Yiddish Words Defined

What Is Schmaltz?
In the parlance of American entertainment, which was built on the foundation of Yiddish theater, schmaltz came to refer to drippy, over-the-top dramatization.
What Is a Balabusta?
The balabusta can host 20 guests for Shabbat dinner in an immaculately clean home, while keeping her kids entertained and well-behaved.
What Does
Whenever you feel like life is spinning out of control and metaphoric shpilkes begin to appear on your seat, remember that G‑d is right there at your side.
What Does
Nothing is simple in Yiddish, and even the simplest vort takes on the most delightful meanings.
What Does
You can call your little niece a shayne punim, and also tell her that you miss her dearly and cannot wait to kiss her shayne punim on your next visit.
What Does
If your nephew has a geshmak in cooking, you can confidently tell him that the food he made was simply geshmak.
What Is a
The shtiebel is a sort of synagogue, and it comes with its own color, character and cultural nuances.
What Is the Meaning of
Out of the churning depths of the balagan comes the serenity of Shabbat
What Does
Nachas, joy from our children and grandchildren, is among the sweetest pleasures a Jew can hope for.
What Is a
In Yiddish, the word mach means both “do” and “make.”
What Does
Are you plotzing to know what this word means?
What Is a
The kids, who are the guardians of our faith, are still delighted by the simple pleasure of a tchotchke.
What Does
One may refer to cohorts in shameful activity as shander bander.
What Is a
The Yiddish word for “expert,” maven (or mayven), is derived from the Hebrew word mayvin (מבין), which means “understands.”
What Is
The mourners typically gather in a single home to observe shiva together.
What Does
It’s an ancient Jewish tradition, dating back to Abraham himself.
What Is a
Anyone can be a shadchan. Just make the suggestion. Even if it does not work the first time, keep on trying.
What Does
“Please bentch me that I should ace this test.”
What Is a
Despite the social challenges that a mamzer faces, he is recognized as a full member of the Jewish nation and able to achieve spiritual greatness.
What Does
You can also halt (hold) a shmues, or even chap (catch) a shmues with them.
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