As Long As There’s A New York City, They’ll Always Be Yiddish

As Long As There’s A New York City, They’ll Always Be Yiddish

A while ago l tricked with a twenty something kid from Milwaukee who happened to be Jewish. But when l, a not-so-good Christian who was raised in Jersey and worked in NYC most of my career, started casually dropping words l label “New Yorkese” which in reality came from the City’s rich Yiddish heritage that by osmosis had become part of the local lexicon, the kid looked at me as if l had two heads. I guess when you’re from the New York metro area, you think everybody knows what you’re talking about.

Yiddish is rooted in both Western and Eastern European languages, and while the number of people who speak it – mostly Orthodox Jews – is rapidly decreasing (give or take about a million people in the U.S and Canada speak it today) some continue to use it in family circles. But more important, because of New York City transplants across the country, people of all faiths and background daily hear and use these worlds as part of their everyday language without even realizing it.

Like “bagel,” yes bagel.

How many of these New Yorkese or Yiddish words do you readily recognize? I‘ll give you the answers tomorrow:

Chutzpah (pronounced hutzpa)

Klutz

Glitch

Nosh

Schmooze

Shlep

Kvetch

Schlock

Kibitz