I want to let my readers know about a wonderful new online resource, the Jewish English Lexicon.
One of the trickier things about the worldwide Jewish community (or even the Israeli and American Jewish communities) is that we use words from many different sources: Hebrew, Yiddish, Aramaic, Ladino, and Judeo-Arabic, to name just the most common ones. A person born Jewish tends to learn the vocabulary used in his or her community of origin, which might be anything from “Brooklyn-Askhenazi-Lubavich” to “Louisville-Classical-Reform” to “Pico-Robertson-LA-Persian.” All are as authentically Jewish as Moses himself, just different.
If there’s a word you hear that you don’t understand, type it into the Jewish English Lexicon and get a translation into American Standard English. You can also browse the lexicon for new Jewish-isms to expand your vocabulary.
The Lexicon is the brainchild of Dr. Sarah Bunin Benor, Associate Professor of Contemporary Jewish Studies at Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles.