied to Brigham Young, the No. 1 "stone cold sober" school for the 9th straight year.)

  • "Shlecht nayes"
    You received an invitation to join AARP.
Now picture being retired, moving to S. Florida, and lining up for the early-bird specials at 4 p.m. What's an "early bird"?

A creature that flies off early in the evening in search of lots of food, no taste, dessert and beverage included.

  • "Gut nayes"
    You bought a condo in S. Florida...and it was reduced from $400,000 to $347,500.
    You're no longer a "snowbird"--a migratory, dis tant relative of the Earlybird-- a species that inhabits two nests and is known to appear and disappear each year, at given intervals, depending upon when Passover arrives.
    And remember the definition of a "Catwalk": An outside passageway offering insight into the lives of others.
  • "Gut nayes"
    Your "zun" (son) made the National Honor Society. Oy, such "nakhes."
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach says, "Forget the grades--let our kids be kids A generation of youngsters who live and die for grades at school is just as bad as youths who couldn't care less about school." He points out that "our children are not special because they are the best, but simply because the y are." He writes, "Our mantra to our children must not be: 'Bring home an A,' but rather, 'All we want to know is that you want to know.'"

  • "Gut nayes"
    You've purchased a hi-tech "tselularer telefon" (cell phone).
"Shlecht nayes"
Now you've got to adhere to the 10 Commandments list for cell phone users:

#2 Thou shalt not set thy ringer to play La Cucaracha every time thy "telefon" rings. Or Beethoven's Fifth, or the Bee Gees, or any other annoying melody. Is it not enough that phones go off every other "sekunde " (second)?
Now we have to listen to synthesized"umzin" (nonsense).

#10 Thou Shalt not slam thy "tselularer telefon" down on a "restoran" (restaurant) table just in case it rings.
This is not the Old West, and you are not a gunslinger sitting down to a game of poker in the saloon. Could you please be a little less conspicuous.
If it rings, you'll hear it just as well if it's in your coat pocket or clipped to your "gartl" (belt)

Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe rarely feels" shlecht"! And when she does, a double scoop of Heavenly Hash "ayzkrem" will handle the problem very quickly.

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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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