Mensch (Yiddish: מענטש mentsh, cognate with the German word
Mensch meaning a "human being") means "a person of integrity and
honor". The opposite of a "mensch" is an "unmensch", meaning an
utterly unlikeable or unfriendly person.
According to Leo Rosten, the
Yiddish maven and author of The Joys of
Yiddish, a "mensch" is "someone to admire and emulate, someone of
noble character. The key to being 'a real mensch' is nothing less than
character, rectitude, dignity, a sense of what is right, responsible,
decorous." The term is used as a high compliment, implying the
rarity and value of that individual's qualities.
Mensch on the Bench
3 See also
In Yiddish, mentsh roughly means "a good person". The word
has migrated as a loanword into American English, where a "mensch" is
a particularly good person, similar to a "stand-up guy", a person with
the qualities one would hope for in a friend or trusted colleague.
Yiddish מענטשלעכקייט, German
Menschlichkeit) refers to the properties which make a person a
During the Age of Enlightenment, in Germany the term Humanität, in
the philosophical sense of "compassion", was used in
describe what characterizes a "better human being". The concept goes
back to Cicero's humanitas, which was literally translated as
Menschlichkeit in German, from which the
Yiddish word mentsh derives.
Mensch on the Bench
Mensch on the Bench," is a book and doll set created by Jewish
father and former
Hasbro Toys marketing executive, Neal Hoffman, in an
effort to teach his sons about the Jewish holiday Hanukkah, all while
adding a new tradition to his family. The doll is a stuffed toy that
looks a bit like a rabbi or a
Hasidic Jew and is named Moshe. The
accompanying book tells the story of Moshe the
Mensch who helped Judah
Maccabee at the temple by keeping the Shamash candle lit and by
watching over the menorah and remaining oil during
Hanukkah for eight
days - when there was only enough oil left for one day. Moshe played
the dreidel, loved coins made of candy called Gelt, and was a true
mensch to the children and their families during this difficult time.
Look up mensch or
Mensch in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
^ Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary
^ How to Be a
Mensch Archived 2008-10-19 at the Wayback
Mensch on the Bench mascot at World Baseball Classic,"
^ "Israel's World Baseball Classic mascot:
Mensch on a Bench," Yahoo.
Mensch on Bench, Israel ready for Classic," mlb.com.