the schmooze

*In Yiddish, the word "narrishkayt" means foolishness

Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York
Comedian, Eddie Griffin, got bounced offstage for using the N-word at Black Enterprise's Annual Golf and Tennis Challenge at the Doral resort.  And Alpha Phi Alpha, the nation's oldest and largest black frat, has urged its campus affiliates not to hire deejays who play the music of artists who use the N-word.

A & E halted production of Dog the Bounty Hunter just before star, Duane (Dog) Chapman apologized for using the N-word in a private conversation with his son.

Bill Cosby, one of America's funniest men, said to young adults--blunt words--"Let me tell you something.  Your dirty language gets out of school at 2:30 every day.  It's cursing and calling each other 'n----' as they're walking up and down the street. They think they're hip.  They can't read.  They can't write...They're going nowhere."

I, too, heard the N-word--perhaps 50 times a day--while growing up in Rockaway Beach, New York.  Nu, what did I hear?

Julian Sinclaur ("Let's Schmooze") wrote, "...naches as applied to children and grand- children is more accurately used for the lasting peace of mind we gain from seeing that our efforts and struggles to raise them have borne fruit - when we see that they've turned out stable, happy and with good values.  Naches is more properly applied not to some fleeting public feat but to the achievement of bringing up a mensch."

Jackie Mason ("How to Talk Jewish") says that a nuchshlepper is a straggler or dragger-after...A nuchshlepper is like flypaper.  When you become successful he is pasted to you...A nuchshlepper is like a mailman.  He'll follow you through snow or heat or rain or dark of night.  He'll follow you through blizzards, drought, fires, he'll never stop following you, as long as you have money.  Every time you're invited to a wedding the nuchshlepper shows up.  By the time you get there, he's already dancing with the bride.  You bring the gift and he eats the food.

Michael Wex ("Just Say Nu") suggests that we use the following driving instructions: "Nu, yug zakh"--Come on, speed it up.

"Nu" has many meanings including, "So?  How are things?; Nu, did you hear that the University of Kentucky removed the Holocaust from its school curriculum because it "offended" the Muslim population, which claims it never occurred?


It's a pity; may it not happen to you. Ex. Leonard Teplitsky, was fired from Blockbuster for donning a yarmulke. The "gut nayes":  He received a $50,000 settlement from a religious dicrimination suit he brought against the video giant. Supposedly, he's going to also receive a year's worth of free rentals.

The late Leo Rosten said that "Woody Allen (or at least the character he plays in his films) may be crowned our current King of Nebechs."  Woody, if you recall, cried, "If there is a God, why is there poverty and baldness?"

Mel Walsh ("Hot Granny - Fabulous at 50, 60, and Beyond") wrote, "And you should know this:  No matter what you do for or with your grandchildren, you probably will never be as interesting to them as an iPod."

To nibble or snack between meals In the book, "Meshuggenary," "Nosherei is said to be a slang word for snacking or nibbling; finger food; junk food; something applied to appetizers or hors d'oeuvres.

Arnold Fine said that one phrase his Mama and Papa practically wore out was "Ah nichtiger tog."  That meant literally:  A nightlike day.  It was a sarcastic expression used to mean something absurd or "that's ridiculous."


"NARRISHKEIT" (another spelling) Foolishness; folly In the "Dictionary of Jewish Words" by Eisenberg & Scolnic," they give this example of narrishkeit:  "He buys a lottery ticket every week, thinking he'll hit the big one. What narrishkeit!"  And, "The Onion" (Nov. 2007) reports that Mel Brooks has founded a private nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the word "schmuck."  According to Brooks, utterances of the word "schmuck" have declined every year since its peak in 1951, and in 2006, the word was spoken a mere 28 times--17 of these times by Brooks himself.  Narrishkeit! 

Michael Wex says "Nayn, ikh hob goornisht kein klezmer kompaktelakh bei meer in shteeb."  (No, I have no klezmer CDs in my house at all.)

The late Ann Landers defined a noodnik as "a person who spreads good cheer wherever he doesn't go."

Michael Wex says, "Es khoolemt zakh meer a veiser nitl."  (I'm dreaming of a white Christmas.)

Halle Berry,  reportedly joked on Jay Leno's show that an edited photo of her with a  big nose is what her 'Jewish cousin' would like like. When the audience responded with stunned silence, she said, "Oh, my God, have I just, like, ruined my whole career?"  NBC deleted the word "Jewish" when it broadcast the taped show. After the show, Berry said she was sorry for making the joke.

Yiddish for the Mah Jongg expression, "Take a tile." (Thanks to Varda Grinspan.) "NISH-KOSHE"
According to Rabbi Benjamin Blech ("The Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning Yiddish"), "nish-koshe" means "not too bad."

And so on.


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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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