Kibitzing* With Claire

Adult Yiddish classes at Temple Chaverim

Oy Gevalt!* You don’t know Yiddish and always wanted to?

This is your chance to learn all the catchy Yiddish phrases and words that have permeated the English language with rich pronunciations and timeless, wise meanings.

in Plainview is offering classes once a month in Yiddish, the expressive language that was originally used by Eastern European Jews.

The class is taught by Claire Salant, of Old Bethpage, who was fluent in Yiddish as a child.  She rediscovered the language about five years ago and is enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge of Yiddish stories and songs.

“I was a very quiet, well behaved child”, she explained, “and I’m making up for it!”

The next thing was the lapel button that read, "Thou shalt not hock a cheinik!” which roughly translates as, “Stop bothering me with your nonsense!”

Phyllis and David, a married couple from Melville, were repeats from last year’s classes.

“Claire has a terrific sense of humor, everybody is amazed by her. She brings in music, tells jokes and it is a great class!” Phyllis said.

Lise Mayer, a board member at the temple, came to a class last year and is back for more. “Claire reminds me of my aunt," she said.

Claire started the class off with an exercise to the old children’s classic, “Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes, Knees and Toes”, but in Yiddish.  The class introduced themselves when asked by Claire, “Vos iz dayn nomen?”  (What is your name?)

 Claire emphasized,"Yiddish curses are meant to have fun with. You should be like a chandelier, hang by day, burn by night. Expressive, but not necessarily mean”, she explained.

Claire also imparts Yiddish wisdom to her students, You can’t dance at every wedding. Slow down your life, you can’t do everything.”

Some Yiddish words that have found their way into the English language: klutz, bagel, chutzpah, nosh, blintz, kosher, yenta.

  • Classes run 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., on the second Tuesday of the month; September 13, October 11, November 8 and December 13.
  • Cost is free for Temple members and $5 per class for non-members.  All are welcome.
  • Of course a little nosh* is included.

For more information and to register, call Rosemary:

(516)367-6100, ext.101

Temple Chaverim, 1050

Washington Avenue, Plainview.


 *Kibitz: to joke around; *Nosh: to snack; *Oy gevalt: woe is me


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