When I got married, I decided to speak Yiddish to my children, and not just any Yiddish, but my husband’s “haimish Yiddish”; in other words – Hasidic Yiddish.
Yiddish has many synonyms for so-called dirty words. They are called grob (uncouth), mies (ugly), maybe even shmutsik (dirty). But Yiddish curses are far different from English ones, because they generally don’t include foul language.
The Jews of Uchanie, my father’s shtetl in Lublin province, used to say about the Jews of Wojslawice just down the road, that they were meshumodim. Turncoats. What worse epithet could you hurl at a fellow Jew?
I borrowed the book from my parents, stashed it into my laptop case and begrudgingly cracked it open over Greenland. I couldn’t put it down.
“Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a time where writing in Yiddish is utopian.”
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