Yiddish For The Jurors At The Martha Stewart Trial

by Marjorie Wolfe
Syosset, New York

As the Martha Stewart trial continues, we see that the world stands on three things: money, money, and money. In Yiddish, we say, "Oyf dray zukhn shteyt di velt; oyf gelt, oyf gelt un oyf gelt."

Der mishpet (the court trial) is underway, "Oy, vey!" Here's a list of essential Yiddish terms that will probably be heard by the jurors and reporters in der groys epl--the Big Apple:

der advokat - attorney Robert Morvillo; he's represented John Zaccaro, the hubby of Geraldine Ferraro, who faced bribery charges.

di froy - woman Both the judge and the chief prosecutor, Karen Patton Seymour, are women. (All the defense lawyers are men.)

der rikhter - the judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum

di zhuri - the jury Tsvelf (12) people familiar with the gracious-living geru who can still decide the case solely on the evidence.

der psak - the verdict

di turme - prison Ms. Stewart, 62, faces up to draysik (30) years in prison if convicted of five federal charges.

di balshuldikung - charge, accusation Stewart and her former Merrill Lynch broker, Baconovic, face a slew of charges stemming from her Dec. 27, 2001, sale of nearly 4,000 shares of ImClone stock a day before the price plummeted.

eydes zogn - to testify Douglas Faneuil is testifying that Stewart sold her shares after he told her Samuel D. Waskal was trying to sell.

der eydes - the witnesses The government's chief witness is Faneuil, Mr. Bacanovic's assistant at Merrill Lynch.

oyfdekn - to discover/Discovery procedures Court-ordered means of getting facts about the dispute from the opposing party and witnesses before the trial.

shuldik - guilty According to Michelle Kennedy, if Martha is guilty, we shouldn't send her to jail. "Send her to the mall with only with only tsvey hundert dolars ($200) to her name & four hungry kids who whine for toys but need school clothes. Add to that a car payment on a used minivan (instead of a $42,000 Range Rover) and a husband with a golf fetish, and see how she gets along. See if that ever makes it on HGTV."

balaboste - an excellent homemaker/ baleboste domestic diva domestic diva A homemaker who puts the rest of us to shame.

der emes - the truth New York's top FBI agent says MS could have avoided criminal charges if she had only told the truth.

der mekler - broker MS worked as a stock broker in the '70s.

di tsaytung - the newspaper Newspaper headlines about MS: "MS Cooks Up Strong Profit" "MS: The Thing that Ate Westport" "Martha Stock Falling Like a Bad Souffle" "A Beige Suit on A Gray Day"

di krankayt - the disease Donna Lyphuk gave some early warning signs that you may be suffering from "Martha Stewart Disease":

You save snowballs from last winter (vinter) in your fridzhider in case you need 'em to create an ice-sculpture centerpiece.

arbeter - workers Working women dominate the jury in the Stewart trial.

kompyuter computer The trial is about documents, computer printouts, and witnesses describing what the documents say.

A halber emes iz a gantser lign - Half a truth is a whole lie.

der shpas - joke Conan O'Brien said, "In New York the other day, there was a pro- Martha Stewart rally. Only four people showed up...and three of them were made out of crepe paper."

der zhurnal - the magazine Denise Flaim says that Martha Stewart Living is the magazine "where sprigs of hydrangeas are displayed like butterfly specimens in slick but spare layouts."

kukn bukhs - cooking books MS denies cooking books: says she only sauteed them in a light apricot sauce.

di eyte - the advice A Daily News article gave the following advice on "How Not to Get in Trouble Before a Judge": 1. Don't transform warrants into festive doilies. 2. Freshly cut flowers brighten up any room--except a courtroom. 3. Don't offer to knit a gavel cosy for the judge.

The writer adds: Avoid using the Yiddish expression, Dos is nisht ayer esek (That's none of your business.)

der laylekh - bedsheet Steve Young said, "Sending Martha to prison for her little faux pas would be cruel and unusual punishment. My G-d, do you know how low the thread count is in prison sheets?

di tash - purse/bag MS carried a pricey purse, a Hermes Birkin bag, vaued at $6,000 plus, to the courthouse.

der garderob - wardrobe/apparel MS wore a broyn (brown) jacket with a hint of plaid, and a tasteful strand of pearls to court. Her former broker, Bacanovic, wore a bloy (blue) suit and a gel (yellow) tie.

di kolir - the color According to Jim Mullen, The Martha Stewart Trial - "We'll all feel a little safer once she's off the streets. As soon as she's behind bars, we can drop the terrorism alert down to beige."

di barimtkayt - the celebrity Celebrity defendants tend to make conservative dress choices when their cases end up before juries. (Winona Rider appeared in classic Marc Jacobs outfits during her CA shoplifting trial.)

a shvarts/fintster yor - a black/dark year Martha's not had a good year for some time. First, the filing for bank- ruptcy by Kmart, next the publication of "Martha, Inc., and now the trial.

shtick - a piece; in show business, a piece of business Ms. Stewart's oeuvre (a fancy word for shtick)--she's a sort of Hints from Heloise on steroids. She can make lovely doilies from an old inner tube to building a replica of the Eiffel Tower out of cheesecake. Everything she does is done by hand (hant) & from scratch.

gvinen - to gain/profit The Martha Stewarts of the world profit/gain by taking actions based on insider information.

der oysdruk - expression "If it's hand knit, You must acquit!"

di frage - the question Why would someone worth more than $2 bilyon (billion) worry about $400,000 of one particular stock holding? Gink? (Greedy?)


Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe is the author of a book titled, Are Yentas, Kibitzers, & Tummlers Weapons of Mass Instruction? Yiddish Trivia.