Category Archives: culture

Hanukkah Wrap-Up 2016

A week before Hanukkah, we wrote an essay that was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer. It was our spin on the Twelve Days of Christmas song, so instead of “eight maids a milking” we had “eight candles burning.” You get … Continue reading

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We Have No Loyalty to the “Loyal Shoppers Club” 

As we waited in the airport for a plane back to Philadelphia recently, we glanced at our boarding passes and were pleasantly surprised to see Group 1 printed at the bottom. Group 1? We are usually in Group 4, along … Continue reading

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Svelte, Shmo or Spatula: Will the Real Yiddish Word Please Stand Up?

  After 15 years of writing and speaking about Jewish words, we think we have a decent Yiddish vocabulary. But our audiences often surprise us with Yiddish words that are new to us, like feinshmeker. Huh? That’s how one woman … Continue reading

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We’re Suspicious About Social Media

We’ve been Word Maven-ing for almost 15 years. When our first edition of The Dictionary of Jewish Words was published in 2001, Mark Zuckerberg was in high school and tweeting was for the birds. We’ve had to learn how to … Continue reading

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Jarred by Jargon: We’ve Done Our Due Diligence

Every profession has its own jargon, words that turn the workplace into a super secret society. Baristas know what  “venti, skinny, half-caf, extra whip” means and then they serve it to you. Doctors say, “Code blue stat” to mean, “Hurry … Continue reading

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A Graceful Exit

The nice people of the world think you have to say goodbye to everyone at the end of a party. You can’t just say goodbye to the host and hostess or sneak out entirely. We’re here to confess that, in this … Continue reading

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There’s a Word for That

Guess who’s coming to dinner? The machetunim. That’s the Yiddish word you’ll probably use soon after your daughter has announced her engagement, when you’ve invited her fiancé’s parents to your home for the first time. In contrast, there is no single … Continue reading

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