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This category contains articles written by Wex as well as those written about him and his work.

Let’s Just Say Hors D’Oeuvre

“I spent Purim at a shiva” is just further proof that phrases that sound great as Country & Western titles are a lot less fun when they describe your life. Four people I know died in the past week, among them an uncle for whom “beloved” was a lot more than a term in an […]

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With Purim almost here, it’s time for me to recall the observations about homentashn that I made a few years ago in Just Say Nu. In writing about certain types of Yiddish slang, I remarked that pirge (think “perogie”) and knish (think beef)  can both be used rather vulgarly to refer to those parts of […]

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From Top to Tukhes

If you don’t believe that brains are strictly a special-order item in Toronto these days, just take a look at our mayor. I haven’t been able to find a single retail butcher who stocks them on a regular basis (though I have to admit that I haven’t yet ventured into any of our city’s more […]

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If I only had a latke

Don’t ask me how I ended up doing all this Yiddish; I started out as a hipster, the first kid on the block to have a Davy Crockett hat: my parents cut off the tail, used it to sweep up chometz on the night before Pesach, and called what was left a kinder-spodek. I owned […]

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A new book for 2013…

We didn’t want to tell you about this until we got the cheque. Wex is writing a book about Jewish food for Scribner. He’s hoping that Mrs. Wex will cook him some of the extraordinary things he is discovering during his research. Mrs. Wex is a little alarmed. You can follow Wex’s research and findings […]

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Adrienne Cooper’s memorial

Here’s a link to Jon Kalish’s audio report on the memorial service for Adrienne Cooper that was held on January 1st in New York. It’s a nice combination of excerpts from the official program of song and eulogy with less formal interviews with a few of the people in attendance who knew Adrienne. I was honoured […]

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My cantor was on the lam

Only Michael Wex could daven next to a guy U.S. government investigators allege to be the ringleader of “one of the largest immigration fraud schemes to have ever been committed in our country.” This news comes on the back of police being called to the Markham Street Shul on Yom Kippur when a request not […]

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Nothing says heymish like an African safari

Last week Wex was asked to comment on New York Times journalist David Brooks’ piece on his African safari vacation, and specifically on his use of the Yiddish word haimish (sic). Although he has no problem with Brooks’ understanding of the word heymish (to give it the YIVO transliteration), Wex does have something to say about […]

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This just in: “chutzpah” is being used correctly!

It’s a constant source of irritation to Wex that the word chutzpah is often misused in English to mean having balls instead of its more accurate meaning of displaying unbelievable cheek. So he was chuffed to bits when Tablet asked him to comment on the recent resurgence of the use of the word in connection […]

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