Sunday, March 6, 2011

Yiddish And Danish: A New Funny Video Dictionary From Shtetl Montreal

Shtetl, a new online alternative Jewish magazine from Montreal, has started a series of short video clips of Yiddish speakers enunciating and explaining some familiar Yiddish words and expressions.  Some are straightforward and (WARNING!) some are a bit salty.  

What do you expect?  Yiddish is not a holy and pure language, but one which has embodied the triumphs and tragedies of Eastern European Jews for the last few centuries.  Over time, it has picked up expressions reflecting a knowledge of and respect for Jewish religious tradition as well as street wisdom acquired from everyday living.  

To get things started, we're sharing three expressions that kick off the series.  Shtetl has promised to keep adding more to form a video dictionary of Yiddish.  If they do, we promise to bring you some of the best ones.

Oh, if you're wondering how the language of Denmark fits into the picture, it doesn't.  Danish refers to the pastries served to the speakers as they record their comments.  Enjoy!

A chazer blaybt a chazer

Az di bubbe volt gehat beytsim...



  1. I never heard the one; If my grandmother had balls. It seems a crude attempt to shock by insulting a loved and revered person so don;t like it. Don't think it fits humor or satire. Leon Katz, Kailua, HI

  2. Leon, it's a way to say that you can't change what you can't change and no amount of wishful thinking will change it. It's not an insult, it's one of those 'salty' Yiddish turns of phrase. No need to look for things that aren't there.