Rabbi Shafran, whose latest book is “It’s All In The Angle” (Judaica Press), blogs at rabbiavishafran.com.
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Thrown Through the Yiddish Window

What’s with all these people getting defenestrated all of a sudden?

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A Safer Space for Women in Orthodox Judaism’s Rules for Sex

‘Do we really imagine that true respect for women can survive, let alone thrive, in a world where standard “entertainment” is saturated with their objectification and all too often actual abuse?’

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Singing Yiddish Hoshanas to Holiday Exhaustion

A Yiddish phrase that sums up the feeling of being utterly beat at the end of the holidays

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A Yiddish Deer in the Headlights

The story behind the old Yiddish saying ‘like a chicken in children of man’

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Rosh Hashanah’s Spiritual Time Travel

Like a wormhole through space-time, Judaism provides a way to change the past

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Elijah and the Burning Synagogue

For Selichot in 1939, Ruzhan’s Jews prayed beside the ashes of the synagogue where they had almost been burned alive

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All the Tea in Chainik

A Yiddish etymological journey leads from Rudy Giuliani to Chinese teakettles, the Three Stooges, Russian hackers, and back again

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Got Shmutz?

We have the dirt on one of Yiddish’s most evocative words

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Epes Is Rotten in Helsinki

The one Yiddish phrase you need to make sense of the president’s latest adventures in international politics

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Yiddish’s Favorite Disease

There are many ways to tell someone off in the mamaloshen, but only one medical metaphor that really stings

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From Yiddish to Outer Space: On the Origins of One Mysterious Word

What’s in a glitch? You’d be surprised.

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Much Ado About Garnisht

The wonderful Yiddish word meaning, well, nothing

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Forget Twitter: These Days, It’s All About Tzitter

Meet the Yiddish word that perfectly captures our frightful moment

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On Volcanoes, Chickens, and Plumbers

And the Yiddish word that unites them

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To Farblondje Is Human

Confused? Mistaken? Lost? There’s a Yiddish word for that.

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As California Suspends Assisted Suicide, a Jewish Perspective on the Sanctity of Life

The Riverside County judge was right to overturn the law

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On Milchig, Fleishig, and Pareve

The Yiddish words to describe the things we eat have a complicated history of their own

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How the Yarmulke Got Its Name

The true story of one of Yiddish’s most misunderstood words

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Meh, Feh, Shmeh

To disdain and dismiss, there’s nothing like Yiddish

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Why We Daven

No, really: What does the word mean? And where did it come from?

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In Yiddish, Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Unless, of course, you’re a pig

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The Duck in the Long Johns

On the origins of a particularly popular winter undergarment

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Is Your Passover ‘Gebrokts’?

Get to know the holiday’s most under-rated term, which, strangely, has to do with not eating matzah

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The Dog Days of Yiddish

What’s the difference between a hound and a human? Just ask the mamaloshen.

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The Birth of Shtick

We all know the word, but do we use it correctly?

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Frustrated by the State of the World? Yiddish Has the Perfect Expression for You.

The perfect idiom for our time involves a practice now long gone

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Whence the Gogel Mogel?

From Tolstoy to ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ a mysterious Yiddish drink intrigues. But what’s in its name?

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How a Holocaust-Era Yiddish Song Became a Women’s March Slogan

The strange and inspiring history of “Mir Velen Zei Iberleben,” or “We Will Outlive Them”

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A Goy, a Yid: What’s in a Name?

How did one Biblical tribe come to give all Jews their name? And just who are the goyim? A guide for the perplexed.

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