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The Gift of Kvetch: Part II

The Gift of Kvetch: Part II

Confessions from a creative kvetcher.


In Part One, we talked about the Positive Value of Kvetching. For over 3500 years, We Jews have perfected the art, which is not only how we’ve remained sane when Cossacks were chasing us, but is also the reason there are more Jewish shrinks than Jewish serial killers (David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam, was adopted.)

Each of us has our very own list of personal “kvetchables.”

In fact, if you look at the number of famous Jewish shrinks -- Freud, Adler, Fromm, for example, what did they do? They turned kvetching into a profession: “Lie on the couch and tell me your tsouris. I’ll not only listen, I won’t say a word. That’ll be $500.” Of course we Jewish mothers not only do it for free, we’d pay people to take up residence on the sofa … provided they take their shoes off.

Each of us has our very own style and list of personal “kvetchables.” Not all of mine are yours and vice versa. I’ve been known to have a few quirks, for example … the banana. After bunching around for years, mushy and juiceless with strings, it still doesn’t know what it wants to be; a fact I find unsettling. A fruit? Vegetable? Mucous? I’ll prove it. Show me one person whoever said, “Oy, I’m dying for a refreshing banana!”

Fruit in general scares me. Who among us hasn’t sunk our teeth into a nectarine, only to have our eyebrows stand up at right angles? I figure there are enough sour surprises and mysteries in life. Do I need this from a nectarine? (I know -- Quirky.)

That said, I’ve created a list of some of my other eccentric kvetchables, for example, waiting for a real human on the phone who speaks a language other than Kurdish, figuring out your “package” Internet bill, getting that “glue factory” look when you ask anyone under 40 why your computer, phone, and TV are exploding. These things deserve a good whine, complaint, and of course, our very best Yiddish curses.


Forks, The New Socks: No matter how many forks I buy, I always seem to have two. Like the famous escaping socks in dryers, dishwashers have joined the union. I put 10 forks in and get two back. My dishwasher handles 200 mismatched spoons and knives, no problem. But my forks? They’ve either tined their way to liberty through the sewer system, or are being sold at a garage sale in Brooklyn.

TP Tumult

Whenever I need a mattress, I kvetch and pooh on the ad people. There’s “firm,” “firmer,” “super firm,” “ultra firm.” Do I know the difference? Do you? How about a little “truth in labeling?” I finally learned the very hard way that “firm” means “better you should put two chairs together and hire a chiropractor.” “Firmer?” They’ll throw in an Army mat.” “Super firm?” You might not need a neck brace. “Ultra firm?” Instead of wasting gelt on a chiropractor, buy their “Magic Mattress Pad ‘n Pillow” by phoning the number on their infomercial. Well, imagine my kvetch when the most intimate of items – TP (toilet paper) went the way of the mattress. One famous company now offers: “Basic,” “Double Basic,” and “Ultra Strong.”. I’ll refrain from “defining” Basic but Styrofoam and sandpaper comes to mind. Stick with the Double Basic … unless it means you get twice the Styrofoam.

Smart Phones, iPads, and other impolite “I” am not looking where I’m going gadgets; Walk anywhere, and you’ll see a sea of humanoids communing with their palms. During job interviews they’re playing Who Wants to be A Millionaire? If they looked up at the recruiter they might actually get to play “Who Wants to be Employed?” Not only is your kidney operation back-burnered to palms busily winning Angry Birds, but the “palmers” walk like hunchbacks, narrowly avoiding 18-wheelers. I’m telling you, if you looked in Hoover Dam, you’d find 100 floating JYA’s (Jewish Young Adults) staring at their wrinkled palms trying to access MapQuest.

Fa-Pesto & Other Famished Foods

Pesto is a kvetchie pest. Let’s be honest. Does anyone really pine for a sauce that looks and tastes like acne ointment? Then there’s “chipotle.” I refuse to eat something I have no clue: a) how to pronounce (what? “Chipottel,” “chipotley?”), b) about what it is – or why it’s invaded our nation like the kvetching Kardashians. Then of course there’s the most infamous lying food – “White chocolate.” Except for a hint of cocoa butter, this is to chocolate like Manischewitz is to Ripple. Worse, one sickeningly sweet bite, and you risk either diabetes or dissolving a tooth. Yet, The Iron Chef has the chutzpah to put it next to the so-good bittersweet and milk as their “Mystery food!” I ask you, what hope do we have for a world that lies about chocolate? (I know, I’m kvetching.)

Have a favorite Kvetchable? Share mamalas! It’s kvetchably healthy!

December 15, 2012

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 5

(5) Sandy Parker, January 7, 2013 8:07 PM

I really enjoy your emails and send them to non-Jewish friends with offers to explain them.

How many Jewish mothers does it take to change a lightbulb? None. I'll just sit here in the dark.

(4) Bettina B., December 18, 2012 4:21 AM

The Fork Prophecies.

I love this kvetch. Now I know disappering forks have invaded homes everywhere. We had ten salad forks and now there are none. Andy Kaufman, Jimmy Hoffa, forks. Quirks? ? Conspiracy? Only Marnie the Kvetch Meister knows. Bring on Part 3!

(3) Harvey Tobkes, December 18, 2012 1:41 AM

You, dear Marnie, are becoming a humorist.

"Kvetch" was terrific. Continue writing articles like that and you will soon be a competitor to the master, Andy Borowitz. Meanwhile I am thinking about rhymes for the Jewish word "Kvetch" and so far I have come up with...etch, fetch, kretsch, letch, petsch, retch, sketch, vetch and wretch.

(2) Nettie, December 18, 2012 12:03 AM

Kvetching or kvelling

Marnie and I are usually on the same page. My family except for me escaped from the terror of the Cossacks in the Ukraine. My entire life I listened to the migration from the Ukraine to what was then Palistine. I have often wondered if that was kvetching or kvelling. Kvetching about the ordeal but kvelling at the accomplishment. Take your pick. As for chipottle or whatever they call it. I have never tasted it. The spelling seems like the problem we have with Hannuka, Channukah Channuka or however you prefer. Keep'em coming. I enjoy each and every one of your writings and can relate to them.

(1) Karyn Goldstein, December 17, 2012 11:54 PM

Kvetching is Fetching

At least Marnie makes it so.Very clever,she aways makes my day !!!!!!!!!!

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