2.21.2015

All the Hebrew You Need to Know You will Learn in Hollywood


Above, the O.G.s

Save for the words klutz and putz (two words I have long been familiar with due to my...disposition) all the Hebrew I learned, I've learned in Hollywood.

When casting directors are looking for a girl with chutzpah (oomph, sass) one needs to know what that means, else lose the part due to ignorance. Besides, peppering your language with Yiddish is one way to get in with them. In a town where people have forcing themselves into Scientology (now passe) and Kabbalah (also passe) in order to rub elbows with those doling out film roles, it wouldn't hurt to brush up.

Reading below is as valuable as training with a great acting coach, without dropping $200 a class:

tuches
Rear end, bottom, backside, buttocks. In proper Yiddish, it’s spelled tuchis or tuches or tokhis, and was the origin of the American slang word tush.

yente
Female busybody or gossip

shtick
Something you’re known for doing, an entertainer’s routine, an actor’s bit, stage business; a gimmick often done to draw attention to yourself

shikse
A non-Jewish woman, all too often used derogatorily. It has the connotation of “young and beautiful,” so referring to a man’s Gentile wife or girlfriend as a shiksa implies that his primary attraction was her good looks. She is possibly blonde.

spiel
A long, involved sales pitch, as in, “I had to listen to his whole spiel before I found out what he really wanted.” From the German word for play.

Mazel Tov
Or mazltof. Literally “good luck,” (well, literally, “good constellation”)

schmuck
Often used as an insulting word for a self-made fool, but you shouldn’t use it in polite company at all, since it refers to male anatomy.

shmooze
Chat, make small talk, converse about nothing in particular. But at Hollywood parties, guests often schmooze with people they want to impress.

goy
A non-Jew, a Gentile. As in Hebrew, one Gentile is a goy, many Gentiles are goyim, the non-Jewish world in general is “the goyim.”

shlemiel
A clumsy, inept person, similar to a klutz (also a Yiddish word). The kind of person who always spills his soup.

nosh
Or nash. To nibble; a light snack
 
 

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