This page is for you to write about your experiences with this lexicon, with specific words, or with any facet of Jewish language. Before posting a complaint about how the lexicon is organized and the categories we selected, you might want to read the Notes page.

The comments you post will appear on this page, and other visitors may respond to them. Dr. Sarah Bunin Benor and other scholars may analyze your comments as part of future research studies. By posting a comment, you are giving them permission to include it in their research and to quote it anonymously in publications.

8/29/2012 01:34:27 am

I am interested to see how this site will deal with Camp Hebrew. My experience at Camp Ramah in Canada, which I'm sure is familiar to many who attended a Jewish summer camp, is that Hebrew was intentionally assimilated into daily camp life, the affairs of which were conducted mostly in English. However, the Hebrew used is foreign to native Hebrew speakers (of any time or place). Bishul Chutz, for example, is the term used for cook-out because bishul means to cook and chutz means out/outside. Israelis though wouldn't understand the term and would utilize mangal. A nighttime story is a hashkavah, again a term unfamiliar to native Hebrew speakers in this context. Examples abound.

Sarah Benor
8/29/2012 07:17:43 am

These are great points. This kind of Hebrew coinage connects American Jews to other historical Diaspora communities that did similar things with Hebrew words. Please add more entries to the lexicon, and enter information like this in the Notes section of relevant entries. Thanks!

10/23/2012 04:35:59 am

some online dictionaries you may find useful


Harkavy Yiddish Dictionary

Jastrow Dictionary

Yiddish Dictionary Online

Yiddish Expressions

Roshei Teivot

iPhone Hebrew/English translator acronyms

Linda Handelsman
12/1/2012 01:59:17 am

I'm not sure how to search for words when I don't know the exact spelling. If it's not found, the system just suggests trying different spelling. I'm sure it's another level of complexity, but it would be great if it could guess some words similar to what I type and let me select the correct one.

Sarah Benor
12/2/2012 01:01:49 pm

Thank you for this suggestion. The system does that to some extent, as it includes several possible spellings for each entry. If your spelling doesn't show up, it's probably because that word is not yet in the Lexicon. So feel free to add it!

12/2/2012 06:24:36 pm

Hello all

we create an app for all android phone/tablet that can check tfillin and mezuzas. verry easy to use; friendly and with a lot of function
verry recomended for all sofer / megiah (the guy that is checking the parshiyot)
you can find it in google play the app name is Kidron - sofer stam
enjoy the app
have a nice day

Markham Kirsten, MD
12/6/2012 01:51:02 am

I am enjoying this site, being an assimilated Jew. I believe that incuding Hebrew spelling would help pronunciation, understanding meaning and etymolology.

Sarah Benor
12/6/2012 07:40:50 am

Thank you - I very much agree. This is on the list of plans for the future.

Judy Warner
12/19/2012 08:31:06 am

I was looking for a word like " feshtrubled" --meaning messed up. I have no idea how to spell it.

9/20/2014 08:13:41 pm

verstrubbelt= being 'strubbelig' in German
e.g Strubbelkopf= head,hair being 'strubbelig' dishevelled, untidy, disorderly,unkempt

Robert Hippert
12/23/2013 07:04:39 am

I just discovered this site. So useful and interesting! For words I'm completely unfamiliar with, some sort of pronunciation guide or means of hearing the spoken word would help. Thanks, you helped me understand a word I just heard on "Seinfeld."

Pesach-Yonah Malevitz
12/24/2013 03:48:22 pm

During the time of the Crusaders, when German Jews fled to Eastern, Slavic lands where Yiddish developed, there was no such concept as "public schools" in Germany as we know them today--the Jewish child went to a Jewish school (kheder, Yeshive, etc.) in his isolated Jewish area (ghetto?) whereas the non-Jewish child went to schools under the auspices of the church. I believe that's why former "Jewish" languages were written using the alef-beis, the alphabet with which the Jews were more familiar. In the USA of a century ago, Jewish immigrant children for the most part went to public schools and their knowledge of the ABC was much better than the alef-beis. I believe that's why "Jewish" English is written using ABC.

In recent years, the vast majority of olim from the USA are orthodox and live in the same Jerusalem neighborhoods (e.g. Bayit v'Gan, Kiryat Shaul, etc.) You hear Jewish English spoken in these and other such enclaves in Israel all the time!

2/9/2015 10:56:38 am

all comments are pleasant to ear

1/30/2014 02:35:37 am

Bookmarked your blog, it's awsome

3/1/2014 04:25:00 pm

Given the sizable population of native English speakers in Israel -- Expats from one of the 4 regions you list who are stationed in Israel for work (e.g., journalists, foreign service workers, consultants of all types); permanent residents or Olim (those who emigrated to Israel and received Israeli citizenship), and perhaps even the children of Olim whose first language, spoken by their parents & grandparents in the home , was/is English -- would it not make sense to include Israel as a fifth region where one might find a word or phrase in the lexicon being used?

