Yiddish is a unique blend of Hebrew, German, Slavic, and Romance languages, with roots in the Ashkenazi Jewish world. It is a rich and expressive language in literature, music, art, dance, and theater exploring Jewish life and culture. Many artists grew up speaking Yiddish in their homes, and some wrote or performed in it. Think of such diverse talents as Isaac Bashevis Singer, Sholem Aleichem, Franz Kafka, Sarah Bernhardt, Itzhak Perlman, Mandy Patinkin, and Mel Brooks. And let us not forget Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Dr Ruth Westheimer, and that famous Shabbos Goy - Elvis Presley!
It has had a significant impact on the English language, particularly in the United States, where many Yiddish-speaking Jewish immigrants settled in the early 20th century. The language is found everywhere in our modern culture from TV shows and movies to its use by cultural icons. It has become so ubiquitous that we forget how unique it is. Did you know that the term "glitch" comes from the Yiddish "glitsch" for a slippery place? Or that schmegegge is a real Yiddish word (I was not so sure, I thought it just sounded like a Yiddish word). So don't kvetch, it ain't bupkis, gather up your chutzpah and let's schmooze some Yiddish terms:
Schlep - to carry something heavy or cumbersome.
Kvetch - to complain or whine persistently.
Schmooze - to engage in friendly conversation, often for the purpose of networking or socializing.
Meshugge - crazy or insane.
Chutzpah - nerve, audacity, or boldness.
Futz - to waste time or engage in a pointless activity.
Schtick - a gimmick or a talent for a particular style of comedy or entertainment.
Glitsh - slippery place. From glitshn, meaning to slide or glide.
Nosh - a small snack or light meal, often eaten between meals.
Tchotchke - a small decorative item or trinket, often of little value or significance.
Bupkis - nothing, or only a very small amount.
Spiel - A sales pitch or speech intended to persuade.
Shpilkes - Impatience, restlessness.
Schmaltz - excessively sentimental or corny. Also, the jar of chicken fat that your mother kept in the fridge to make matzo balls with.
Yenta - One who meddles, a blabbermouth, or a gossip.
Schmegegge - bunk, hokum, meaninglessness, nonsense, nonsensicality.
Verklempt - overcome with emotion.
and last but not least...
Oy vey! an expression of woe.