The Yiddishkeit Code

The Yiddishkeit Code, by Robert Kaiser. Originally known as “The Hebrew Geek Code”.

Humor Moses on the Web

Communicate volumes of information about yourself with just a few letters! Give information to those in the know! Don’t limit yourself to useless one word descriptions like ‘Reform’ or ‘Orthodox’. Instead, create your own Yiddishkeit code which will really tell people who and what you are all about! Place your own code in your .sig file, and it will appear on all your e-mail messages. Permission is granted to forward this as long as credit is given.

Here is an example Yiddishkeit Code, which would be typically located in one’s email signature file: S+ Fa1 TM ng+ M K+ T tL AT++ SY+=/SY+++ Te+ SC P+ FO++= D+ Tz++ L- Am

The above code translates to:
S+ Shabbat: Conservative, will drive to shul
Fa1 Family: Not married – Single
TM Taharat Mishpacha: Lenient observance. Abstain while niddah, but don’t follow chumrot of waiting an extra week.
Ng+ Conservative N’giah–only touch a consenting partner I love and plan to marry.
M Messiah: Could be real!
K+ Kashrut: Conservative. Kashrut fully observed. Two sets of dishes, etc. Add appropriate strictures as necessary.+
T Talmud: Studied in Hebrew school / Hebrew High School
tL Tribe: Levi
AT++ Attendance: I go regularly on most Shabbats.
SY+ Synagogue: Conservative (egalitarian) to SY+++ Orthodox
Te+ Tefillin: Sure, sometimes. Irregularly.
SC Shabbat Candles: Been there, done that.
P+ Pesach: Even the pet eats tuna and matzah-brei for a week
FO++ Festival Observance: Full Observance – Conservative
D+ I also know the Sh’ma and Kaddish by heart, and can somehow make it through most of the rest.
Tz++ Tzedakah: Repeat donor to UJA, JNF, or SPCA
L- Lashon Hara: I never speak Lashon Hora, but I’ll tell you someone who does!

Qualifiers: A&B Means A and B
A/B Means ranging from A to B

Shabbat Observance

S— I stone people walking to shul on Shabbat
S– Of course. Every Sunday!
S- Not at all, or, “Shabbat – What’s that?”
S Reform
S+ Conservative, will drive to shul
S++ Traditional, Orthodox
S+++ I stone cars on Shabbat

Shabbat Candles

SC- I don’t use matches. Only you can prevent forest fires.
SC Been there, done that.
SC+ Every Shabbat.
SC:( I blow them out afterwards so that they last longer.
SC++ I have been arrested for arson.
SC+++ I have been convicted for arson.

Add a ‘W’ for “My wife does that.” Example: SCW+

Mishpacha (Family status)

Fa– Intermarried – the children won’t be raised Jewish.
Fa/ Intermarried – but the children will be raised Jewish
Fa.n/a Not applicable. Don’t you know? Gay people do not get married. Of course its applicable. Don’t you know? Gay people do get married.
Fa1 Not married – Single
Fa+ I married a Jew.
Fa++ I have more than one wife.
Only applicable for Yemenite Jews. Sorry 🙂
Fa++rc I have more than one husband. For Yemenite Reconstructionists. 🙂

,c=# Where # represents the number of children you have. Default = 0.

Examples: Fa1 Fa+ Fa+,c=1 Fa++,c=5

Tohorot Mishpacha (Laws and customs pertaining to Family Purity, i.e. sexual relations, the mikva, etc.)

TM— I married a sheep, so this doesn’t apply.
TM— I married a non-Jew, so this doesn’t apply.
TM- I married a Jew, but I’m secular, so I don’t think these laws apply. (Standard American practice)
TM… Well…I would but my spouse isn’t into it.
TM Conservative observance. Abstain while the women is niddah, but don’t follow Talmudic chumrot of waiting an extra week.
TM+ Orthodox observance.
TM++ My wife and I have separate houses

N’giah (Laws regarding touching a member of the opposite sex )

Ng— I touch a member of the opposite sex as much as possible. (Yeee-haaa!).
Ng:( I try to observe it as much as possible, but I’m in the same cell as the arsonist. (see the Shabbat candles category).
Ng- I am Shomer N’giah, but not by choice.
Ng Liberal N’giah–only touch a consenting partner
Ng+ Conservative N’giah–only touch a consenting partner I love and plan to marry.
Ng++ Orthodox N’giah–Only touch my spouse.
Ng+++ I plan to have children by artificial inseminantion.


