The Yiddish word for today

November 2013





Daus Yiddish vort far heist. (The Yiddish word for today.)

Der zummer gait avek un balt vet shane veren kalt. (Summer is over and soon we will be getting cold weather.)

Ahz ich haub geven ah clayneh ven der vetter is gevoren kalt flegen mir gain yehder mitvauch in shvitz baud. (When I was a little girl living in Chicago, as soon as the weather was cold every Wednesday we went to the Turkish bath house.)

Mir flegen zach tresen dorten mit mein baube un mine mutters fear shvester un zayereh maydlach. (We would meet up with my grandmother and my mother’s four sister and their little girls.)

Mir flegen zach goot oys varehmen in der hayser shvitz. Dee mahmeh fleckt unz vashen fuhn kaup biz dee fiss mit zayfik bletter fuhn ah baym. Klop, klop inplaytzeh. Zee fleckt zaugen daus is goot far dee bluten. (We would get our bodies nice and warm in the hot steam room. Mother would wash us from head to toe with soapy oak leaves tied together. Smack, smack she would go on our backs. She would say it’s good for your circulation.)

Nauch daus baud flegen mir zach laygen ahf klayneh betlach in ah sinstereh tzimmer un shlafen far ah halbeh shpundeh. (After the bath we would all lay down on cots in a dark room and sleep for about a half hour.)

Nauch der rue flegen mir alleh eppes essen un trinken ah glehzeleh chai. (After the rest we would have something to eat and a glass of hot tea.)

Ich haub daus zayer gehglichen un heint ahz ich bin alt kumt mir daus alleh maul in zinen ahz daus vert kalt. (I loved this very much and today when I am old I always think of this when the weather gets cold.)

Henya Chaiet is the Yiddish name for Mrs. A. Helen Feinn. Born in 1924 ten days before Passover, her parents had come to America one year prior. They spoke only Yiddish at home so that is all she spoke until age five when she started kindergarten. She then learned English, but has always loved Yiddish and speaks it whenever possible. Chaiet lived in La Porte and Michigan City, Ind., from 1952 to 1978 and currently resides in Walnut Creek, Calif. Email:

Updates on the current situation in Israel