3/14/2014 10:13:33 pm

Could you consider adding a "pronunciation" section to the entry for each word?

3/18/2014 09:05:49 pm

Boker tov-Good morning,

Just checked to see if a JEL listing for "specialist" and obtained "maven. A highly-limited modern meaning for "specialist" within Jewish-English is now a(n) historical matter.

During the founding years of Israel, the US was a recruitment area for military volunteers...against US neutrality laws. To hide the real travel mission of these volunteers, instead of listing their real skill, "specialists" was the designation for a WWII commissioned officer or NCO with combat experience". Eg: "Uncle Bert was a specialist and later returned to New York.

See: THE PLEDGE, Leonard Slater, Simon and Schuster, 1971, pg 211.


TJEL is a great site !

~ Bob

3/26/2014 12:23:42 pm

What a phenomenally wonderful site! Linguistic analysis and cultural resonance given equal attention, plus the opportunity to contribute, learn, and discuss. This is a very exciting discovery, which happened today by way of broyges tanz. I'm surprised I didn't know about it until now, since I often search on-line to investigate occasional Yiddish and Hebrew-Yiddish mysteries. Maybe you could find new ways to make your presence known.

9/29/2014 08:45:28 am

I just heard your Dov talk, but haven't looked through the lexicon yet. I am not sure you can really call Jewish English a distinct language, especially when there is such a distinctive continuum even within the speakers. Is Spanglish a language, or a hybrid. Are there distinct "rules" for JE phonemes, morphemes and syntax?

9/29/2014 08:50:59 am

Continuation of prior comment...
Yes, we might find some rules that apply to some sub-groups, but I am still not convinced of the idea of JE's being an actual language, because not all English speaking Jews understand it

3/27/2015 08:24:29 pm

Thank you, this is very helpful. Just one suggestion or request: that you put the pronunciation in parentheses next to the term. Mazeltov!

12/1/2020 03:07:47 pm

I agree! Having the IPA or pronunciation or even a recording of someone saying the word would be super helpful!

4/25/2015 11:22:48 am

Just found your site, its brilliant and found what I was looking for straight away, so went on to find other words I remember. As a child in tha1950's in my booba's house, had trouble with Broygus, you had the spellingbut not as the searchable word, but I found it alphabetically in the advanced search, I think your site is great as it keeps the yddish language alive for my granddaughters now I am the Booba!

Matt Prastein
1/16/2016 08:49:30 pm

"Etz Chayim" also refers to the Torah itself, its content, its teaching, as something which, to Kabalists, an entity that prexisted the creation, . . . cf "In the beginning was the Word" which I believe may be an English translation of an Aramaic phrase in the Talmud, and the origin of the opening words of the English translation of the Gospel of John.

2/23/2016 01:33:02 pm

the words "shikse" and "sheygetz", although commonly used, are a little worse than just "disparaging" - they are from the biblical hebrew "sheketz", which is usually translated as "abomination".

The Goy next door
2/27/2017 02:55:49 pm

This site is way cool, Thanks! I found it while I was searching for the correct spelling of farkakte.

But I couldn't help notice there doesn't seem to be any phonetic/pronunciation help. Is there a reason to exclude pronunciation? Am I just dense?

Az me est chazzer, zol rinnen fun bord.

Susan Diane Conner-Bernett
12/18/2017 06:00:19 am

Heimish etymology is wrong. Chet not het for chaim/ life

David Mehnert
4/4/2018 04:50:05 pm

‘Bear shits in the Woods!! Yoshke Tosca!!! The End!!!!’
A Scordatura Kaffeeklatsch in Nein Words Tuned, my Friend.

Don Salper
1/22/2019 02:21:09 pm

While studying the Bible in Hebrew, I found myself searching for words that made it from Classical Hebrew into English. It seemed like NONE!! When I came across "sack," I was delighted beyond words, especially when I found a great "Word History" of it in the American Heritage Dictionary. Only recently did I realize "camel" is another of those rare words! Though I found no word history of "camel," it makes sense to me that "sack" would have traveled on "camel's" back through trade routes into countries whose languages in turn passed them on to Old and thence Modern English.

10/24/2019 12:00:55 am

We are of Yemeni Jewish background and I see no words at all that we use that are Arabic based. Also some are slang and have now made it into Hebrew although not to the US yet. (Except in Mizrahi families). Can we add these words also?

Benjamin Davis
3/20/2021 08:57:31 am

Tayere Doktor Bunin, Would you please tell me the first recorded instance of " GOT HOT LIB DEM OREMAN UN HELFT DEM NOGID" ,a shayn dank, Benjamin


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