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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
For all the bubelehs in your life -- finally -- the completely updated New Joys of Yiddish. Not a moment too soon, all the wit and wisdom of American Jewish culture -- as comforting as a bowl of matzo ball soup and more fun than a game of dreidel -- you should buy it, live and be well!
When the world feels like its going to Gehenna (see page 118), I know of no better way to stop kvetching (see page 198) than to pick up Leo Rosten's witty and evocative classic. Newly revised, it reflects the changes wrought over the years, without losing one bit of the spirit, joy, or humanity of the original. Leo Rosten had seykhl (see page 317), and Lawrence Bush is a real mensch (see page 232) for doing such a good job of complementing Rosten's work and bringing it up to date for the 21st century. In his introduction, Bush confides that his grandmother used to say, "Oy, a lebn af dayn kop! ("Life on your head"), and I, for one, second that blessing. I would go further -- I'd say you'd have to have a lokh in kop (see page 209) not to love this book. It is a valentine to Jewish-American culture, with rib-tickling jokes that had me cackling on the bus, interspersed with folklore and stories dating back to the days of the eastern European shtetl (see page 366). Also included are helpful explanations of the symbolism and meaning of Jewish religious observances and illuminating tidbits of information. But whether explaining the difference between a shlemeil and a shlemazel (see page 344) or describing the magic of Klezmer music (see page 182), The New Joys of Yiddish is manna for a Jewish-American soul -- or for anyone interested in dipping into the delights of this fascinating language and culture. (Judith Estrine)