Posted by: Jack Henry | September 7, 2021

Editor’s Corner: Happy Rosh Hashanah

Good morning, or gutn morgn (גוטן מארגן) in Yiddish.

In honor of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year and the clebration of the creation of the world as well at the day of judement), Im going to share some information about the Yiddish language today. Weve shared some Yiddish words with you in the past, but Ive been reading a little bit more about this rich and emotive language in a book called Wicked Good Words by Mim Harrison.

Yiddish is not the same as Hebrew, but like Hebrew, it is spoken by many Jewish people. It got its start around the 10th century when it was spoken by Jews living in Germany and then later in eastern Europe. Like English, Yiddish borrows words from many other languages. And as you already know, English borrows plenty of words from Yiddish. Here are just a few:

  • bubkes (noun): literally means beans or goat droppings, but its a synonym for nothingor a disapointing amountof something.
  • chutzpah/chutzpa/hutzpa (noun): supreme self confidence
  • geshmak (adjective): tasty, delightful (can refer to food or something meaningful that you want to eat up)
  • heymish (adjective): homey, cozy
  • kvell (verb): to swell or beam with pride
  • kvetch (verb or noun): to complain, or a complainer
  • mensch (noun): a person of integrity and honor
  • meshuga (adjective): crazy, idiotic
  • nachas (noun): joy from the achievements of someone close to you
  • nokhshleper (noun): a peron who tags along when theyre not wanted
  • schmaltz (noun): excessive sentimentality
  • schmear (noun): a bribe; a smear or spread
  • shtick (noun): a gimick or comedy routine; anything a person is known for (a habit, an idiosyncrasy, a talent, etc.)
  • tchotchke (noun): a small object that is decorative but not really useful; promotional items

A common Yidish greeting on Rosh Hashanah is a gut yor (א גוט יאר), which means [Have] a good year. And a very common ritual at the end of Rosh Hashanah is the blowing of the shofar, a musical instrument made from an animal horn.

I wish all my Jewish friends a very happy Rosh Hashanah. Enjoy the celebration!

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Ext: 765432

Pronouns she/her/hers

About Editors Corner

Editors Corner keeps your communication skills sharp by providing information on grammar, punctuation, JHA style, and all things English. As editors, we spend our days reading, researching, and revising other peoples writing. We love to spend a few extra minutes to share what we learn with you and keep it fun while were doing it.

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