Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The New Joys of Yiddish: Completely Updated” as Want to Read:
The New Joys of Yiddish: Completely Updated
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The New Joys of Yiddish: Completely Updated

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  178 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Enjoy the most comprehensive and hilariously entertaining lexicon of the colorful and deeply expressive language of Yiddish. With the recent renaissance of interest in Yiddish, and in keeping with a language that embodies the variety and vibrancy of life itself, The New Joys of Yiddish brings Leo Rosten’s masterful work up to date. Revised for the first time by Lawrence Bu ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published August 26th 2003 by Harmony (first published 1968)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The New Joys of Yiddish, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The New Joys of Yiddish

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  178 ratings  ·  20 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The New Joys of Yiddish: Completely Updated
Maggie Anton
Aug 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: funny, humor, jewish, judaism
I never read the original cover to cover, just looked up words I was interested in. I'm glad I took the time to read all of this version. I both enjoyed and learned from this book. While I am familiar with most of the words here, many I needed reminding of their meaning again. I definitely like this new version better than the 1968 original. I hadn't realized how sexist [perhaps even misogynist] the old one was, but thankfully the editor calls out Rosten on this, as well as Rosten's tendency to ...more
Simcha York
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Leo Rosten’s The Joys of Yiddish is a brilliant blend of lexicography, history, humor, and cultural observation. This is not a book intended for the language scholar (though even those with a professional or academic interest in language should find a veritable feast here) but for anyone with an interest in the richness and variety of human expression.

Despite it’s title, this is a book that in many ways is more about Yinglish than Yiddish, being a celebration of the happy marriage between Englis
Oct 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Even if you know a lot of Yiddish you can still learn quite a bit from this interesting and informative book. It's format is like a dictionary with the history of the word and examples of of its use in context. Of course, since Leo Rosten was the original author a lot of examples are in the forms of jokes. Here's a good example:

