Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe Marjorie Wolfe
by Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe

The Yiddish word for immature is “kinderish” or “nit-derbakn.”

Humorist, Dave Barry, said, “You can only be young once. But you can always be immature.”

How immature is this conversation between a grandfather (“zayde”) and a grandchild (“eynikl”)?

An “alt” (old) Jewish man reads about Einstein’s theory of relativity in the newspaper. He asks his scientist grandson, Seth, to explain it to him.

“Well, zayde, it’s sort of like this. Einstein says that if you’re having your teeth drilled without Novacain, a minute seems like an hour. But if you’re sitting with a beautiful woman on your lap, an hour seems like a minute.”

How immature is the relationship between Jerry Seinfeld and Elaine? (He worries what it would mean for Elaine to move into an apartment above him.) And remember when Elaine makes an ordering error (“The Soup Nazi,” Nov. 2, 1995), and she is banned for a year? “No soup for you!” Oh, Jerry, “Makh nit keyn tsimes fun dem.” (Don’t make a fuss about it.)

Jerry Seinfeld says that he would call his fashion style New York Immature. “The guy who refuses to give up jeans and sneakers from his twenties. Comedians have a thing about their feet. They almost never wear shoes when they’re not being paid. But more than that, it’s clinging to your youthful mood. I always wanted to be ready to play ball if anyone suggested it—I didn’t want to go home and change clothes. I like to have something playful on my feet. I’ve always liked sneakers; that was something I responded to even at six years old. I drove my mother crazy about getting me sneakers.” (Source: “Jerry Seinfeld - The Entire Domain” by Kathleen Tracy)

The television program, “Seinfeld” was about the thousands of little dilemmas that television and the movie never touch on because they are too small (“kleyn”). They take minute problems and have discussions about them, and that is what real people do. All their episodes deal with IMMATURE topics:

Dr. Whatley, a dentist, who converts to Judaism and then starts telling Jewish jokes

Kramer sues the coffee shop because the latte was too “heys” (hot)

George gets “greypfrut” (grapefruit) juice squirted into his “oyg” (eye) and can’t stop winking at inappropriate times.

Jerry has fleas, so his visiting parents stay in a “fancy schmancy” hotel suite that was provided for Elaine by the company she is interviewing with.

Jerry is seen by Newman making out with his girlfriend during Schindler’s List. It’s a “shandeh un a charpeh (shame and disgrace)!

And then there was the episode titled “The Bris” (Oct. 14, 1993). Elaine and Jerry agree to be godparents and have to arrange the bris. Kramer is against having the infant circumcised. The bris turns into a disaster (“umglik”) The “mohel” drops his tools during “der bris” and Jerry’s finger is sliced.

On a more serious note, Dennis Prager (“Lessons for the Rest of Us from the Success of Chabad”), writes about the Chabad houses all over the world. He writes, “Again like the Army—and like another religious success story, the Mormons—with their policy of sending teenagers to all parts of the world on mission work, Chabad shluchim marry and take on the immense responsibility of setting up a Chabad House in their early 20s. Unlike much of modern secular life in which many young people remain IRRESPONSIBLE and IMMATURE through their 20s and even into their 30s. Chabad rabbis and their wives grow up very fast. So fast that I have often remarked that all Chabad rabbis are 40—those in their 20s act (and often look) 40, and those in their 60s act (and often look) 40.”
Marjorie Wolfe notes that there are lots of quotes about being “kinderish.” This is probably because maturity seems to be so “zeltn” (rare/uncommon). It seems like everyday you run across a horribly immature person.

Woody Allen said, “Basically my wife was immature. I’d be at home in the bath and she’d come in and sink my boats.”

Marjorie Wolfe
  Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe