Yiddish wisdom for parents (2001)

The 80 pages of the handy little volume of “Yiddish wisdom for parents” was collected and translated by Rae Meltzer. Its page are beautifully designed and arranged, containing a little painting on almost every page (by Kristina Swarner) along with 1-3 sayings, both in English and in Yiddish. Some of them you surely know, others will be new and surprising. My favorite one at first reading was “like garden, like gardener.” (page 26)

The sayings in Yiddish are printed with English letters so you could read them aloud even if you don’t understand a word of them. Just the sound may create a warm and fuzzy feeling in you if you have positive associations with Yiddish, but don’t speak the language.

One can read the whole thing in half an hour. The real work starts only aftewards. You will notice which of the ideas resonate with you as a parent and which don’t. You may want to think why did you dislike the latter ones; how do they conflict with your existing value set. This reflection allows you to compare your way (and location and era) of life with those who came up with these sayings. This way you can learn both about yourself and those of old not to mention hopefully making you a better parent.

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