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WOLFE'S WORDSDecember 11, 2008
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Shnorrer, Khazer, Shporevdiker, Aynbrenger or Kar
by: Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Important dates

This Month...

Editor's Comment
Michael looks at:
Farewell, Shalom and Adieu

Being Jewish Magazine

see a .pdf copy of the current issue

An Open Letter from Abba to His Family

Enough With The Political Finger-Pointing!

Revisiting the Haggadah

Eddy's Recipe List
Victoria Sponge

Book Review
Unstrung Heroes

The Outspeaker
Encouraging violence is never correct

Good times and bad times with Batya

Nathan Weissler
What my friendship with Michael Hanna-Fein meant to me

BC's Backlot
The Last Shalom

This And That
My Treasure Chest

Three Symbols of Passover


Lynn Ruth Miller
How we all became part of a bigger story

Mel Yahre
A few words for my friend

Eddy's Thoughts
Don't let life flutter by

The Bear Facts
How I found Michael


Seeing the word "shnorer" / "shnorrer," reminds me of the lines from the Captain Spaulding song (Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby) in the Marx Brothers' "Animal Crackers":

This fact I emphasize with stress,
I never take a drink unless -
somebody's buying.
The Captain is a very moral man. 
Hooray for Captain Spaulding, the African Explorer!
Did someone call me shnorrer?
Hooray, hooray, hooray!

Was Jack Benny really cheap?  No.  Jack Benny was known as one of the most generous men in Hollywood, regularly making charitable contributions to a variety of funds.  At one time, he gave $1 million to an actor's retirement home.  He commented once that being cheap had cost him a bundle, as he found that he always had to overtip waiters to compensate for his stingy image.

Paul Glasser, a dean at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, says in an e-mail that a "shnorer" is not a cheapskate, but an aggressive beggar  A cheapskate is a "khazer" ("pig").  Someone who is frugal would be a "shporevdiker" or an "aynbrenger."

Jackie Mason "How to Talk Jewish" says that a "shnorrer" is a chiseler, a moocher, a beggar, but a resourceful one; he spends his whole life figuring out how to live off other people.  He's not successful unless he feels he can make his way through life for nothing.  It's below cheap." defines a "shnorrer" as the kind of person who gets a calculator out at the end of a meal, even though the split is more or less even.

And Paul Dickson ("Words") uses the term "frugalflaunt" to describe conspicuous nonconsumption; to flaunt one's frugality.
Examples:  Putting your compost heap in the front yard is frugalflaunting, as is going to a sumptuous buffet and taking only bean sprouts and parsley.  A frugalflaunt (n.) is a person who says he wants a Cuisinart but is holding off until they come out with a solar-powered model.

Shown below are some stories/jokes.  Which of the following terms describe the individual involved in the story?
A) shnorer
B) khazer
C) shporevdiker
D) karga mensh
E) frugalflaunt
F) narish (stupid)

1.  The town banker was awakened at 6 a.m. by a man pounding on his front door. Sure that it must be a dire emergency to summon him at that unearthly hour, the homeowner ran quickly to the door. When he opened it, there stood a man seeking a handout. 
"What is the meaning of this?" cried the banker. Don't you realize what time it is?"
"Look, Mister, do I tell you what time you should report to Bank Leumi?" reported the caller.  Then don't tell me what time I should start work!"
____ (select A,B,C,D,E, or F)

2.  Two strangers meet in the market.  One says to the other,
"Lend me 100 rubles." The other responds,
"ONE HUNDRED RUBLES?  I don't even know you."
The first one sighs and says,
"People never fail to amaze me--disappoint me. Here, no one lends me money because no one knows me.  In my hometown, no one will loan me money because they DO know me."
____ (select A,B,C,D,E, or F)

3.  Jerry Seinfeld ("SeinLanguage") writes,
"Whenever you ask for a doggie bag at a restaurant, there's a certain sense of failure there, isn't there?  People always whisper it to the waiter,
'Uh, excuse me. Can I get a doggie bag?'  I, uh, I--couldn't make it.' 
It's embarrassing, because the doggie bag means either you're out at a restaurant when you're not hungry, or you've chosen the stupidest way to get dog food."
____ (select A,B,C,D,E, or F)

4.  A Jewish man made a nuisance of himself by calling at the home of a rich merchant every "Fraytik" evening, just in time for dinner.  The merchant had empathy and was a very kind gentleman, but his patience was growing thin.  What could he do?  His mother taught him that Jewish tradition requires those who have must share with those who have not.
One evening, the rich man had company, a young eligible woman, when the nuisance knocked on the door.  "I'm entertaining a lady friend," he said.
"I don't mind at all.  I'll eat in "di kikh" (the kitchen).
"Then tell me, do you like 'kalt' chicken?"
"Oh, I just love cold chicken--I wouldn't have it any other way."
"That's good!" said the homeowner. Come back tomorrow night.  The chicken is piping hot right now."
____ (select A,B,C,D,E, or F)

