Yiddish in the Spelling Bee
By Micah Halpern
Thursday June 6, 2019
I've Been Thinking:
For people who follow The Scripps National Spelling Bee this year's competition was more exciting than the Super Bowl.
Many people were amazed because the judges ruled that the competition was over and named eight national champions.
I found it amazing because three of the words in the competition were Yiddish.
Two of the Yiddish words were given to a 7th grader, contestant No. 5, Rishik Gandshari from San Jose, California.
The first Yiddish word he was given was "Yiddishkeit". He spelled it correctly. A little bit later he was given the Yiddish-Hebrew word "Keriah". The judges told Rishik that the word derives from Yiddish. Actually, "Keriah" really comes from the Hebrew. It means rending clothes during Jewish mourning. The judges defined it as tearing clothes in Jewish mourning ritual.
Finally, the last Yiddish word was "Lekach" the honey cake eaten by Ashkenazi Jews on and around Rosh Hashanah.
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