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New Book - Yiddish Blessings and Curses
22 January 2004
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
“May you grow like an onion with your head in the ground!” Or, as it goes in the original Yiddish: “Zolst vaksn vi a tzibele mitn kop in dr’erd!”
That’s just one of the colorful curses to be found in the new book, Let’s Hear Only Good News: Yiddish Blessings and Curses, by Dr. Josef Guri of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Among the blessings is the familiar “zolst zein gezunt” -- “good health to you,” one of many similar expressions wishing another party well.
All told, there are 200 blessings and 450 curses in this folkloric work, which is illustrated with amusing drawings. The items are listed alphabetically in Yiddish, with the equivalent expressions in English, Hebrew and Russian. Indexes are provided in the translated languages according to alphabetical listing and by themes.
The book was published by the Hebrew University Department of Russian and Slavic Studies and is distributed by the university’s Magnes Press. Publication was made possible by a grant from the Pratt Foundation of Australia, founded by Richard Pratt, a lover of the language.