Garbage, Recycling, Yiddish? Well… No Secular Education…

NYS Department of Sanitation 4

 New York City Sanitation Department mailingsNYS Department of Sanitation 3

Why Does the Department of Sanitation of the City of New York Send out its Schedules in Yiddish and in English? Who Pays the Translator?

LostMessiah (and a postman), March 29, 2016 (***updated March 30, 2016)

With all of the many lawsuits pending regarding secular education in the public schools, in East Ramapo and Kiryas Joel, in Brooklyn, in Lakewood, one would think that appeasing the ultra-Orthodox would not be an option. They refuse to teach their children subjects “substantially similar” to the subjects taught in secular schools. The ultra-Orthodox don’t see the importance. That the children graduate whatever level of school unable to put two sentences together in English (the language of the United States) is of little relevance. Yet, they want the secular government to (pay) to translate documents (and street signs) into a language of their convenience. 


Logic would have it that if they were forced to learn the language ENGLISH to survive, they would learn it, sink or swim…

Moreover, and discounting the flawed morality in raising children to be purposefully illiterate, with all of the funding being distributed to Yeshivas, it would stand to reason that ultra-Orthodox members of the community would at least, be able to read signs, to read notifications, etc. etc.

Nope… Seems not…

When sending mail to Borough Park residents, the City of New York finds it imperative to send documents in English and …Yiddish. Against the backdrop of the lawsuits filed against different religious schools claiming inadequate secular education, is the City of New York yet enabling a structure that allows for the people within these communities to remain illiterate in the law of the land? 

If we stuck to a single language, you know, our native language –  ENGLISH, would it not stand to reason that the ultra-Orthodox would be compelled to learn at least enough to read the mail?

And…. We Have Not Even Addressed The Issue of Who Pays the Translator…



***Note to reader: Based upon a question in the comments below, we note that many of the Words in the mailings to the privileged NY community (and the street signs) are actually English words with Hebrew Letters.

There are Yiddish equivalents:

Schedule- פּלאַן (literal – “plan)
bus stop (actually translated “bus halt”) – ויטאָבוס האַלטן      
collection – זאַמלונג   
Sanitation – היגיענע 
recycling (Hebrew letters for English word) ריסייקלינג   
Village ==  דאָרף



6 thoughts on “Garbage, Recycling, Yiddish? Well… No Secular Education…

  1. Fascinating.

    Even more outrageous is that what is written in Hebrew letters, purporting to be Yiddish, is in fact English phonetically rendered.

    Are any of these words Yiddish?


    • @wignmore We don’t believe that there is a Yiddish equivalent for recycling and Sanitation. The others, need to be checked. We realized the same thing when we saw this. More ironic is that we asked an Israeli whether their “State rendered” signs are in Yiddish/Hebrew/Arabic? Since whatever the politics concerned have lead to the Israelis trying to make peace in one form or another, many signs are in Arabic and Hebrew (and English). The Israelis will not pander to the ultra-Orthodox whom, it is assumed, should be able to read one of the two available languages.

    • LM,

      Thanks for your reply above. This reminds me of an old line said by “modern” people in Borough Park in reference to Chasidic kids: “They are illiterate in three languages, English, Hebrew and Yiddish.” (Jancsi will appreciate this.)

      After all, try saying any of these sentences in Borough Park Yiddish:

      “Fill my car with 10 gallons of premium gasoline at least 91 octane.”

      “I need to go for a CT scan of my brain.”

      “Please give me the forms to send this letter certified mail, return receipt requested.”

      “How much is the postage?”

      Isaac Bashevis Singer is rolling over in his grave.

      • @Wigmore – We are fairly certain that Ellie Wiesel is not particularly happy either!

        The Borough Park Yiddish is causing us problems trying to translate documents, almost to the point of bone-deep humor. So, your comments are quite apropos. Thanks.

  2. OMG ! Those outlaws have some nerve ! No wonder residents of Toms River , NJ complain .
    Their area will turn into East Ramapo or Kiryas Joel . Even in Brooklyn signs are not in Yiddish .
    They got some nerve . Even in Israel , signs are in Ivrit , not in Yiddish .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s