Schvitzing it out

Clueless contestants sweat in ‘Jeopardy!’ Yiddish round

Longtime fans of iconic show give confused participants a social media zetz after poor scores in 5 questions

Alek Trebek (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Alek Trebek (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

KVELLER (via JTA) — “Jeopardy!” fans have been hard hit by the loss of Alex Trebek, who died of cancer on November 8 at age 80. But because the show films in advance — and Trebek kept filming until a week before his passing — the beloved longtime host is still with us until January 4 with new episodes airing on weeknights.

Just why are we writing about this iconic game show? Well, Jewish questions and guests are not exactly rare on “Jeopardy!” But on Monday night, the show had an entire category dedicated to Yiddish. The clueless contestants were clearly schvitzing — that’s “sweating” in Yiddish — and mostly stumped.

Of the five Yiddish questions, only two of the three contestants got two right. Let’s review them — read on and see how you would do!

Yiddish for $1,000: The word for cheap & shoddily made goods now usually refers to cheap and shoddily made entertainment.

(The answer is: What is schlock?)

Yiddish for $800: The opening to Laverne & Shirley used these 2 Yiddish words, one meaning an oaf, the other, an unlucky person.

(The answer is: What are schlemiel and schlemazel?)

Yiddish for $600: This verb means to haul or to move with effort.

(The answer is: What is schlep?) This one was correctly answered by contestant Ben Ring, an accountant originally from Allentown, Pennsylvania. Mazel tov, Ben!

Yiddish for $400: Sometimes in the middle of the night I’ll head to the kitchen and do some of this from the Yiddish for “snacking.”

(The answer is: What is nosh/noshing?) And, in case you didn’t know, The Nosher is the name of a site that’s dedicated to Jewish food.

Yiddish for $200: There’s no guilt in knowing that “gelt” is this; you’ll receive some with a correct response.

(The answer is: What is money?) Contestant and college administrator Tracy Arwari of Newport, West Virginia, got some gelt for this one. Of course we also love to eat chocolate gelt during Hanukkah!

Overall, while we found these questions absolutely delightful, longtime Jeopardy! fans voiced their frustration at the contestants’ lack of Yiddish skills on Twitter:


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