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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]

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7489 videos foundNext > 

Michael Wex on Pesach Dishes

Michael Wex at the Paper Bridge Summer Arts Festival, National Yiddish Book Center, Amherst, MA. July 10, 2008.

Michael Wex - Born to Kvetch

Author of the bestselling book on Yiddish ever - Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All of Its Moods - novelist, playwright, lecturer, performer and ...

Michael Wex Indiegogo

Michael Wex, bestselling author of Born to Kvetch, is enlisting reader support for a translation of a classic Yiddish novel that he wants to publish free of charge.

Yoysef Opatoshu, "In poylishe velder", 1 fun 4 (Michael Wex)

יוסף אָפּאַטאָשו, אין פּױלישע װעלדער ערשטער טײל מײַקל װעקס דער לײענזאַל Leyenzal - A Yiddish Literacy Project.

Michael Wex: Don't Knock Me a Teakettle

Michael Wex at the Paper Bridge Summer Arts Festival, National Yiddish Book Center, Amherst, MA. July 10, 2008..

Olive TV: Michael Wex

Michael Wex, author of Born to Kvetch and the forthcoming Just Say Nu, talks about his books and answers our questions.

Klez Kamp 2006: Michael Wex in Staff Concert

Klez Kamp 2006: Michael Wex in Staff Concert Videography & Editing by Meredith Holch.

Michael Wex - Emcee

Morning Jew Ep. 41: Born to Kvetch author Michael Wex (7-10-14)

Join us @MorningJewShow Get the show in your inbox: http:/morningJewz.com Comics Heather Gold (@heathr) and Katie Halper (@kthalps) look at the ...

Michael Wex Launches New Book5

7489 videos foundNext > 

71 news items


Tue, 10 Nov 2015 13:33:45 -0800

... machers including Anthony Rose of Fat Pasha and Schmaltz Appetizing; Ruthie Ladovsky, whose family has owned and operated United Bakers Dairy restaurant since 1912, National Post writer Bonnie Stern and “Born to Kvetch” author Michael Wex.

Globe and Mail

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

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 ...
Tribeca Trib
Mon, 19 Oct 2015 15:47:17 -0700

Join us for a discussion and tasting of Toronto's haimishe and hip with Anthony Rose of Toronto's Fat Pasha and Schmaltz Appetizing; Ruthie Ladovsky of United Bakers Dairy Restaurant; and food writers Michael Wex and Bonnie Stern; moderated by Jayne ...

CU Columbia Spectator

CU Columbia Spectator
Thu, 22 Oct 2015 01:48:45 -0700

16th at 8p.m., and author Michael Wex will be speaking in both Yiddish and English). But most of all, she is, like other professors, just trying to keep her program alive. “Yiddish at Columbia University is a very special program. It's the oldest ...

New York Times

New York Times
Thu, 23 Apr 2015 03:55:40 -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 ...


Mon, 22 Jun 2015 11:57:41 -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 ...

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