Yep, we now have Hebrew and Yiddish Wordle

Yep%2C+we+now+have+Hebrew+and+Yiddish+Wordle

Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer

Hopefully, you are now not only officially hip to what Wordle is, but its Jewish roots. If not, please read here.  We’ll wait.

Since Wordle went viral, it has inspired a seemingly endless array of spoofs and knockoffs, including now a Hebrew and Yiddish version of the buzzy new daily word game.

In an interview this week with Slate.com, the game’s inventor Josh Wardle was asked about the knockoffs and said, “I love them. As someone who creates stuff, to see people so inspired by something that you created that they want to riff on it, that’s amazing. That makes me feel so good.”

Apparently, Wardle has made his code “open source” which refers to something people can modify and share because its design is publicly accessible.

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Yiddish Wordle

This version of Yiddish Wordle version was created by a former faculty member at Berkeley University named James Conway.

According to his website bio, Conway is “a mathematician, primarily interested in topology and geometry, more specifically: contact and symplectic geometry. I also typeset books, specializing in Hebrew/Yiddish, and translate Yiddish to English.”

“To build the game, I adapted the pre-existing code to work with a Yiddish keyboard, be right-to-left, added a Yiddish wordlist, and hand-picked the secret words,” said Conway, via email. “I decided to build it because many Yiddishists have the same thought throughout their day, ‘If I can have this in English, why can’t I have it in Yiddish too?’ I was enjoying Wordle in English, and I thought: “Why not in Yiddish?”

Hebrew Wordle

Like the English version, Hebrew Wordle is exactly the same game as Wordle, except that word choices and keyboard letters are, well Hebrew.

Wordle, the word game you can’t stop playing, has Jewish relatives

I’ve never been one to be on time for appointments or super addictive internet trends. And while I was recently on time for my monthly beard trim, I find myself a bit late to the party, otherwise known as Wordle.

I first noticed my wife posting her accomplishment of solving the daily puzzle on Facebook, and soon my timeline was filled with posts featuring green, yellow and white boxes, with others doing the same. So this time, instead of completely blowing off the trend as I did with “Angry Birds,” I jumped in and am now being counted among the estimated 2.5 million people who play daily.

But, within one minute of starting, I said to my wife, “This is Mastermind.”

What the heck is a Wordle?

Wordle is a simple, free, word-guessing game created by a Brooklyn software engineer named Josh Wardle. He designed it for his partner who enjoys playing word games.

What’s Jewish about Mastermind

Mastermind was my absolute favorite board game in the 1970s. I especially loved the James Bondeque supervillain on the game box, sitting with that smug look on his face, just looking for a fight, making us all realize that we had the power to thwart his evil plans by cracking the code.

What I didn’t know back then was that Mastermind was dreamed up by an Israeli in 1970. The game was created by Israeli postmaster Mordecai Meirovitz, who presented his idea at the 1971 Nuremberg Toy Fair, where the English firm Invicta Plastics purchased the rights.

The original board game was for two players, the codemaker and the codebreaker. The codemaker selects an arrangement of four pegs from a choice of six colors and arranges these in a compartment below the board. The codebreaker selects an arrangement of four pegs, places it on the board. The codemaker then uses a second set of black and white pegs to alert the codebreaker if any of the colors were in the correct spot, or in the code, but in the wrong spot.

Sound familiar?

More than just a game

According to PJ Grisar of The Forward, Mierovitz’s creation spurred more than just creative fun over the last 50 years. The game has been a favorite of mathematicians who have studied it.

Author Clifford A. Pickover wrote in “The Math Book: From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension, Mastermind ‘was significant, partly due to the long stream of research the game triggered.’”

As Pickover writes, “In 1977 computer scientist Donald Knuth published an algorithm enabling players to crack the code within five guesses, prompting a series of academic papers. But the applications of Meirowitz’s game didn’t end there.”

According to a 2020 Vice article marking the game’s 50th anniversary, the Australian military used the game to train its soldiers. More recently, researchers from the University of Leuven in Belgium developed a genetic algorithm for playing Mastermind and, in 2013, a Spanish team presented a conference paper that brought evolutionary algorithms to gameplay.