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20 Words All Jewish Kids Grew Up Hearing

The Jewish vernacular.


1. Verklempt

Definition: when you have no words because you are filled with much emotion

Sentence: Your grandma was verklempt after seeing you in your bar/bat mitzvah attire.

2. Schpilkes
Definition: when one is overwhelmed and/or nervous
Sentence: She has schpilkes before going up to read the torah in front of the congregation.
3. Oy Gevalt
Definition: the act of being stunned by something you hear
Sentence: “OY GEVALT” she cried out once she heard how much the party would cost.
4. Shmutz
Definition: dirt or stain on ones face, body or clothing
Sentence: She wiped the piece of shmutz off her daughter with a wet paper towel.
5. Fakakta
Definition: something silly or ridiculous
Sentence: Grandma Rosalie didn’t like the fakakta rap music that was playing at the wedding.

6. Bubbala
Definition: endearing term, from grandma to grandkids
Sentence: “Bubbala, can you fetch me my reading glasses” yelled grandma Judy.

7. Shana Punum
Definition: beautiful face
Sentence: Aunt Shirley pinched her cheeks and exclaimed “What a Shana Punum!!”

8. Mishpucha
Definition: you are extended family
Sentence: Matthew was basically mishpucha for he went to all of his best friends family events.

9. Shiksa
Definition: non-Jewish girl
Sentence: His mother almost fainted when she heard her son was dating a shiksa.

10. Plotz
Definition: to freak out with excitement
Sentence: I could plotz from the beautiful view of the mountains.


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