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You may have noticed many strange words in this blog, and thought, “What in the world does that mean??”

Well, this glossary will explain everything. By the time you get through several blog entries and follow the thoughts (with the occasional Jewish lingo thrown in) you will be able to pretend you are Jewish.

Remember the game, “Chutzpah?” It was a board game that we used to play as kids. It was a takeoff of Monopoly. The tagline of the game was “You don’t have to be Jewish to play the game of Chutzpah” (or something like that. Milton and Bradley will forgive me for my senior moment).

And yes, you don’t have to be Jewish to read – and enjoy – the glossary and….the blog.


Beschert (adj) – destined, meant to be

Binah Magazine (n) – a weekly magazine for the Jewish woman

Bubby (n) – a grandmother. also: babi, bubbe, bubbeh, bubbie, bubba

Chanukah (n) – holiday of Hannukah

Chein (n) – charm

Chochmos (n) – brilliance, traits of genius

Chutzpah (n) – audacity, gall, nerve

Daven (v) – to pray

Eineklach (n) – grandchildren

Ellul – the final month of the Jewish lunar year – comes before the holiday of Rosh Hashanah – when it’s time for introspection, giving charity and engaging in extra prayer.

Hashem – G-d (literally, the Name)

Kain ayin horah –There shouldn’t be an evil eye (sometimes pronounced “kenehora” for short).

Kallah (n) – bride

Knaidel (n) – dumpling, eaten in soup

kvell (v) – to revel in happiness; to brag or wax glowingly about one’s good fortune – often relating to one’s brilliant and beautiful progeny

kvatch (German/Yiddish exclamation) – “Not true!” or “Ridiculous” or “Nonsense” – often preceded by “Ach” – which means “Oh!.”

kvetch (v) – to whine, to complain, to rant about something to anyone who will listen

lachatz (n) – pressure, tension

leiben auf dem kup (expression in Yiddish) – I love that head.

mazel tov (n) – an expression of congratulations wished to someone, or expressed about a happy event. Examples of such events would be a bar mitzvah, wedding, engagement, graduation, anniversary, birthday.

mechutonim (n) – (pl) – in-laws

menorah (n) – 8 branched candelabra – used on Hanukah. (Also known as “hanukiyah” to differentiate from the “menorah” candelabra in the historical Jewish Temple that had 7 branches).

mitzvah (n) – a good deed. A commandment from the Torah as in one of the 613 that a Jewish person observes

nachas (n) – feeling of pride and joy in one’s children and grandchildren’s accomplishments.

Oma (n) – grandmother in German. also: Oma, Omama

Oy – expression of pain and disappointment

Oy vey iz mir – expression of “Wo – is me!”

Pesach – Passover Holiday

Poo-Poo-Poo – an expression used to ward off superstition

Rosh Hashanah – The Jewish New Year

Rugalach – Yiddish for small pastry which is made in the form of a crescent by rolling a triangle of dough around a filling

Savta (n) – grandmother in Hebrew

Shabbat Shalom – greeting of “Peaceful Shabbat” or “Good Shabbos” extended before and during the Shabbat.

Shana Tova – greeting of “Have a good new year” or “Happy New Year — (in Hebrew).

Shein, Voyl, und klug (adj) – beautiful, good, and smart (in Yiddish)

Shep (v) – to reap, and express, as in “shep nachas”

Simcha (n) – a happy occasion or celebration

Tehillim (n) – Book of Psalms

Tisha B’Av (n) – The ninth day of the Month of Av on the Jewish calendar, when the 2nd Temple was destroyed by the Romans 1,932 years ago.

Torah (n) – Bible

tzores (n) – problems, suffering

Ulpan (n) – Hebrew language classes

Yeshiva (n) – a school for Jewish religious studies.

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