Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe Marjorie Wolfe
Welcome
by Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
ROMNEY’S REMARKS ON THE “OREM” (POOR/NEEDY)

Poverty (“oremkayt”) is a huge issue in 2012.

  • Angela Glover Blackwell says that 39% of all black children are poor. 15% of Americans live below the poverty level. The safety net is not strong enough.
  • Barbara Perry says that “the situation since 2008 causes people to see themselves in a downward (“arunter”) spiral.”
  • 47% of daughters who are poor will remain there. As they say in Yiddish: “A kabtsn blaybt a kabtsn.” (A pauper remains a pauper.)

Mitt Romney said, “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs a repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich—They’re doing just fine.” (Note: The Yiddish word meaning to repair is “farrikhtn.”)

I grew up in Rockaway Beach, New York, hearing the following Yiddish proverbs/expressions about the rich and the poor:

  • “Orem un raykh, in bod zaynen zey glaykh.” (The poor and the rich, in the bath they are both equal.)
  • “Tsvey mol a yor iz shlekht dem oreman; zumer un vinter.” (Twice a year the poor are badly off: summer and winter.)
  • “Me zol zikh kenen oyskoyfn fun toyt, voltn di oreme layt gehat parnose.” (If the rich could hire others to die for them, the poor could make a living.)
  • “Dem oreman’s yaitzer-horeh iz a skorinkeh broit.” (The poor man’s temptation is a loaf of bread.)
  • “Az an oreman est a hun, is oder er iz krank, oder di hun iz krank.” (When a poor man eats a chicken, either he is sick or the chicken is sick.)
  • “An oreman vil oykh lebn.” (A poor man also wants to live.)
  • “Der oreman tracht, der nogid lacht.” (The poor think, the rich laugh.)
  • “Der oreman hot veynik faynt, der raykher hot veyniker fraynd.” (The poor man has few enemies; the rich man has fewer friends.)
  • “Es iz nit azoy gut mit gelt, vi es iz shlecht on gelt.” (It is not so much that it’s good to have money, as it’s bad to be without it.)
  • “Got hot lib der oreman un helft der nogid.” (God loves the poor and helps the rich.)

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Marjorie Wolfe vividly recalls when Tevye (“Fiddler on the Roof”) said, “Dear God, you made many poor people. I realize there’s no shame in being poor… but it’s no great honor either. So what would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune?”

Marjorie Wolfe
  Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe