Whether you're getting back to your roots or getting ready for your first seder, it couldn't hurt to get a little help with your Yiddish, and the formidable Rabbi Benjamin Blech is here to lend a hand with the self-deprecatingly named Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning Yiddish
. This language has been a strong influence on American English and pop culture, so even if you're a hundred miles from the nearest synagogue you can learn plenty just from browsing the Rabbi's words of wisdom. It's not just vocabulary lists and pronunciation guides, either--that would be far too boring for such a vibrant language. You'll learn why a culture that typically uses two languages (Hebrew and whatever's local) needed to develop a third, and why it stuck. There's also lots of Jewish history and contemporary Yiddish American crossovers to put the language in its context--and, given the importance of humor in Jewish culture, there's a liberal helping of jokes and funny moments to help you grasp words and concepts. Chapters on holidays, travel, food, family, health, entertainment, and more round out your Yiddish experience. If you want to gossip with your local yenta, understand Lenny Bruce routines, or get to know one of our nation's founding cultures a little bit better, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning Yiddish
will make you a maven. --Rob Lightner
From the Back Cover
You're not idiot, of course. You can serve up a mean s'il vous plait in a French bistro, live la vida loca for a night of margaritas, and manage a sayonara! after sushi, sake, and karaoke. But when it comes to throwing around a little Yiddish, you feel like a total nebbish! Don't throw your hands in a helpless "Oy, vey" just yet! The Complete Idiot's Guide to Learning Yiddish is your guide to this unique tongue, whether you're tackling rules of grammar or just throwing around some key phrases so you sound a little less goyish. In this Complete Idiot's Guide you get a fascinating explanation of how and why Yiddish developed, an easy introduction to the Yiddish alphabet, as well as the distinctive sound of Yiddish, and all the Yiddish you'll need for communicating with family and friends or for bargain-hunting on New York's Lower East Side. This book contains a treasury of Yiddish words and phrases for every occasion.