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Michael Wex (born September 12, 1954) is a Canadian novelist, playwright, translator, lecturer, performer, and author of books on language and literature.[1] His specialty is Yiddish and his book Born to Kvetch was a surprise bestseller in 2005.[1] Wex lives in Toronto with his wife Marilla and daughter Sabina.[2]

Michael Wex was born in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada to a family of descendants of Rebbes of Ciechanów and Stryków. He has taught at the University of Toronto and the University of Michigan.[3]


  • The Frumkiss Family Business. Toronto: Knopf Canada, 2010. ISBN 978-0-307-39776-8
  • How to Be a Mentsh (and Not a Shmuck). Harper, 2009. ISBN 978-0-061-77111-8
  • Just Say Nu: Yiddish for Every Occasion (When English Just Won't Do). New York: St. Martin's Press, 2007. ISBN 0-312-36462-8
  • Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language And Culture in All Its Moods. Publisher: St. Martin's Press (September 1, 2005). ISBN 0-312-30741-1
  • Born to Kvetch (Audio CD). ISBN 0-06-113122-9
  • Shlepping the Exile, 1993, ISBN 0-88962-542-5
  • The Adventures of Micah Mushmelon, Boy Talmudist. 2007.
  • Die Abenteuer des Micah Mushmelon, kindlicher Talmudist (dt. von Heiko Lehmann, Wagenbach 2005)
  • Classic Yiddish Stories of S.Y. Abramovitsh, Sholem Aleichem, and I.L. Peretz. (Michael Wex, translator) 2004. ISBN 0-8156-0760-1
  • The Wishing-Ring by S.Y. Abramovitsh (Michael Wex, translator). 2003. ISBN 0-8156-3035-2
  • God in Paris (performance)
  • Sex in Yiddish (performance)
  • Judenverwolkung, or Meshiekh's Tsaytn (performance)
  • I Just Want to Jewify (The Yiddish Revenge on Wagner) (performance)


  1. ^ a b Summer Yiddish Internship 2008: Yiddish Summer.org
  2. ^ Biography notes from his book covers
  3. ^ "Michael Wex", an interview by Wordsmith.org, December 5, 2005

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Wex — Please support Wikipedia.
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73 news items

Cleveland Jewish News
Fri, 02 Oct 2015 06:52:30 -0700

•“Zits in krits in shveig; Sit and gnash your teeth and be silent' … a way of making your displeasure known'” (Michael Wex, Just Say Nu; St. Martin's Press, Oct. 16, 2007, New York, page 99). Harold Ticktin writes about Yiddish for the Cleveland ...
Globe and Mail
Fri, 27 Aug 2010 13:34:55 -0700

As befitting the debut novel of a foremost, and very funny, authority on Yiddish language and culture, The Frumkiss Family Business is subtitled A Megilla in 14 Chapters. The best known megilla is the Book of Esther, which tells the story of Purim. But ...
Tablet Magazine
Thu, 10 Nov 2011 04:05:09 -0800

Halfway through an article about immigration fraud in the erev Sukkot edition of the Globe and Mail, Canada's leading daily, I realized that its subject, Earl Seth David, aka Rabbi Avraham David, had been sitting right in front of me in shul for the ...
New York Times
Tue, 27 Sep 2005 14:06:51 -0700

Born to Kvetch Yiddish Language and Culture in All of Its Moods By Michael Wex 303 pages. St. Martin's Press. $24.95. Most children watching "The Three Stooges" didn't realize it, but an understanding of Yiddish was required to get a lot of the jokes ...


Mon, 22 Jun 2015 11:56:15 -0700

In Born to Kvetch, Michael Wex summarizes the point of Yiddish as “the need or desire to talk Yiddish as distinct from goyish, Jewish instead of gentile.” Yiddish stripped German of the cultural assumptions the Christian Germans associated with it ...

New York Times

New York Times
Thu, 23 Apr 2015 03:52:30 -0700

The public face of New York's diamond district is Diamond and Jewelry Way, a block of 47th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues lined with dazzlingly lit shops and exchanges and cluttered by hawkers, hustlers, cops and couriers. But beyond these ...

The Virginian-Pilot (blog)

The Virginian-Pilot (blog)
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 13:15:00 -0700

... Larry King, comedian Freddie Roman, Yiddish theater song and dance man Fyvush Finkel, Dennis Howard, deli owner Jay Parker, humorist Michael Wex (who wrote a book called “Born to Kvetch”), Ziggy's brother J. Mackeye Gruber and, of course, Ziggy.

Jewish United Fund

Jewish United Fund
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 13:03:58 -0800

This is followed by appreciative remarks from Sheldon Harnick (the genius who wrote the lyrics to all the songs in Fiddler on the Roof), as well as Yiddish Theatre star Fyvush Finkel, and Michael Wex (author of the popular book Born to Kvetch: Yiddish ...

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