Saba, Savta (Hebrew)

Saba, Savta (Hebrew) pronounced sa-ba and sav-ta ; (incorrect)Bubbe, Zayde (Yiddish) pronounced "Bubbeh" or "Bubbee" and "Zaydeh" or "Zaydee";

kinder (Yiddish), yeladim, (Hebrew) –

kinder (Yiddish), yeladim, (Hebrew) – children (pl., not gender specific) The Folkshul kinder/yeladim learn their love of Yiddish through singing with Fran.

Todah Rabah(תודה רבה), Hebrew

Todah Rabah(תודה רבה), Hebrew, means "thank you very much" or "thanks a lot." Expressed as grateful feelings or thoughts; gratitude; a heart full of thanks; an expression of gratitude.

On Thanksgiving, we say todah rabah, as an expression of our gratefulness and appreciation for family, friends, food and good health. Do you say todah rabah for anything else?

Chanukah and Judah (Judas) Maccabee

Chanukah and Judah (Judas) Maccabee (Judah, the hammer) born 190 B.C. in Judea, and died in 160 B.C. He was killed in battle. He was best known as the Jewish warrior who instituted the celebration of ChanukahJudah Maccabee led the Jewish people in recapturing their temple from Syrian occupying forces in 164 B.C., allowing Jews to practice their religion again. The uprising was started in 167 B.C. by Judah's father, Mattathias, against Antiochus IV, the Syrian ruler of what is now part of Israel. Judah continued the revolt after Mattathias' death, eventually retaking the desecrated Jerusalem temple. After restoring and dedicating it, Judas and all those assembled in Israel, decided the event should be remembered annually "with joy and gladness for eight days," now observed each December as Chanukah. In the ensuing years, Judah fended off enemy attacks, liberated captive Jews in Galilee, evaded a kidnapping attempt, made an alliance with Rome, and died fighting Syrian forces.


latke,Yiddish; leviva,Hebrew: for Jewish villagers living in Russia or Poland, potatoes were cheap and plentiful during winter. By grating and making potatoes into little patties to be fried, millions of Jewish mothers provided for their children with just a few potatoes and very little fuel. Those who couldn’t use olive oil to fry the latkes used schmaltz, fat rendered from a chicken, duck or goose. There is no single correct latke. Some like their latkes made with coarsely grated potatoes, others with finely grated ones. For binding, some prefer flour and others matzo meal. Purists like their latkes to be all potatoes, often with a pinch of onion, while others might add grated carrots or other vegetables such as zucchini or artichokes. Despite the popularity of latkes and the tradition of eating them during Hanukkah, they are hard to come by in stores or restaurants in Israel, having been largely replaced by the Chanukah doughnut (Sufganiot),due to the influence of trade unions.

Shtetl, Shtetlach(pl) (Yiddish)

shtetl, shtetlach(pl) (Yiddish) - Alittle city, small town, village - in particular, the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe, where the remarkable culture of the Ashkenazim flourished before World War II. Certain Jewish traditions and values were preserved and embellished in the shtetlach, until they achieved a character distinctly their own. The residents were poor folk, fundamentalist in faith, earthy, superstitious, stubbornly resisting secularism or change. They were dairymen, cobblers, tailors, butchers, fishmongers, shopkeepers, peddlers. They considered their exile temporary and dreamed of the Messianic miracle that would -any day- return them and Jews around the world, to a restored Israel in the Holy Land. The Tsars confined the Jews to the "Pale of Settlement," twenty-five provinces of the Russian empire. To live outside, a Jew needed special permission from the authorities-and some skilled workers, professionals and businessmen did receive (or purchase, via bribery) such permission. But the vast majority of Jews in the tsarist empire lived within a restricted area. They could not move without approval from the police. Entire local populations could be abruptly "resettled," forced out of their homes, with no more legality then the arbitrary impulse of regional governors.

Many people think of "Fiddler on the Roof" as the summation of 19th and early 20th century shtetl life; but there was more to life on the shtetl than music and dancing. 

Check out this video from Fiddler on the Roof, Tradition (with subtitles), to get a feel for life on the shtetl -

Tzedakah, Hebrew

commonly translated as charity. Tzedakah, however, literally means "righteousness" -- doing the right thing, or justice.  A tzaddik, likewise, is a righteous person, someone who fulfills all his obligations, whether in the mood or not. As humanistic Jews it is our responsibility to reach out to others who are in need. Giving of one’s time and money is a statement that “I will do whatever I can to help." There are so many possible recipients: the poor, the sick, the uneducated, drug abuse, domestic violence, the homeless, animal rights, among others. Which one should you pick? Once you've defined "who/what" to give to, what's the best method to do so? Maimonides lists eight levels of tzedakah in order of priority. Many people think the highest level is to give anonymously. Actually there's an even higher level: helping a person to become self-sufficient. This includes giving someone a job, or a loan to start a business.

Tu B’Shvat:

Tu B’Shvat: Literally, means “the fifteenth of the month of Shvat,” corresponding to February; this year it is celebrated on Feb. 8. This holiday does not appear in the Torah, Bible or Talmud. Because of its secular nature, the rabbis treated it as a very minor holiday. It was not until the Zionist movement in the late 19th century that Tu B’Shvat was revived. It was then renovated to celebrating the planting of forests in Israel, in keeping with the efforts of Jewish pioneers to develop the land. In Israel, tree-planting remains the most prevalent observance of this holiday. In the U.S., with the rise of environmental movements, it has become known as the Jewish Earth Day. We can use Tu B’Shvat to raise our environmental consciousness; organize and educate others to support clean energy and independence; recycle and preserve our natural resources and oppose deforestation, global warming and pollution. For an excellent story about the destruction of trees, consider The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss.

Have a sustainable Jewish Earth Year, Tu B’shvat!

Boker Tov! (Hebrew); Gutn morgn! (Yiddish) Good morning!

When you see your teacher and friends at Folkshul, don’t forget to say Boker tov or gutn morgn!

Soup Kitchen

- A soup kitchen, bread line, or a meal center is a place where food is offered to the hungry for free, or at a reduced price. Soup kitchens in America began in 1931. (By 1932, 12 million Americans — about 25% of the normal labor force — were out of work as a result of the depression.) Soup kitchens served mostly soup and bread. In 1941, soup kitchens for Jews were organized in the Warsaw Ghetto in Poland. Soup kitchens still exist for homeless persons and struggling families across America. If you are looking for a way to make a difference, you can volunteer at a Soup Kitchen at a homeless shelter. Participate in Folkshul’s Soup Kitchen this Sunday, as we share soup in our community and help the Mitzvah Food Project provide food for needy families. “I can’t wait for delicious Matzoh Ball Soup at Folkshul’s Souper Sunday Soup Kitchen.”