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WOLFE'S WORDSMay 25, 2010
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Every Day is "Spetysel"
by: Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
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This Month...

Editor's Comment
Michael looks at:
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Being Jewish Magazine

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Don't save that sexy lingerie for a "spetysel" (special) day. Every day is a "spetysel" day!

In Yiddish, we call a nightgown a "nakhthemd." Pajamas are known as "pizhame" and underwear is called "untervesh."

When we think of lingerie, what comes to mind? Victoria's Secret or Lane Bryant? Lingerie is making "di nayes" (the news). A Lane Bryant ad caused fits for ABC--who wouldn't run the ad--because of "too much cleavage." Lane Bryant had been set to launch its campaign for Cacique, plus size lingerie.

Some Jews--and non-Jews--save everything for "morgn" (tomorrow): good china and crystal for Thanksgiving, expensive "parfum" (perfume) for Saturday night, and fancy-shmancy lingerie for "der sof-vokh" (the weekend) away on vacation.

On my "fridzhider" (refrigerator), next to the pictures of my children and grandchildren, is an article By Ann Wells, titled, "Every Day is a Special Occasion." She wrote,

"My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister's bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package. 'This,' he said, 'is not a slip. This is lingerie.' He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite. (Note: "mehuderdik" is the Yiddish word for exquisite.): silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached. 'Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well, I guess this is the occasion.' He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician.

His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me. 'Don't ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you're alive is a special occasion.'

I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister's family lives. I thought about all the things that she hadn't seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special. I'm still thinking about his words, and they've changed my life. I'm reading more and dusting less. I'm sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings....I'm not "saving" anything...I wear my good blazer to the market if I feel like it....I'm not sure what my sister would have done had she known that she wouldn't be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted...."

Recently I had the pleasure of reading a poem titled, "Sex-Outfit" by Troim Katz Handler. She is the author of "Simkhe, (Celebration) Love-Letter Poems," Poetry translated by Shimon Beyles, English calligraphy by Harold Bernstein, and published by the International Association of Yiddish Clubs, Copyright 2001. I had the pleasure of meeting Troim two years ago at Century Village, West Palm Beach, FL.

The poem is included below with her permission.


Simkhe, my crown:
Today I bought
a darling chemise
with a dear little bow
of white satin,
with strings for shoulder straps,
with silver-white lace
(transparent in the back),
to be worn in moments of Simkhe fervor.

Simkhe, kroyn mayner:
kh'hob haynt gekoyft
a shemizkele
mit a shleyfele
fun vaysn atles,
mit shnirelekh far di akslen
un vays-zilberne shpitsn
(durkhzeike fun hintn),
af ontsuton
in momentn fun Simkhe-hitsn

For such a passionate
as a top I'll wear
a short wrap,
adorned with sheer pleats
in the collar and cuffs,
decorated with white satin -
should a miracle occur
in our dreams
and you invite me
to be with you.

Oybn vel ikh trogn
a kurtse aynviklung
far aza tayvediker
batsirt mit durkhzeike falbn
inem kolner un manzhetn,
baputst mit vaysn atles -
tomer makht zikh a nes
in undzere khaloymes
un vest mikh
tsu dir farbetn.

The truth is
it was all a caprice,
because I bought the sex-set
for my nightgown drawer;
I will wear it
never at all,
not by night
and not by day.

Der emes iz
s'iz geven a kapriz,
vayl gekoyft hob ikh
dem seks-komplet
far mayn nakhthemd-shuflod;
trogn vel ikh im
keyn mol nit,
nit bay nakht
un nit bay tog.

Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe is the author of a new book titled, "Yiddish for Dog & Cat Lovers." To order, click here.
Marjorie Wolfe
19 Market Dr.
Syosset, NY 11791
$13 (plus $3.50 postage & handling, USA)
$13 (pus $5.00 postage & handling, Canada


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