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  • Adonai

    a name for God

    bagel

    a round loaf of bread

    challah

    a braided bread, especially eaten on Shabbes

    Chanukah

    the feast of dedication

    Chelm

    a village of endearing fools

    chutzpa

    nerve

    daven

    to pray, prayer, also to argue over/nitpick

    dybbuk

    a demon, succubus, inhabits bodies, can be exorcised

    goy

    a gentile, a non-Jewish person

    Hadassah

    another name for Esther, also the Women's Zionist Organization of American founded in 1912

    halakha

    Jewish law without Biblical citations, all the laws of the written and oral Torah

    kibbutz

    a cooperative settlement of farmers in Israel, based on ideals of socialism, Zionism

    matzo

    unleavened bread

    mazel tov

    congratulations! thank God! origins in astrology

    mezuzah

    a box containing scrolls with verses from Deuteronomy; to touch going in and out of the house to remind self of god's laws in both in and outside of the home

    mishegas

    insanity, craziness, nonsense

    nu

    well then? go on! what's up? etc.

    oy

    can be used in a variety of situations for nearly everything

    pilpul

    unnecessary hairsplitting, nitpicking; also a type of Talmudic study, debate

    Plotz

    explode, burst

    Purim

    the feast of lots; began with Esther and The Book of Esther

    rebbe

    rabbi

    rebbitsin

    the rabbi's wife

    Sephardi

    Portuguese or Spanish Jews or their descendants

    Shabbes

    The Sabbath (Friday night to Saturday night)

    shadkhn

    a professional matchmaker

    shekel

    a biblical coin, any coin or money

    shmuck

    penis, smart, neat, stupid, a dope; more vulgar in Yiddish than English

    schnorrer

    a professional beggar

    pareve

    neutral, as in foods with no animals or dairy products and can thus be consumed with any other food

    shtetl

    a little city or town, usually consisting of only Jews. Ex: The Pale of Settlement

    yarmukle

    head covering worn out of respect to God, not technically required by Jewish law

    yeshiva bokher

    a young man who is a student at a yeshiva (college for Talmudic study), a scholarly, shy, unworldly type, a naive, gullible type

    blintz

    a pancake rolled around a filling, similar to a crepe

    bris

    circumcision and the ceremony where it occurs

    brokhe

    a blessing prayer of thanksgiving and praise

    chotche

    a trinket

    fleishig

    meats, poultry, or foods prepared with animal fats, cannot be eaten with dairy, opposite of pareve

    glitch

    to slide

    heymish

    cozy, warm, most frequently used to mean unpretentious, unspoiled by office or honors

    kibitz

    to comment while watching a game, to joke/fool around, to carry on a running commentary while someone is working

    kibosh

    to keep something from happening

    kinder

    children

    klutz

    clumsy

    knish

    a dough pastry filled with cheese or meat

    kosher

    Jewish dietary restrictions

    kvell

    to beam with immense pride over a child's achievements or to gloat over someone else's defeat

    kvetch

    to complain

    landsman

    someone from the same hometown, also another Jew

    lox

    smoked salmon

    maven

    an expert

    megillah

    The Book of Esther, also the Book of Ruth, also anything very long with too much detail

    mentsh

    a man, an upright fellow

    milchik

    dairy foods

    minyan

    the minimum number of people needed for something, also specifically the ten male of age Jews required for a religious service

    nosh

    to snack, nibble

    nudzh

    to bore, pester, nag

    Rosh Hashanah

    the Jewish new year

    schemer

    paint, smear, spread

    schmaltz

    cooking fat, chicken fat

    shalom

    peace, hello, goodbye

    sammas

    the "servant" or attendant of the synagogue, also a detective/policeman (like public servant), also the 9th candle on the menorah

    shidekh

    arranged marriage

    shiksa

    a non-Jewish women or a Jewish woman who is not pious

    shlep

    to drag or lag behind

    shmooz

    gossipy chat

    shtup

    to push, press, shove, also to fornicate

    shul

    a synagogue

    shvitzer

    to swear, also a show-off

    spiel

    a long speech/sales pitch or story intended to persuade

    tref

    an animal not slain according to ritual kosher laws, any food that is not kosher like pork and shrimp

    tsuris

    troubles, woes, suffering

    tzimmes

    a side dish of mixed cooked fruits and vegetables

    Yom Kippur

    Day of Atonement; fast and repent sins before God

    yontef

    holiday, celebration, festivity

    Boychik

    diminutive of "boy," also one who cuts corners

    Bupkis

    nothing at all, worthless

    Chanukah

    Feast of Dedication

    Shevous

    the Festival of Weeks, Pentecost, anniversary of covenant between God and Israel on Mount Sinai; read part of Exodus and eat dairy dishes

    ganef

    thief/crook, clever person, ingenious child, dishonest businessman, a shady tricky character, a mischievous fun-loving prankster

    gelt

    money

    golem

    a robot/lifeless figure, a simpleton/fool, a clumsy person, a slow moving person, a graceless person

    Litvak

    Jew from Lithuania, thin/dry/humorless, a learned but skeptical sort, a shrewd clever fellow, a sharp trader

    macher

    someone who arranges, fixes, has connections or someone who is active in an organization

    mamzer

    a child born to a married woman whose husband is not the father, also an untrustworthy person, stubborn/difficult man, clever person impudent, irreverent, detestable

    meshuga

    crazy

    mishpochpa

    family or ancestors

    naches

    proud pleasure, special joy, particularly from the achievements of a child, psychological reward/gratification

    nebbish

    alas! too bad! poor thing! or... and innocuous, ineffectual, week, helpless person, sad sack, loser, nothing

    nudnik

    a pest, nag, bore

    pesach

    Passover

    pisher

    bed-wetter, young and inexperienced person, insignificant person (a nobody)

    putz

    penis (more offensive than shmuck), also a fool, jerk, simpleton

    shamus

    a detective

    shegetz

    rascal, scoundrel, a non-Jewish boy or young man

    shlemiel

    foolish person/simpleton, consistently unlucky or unfortunate person, clumsy person, pipsqueak, naive/gullible customer, person who makes a foolish bargain

    shlimazel

    a chronically unlucky person

    shlock

    shoddy, cheaply made item, defective or fake article, an object once cheated over, a disagreeable person

    shmendrik

    short, weak, thin young men, opposite of a mentch, someone who can't succeed but thinks he can

    shmegegge

    unadmirable/petty person, untalented person, a suck up

    shmo

    a boob/hapless clumsy unlucky jerk, the butt of a joke

    shnook

    a timid, passive, unassertive type, sad sack, someone pities

    shnoz

    nose

    Simchas Torah

    honors the Torah, new beginning of consecutive weekly Torah readings; read last chapters of Deuteronomy and 1st of Genesis because the Torah has no beginning or end

    spritz

    sprinkle, spray

    shvartz

    black, unfortunate/unhappy, ominous/gloomy, unskilled, contraband merchandise

    shvartzer

    black man

    shvartze

    black woman

    Succos

    booths, Festival of Tabernacles, eating meals outside in

    Tisha B'Av

    9th day of month "Av," commemorates destruction of 1st and 2nd temples, day of fasting, no meat, no laughing

    tukhus

    rear end, tush

    tush

    rear end, butt

    verklempt

    overcome with emotion, at a loss for words due to emotion

    yekke

    slang used by Ashkenazic Jews for a German

    yenta

    a woman of low origins or vulgar manners, gossipy woman

    zaftig

    juicy, provocative, seminal, plump

    zhlob

    coarse, insensitive, ill-mannered person, clumsy person

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