Thank God for Google Alerts!
This morning we picked up this great review of How to Be a Mentsh (and Not a Shmuck) from the Sacramento Book Review.
It was published today – nearly nine months after the publication of How to Be a Mentsh – and is written by Claude M. Ury.
With a brilliant writing style which has made him one of the leading lights in the Yiddish revival, Michael Wex distills the age-old principles that have been the nucleus of Jewish survival, and he forms them into some relevant lessons, delightful anecdotes, and real-world applications for not just Judaism but all faiths.
“You are a shmuck if you know you’re great because your mother would never lie, you have a life-coach instead of a conscience, and you send your life-coach to tell your spouse that you want a divorce. You are a mentsh if you know that just because something isn’t wrong it isn’t right, you remember that all people in a line are just as important as you are, you treat others the way you don’t want them to treat you, and you cut everybody else the same slack that you cut for yourself.”
A superb book. In the pages of How to be a Mentsh, the author works to convince readers that the great Jewish language, Yiddish, embodies in its vocabulary some of the great truths of Jewish ethics—in essence, it tells us how we can be decent to others. This knowledge is powerful. As cited in a piece in the New York Times on July 21, 2009 by Sam Roberts (Yiddish Resurfaces As Cities Second Political Language), Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York, probably used Yiddish as a means of having his kugel and eating it too.