the schmooze
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York

In Yiddish, "shanda"/"shande" means "shame."  And "shande far di kinder" means, literally, "a disgrace for the children."

Arthur Naiman writes about the expression, "a shanda fur die goyim":  "To make a shanda fur die goyim is to do something embarrassing to Jews in a place where non-Jews can observe it.  Understandably, this is looked on with much greater disfavor than to act like a jerk when only other Jews are around, since it makes things tougher on all of us--"Those damned Jews!  See what they're like."

    Source:  "Every Goy's Guide to Common Jewish Expressions"

Perhaps Naiman was thinking of Madoff--the "ganef"--or Jack Abramoff.  Both are "a shanda fur die goyim."  Abramoff is a former American lobbyist, businessman, movie producer, and writer, who was at the heart of an extensive corruption investigation that led to his conviction.  He was sentenced to 6 years in federal prison for mail fraud, conspiracy to bribe ("khabar") public officials, and tax evasion.  He served 43 months.

Before the big "skandal" happened, the Abramoff family was "raykh" (wealthy) and "gliklekh" (happy.)  Jack and Pam had 5 children together, and the Orthodox Jewish family lived an "pazronish" (extravagant) lifestyle.

Shown below are some additional comments and stories about the word "shanda"/"shande."

Source:  "The Shanda Factor:  What makes Jewish sex scandals different?", 7/25/13, T.O.T. Private Consulting

   "More than 6.7 million Americans who are described as having ‘low food security' regularly lack sufficient food to eat.  Nearly all reported that the food did not last a month."

  His question:  Is the take care-of-your-own mentality still strong   within our generation?     Source:  blog, Twin Cities Daily Planet, 3/10/11.

  In my opinion, it's no "shande" to incorporate TV shows into   sermons....but I'm confident that most rabbis will be discussing   the possibility of an attack on Syria and the implications for   Israel this year.

   Tony Kushner is an anti-Zionist self hating shatdlan who never had a moral compass even in his genes nor has he any sense of Yiddishkeit.  Brandeis has committed a SHANDE."

And the last true story about the word "shanda" was written by Michael Lando and titled, "Food Cart-Smorgasbord or Shanda?" (11/9/07) reports, "While food carts are a ubiquitous staple in New York culinary life, the arrival in Brooklyn's ultra-Orthodox Williamsburg enclave of Sub on Wheels, the first glatt-Kosher food truck, has sparked a heated battle... Protesters think the food truck encourages fress, a Yiddish word meaning to eat more than is necessary.  Fast food is not considered a viable alternative to home-cooked meals by haredis...Some also fear that the truck encourages men and women to mingle on the streets...Nathan Lichstenstein, who parks his truck in the heart of the neighborhood, has been through four heart attacks and the loss of a child.  He insists he is here to stay.  "You can take the kid out of Williamsburg, but you can't take Williamsburg out of the kid."
MARJORIE GOTTLIEB WOLFE says, It's a shanda that before W.W.II,
Yiddish was spoken by 11 million to 13 million people.
Today, it is spoken by perhaps one-tenth as many.    
Source:  "The Portable Jewish Mother" by     Laurie Rozakis, PH.D.


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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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