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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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8792 videos foundNext > 

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 on Pesach Dishes

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.

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..

Klez Kamp 2006: Michael Wex in Staff Concert

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

Michael Wex - Emcee

Michael Wex and the lending library

Michael Wex Launches New Book1

8792 videos foundNext > 

205 news items

The Jewish Week
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 06:26:15 -0800

It is astonishing that you would base an article on the misplaced opinions of Michael Wex. The concept that Yiddish was and is nothing more than a language to be “used to insult the people around you without them knowing what you're saying” is so very ...


Tue, 19 Jan 2016 11:30:00 -0800

A check with my Wizards of Oys — Chaim Werdyger and Michael Wex — told me that the correct transliteration was briv. Mercifully, a kind colleague made the change for me before the paper went to print. What I had done was to take a similar English ...

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 ...


Sat, 09 Jan 2016 05:30:52 -0800

The Brothers Nazaroff are remaking the disc with a tribute release called The Happy Prince — though the group, which comprises klezmer musicians from three continents, is a lot more polished than their inspiration. Michael Wex, author of the best ...

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 ...


Wed, 30 Dec 2015 09:53:04 -0800

Last year's recipient, New York Times-bestselling author Michael Wex (“Born to Kvetch,” “Just Say Nu”), emceed the evening, which featured an all-star cast of Yiddish singers and musicians performing songs from Cooper's “In Love and In Struggle: 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 ...

The Jewish Week

The Jewish Week
Wed, 30 Dec 2015 06:07:54 -0800

That's how many Yiddish enthusiasts responded to presidential frontrunner Donald Trump's recent foray into the world of Yiddishisms, according to Michael Wex, Yiddish scholar and bestselling author of “Born to Kvetch.” Trump, in his latest bit of ...

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