5.  A man was enjoying a leisurely stroll one day when he came upon a beggar with a Yiddish sign suspended from his neck. It read:
What struck his fancy was the fellow's cheerful demeanor, his smiling acknowledgment whenever someone dropped a coin in his cup or greeted him by name.
The man walked over to the beggar and gave him a dollar and directions to the nearest Barnes & Noble bookstore. 
"Tell me something, my friend," he began his conversation.
"Have you no family?"
"Of course I have a famly," replied the beggar.
"Five--all grown up and comfortable."
"And they won't support you--buy the book?"
"They would if I let them."
"Why don't you?"
"WHAT," cried the beggar indignantly, "and lose my independence?"
____ (select A,B,C,D,E, or F)

6.  A mother sends an e-mail to  She writes: 
Dear Rabbi,
I've raised three daughters in a nice middle class 'heym.'  My youngest daughter, Rachel, doesn't have a regular savings account; she has 'mattress money.'  Her furnishings:  'dumpster decor' or 'Early Depression' furniture. She'll sometimes go to Costco and eat her lunch by sampling food served by the various demonstrators.  She once even had the 'khutzpah' to beg on Madison Avenue.  An 'alrightnik' told her that he 'never hands out money on the street.'  Her reply to him:  "So, what should I do?  Open an office?"  Recently she told me, "Forget about dry-cleaning a dress--that costs $8.50 in Manhattan. I just donate it to the Salvation Army. They launder it, dry clean it, and I buy it back for two bucks.  I saved $6.50."  Is there something wrong with her?
____ (select A,B,C,D,E, or F)

7.  Paul Reiser ("babyhood"), wrote, "People will do anything for pregnant women. For many, it's the last vestige of social nicety.  They may be rude and malicious toward every fellow man, but if a woman is bulging with child, most people, I was relieved to discover, will knock themselves out to be courteous.  Seats are offered, groceries are carried.  An occasional dessert is served on the house.  Some couples, however, try to take advantage.
"Pardon me, I know this is not store policy, but my wife is expecting, so I'm wondering could you give us a free pasta maker?"
____ (select A,B,C,D,E, or F)

8.  Rockaway Beach, New York. It was a lovely morning in June.  A cool breeze was blowing in from the ocean. The birds were singing and the flowers blooming.  Sammy was walking on the boardwalk in Arverne, when he was buttonholed by a well-known synagogue member.
"I'm looking for someone to lend me twenty dollars," said the conniver.
"Well," said Sammy, "I must say you picked a nice day for it!"
____ (select A,B,C,D,E, or F)

9.  The Sy Syms School of Business is located at Yeshiva University.  It's named after the founder of the discount chain of clothing stores.  So, Marty, who wants to take a master's in haggling, appears at the Admissions Office at Sy Syms and announces: 
"I can enroll in September and pay over $20,000 for tuition, room, and board. Instead, I choose to wait 90 days and pay only $17,500.  Any objections?"
____ (select A,B,C,D,E, or F)

10.  Yossi joined the Kosher Gym, the only health club in north Jerusalem that caters exclusively to Ultra-Orthodox and other observant Jews.  The gym offers top-of-the-line equipment. Yossi spent a considerable amount of money for the membership fees, and lots of gelt on jogging outfits, BUT NEVER LOST A POUND!  Apparently, you have to go there. 
Yossi is ____ (select A,B,C,D,E, or F.) 

11.  Sam Levenson ("In One Era & Out the Other") writes about how his mother handled unexpected company.
"If we ran short of food for a visiting somebody, the code word came down the line--'F.H.B.' (Family Hold Back)....Mama called a meeting of her own flesh and blood, not to consult but to order:  "Children, say you don't like chicken!"...We offered no resistance.  We even collaborated with the enemy.
"Have some chicken, Sammy."
"No thank you.  I don't like chicken...I hate chicken...I just hate chicken...I never eat chicken"--and the saliva ran out of my ears, down my chin, into my shirt, and onto my stomach.
When we got around to the dessert...In the same calm self-assured tone in which she had drafted us into the conspiracy, she announced:  "Now, all the children who refused to eat chicken don't get a dessert."
Mrs. Levenson was ____ (select A,B,C,D,E, or F.)

Marge & Howard are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary on Nov. 30, 2008.        
After "fuftsik" (50) years of marriage, Marge has it all figured out: 
"You can tell who handles the money in families nowadays--they're making women's handbags bigger and men's wallets smaller."


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