June 8th, 2019 § 4 comments

Yiddish is a language that is always close to death but survives. Miraculously. Speakers and readers of Yiddish diminish due to old age, Israel’s embrace of Hebrew and, tragically, the Holocaust, which murdered millions of Eastern European Jews and their Yiddish culture. There is no other language that tops Yiddish in expressing irony, sarcasm and the bleak comedy of life. Yiddish words have multiple meanings. It’s all in the inflection. A number of Yiddish words have become part of everyday American English. Chutzpah. Schmuck. Shlep. Shtick. Tuchis (and its variants “tushie” and “tush”). There are more. On the edge of acceptance are the toasts “L’chaim” (to life!!) and “Gesundheit” (health). Anatomical words are gaining ground. “Puhlkes” (thighs). “Puzzeh” (large paunch). And, of course, “Putz” (penis). Hey, ‘Putz” may already have arrived.

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