Yiddish week of June 7

Gan eden (gahn AIDen)

Meaning: paradise

• “My parents and the generation that came from Europe after the war were just so grateful to be in Canada. ...This was a goldene medina (promised land). To them, it was gan eden (paradise).They felt free. As a result, so do I.’’ (From interview with Toronto writer Hindy Nosek-Abelson, who created a Yiddish version of “Oh Canada!,” the national anthem. (bit.ly/2QCayVW)

• A song title: “Nemt Mein Hant-Bin Ich A Fremder in Gan Eden/ Take My  Hand, I’m A Stranger in Paradise.”

• A folk saying: “Better to be in Gehenna with a wise man than in gan eden (paradise) with a fool.” (Leo Rosten, “The New Joys of Yiddish”; (bit.ly/2W71MjR)

• “Adam and Eve were kicked out of the original Garden of Eden, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find at least some of its pleasures in our own daily lives, e.g. the cakes my wife bakes: “Oy, tam gan eden/ It’s the taste of paradise” (Benjamin Blech, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Learning Yid-dish,” Alpha Books, Indianapolis, 2000; page 190)

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