Oy vey! A primer like no other!

The book opens to a pastel drawing of a young housewife in the doorway of a neat brick home, as her bespectacled husband wheels a big green garbage can to the curbside. The text?

See Jane.
Jane is married to Bob.
Jane loves Bob very much.
Bob is a real mensch.

This is no ordinary "Dick and Jane" primer. No, it's "Yiddish with Dick and Jane" and it'll make you laugh your tuchas off.



After I posted a photo of my car's new bumper sticker, "Keep Portland Meshugenah," Lori brought home a yellow hard-cover book with two familiar-looking, cherubic children spinning a dreidel while their spaniel watches. The book, co-authored by the husband-and-wife team of Ellis Weiner and Barbara Davilman, was a loaner from our friend, Karen, who was also the one who gave me the bumper sticker, never expecting she'd see it online.

"I about plotzed when I saw the photo of your car with the 'meshuganah' bumper sticker on it posted on your blog," she wrote in a note tucked inside the book. "Like a shtimmer, I was at a loss of words. What can I tell you, nu? This dear shaifeleh could have been knocked over with a feather!"

Well, after publicly expressing my fondness for learning handy phrases in foreign languages, this was the perfect gift -- even if it really wasn't a gift. Feh!

I inhaled the book in about a half-hour, breezing through 80 pages of text and drawings and a 24-page glossary and pronunciation guide. I'm already familiar with schlep, schlock and schnoz. With a little practice, I'll be able to slip plotz, pupik and shtunk into everyday conversation and either impress my Jewish friends or befuddle my gentile homies.

Need a little help with these words? Don't be a shlemiel!  Better check out "The Yiddish Handbook: 40 Words You Should Know."

Book cover: www.ellisweiner.com

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