'Oy, The Mishegas!'

'Oy, The Mishegas!'

And other indispensable Yiddishisms.

I grew up hearing, using, and loving Yiddish words. Though the language is barely spoken anymore, many of its words and phrases have worked their way into the vernacular of many people (particularly Jews). Yiddish often has a way of describing certain situations in ways that English (and other languages, for that matter) simply cannot. So, for all of our benefit and use, here is an important guide to some of the best and most usable Yiddish words and phrases.

Mishegas: craziness, madness

Perfect for describing any situation in which you have no idea what is going on. For example, all my notes to study for finals before they’re organized.

Oy/Oy Vey: oh, oh no

Another incredibly useful phrase. Can be used any time, for any reason. Wifi isn’t working and you need to watch the next episode? Oy vey! You forgot you had a paper due tomorrow? Oy vey! It’s the night before your first final and you just realized you don’t know anything? OY.

Farklemt: distraught, extremely emotional

I tend to use this one when I’m feeling very out-of-sorts or all over the place. It’s really the perfect way to describe the average college student, particularly during finals. In other words, it is likely that we’re all pretty farklemt right this second.

Schmooze: talk, chat

This is one of my personal favorites. It’s so much more fun to say you’re going to schmooze than saying you’re going to go talk to some important people, right? It just sounds so much more exciting.

Schvitz: sweat

Another one that you’re bound to hear often. Good to describe that one time this month you actually got yourself to go to the gym. Or, you know, to describe walking up Cornell’s hills every day.

Chutzpah: audacity, boldness, nerve

Perfect to use to describe anytime you do something brave. Always aim to have more chutzpah. For example – it takes a lot of chutzpah to finally talk to that professor about fixing your grade.

Kvetch: complain, complainer

My parents have referred to me as this one more than once (all in good fun, but they’re right – I do have a tendency to complain often). “Kvetch” is perfect for so many situations, though. For most of the year, you’ll usually find Cornell students kvetching about the weather.

Mensch: honorable/decent person

This word is ideal to describe that person you look up to and want to emulate. They are amazing and a mensch, and you should try to be, too.

Shtick: trick, an act

The word to use to explain when someone has a very particular “thing” that they do. For instance, my shtick is being extremely organized (even though sometimes my room looks like absolute chaos – don’t worry, I always know where everything is).

Yenta: gossip/gossiper, busybody

I feel like this one can be used to describe many different people. Let’s be real, we all like to yenta.

Farblunget: bewildered, confused

The word to use when you’re just that: bewildered and confused. This is a good one to know, since it’s such a familiar feeling for college students. But don’t worry, have some chutzpah and you’ll get through it.

Schlemiel: awkward/unlucky person

Another good one to know. Perfect to describe that person you saw slip and fall on an icy sidewalk in the depths of an Ithaca winter.

And finally, for when you need a really good insult….

Gay kaken aufen yam: go poop in the ocean

I’m sure you can find a use for this one without me telling you.

So there you have it! Go impress your friends with your new, exciting array of Yiddish vocabulary. I’m sure they won’t kvetch too much.

Cover Image Credit: http://cdn1.tabletmag.com/wp-content/files_mf/1258494161language_111709_380pxD.gif

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.

When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...


"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"


Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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