M— *ding dong*. Want a copy of Watchtower magazine?
M– He’s already come. Haven’t you heard the Good Word?
M- Don’t believe in it.
M Could be
M+ Ani ma’ammim (I believe with perfect faith)
M++ We want Moshiach now!
M+++ Shabbatai Tzvi is Moshiach.
M++++ I am Moshiach.

Kashrut (Laws pertaining to what food Jews can eat.)

K– I only eat at McDonald’s. Also: What’s kashrut?
K- Jewish in identity, not in practice. Likely to eat ham and cheese, but will say a bracha afterwards
K Very liberal kosher. Won’t eat any Torah forbidden species, won’t mix milk and meat. Will eat eat meat of a permitted animal, even it not proeprly slaughtered.
K+ Conservative. Kashrut fully observed. Two sets of dishes, etc. Add appropriate strictures as necessary. If no codes are added, lenient options are default for K+
K++ Orthodox kashrut. Same as Conservative, but unless codes are added, the stricter options are assumed for K++
K+++ Meshugge kosher. Even my vegetables are glatt!

ch+ Will only eat Kosher cheese.
ch Will eat cheese without a hechsher.
me+ Will only eat Glatt meat.
me Glatt not necessary.
mi+ Will only drink Chalav Yisrael milk.
mi Will drink regular FDA approved milk.
ge+ Won’t eat gelatin, diglycerides, etc. unless with an Orthodox hechsher.
ge Will eat gelatin, diglycerides, etc. Considered pareve.
wi+ Will only drink kosher wine.
wi Will drink without a hechsher.

Examples: K+ K++ K++,mi k+,ch+

Ivrit (Hebrew)

H– Is ‘Jewish’ a language?
H- Can’t speak a word of it.
H I went to Hebrew school. Shalom!
H+ I even took it in college.
H++ I’m not made fun of too badly by Israelis.
H+++ Ani midaber Ivrit tov me’od, nu?

Substitute Yid for H to denote Yiddish familiarity.
Substitue Lad for H to denote Ladino familiarity.
Substitute Ara for H to denote Aramaic familiarity.

Talmud study [The Talmud is the most important sourcebook of Jewish
law, legend, history and ethics.]

T— I burn them whenever I get the chance.
T– I’m a Karaite / Samaritan
T Studied in Hebrew school / Hebrew High School
T+ Studied in college or yeshiva; Competent to argue.
T++ Talmud Chochem
T+++ Adin Steinsaltz’s chevruta (study partner).

Tribe [All Jews are descended from one of the original twelve tribes.]

tI Israel
tL Levi
tC Cohen
tCG Next in line to be the Cohen Gadol
t? Not sure (be real – this is a lot of us!)

Attendance at Shul (Synagogue)

AT– Religion is for dweebs!
AT- Only for other people’s weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs.
AT Regularly – Well, every Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and I also had a Bar/Bat Mitzvah!
AT+ High holidays, Shalosh Regalim (Three festivals), and occasional Shabbats.
AT++ I go regularly on most Shabbats.
AT+++ I even daven at shul on weekdays.
AT++++ The Rabbi wants to institute a restraining order to keep me away!

What type of shul do I got to?

