Leo Itosten Explores 'Joys of Yiddish', Language
Expletives, in Two Essays; Innumerable Yiddish
Words in Random House Dictionary of English
Friday, October 4, 1968-13
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Berlin Trade Unionist Calls for Outlawing NPD
WEST BERLIN (JTA)—Outlaw-
ing the extreme right-wing Na--
tional Democratic Party was de-
manded by the chairman of the
West Berlin Trade Union move-
ment who characterized the NPD
as the successor to the Nazi Party.
Walter Sickert, in an address to
the West Berlin Trade Union Con-
gress. said there is no place in
Berlin for the NPD.
Leo Rosten's labor of research tah"—"the tree that yielded the Herzl, Israel Zangwill and many
into the remarkable number of shittim wood of the Old Testa- others.
Random House new dictionary
Yiddish words .that have become ment."
part of English usage and his Thus, ad infinitum, there are doesn't fill the need as a Yiddish
proof of the vitality of the Ian- scores of Yiddish and Hebrew or Hebrew dictionary, but it can
guage and the splendid humor words in the Random compila- be relied upon for many basic
inherent in it, have borne fruit. tion, and there even are two or words in the Yiddish-Hebrew vo-
ile has written two interesting three unquotables — like schmo, cabularies and it serves a very
The NPD may exacerbate Soviet
essays—"Yiddish and Yiddish, To- described as a derivation from a valuable purpose.
wards a New Lexicon" for En- vulgar term.
Leo Rosten blunders when he attacks over neo-Nazism in West
counter of London, England, and
There is the Ketubim related places too much emphasis on Germany when it holds a district
"The Joys of Yiddish" for the to the Tanakh, the shiva period of what had been an antagonism to convention in West Berlin at the
current issue of Harper's. Both mourning, kibutz and many other Yiddish in Israel. Today Yiddish end of September, political observ-
make delightful reading. They are terms.
flourishes in Israel. But he has ers here believe. The appearance
informative and for lovers of Yid-
R a n d om ' s given great courage to Yiddishists in the city of NPD chief Adolf von
dish will prove sensational.
doesn't ignore famous Jewish with his essays—also has the Ran- Thadden would be a direct chal-
lenge to the Russians, and this
_ The appearance of these two names like Sholem Asch, Theodor dom dictionary.
essays is especially timely in view
of the recent publication of the
great work by the late Dr. Uriel
Weinreich, "The Modern English-
Yiddish Yiddish-English Diction-
ary" published by McGraw-Hill.
In his Harper article, Rosten
"Yiddish is a tongue that never
takes its tongue out of its
cheek. Steeped in sentiment, it
is sluiced with sarcasm: it fa-
vors paradox, can do justices
to the injustices of life. It
excels in irony, because the
only way Jews could retain
their sanity was to view a hor-
rifying world with sardonic and
astringent eyes. In its inner-
-most heart, Yiddish swings be-
tween schmaltz and derision."
Examining what he calls he
"Robin Hood of languages," Ros-
ten, the creator of the famed
H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N sto-
ries, tells how Yiddish words and
expressions originated and how
some of them have become an in-
tegral part of the English tongue.
For example, he admonishes,
one of the words used frequently
—and often incorrectly—by non-
Jews is "Mazel tov!" He cau-
tions, "Do not say `Mazel tow!' to
a fighter entering a ring (it sug-
gests you are congratulating him
for ever having made the arena),
or. a girl about to have her nose
bobbed (which would mean 'and
about time, too!').
"Say 'Mazel tov!' to an Israeli
ship captain when he first takes
command: this congratulates him
on his promotion; don't say `Ma-
zel tov!' when the ship reaches
port: this suggests you're sur-
prised he got you there."
Rosten also considers such
words as shlep, shammes and
shnook as well as examining the
variety of ways in which the
expletive "Aha!" is used.
Rosten's contentions of the ex-
tensive use of Yiddish words
and terms in the English lan-
guage is proven in the new Ran-
dom House Dictionary of the
English Language (college edi-
Many of the already widely
used words are repeated in the
new Random volume which con-
tains scores of Hebrew terms and
an equal number of the Yiddish.
Not only the definition of Yid-
dish, yid, the Tetragrammaton
YHVH, Tora, Mishna, Talmud,
Shekel, but also Mishnayot, Ketu-
bim, Sidur, Shehina and many,
It is understandable that the
Random dictionary should have
kibitz and schmaltz, but it also
includes bagel, borscht, schlemihl,
shmooze, shnook, as well as
schnorrer, tzaddik, and it even
defines the Hebrew word "shit-
might possibly be expected to in-
duce the Western allies to voice
opposition to the NPD parley, the
Come See . . . Our
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Rudolf Hess' Son Begs
for War Nazi's Freedom
BERLIN—A public appeal for
the release of the former Nazi
deputy fuehrer Rudolph Hess was
made Monday by his only son.
Hess, 74, is the only war
crimes convict left in Spandau
Prison in West Berlin. His son,
Wolf Ruediger Hess, 30, said at a
news conference that 27 years in
prison was punishment enough.
Hess drew a life sentence from
the Nuremberg war crimes tri-
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