Sunday, May 2, 2010

Yiddishology: How Good Is Your Yiddish? "Kenahora (Kanahora)" - Second of a Series

Today we return to The Tampa Jewish Community Center and Federation which has been testing the Yiddish vocabulary of its members on a weekly basis by videotaping "person in the street" interviews, similar to the "Jaywalking" sketches that Jay Leno has been doing for years and the "Jew Walking" video that we blogged about last October.

Random members of the community are asked the meaning of a common, usually funny sounding, Yiddish word, and their spontaneous reactions are videotaped for us to enjoy.

Last week we used their video to explain the meaning of the word shtipper, also pronounced shtupper.
  Today we return to uncover the meaning of kenahora, also spelled kanahora or kinahora.

Coming soon:  shlimazel, ungepatchket, shmiggege, tchotchkes, halevai, and balabusta.

Watch, laugh, and enjoy!


  1. That the "evil presence" ("No evil eye") be assuaged or warded off. Usually at the end of a statement of beneficence one would say, "kenahora".

    If one were stating the fact of beneficence delivered, one might start the statement or question, "Kein ain ayn hara" ("No, not Evil Eye", or the dark presence has happened or has passed), so accept the statement, or answer the question, no evil shall befall you with your response.

  2. Yes, that second point is quite right. To illustrate, here's a great joke from my late aunt, who claimed that she couldn't tell a joke, except that, whenever she did, it killed!

    In a courtroom, an elderly Jewish witness was called to the stand and sworn in. He was asked to state his age, and he answered, "Kenahora, I'm 76." The clueless DA said, "No, please just state your age." Again, the witness answered, "Kenahora, I'm 76." The DA, irritated, said, "We have a certain format here. We need you to state just your age, with no extra verbiage." Once more, the witness answered, "Kenahora, I'm 76."

    Exasperated, the DA spun on his heels and threw his arms up into the air. At that point, a Jewish attorney in the gallery, awaiting a later case, stood and addressed the judge. "Your honor, if it please the court, I believe I can help here." The DA blurted, "Be my guest!" and the judge nodded his assent.

    The Jewish attorney approached the stand and gently asked the witness, "Kenahora, how old are you?" The witness replied, "76."

  3. Miss The Way Yiddish Was Used Years Ago...