Who among us doesn't love quizzes? Jews especially adore testing our knowledge, knowing our IQs, EQs, (never mind our Ps & Qs), then informing everyone that we (our mate, our kinder) are in the 99th percentile of ... everything (including the ability to put on 20 pounds at one Seder). Personally I'm a "fact" addict. I was not only a contestant (I have the mix master to prove it!), but later, wrote game shows, and two quiz books. So ... let's turn our attention to the "quizzical" world of Yiddish culture. Nu, give it a try already!
1. You're in an internet café reading the latest issue of Jewlarious. The person sitting next to you strikes up a conversation about websites,thereby "bagelling" you. Which did he likely do?
a) recommends you check out a hot new joke blog
b) recommends you check out Jewlarious.com
2. "If grandma had wheels, she'd be a wagon," answers your best friend. Which might you have said to evoke this popular Yiddish saying?
a) "My girlfriend's so smart, she'll probably get all A's this semester. "
b) "My girlfriend's so smart, she should've gotten all A's – if only she weren't so lazy!"
3. You've invited a famous person to your Yom Kippur break fast. You told the celeb to bring along "mischpokhe." Who of the following was able to "farshtaist" (understand) best, and came with mischpokhe?"
a) Lauren Becall brought (reportedly) her cousin Shimon Peres..
b) Ex-Prez Bill Clinton brought Socks, the cat.
4. Which Black U.S. VIP greeted Israel's Yitzhak Shamir in Yiddish, with the words "Men kent reden Yiddish" (We can speak Yiddish.)
a) Colin Powell
b) Condoleezza Rice
5. "Oy, look at that cellulite!" exclaims Chava, who notices with horror, that her WHICH is jiggling like Jell-O?
6. Patricia, your non-Jewish neighbor tells you her daughter is pregnant with twins. You spit maybe twice (Poo! Poo!). Patricia correctly takes your 2-spit gesture to mean:
a) Twins are twice the tsouris!
b) May there be no evil eye!
7. Your 85-year-old zayde from Russia, plays poker once a week. A new man, Morris, joins the group and starts kvetching. Your zayde and Morris start arguing to the point of "cursing." Which is your zayde, who is a gentleman, more likely to say?
a) May you eat chopped egg with onion, pickled herring, gefilte fish, pastrami, latkes – and may you have an abscess in your tooth, so you scream in pain with every bite!
b) May you have ten gorgeous houses, each house with ten magnificent bedrooms, each bedroom filled with a special bed, and each night you should choose a different bed to sleep in - and may you scream from a massive heart attack and no one can find you!
8. The Sheinbaums, world travelers, wanted an exotic Bar Mitzvah for their only son. All had to be Glatt Kosher. Which could they NOT serve at the reception?
a) Pigeon meat kabobs appetizer
b) Tiger meat kabobs appetizer
9. HARD. So many Yiddish words or those with Yiddish origins have entered our lexicon. Who doesn't know the meaning of klutz? Or nosh? Or yutz? Ah, but a word is making the rounds in TV, film, and books lately that sounds like Yiddish, looks like Yiddish, is mistaken for Yiddish but ... uh uh ... it's NOT Yiddish. Which is it? (No Googling allowed.)
10. WARNING! CONTROVERSY AHEAD! The egg cream. This mmm-mmm so good confection, made popular in New York City, was "the" Yiddishe drink! This simple delight that consists of seltzer, milk, and Fox's chocolate syrup (no egg!) has become legendary and was served up at every Jewish-style candy or drug store. Ah, but the proper making of an egg cream (never mind its true origins) has caused much debate. So, I asked Stan Zimmerman, owner of the famed Sammy's Roumanian Steak House, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, to settle it once and for all. OK, true. The debate will still continue, but this question is based upon his expertise. Which is at least one part of his recommended method?
a) Put chocolate Fox's U-Bet syrup in first!
b) Put the milk in first!