SY— First Church of Cthulhu, Friends of the Elder Gods, etc.
SY– Jesus loves me, yes he does…
SY- Allah’hu Akbar!
-SY I don’t go to shul
SYrc Reconstructionist
SY Reform
SY+ Conservative (egalitarian)
SY++ Non-egal Conservative or Union for Traditional Judaism
SY+++ Orthodox
SY+++M Modern/Centrist Orthodox
SY+++Y Yeshivish, Litvak, right wing, Agudath Yisroel
SY+++C Chassidic

You can add the appropriate Nusach code shown in the next section. If you go to a shul that is different that your background, then code. If you don’t put a code after the shul type, the default is Ashkenazi.

You can add ,”ch” to any of the above codes to indicate that you go to a chavura inbstead of a shul or synagogue. Example: SY+,ch

Nusach (liturgical and legal tradition)

A Ashkenazi (East European)
S Sephardic (North African, Middle Eastern)
Az Nusach HaAri (This is a Ashkenazi Chassidic nusach, which is a Sephardi nusach as modifed by Rav Shneur Zalman.)
SE Sephardic (European)
SY Sephardic (Yementite)
SI B’nai Yisrael (India)
ET Beta Yisrael (Ethiopian)

Examples: SY+ SY+/A SY+/A,SE SY+,SE

Tefillin (Phylacteries) [Leather boxes with long leather straps that
contain biblical excerpts; Worn during morning prayers.]

Te- What’s that? Is it good to eat?
Te I don’t wear animal products, dude.
Te+ Sure, sometimes. Irregularly.
Te++ Every day, or almost every day. I’m a mensch! 🙂
Te+++ The doctors say if I don’t taken them off soon, they’ll have to amputate.
Te.n/a Not applicable, I’m a woman.
Te!a Of COURSE Tefilin is applicable for women! (Add appropriate + or – )

Pesach (Passover)

P— Happy Easter!
P– Mohammed says to celebrate Moses’s birthday !
P- I refrain from bacon double cheeseburgers on Pesach.
No bread at all! My parents are sooo proud!
P Yeah, I think I follow most of the rules. Mostly.
PC Everything except for the part about “Pour out thy wrath”
P+ Even the pet eats tuna and matzah-brei for a week
P++ I start cleaning right after Hanukkah !
P+++ Blowtorch the kitchen, buy new dishes every Spring
P++++ Blowtorch the house, move every Spring (This ties in with that arson category of Shabbos candles).

Festival Observance:

FO—- Sacrifices to Cthulhu, Nylarthotep, any Elder Gods, etc.
FO— Christmas Tree and Easter Eggs
FO– Chanukka Bush and Passover Candy Basket
FO- Secular home
FO Somewhat Traditional – add the following qualifiers as you find appropriate:

s Go to a seder
m Light the menorah.
p Make noise and drink on Purim.
t Dance on Simchat Torah
su Eat in a Sukka on Sukkot.
sL Can LEAD a Seder 🙂
co Count the Omer
hh Go to High Holiday services.

FO+ Full Observance – Reform
FO++= Full Observance – Conservative, egalitarian
FO++ Same as above, but non-egalitarian.
FO+++ Orthodox observance
FO+++:( Celebrate all festivals but not new ones like Israel
Independence Day, and Yom Yerushalayim since Moshiach is not yet here.

Davening (praying) ability

D— Ia, Shub Nigurath! Cthulhu Fthagan Rylea!
D– I daven Gospel.
D- What’s davening?
D I know when to stand, sit and bow.
D+ I also know the Sh’ma and Kaddish by heart, and can somehow make it through most of the rest.
D++ I can lead services
D+++ I can also read some/all Torah, Haftarah and Megillot
D++++ and they’ll invite me back a second time 🙂

Tzedakah (Charity)

Tz- I’m a professional shnorrer. Got a dollar?
Tz I give a few bucks – but not if it hurts! 😦
Tz+ I actually notice when I give.
Tz++ Repeat donor to UJA, JNF, or SPCA, anything but the PLO.
Tz+++ Give till it hurts. A mensch. 🙂
Tz++++ I’m a Rothschild. Or Ted Turner. Whatever.

