The Shmooze

PBS Station Loses Much-Maligned Yiddish Quiz

By Michael Kaplan

  • Print
  • Share Share

I may have gone too hard on my bubbe in a blog post last week. As it turns out, she may not have been at fault for my abysmal score on Thirteen-WNET’s Yiddish quiz, created in honor of Simon Schama’s five-part series, “Story of the Jews.”

In fact, my poor score may not even have been my fault.

According to the Yiddish mavens of the Internet, the quiz didn’t provide the best translations. And amidst a wave of complaints from Yiddish-speakers and fans, Thirteen looked to have dropped the quiz from its website.

One blogger said that the quiz — which she argued actually tested one’s ‘Yinglish’ as opposed to their Yiddish — was “mainly a quiz of how hard you can cringe through 15 mouse clicks.”

She points out that futz isn’t even a real Yiddish word. Shtik actually means a piece of something, but the quiz considered its Yinglish usage, instead translating it as “routine.”

Another blogger at Yedies similarly pointed out, “the quiz-taker is better advised to consult his knowledge of American popular culture than Jewish law.”

A spokesperson for the network blamed technical issues for the quiz’s disappearance. “It wasn’t taken down intentionally and they’re hoping to get it back up as soon as possible,” she said. The quiz was back up on the web site as of March 31.

For now, I’ll hold out hope that my embarrassingly low score of 8/15 can actually be attributed to the pure, high-standard Yiddish my bubbe taught me — not that Yinglish stuff.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: yiddish, story of the Jews, simon schama, english

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • "Selma. Nearly 50 years ago it was violent Selma, impossibly racist Selma, site of Bloody Sunday, when peaceful civil rights marchers made their first attempt to cross the Pettus Street Bridge on the way to the state capitol in Montgomery, Alabama." http://jd.fo/r50mf With the 50th anniversary approaching next spring, a new coalition is bringing together blacks, Jews and others for progressive change.
  • Kosovo's centuries-old Jewish community is down to a few dozen. In a nation where the population is 90% Muslim, they are proud their past — and wonder why Israel won't recognize their state. http://jd.fo/h4wK0
  • Israelis are taking up the #IceBucketChallenge — with hummus.
  • In WWI, Jews fought for Britain. So why were they treated as outsiders?
  • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?








You may also be interested in our English-language newsletters:













We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.