From The Three Stooges to Seinfeld, Born to Kvetch is a smart and witty portrait of Yiddish and its relationship to both Jewish culture and American life.
“An earthy romp through the lingua franca of Jews.... This treasure trove of linguistics, sociology, history and folklore offers a fascinating look at how, through the centuries, a unique and enduring language has reflected an equally unique and enduring culture.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
The main spoken language of the Jews for more than 1,000 years, Yiddish offers a comprehensive picture of the mind-set that enabled them to survive a millennium of unrelenting persecution across Europe. Through the idioms, phrases, metaphors, and fascinating history of this wonderful tongue, Michael Wex gives us a moving and inspiring portrait of a people, and a language, in exile.
From tukhes to goy, meshugener to bobe mayse (cok-and-bull story), Born to Kvetch offers a wealth of material, some that has never appeared in English before, on all elements of Yiddish life, including food, nature, divinity, humanity, and even sex.
Novelist, lecturer, and translator Michael Wex is one of the leading lights in the revival of Yiddish, and author of the New York Times bestseller Born to Kvetch and its follow-up, Just Say Nu.
“Wise, witty and altogether wonderful....” — New York Times
“Required reading.” — New York Post