Monday, April 11, 2022

Apr. 11: Leo Rosten, American humorist


Leo Rosten (1908-1997) was an American humorist once called "the Jewish James Thurber." He was well-known for New Yorker short stories about his character "Hyman Kaplan," but I treasure him for his humorous dictionary, The Joys of Yiddish, containing a lexicon of common words and phrases of "Yinglish"--Yiddish English--origin. In virtually every case his explanations were followed by a joke. A well-known example: chutzpah is "that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan." Brilliant.


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