By Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
(author, "Are Yentas, Kibitzers, & Tummlers
Weapons of Mass Instruction? Yiddish
Grab a #2 "blayer" (pencil) and let's see
how well you do on this quiz. Unfortunately, Stanley Kaplan, the test
maven, does not offer a prep course, as
1. Which B'way actor/actress defined
Yiddish as "a combination of German
A) Billy Crystal ("700 Sundays")
B) Tovah Feldshuh ("Golda's Balcony")
C) Jackie Mason ("Freshly Squeezed - Just
One Jew Talking")
2. In the Kevin Costner movie, "The Upside
of Anger," we meet Joan Allen (as Terry
Wolfmeyer), a well-off Detroit
suburbanite who has four virtually grown
daughters. Believing her husband has
left her for his Swedish secretary, she
drinks heavily, and the family has become
There is no exact translation for
a dysfunctional family. The closest
translation would be:
B) "a meshpokhe mit problemen"
C) "a meshpokhe mit/af tsores"
3. May 2005 marked the 90th "yortsayt" of
the most renowned of all Yiddish figures,
the writer and humorist,
A) Abraham Goldfaden
B) Sholom Aleichem
C) Yitzhak Leibusz Peretz
4. Who rescued over a "milyon" Yiddish
A) Mal Z. Lawrence
B) Steven Spielberg
C) Aaron Lansky
5. Who wrote, "The pushcarts on Blake
Avenue were not unike shtetl scenes
Isaac Singer described in Frampol. They
were a reminder that I was Jewish.
Peddlers were up each morning scream-
ing their wares half in Yiddish, half in
English. They'd argue over a customer,
'I had her first,' one would say. 'Gey in
A) Jerry Stiller ("Married To Laughter")
B) Alan King ("Help! I'm A Prisoner In A
C) Sam Levenson ("You Don't Have To Be
in Who's Who to Know What's What")
6. Which 1975 award-winning comedy
featured the two quintessentially Jewish
vaudeville comics, perfectly played by
Walter Matthau and George Burns, who
"kvetch" and "kibitz" as they stage an
A) Broadway Danny Rose
B) The Sunshine Boys
C) The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz
7. In what movie does Rosaline Russell,
a "zoftig"Jewish widow, use Yiddish
expressions such as "gonif," "meshuga,"
"tsuris," "kvelling," and "schlemiel"?
A) Madame Rose
B) Annie Hall
C) A Majority of One
8. Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey
Frommer ("Growing Up Jewish in
America - An Oral History") wrote,
"I must have been thirteen when I saw
my first Sholem Aleichem play, "Shver
Zu Zein ah Yid." This term means:
A) It's Hard to be a Jew
B) Better a Jew without a beard, than a
beard without a Jew
C) Ten washings will not cleanse you of
9. "Yenta Telebente" is:
A) Fanny Brice
B) Mrs. National Enquirer
C) Molly Goldberg (Gertrude Berg)
10. Letty Cottin Pogrebin ("Deborah, Golda,
& Me") wrote that her mother had a
"knippel." What did she have?
A) a button
B) a secret purse (or money tied in the
corner of a handkerchief)
C) a traditional Jewish woman's wig
11. David Colman ("Crayola Colors, But
Kept Inside the Lines") wrote that men
are wearing solidly colored pants,
sweaters and blazers in tangerine,
lemon, virdian, magenta and royal blue.
According to this statement
A) "Klaider machem dem mentshem"
B) One should be "oysgeputst"
C) All that's lacking is a "mazldiker
kravat" (a lucky tie)
12. If we described a renovated Catskill
hotel as "mit ale pistshefkes," we say
that it offers
A) man "alte moyds" (old maids)
B) all of the extras including wireless
internet access, SPA, and full health
C) "farvaylung" (entertainment) and a
"halbe nahkht" (midnight) buffet
13. David M. Bader said, "Yiddish has no
word for 'golf' but it has 273 different
ways to complain about
A) "di mekheteneste" (your child's
B) lower back pain
C) "dos gesheft" (the business)
D) "di rebetsn" (the rabbi's wife)
14. What department store advertised
(in 1994), "What if you love to shop,
but hate to schlep?" Our Beatrice Dale
consolidated shopping service is for
you...You won't carry a thing, and you
only pay once."
15. When Mandy Patinkin performed
"Mamaloshen," what songs did he sing?
A) "Rozhinkes Mit Mandlen"
B) "Motl Der Opreyter"
C) "Unter Dayne Vayse Shterm"
D) All of the above
16. Melvin is speeding along Northern
State Parkway on Long Island, New
York, and got a speeding ticket. His
wife says "Deigher Nisht!" Just plead
insanity. After all, it's not a lie because
you had to be crazy to go 120 mph."
"Deigher Nisht!" means
A) Everything will smooth itself out!
B) Don't worry!
C) You'll be the death of me!
D) a real mess!
17. In a Money Management For Seniors
lecture in S. Florida, Harry C. Sherer,
A) "The leading cause of death in S.
Florida is exhaustion, caused by
house guests from the North."
B) "Shpor, shpor, kumt der shvarts yor
un nemt alts gor."
(You save and save, and then a lean
year comes and takes away every-
C) "Der doktor hot a refue far alts, ober
nit far dales."
(The doctor has a remedy for every-
thing, but not for poverty.)
18. Alan Alda landed a part in an English-
language production of "Yoshe Kalb" by
by I. J. Singer. The director was Maurice
Schwartz, who also played the role of a
Hasidic rabbi. When his character died
early in the 2nd act, he stayed on stage
covered by a sheet. If you looked closely,
you could see the sheet over his face
rising and falling. "Hekher!" "Hekher!"
he was shouting. What does the word
A) Faster! Faster!
B) Louder! Louder!
C) That's enough! That's enough!
19. Drink "tai mit limeneh" (tea with lemon)
and nourish life. With the firsst sip...
joy. With the second...satisfaction.
With the third,...peace.
With the fourth...
A) a few pieces of rugelach
B) a prune danish
C) a "shtik" of Halvah
D) All of the above
20. Sheldon Landwehr writes restaurant
reviews for the New York Post. He uses
this rating system:
0 stars ______________
1 star Unremarkable, but acceptable
2 stars Good
3 stars Very good
4 stars Outstanding
21. One computer-related maxim that
translates beautifully into Yiddish is the
slogan, "Drek arayn, drek aroys." This
A) "Ver vaist?"
B) garbage in, garbage out
C) Ask me another "frageh."
22. According to Leo Lieberman, "A shmateh
A) a rag."
B) what your husband's second wife
C) off-the-rack merchandise."
23. Which mayor proclaimed Dec. 5, 1976,
Yiddish Theater Day in NYC?
A) Abe Beame
B) Fiorello LaGuardia
C) Edward Koch
24. According to Michael Wex ("Born to
Kvetch"), "Real corporal punishment
begins with the
A) frask (the melamed's answer to a
* * * * *
B) patsh (Ex. "Patshin mit di hent")
C) zets (Ex. the stroke or blow)
D) flem (in the face, across the cheeks)
2. B and C
11. A (clothes make the man)
21. B "frageh" means question
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe is a retired
business educator and free-lance writer.
She resides in Syosset, New York. Check
out her website: MarjorieGottliebWolfe.com.
from the December 2006 Edition of the Jewish Magazine