Yiddish Word Of The Week

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Jordan Palmer

Yiddish has always been a fun mystery to me.

The words my grandparents would say always sounded funny, and I loved trying to say them when I was a kid. I’ve come to learn that Yiddish is a hybrid language combining German, Herbrew, and Araamic with a dash of Slavic languages, and was widely spoken in Jewish communities in Central and Eastern Europe, up until World War II. 

These days, thanks to the pandemic, interest in Yiddish has exploded, with online classes becoming very popular among people wanting to learn more. So, let’s learn more. 

Every Monday, we will present a Yiddish Word Of The Week, complete with correct spelling, the best translation we can come up with, and serious attempt to use the word in a sentence. 


Luftmensch: Literally, “air person”.

Someone whose head is in the clouds, usually concerned with intellectual or artistic pursuits while being oblivious to and out of touch with this-worldly concerns like earning a living. Usually refers to a male for historical/sociological reasons.

Eg.- My husband is such a luftmensch. Even though our electricity was disconnected he just studies by candle-light!