A Jewish mother sent her son off to his first day in school with the customary pride and precautionary advice: “So, bubeleh, you’ll be a good boy and obey the teacher? An
Dec 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Started this one just after last HHD season, and wanted to finish it before a year had lapsed. This book is both dated and updated (thanks to Leo Rosten for the original and Lawrence Bush for the updates, mostly in the version of extensive footnotes), and is a linguistic encyclopedia, in spite of its pop title. Want to know the history-culture-common useage-stories behind common and not-so-common Yiddish words and phrases? This is the place to start. So many footnotes and references to other rel ...more
Oct 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Actually, I twice read the earlier, unrevised version, but Goodreads' searcher didn't find that one. Anyway, it's a fun read and I learned a bunch of words I will probably never have occasion to use. ...more
this is a reference/dictionary of yiddish sayings, etc. and is a fun factual book for looking up things that you hear and may or may not have know the root of. i would say fun for both jewish and non jewish alike.
Jun 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just a superb compilation of the Yiddish words you want to know, illustrated with a great deal of Yiddish humor.
Lilly | mothcub
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is v. fun and has cute little stories and jokes (and some illustrations) alongside each word. It had a whole bunch of interesting info about Jewish history and Judaism to give more grounding in some words and their concepts, much more info than I expected on that front, so that was pretty cool. I also really liked that this revised edition added so many footnotes to add to and correct/update some of Rosten's info (although since this version was published in 2001 it's still a bit outda ...more
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had a copy of this book years ago in a small mass-market paperback size. The new edition is revised and updated and comes in a nice large trade paper edition. Although I don't buy as many reference books as I used to, given the speed of looking things up on the Internet, this is a book that's just plain fun to read as well as educational. Highly recommended. ...more
Melvin Marsh, M.S.
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: judaism
For every Jewish word, you get a definition and often a story to go along with illustrating the point and definition.
Julian Richard
Aug 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Multiple anecdotes and a fun intro to yiddish expressions
Evanston Public  Library
This year's winning word at the Scripps National Spelling Bee was "knaidel" (a delicious creation, also known as a matzo ball or dumpling, usually served in an equally delicious bowl of chicken soup). This spelling was disputed by a few Yiddish language authorities, and given Rosten's listing of two variant spellings--"knaydl" or "kneydl,"--you can see how tricky it is to spell a word in a language that does not use the same alphabet as English. As many a Yiddish speaker might exclaim, "Oy, [or, ...more
Koen Crolla
Mar 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: language
Rosten is, at this point, an uncomfortable anachronism both religiously (e.g. in his hostility to Reform Judaism) and politically (casual misogyny being his most obvious and frequently indulged vice, though belligerent parochiality is another), but Bush corrects most of his flaws in notes if not in the actual text—including, usually, Rosten's sometimes truly bizarre choices in orthography.
I don't speak a lot of Yiddish myself—I know one song, and that's about it (my German is passable, though)—a
Jay Ginsburg
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
This isn't a book you 'finish.' When a question comes up, you pull out the book, try to find the word you heard, and then you keep on in Rosten's world of insight, stories, etc. I probably prefer his original, but I look at all 3 of the books we have. ...more
Feb 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
Great book for increasing your knowledge of Yiddishkeit.
Jan 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: languages, nonfiction
This is the one I own, although I actually prefer the un-updated version as this one is rather less funny and more serious than the original.
Jessy Robinson
Jul 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has been very edifying for me!
Apr 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, history, languages
Ever wondered about the meaning of words like mensch, oy, bagel, and farklempt? Here's a hilarious dictionary of Yiddish, with definitions, humor, stories, and cultural commentary. ...more
Tal S
Oct 21, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other
part dictionary, part anecdotes, this book reads like a leisurely after-dinner conversation :)
Linda Adams
rated it it was amazing
Nov 27, 2019
rated it really liked it
Mar 09, 2008
Genevieve Sylt
rated it it was amazing
Jun 21, 2011
rated it it was amazing
Feb 20, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Aug 05, 2017
rated it really liked it
Jul 19, 2016
Allen Stenger
rated it really liked it
Dec 26, 2016
George R.
rated it it was amazing
Mar 03, 2021
Genevieve Rosenberg
rated it really liked it
Dec 25, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Apr 29, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Jun 15, 2009
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Silk Roads: A New History of the World
  • The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia, Volume 1, Part 2: From c. 1500 to c. 1800
  • How to Read New York: A Crash Course in Big Apple Architecture
  • The New York Nobody Knows: Walking 6,000 Miles in the City
  • The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York
  • What Your Teacher Didn't Tell You: The Annexe Lectures (Vol. 1)
  • Malay Magic: Being An Introduction To The Folklore And Popular Religion Of The Malay Peninsula
  • The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia, Volume 2, Part 2: From World War II to the Present
  • Sejarah Melayu: The Malay Annals
  • The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia, Volume 2, Part 1: From c. 1800 to the 1930s
  • Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People
  • The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West
  • Anatomy of Chinese: Rhythm, Metaphor, Politics
  • The Advent Coloring Calendar: A Coloring Book to Bless and De-Stress Through the Season
  • Mort Kunstler's Civil War: The South
  • Paper Wife
  • Emergency Skin
  • Jews Don’t Count
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Leo Calvin Rosten was born in Lodz, Russian Empire (now Poland) and died in New York City. He was a teacher and academic, but is best known as a humorist in the fields of scriptwriting, storywriting, journalism and Yiddish lexicography.

News & Interviews

Oh hey, we're nearly halfway through 2021! We can't really believe it either... Traditionally, this is the time when the Goodreads editorial...
59 likes · 9 comments
“Writing after the Holocaust had destroyed a third of the world’s Jews, Yiddish poet Kadia Molodowsky (1894–1975) addressed the “Chosen People” doctrine most poignantly: “O God of Mercy,” she wrote, “For the time being / Choose another people.” 3 likes
“An official brought the chief rabbi of a town before the Court of the Inquisition and told him, “We will leave the fate of your people to God. I’m putting two slips of paper in this box. On one is written ‘Guilty.’ On the other is written ‘Innocent.’ Draw.” Now this inquisitor was known to seek the slaughter of all the Jews, and he had written “Guilty” on both pieces of paper. The rabbi put his hand inside the box, withdrew a slip of paper—and swallowed it. “What are you doing?” cried the inquisitor. “How will the court know—” “That’s simple,” said the rabbi. “Examine the slip that’s in the box. If it reads ‘Innocent,’ then the paper I swallowed obviously must have read ‘Guilty.’ But if the paper in the box reads ‘Guilty,’ then the one I swallowed must have read ‘Innocent.” 3 likes
More quotes…