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Quotable Jewish Quotes and Fortune Cookies

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quotable-quotes Once upon a time there were two Jews… and the first thing they asked each other is “Where is the best Chinese restaurant?“.  Once you understand the essence of that question, you understand the love affair that Jews have with Chinese food.  And to give our dear readers a better understanding of us Jews, we are publishing this primer on Jewish and Yiddish sayings, as well as some Fortunes, if they were written by Jews, G-d forbid!  And should you see a bunch of Jews eating Chinese food and you overhear their conversation, we complete this article with a definition of some popular Yiddish words, for your edification.

Funny Jewish and Yiddish Sayings

  • Ask about your neighbors, then buy the house.
  • If the rich could hire the poor to die for them, the poor would make a very nice living.
  • Rejoice not at thine enemy’s fall – but don’t rush to pick him up either.
  • Worries go down better with soup than without.
  • You can’t sit on two horses with one behind.
  • They are both in love: he with himself and she with herself.
  • The hat is fine but the head is too small.
  • If he were twice as smart, he’d be an idiot!
  • If a girl can’t dance, she says the musicians can’t play.
  • Man plans and God laughs.
  • If you sleep with dogs, you get up with fleas.

Jewish Fortune Cookies:

  • A bird that you set free may be caught again, but a word that escapes your lips will not return.
  • A mother understands what a child does not say.
  • A pessimist, confronted with two bad choices, chooses both.
  • jewish-proverbAs he thinks in his heart, so he is.
  • As you teach, you learn.
  • Do not be wise in words – be wise in deeds.
  • Don’t be sweet, lest you be eaten up; don’t be bitter, lest you be spewed out.
  • Don’t look for more honor than your learning merits.
  • First mend yourself, and then mend others.
  • He that can’t endure the bad, will not live to see the good.
  • If charity cost nothing, the world would be full of philanthropists.
  • If not for fear, sin would be sweet.
  • Make sure to be in with your equals if you’re going to fall out with your superiors.
  • Not to have felt pain is not to have been human.
  • What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t invent with your mouth.

Funny Quotes About Jews

Anytime a person goes into a delicatessen and orders a pastrami on white bread, somewhere a Jew dies.

– Milton Berle

Jesus was a Jew, yes, but only on his mother’s side.

– Archie Bunker

America is a place where Jewish merchants sell Zen love beads to agnostics for Christmas.

– John Burton

A car hit a Jewish man. The paramedic says, “Are you comfortable?”  The man says, “I make a good living.

-Popular Yiddish Words


say-it-in-yiddishIn the early part of the 20th century, more than 10 million people world-wide spoke Yiddish. By the middle part of that century, the numbers had declined to around 2.5 million but it is still being spoken today.

Here are some of the common Yiddish words you might want to know the meaning of:

  • bubbe – Grandmother, other similar words are bobe or bobeshi
  • chutzpah – extreme arrogance or nerve, another similar word is khutspe – Imagine the chutzpah of being charged a corking fee.  Umm, we can unscrew the bottle caps off our wine ourselves, thank you very much!
  • glitch – a slip or nosedive
  • kibbitz – collective; joking around
  • klutz – a block of wood; a clumsy of dumb person; another word is klots
  • kosher – food or other things that is acceptable to Orthodox Jews – Such as that served exclusively by Cho-Sen Island in Lawrence, NY.
  • kvetsh – to press or squeeze; complain – That’s us kvetshing when the food isn’t to our liking.
  • Mazel Tov – good luck; congratulations; another word is mazltof – We always say Mazel Tov before entering a Chinese restaurant, lest it be our last supper 😉
  • mishegas – craziness; insanity – You should see the misghegas that goes on when we’re out one of our Quests!
  • mishpocheh – family; other words are mishpokhe or mishpucha – The Mee’s are MY mishpucha.
  • oy vey – means dismay or grief; “oy vey iz mir” means “Oh, woe is me.”
  • plotz – to explode, extreme aggravation; another word is plats
  • shalom – deep peace; a greeting
  • shlep – to drag; unwillingly carry something – Sometimes we have to shlep a few bottles of wine to the Chinese restaurants that don’t serve liquor.  But, that’s not really a complaint!
  • shtick – gimmick; something you do, like a routine on stage – Mee Tsu Yan has lots of shticks.  He should be a stand up comedian! 
  • spiel – very long sales pitch
  • shiksa – implies that a non-Jewish woman’s main traits are her good looks and youth
  • shagetz – a non-Jewish boy who is unruly or bad natured
  • tuches – your bottom; your rear end; other words are tuchis, tuches or tokhis – Our fascination with all the bathroom pictures we post on Twitter likely stems from our obsessions about our tucheses.
  • yente – a gossip; a busybody

Humbly submitted for your consumption,

Mee Magnum  (“Chop!  Chop!”)

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  1. Fantastic mixed post. I love the Jewish sayings 🙂

  2. What great words of wisdom! I love some of these expressions and love learning a few new Yiddish words. Thanks.

    • Sometimes, you just have to say something in Yiddish that doesn’t quite sound the same in English. It just says it all! Sometimes! Especially if the other person understands Yiddish!! LOL

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