Egalitarianism Factor

E- If a man heard a woman’s voice, he’d be so overcome with lustful thoughts he wouldn’t be able to concentrate on his prayers…
E Women can wear tefillin and have women’s prayer groups. But they don’t count in a minyan. Mechitza necessary.
E+ Women (who have taken on the obligations of tefila Tallit and Tefillin) can read Torah and count in minyans.
E++ Any women (even without taking on the obligations) can count in a minyan.
E+++ I only like women rabbis/ I AM a woman Rabbi /I married a woman Rabbi.
E++++ I’m an ultraliberal lesbian Reconstructionist Rabbi.

Lashon Hora (Evil or hateful speech, gossip, slander)

L—– I am Ricki Lake; Lashon Hora is my job.
L—- I am a talk show host.
L— I have appeared on a talk show and acted like a weenie in front of millions of people.
L– I write for check-out counter tabloids.
L- I never speak Lashon Hora, but I’ll tell you someone who does!
L If you don’t have something nice to say, than don’t say it.
L+ I can recite parts of Rabbi Pliskin’s “Guard Your tongue.” A true mensch.
L++ The Chofetz Chaim is my inspiration. I have his books, his commentaries, and the new interactive CD-ROM.
L+++ I even refrained from criticising Intel’s Pentium debacle. A tzaddik. (Note: People who choose this last option are high on morals, but possibly low on modesty)
L++++ Refrained from criticising Microsoft – Lamed Vavnik

Tzin’out (Often pronounced Tzinous or Snious) – Laws and customs pertaining to wearing modest clothing.

(for women)

Aw— I love my bikini, I wear it everywhere.
Aw– …except in Syngaogue.
Aw- I don’t wear mini skirts if they are “Shatnez”
Aw Conventional American dress.
Aw+ Modest Orthodox apparel. I wear long sleeves, only dresses (no pants) and my hair is covered in public.
Am++ Real Haredi or Chassidic style dress.
Aw+++ Even my husband doesn’t know what I look like.

(for men)

Am— I love my thong. I wear it everywhere.
Am– …except in Synagogue.
Am- Sure I wear leather and studs sometimes – after all, its not shatnez!
Am Conventional American dress.
Am+ Hat (usually black) and dark suit.
Am++ Real Haredi or Chassidic style dress.
Am+++ I dress like a Cohen Gadol. You know, just like that Vulcan High Priestess in the beginning of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. (Really! Leonard Nimoy had that based on the dress of a Cohen Gadol. B’emet!)

Eretz Yisroel (The Land of Israel)

I— Proud to be Hezbollah!
I– I belong to the Neturai Karta (Satmar anti-Zionist splinter group)
I– (Alternative) Member of the Noam Chomsky fan club
I- What’s the big deal about such a little country?
I I’ve planted a tree and donated to the JNF
I+ I visited and davened at the Kotel
I++ It’s my second home
I+++ I made aliyah
I++++ I’ll be at the Golden Gate (in Jerusalem) when Mashiach comes through it.


Halakha (Jewish law)

Ha— One of the last Frankists! Care to break a few mitzvot?
Ha– The law? Didn’t Jesus abolish all that? (Christian)
Ha- Karaite: Sure, the Torah is authoritative, but we’ll
Have none of the Talmud nonsense around here.
Ha0 Secular: Isn’t halakha for fanatics?
Ha Reform or Reconstructionist: The law? That’s not really binding any more, but we’ll consult it for its opinion.
Ha+ Conservative. Yup, Jewish law is normative, yet I also think the rabbis of today still have flexibility.
Ha++ Modern Orthodox. Jewish law is normative, but change in the law really is nearly impossible.
Ha+++ Ultra-Orthodox. Change? The law never changed, ever! Moses wrote the tractate regarding driving on Shabbat!
Ha++++ Meshuggedox. Everyone else is a heretic, especially the Modern Orthodox (they’re the worst!). But I’ll take their donations for my Yeshiva…


Head Covering

hc— Say it loud, I’m a skinhead and I’m proud!
hc– Bareheaded even when in shul
hc- Reform Jewish/Protestant Christian clergy head gear
hc I wear a kipa (yarmulka) in shul, and at religious events, and when studying Torah, etc.
hc+ I normally wear a kipa sruga all day. (tight knit kipas. Worn by Modern Orthdodox,
Conservative and now some Reform Jews.)
hc++ Black power! (Black hatters unite) Also, big Litvak style kipot.
hc+++ You’re nor a real chasid unil you have a big FUR hat!
hc++++ Big fruity Carmen Miranda hat. Wear God’s bounty on your head. Birkat haMazon all day long!

hc— Say it loud, I’m a skinhead and I’m proud!
hc– Bareheaded even in shul
hc- Reform Jewish/Protestant Christian clergy head gear
hc I wear a hat or doily in shul only.
hc+ I normally wear a kipa sruga (those crotched, knit
kipas. Worn by some Conservative and Reform Jews.)
hc++ I wear a scarf or hat when going outside the home.
hc+++ Wigging out!
hc++++ Big fruity Carmen Miranda hat. Wear God’s bounty
on your head. Birkat haMazon all day long!

Shaving one’s facial hair

FH– I use a straight razor with boar’s hair brush and foam to shave every day. (The Neo-Canaanite look is in…)
FH- I use a disposable razor, but no shaving cream, so as to make sure not to cut too close to the skin. No cutting above bone on peyot (upper sideburn area).
FH I use an electric lift and cut razor. (These work by a scissor principle, so they technically don’t fall into the prohibition against shaving with a razor). But I never
asked a rabbi or friend in yeshiva if my particular model is o.k. Will occasionally cut peyot above recommended area, but will magic marker them in for date with a rich Orthodox Jewish girl from Boro Park who prefers FH+ or FH++
FH+ I use an electric razor model that has an o.k. by a local posek. Keep peyot at bottom of ear lobes; no shaving during Chol Hamoed.
FH++ I will shave, but I have Litvak style peyot behind the ear. No shaving during Sefirah and the Three Weeks (before Tisha B’Av), so I can work in chinuch, for 47th St. Photo or for Leshkowitz and Co. if an accountant
FH+++ I have a full beard. Don’t trim. Long peyot in an ultra- orthodox style. Will occasionally tuck under beard ends or trim them when interviewing for well paying prestigious rabbinical position or if elected chief rabbi of Israel. Have been offered position with Z-Z-Top.
FH++++ I have taken a full Nazirite vow


Israeli Politics

R for right-wing , L for left-wing

IPR+++++ Nuke the Arabs until their sand dunes become glass!
IPR++++ I live with my wife and kids in Hebron. Kahane Chai!
IPR+++ I live (or would like to live) in a small settlement
in the Shomron (Samaria). Supporter of Zo Artzenu.
IPR++ I live (or would like to live) in a Gush Emunim town.
IPR+ Likud die-hard.
IPR Just right of center. Might have voted for Rabin, but
never for Peres.
IP My wife and I split our vote between Labor & Likud.
IPL I’m usually left wing, but Bibi’s much cuter than
Shimon, so he got my wife’s vote.
IPL+ Go to all the Peace Now rallies.
IPL++ The Oslo Accords are as sacred as the Torah.
IPL+++ Member of Aviv Geffen fan club. All Israeli youth
should emigrate!
IPL++++ Meretz is right wing! Shulamit Aloni is a goddess!
IPL+++++ See I– or UN resolution stating that “Zionism is
racism.” I only live in Israel since I can’t afford
to get out!
IP- I am apolitical. This negates all other Yiddishkeit
codes since it is impossible to be Jewish and apolitical!


By Robert D. Kaiser with contributions from
Robert Me
Michael Turniansky
Jonathan and Woody Anna Dresner
Wendy Morrison
John Riehl
Yatzliakh Yisrael Abrahami
Aaron Gross
Rachel Marans
Joeseph W. Grayson
Leif Knutsen
David Joseph Grabiner
Eric Brown
Shoshana Boublil
Avraham Husarsky

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