What Does “Heimish” Mean?
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- This topic has 68 replies, 35 voices, and was last updated 6 years, 1 month ago by apushatayid.
November 27, 2008 1:01 am at 1:01 am #588755
Growing up in an “out-of-town” community I never heard the word. But when I went to Brooklyn, I’ve noticed it everywhere. You can have heimish food, hire a heimish taxi service, eat by a heimish family, read a heimish newspaper…
Is it just another word for frum?November 27, 2008 2:18 am at 2:18 am #884027
re chacham2, I know what you mean having grown up out of town and not knowing all the reid myself. But I might be a little less cynical. Some people use heimish to just mean, a taste of home and familiarity, in the best sense.November 27, 2008 2:20 am at 2:20 am #884028yankdownunderMember
I think it means old fashioned being warm and friendly.November 27, 2008 2:45 am at 2:45 am #884031chunchieMember
haymish is not chassyidish and not litvish it’s an inbetweener…
the heimish population is getting fewer and fewer as the years go by…..November 27, 2008 3:04 am at 3:04 am #884032oomisParticipant
It’s funny, but I always thought that Heimish (which really means homey, down to earth, warm and friendly), means a specific type of frum Jew, such as chassidish or Yeshivish. It certainly seems to be used in that manner to convey that idea.November 27, 2008 3:06 am at 3:06 am #884033JAPPMember
haimish is a certain type of chassidim, who are more open mindedNovember 27, 2008 3:19 am at 3:19 am #884034asdfghjklParticipant
i’ve found there are different meanings to everything in shidduchim. 1)what’s really chasidish? has payos? 2)what’s really yeshivish? learns in a yeshiva in any town? 3)what really does ”he’s learning mean”? learns in some building that has a sign in front that says yeshivas… code name for a place that gives out free chulent & hot kugel? & doesn’t even have seforim there??November 27, 2008 4:52 am at 4:52 am #884035
I always thought heimish was a nice way of calling someone an animal, kind of slang for “biheimish”. Thats until I saw heimish kokosh cake, heimish kugel and heimish taxi service. Then I figured, who cares. Since a poll of 100 people will yield 100 different answers, use it however you want and let people try and figure out what you mean.November 27, 2008 5:04 am at 5:04 am #884036Will HillParticipant
Heimish is a play on the word holy. Heimish people are heilige mentchen.November 27, 2008 6:32 am at 6:32 am #884037
Seems everyone has their own idea then…
dont have internet: Does that mean Heimish people cannot also be Yeshivish?November 27, 2008 6:55 am at 6:55 am #884038
Also, for those saying the “heimish” refers to a specific group or haskafah, what does it mean then when I visit a heimish bakery and eat some heimish kugel?November 27, 2008 7:46 am at 7:46 am #884039Will HillParticipant
The bakery owner is a heimishe yid, using a heimishe hashgocho, making the kugel like in der alte heim.
Its a loose definition, as you can see. But it roughly means someone of chasidic background, although not necessarily a “heisa” chosid with a shtreimel and lange rekel.
But its become loosely used in the frum vernacular for any ehrliche yid, be he a chosid, a litvak, a yekke or sefardi.November 27, 2008 9:48 am at 9:48 am #884040
Via one of the areas I am involved with this subject has come up recently more and more frequently and I am always being asked what is the difference between Heimish and Yeshivish etc.
Having spoken to many Rabbonim,Shaddchonim and various other people this is what I gather
Mainstream American Orthodoxy whereby the parents did not go to Yeshiva or Sem but have sons that have gone to yeshiva and the daughters will wear a sheitel have moved on to become Yeshivish. Some of these families have moved on to a yeshiva style shul as oppose to a large congregational shul with a YU trained rabbi but a shul where they have a Rav. (Hope I’ve explained well enough here). The father now goes to a regular shiur.
These references are not necessarily correct in relation to how religious a person is. I know some very religious people, the women wear pants and don’t cover their hair and the men have not been to yeshiva. They may not be yeshivish, they may not be black hat and they are not heimish but ‘frum’ they are.
Black hat refers to those whereby the father and sons wear a hat weekday and shabbos and possibly lead a more learned life.
Heimish refers to those families who have a history having gone to yeshiva and sem. The fathers, granfathers went to solid yeshivas and the girls went to sem from whence sem was applicable.
Heimish refers to familes that do not include Baalei teshuva but have a solid background.
I do not want to start talking about which families possibly would have a t.v or go to the movies etc and I don’t want to talk about anything more contraversial.
The above is an indicator.
If you have specific questions that I have not been clear on above, please post them and I would be happy to answer them to the best of my written abilityNovember 27, 2008 2:04 pm at 2:04 pm #884042
Jphone, heimish comes from “heim”, home.
Don’t have internet, that’s why, when it comes to shidduchim questions, you want to use terms that are universally understood the same way. Rather than ask if a family is heimish, yeshivish, etc., ask simpler questions and then, if you get answers that include fuzzy words, ask the person you’re speaking to explain what s/he means by that word.
Personally, I never asked questions using words like yeshivish, heimish, chilled out uberultra, etc.November 27, 2008 5:23 pm at 5:23 pm #884043
So, heimish = homey or homely (depending if we were referring to a kugel or a teenager).November 27, 2008 8:19 pm at 8:19 pm #884044
Tzippi and Jphone – you are correct that the word Heim means home, but heimish does not mean homey or homely.
There is a difference between actual translation and transliteration.
Heimish is as per my response earlier.November 28, 2008 2:48 am at 2:48 am #884045
Nobody, I just reread your earlier post and I’ll know where to go if I need decoding next time we start looking into someone. But I still say that not everyone would explain things exactly as you would. E.g. I know a BT couple that I would have to describe as heimish if someone asked me if they were, because I think they fit the bill. Actually, I can just hear the dialogue. After discussing their background, the parent asks me if they’re heimish. What am I supposed to say? “Didn’t I just tell you they’re BT’s? How can you ask me that?”
(Scratching my head.)November 28, 2008 9:00 am at 9:00 am #884046
No Tzippi in this case you would just say Family X are a very frum, warm, homey etc family because in this instance the word heimish is wrong. When asked what is their background then you answer as appropriate.
I get asked a great deal for information and advice on shidduchim, dating etc and I always say choose your words carefully because someone is listening very carefully to what you’re saying and you must be accountable for the exact words you use when giving info for shidduchim.
Hope this helps you a bit moreNovember 30, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am #884047
Re Nobody: I’m an out of town hick, I guess, despite having credentials that YOU would call heimish 😉 and I truly don’t know the reid. If anyone can print a universally accepted glossary that would be greatly appreciated before I do more harm.
Klal Yisrael has just been through a profoundly traumatic 72 hours, where all the labels seem to have fallen away. Reminds of the Beilus trial, and the classic vort on “ODOM ki yakriv mi-kem.”
I realize precision is necessary and there’s another thread on shidduchim emphasizing asking appropriate questions to ensure the kids build a bnb, and that such discussion IS often times necessary. But some of us have definitions that are a bit more fluid and inclusive. In case of doubt, speak English.December 1, 2008 5:26 am at 5:26 am #884048The Big OneParticipant
The direct transliteration of “heimish” is familial.December 1, 2008 3:29 pm at 3:29 pm #884049
In other words. If anyone calls you looking for information about a prospective shidduch, never used the term heimish, yeshivish, litvish or out of townish, everyone has their own interpretation and use for the word. 🙂December 1, 2008 6:10 pm at 6:10 pm #884050
Jphone, exactly! The only way around this that I see is for someone to take upon him/herself the sacred task of writing to Readers Write with a full glossary, and then for the ensuing letters over the next month to be unanimous in agreement. Then we’ll know we have something reliable.December 1, 2008 6:57 pm at 6:57 pm #884051aziParticipant
Heimish = chulent jews.December 1, 2008 7:43 pm at 7:43 pm #884052
Just to wind everyone up of course you could say there is a difference between Haimish and Heimish and Chulent versus Cholent.
Haimish people are not the same as Heimish people and Chulent is not the same as Cholent!
This’ll get some of you really going so I’ll now sit back and enjoy the repsonses all blasting me. EDITED BY YW-ModeratorDecember 2, 2008 2:12 am at 2:12 am #884055asdfghjklParticipant
absolutely nothing!!!!!!!July 9, 2012 6:24 pm at 6:24 pm #884056
It’s 3 years later….Does anyone have a clear definition of Heimishe yet?July 9, 2012 6:51 pm at 6:51 pm #884057
Heimish = BHeimish
the general term means Hungarian descendants that are not chasidish but and like eating kokosh cake, and even when they have 0 connection to chasidus Mitzvah tantz is a must, they won’t do a shiduch if there wont be one.July 9, 2012 6:54 pm at 6:54 pm #884058BronyParticipant
In my experience
“bad”. AN EXAMPLE:
( ‘.’): “Hey ma, why is the taxi late?”
( “;”): “Oh, it’s heimish”July 9, 2012 6:55 pm at 6:55 pm #884059zahavasdadParticipant
I dont think you can translate it into english
Ive seen the word Hemish used in reference to cooking, Chicken and Kugel called Hemish cooking , as opposed to Pizza and SushiJuly 9, 2012 7:18 pm at 7:18 pm #884060choppyParticipant
Heimish means someone who is “varem” or a warm personality.July 9, 2012 8:01 pm at 8:01 pm #884061
I still don’t see any clear answers. Maybe it would be easier if someone can state the difference between heimish and yeshivish? (I assume that there is)July 9, 2012 9:15 pm at 9:15 pm #884062Doodle-Man™Member
Wikipedia defines it as : home-like, friendly, folksyJuly 9, 2012 9:34 pm at 9:34 pm #884063
I think “Nobody” described it best.
But really, indeed, ‘heimish’ is a very vague word with no real specific meaning. I think the way “Nobody” describes it is the most commonly accepted definition, though.July 9, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm #884064oomisParticipant
it’s SUPPOSED to mean warm and homey, but it has come to mean a totally different connotation strictly from an hashkafic perspective, and personally I am not sure what that perspective is supposed to be. One speaks of a heimish hashgocha, and I am pretty certain they don’t mean a little old gray-haired lady is standing by with a plate filled with hot cookies, giving her OK.July 9, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm #884065Shticky GuyParticipant
There was a kol koreh from eretz yisrael up in shul signed by around 15 rabbonim, leading gedolei hador from there including rav elyashiv, rav nissim karelitz, rav chaim kanievski shlita etc. There were two chassidish young men studying the list and one remarked to the other “kein ain heimishe ruv nisht”. The other pointed toward the end and replied “nain, rav wosner is dort”.
Interpret as you see fit.July 9, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm #884066shlishiMember
It means very frum and traditional.July 10, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am #884067MammeleParticipant
Shticky, lol. But it means different things to different folks. In this case since the guys are chasidish, heimish is somebody from their crowd, i.e. also chasidish, maybe hungarian. Kind of like landsman.July 10, 2012 4:31 am at 4:31 am #884068Avi KParticipant
From the Free On-Line Dictionary:
Warm and comfortable; homey; folksy: “It is very gentle and sweet up here. It’s . . . sort of haimish” (Janet Malcolm).
[Yiddish heymish, from Middle High German heimisch, from Old High German heimisc, from heim, home; see tkei- in Indo-European roots.]July 10, 2012 3:56 pm at 3:56 pm #884069
Everyone keeps bringing up the “homey” definition. Thats too literal though as Oomis points out. How would you describe a person who has heimishe hashkafos?
In every sect you can say that there some sort of general fabric that classifies who would part of the group. For example, MO, I would say generally subscribe to JB’s hashkafos, are usually more zionistic etc. Yeshivish are more likely to have an English conversation peppered with Gemara words, etc.
What stereotypes can generally describe a hashkafically heimish Jew?July 10, 2012 5:15 pm at 5:15 pm #884070Shticky GuyParticipant
Shticky, lol. But it means different things to different folks. In this case since the guys are chasidish,
heimish is somebody from their
crowd, i.e. also chasidish, maybe
firstly it is not lol but really sad. secondly that is my point. why do chasidim consider non chasidish people, even gedolim, to be non heimish? do they equate heimish with chasidish? it appears they do. so I, you and reb elyashiv etc are not heimish! boy, I can hear moshiach alreadyJuly 10, 2012 5:15 pm at 5:15 pm #884071ohr chodeshMember
A heimishe Yid believes in Daas Torah and has a strong mesorah.July 10, 2012 6:11 pm at 6:11 pm #884072zahavasdadParticipant
I definatly think Hemish referrs to a more charedi lifestyle, But its more than Daas Torah, its dress, its cooking.
There is a difference between someone with a Polo Shirt and khaki pants and a Kipa Siruga walking into a Kosher Sushi Place
With a Streimel and Beckasha eating chicken and KugelJuly 10, 2012 6:21 pm at 6:21 pm #884073
Fat Gartel + nice trim + kokesh cake + Mitzvah Tantz = heimishJuly 10, 2012 6:27 pm at 6:27 pm #884074
Email i received as an answer to the question from a big shadchan that claims to deal with the heimishe crowd:
chasidish = you have a rebbi either alive or not and follow their minhagim and Mesorah.
Yeshivish = you have a rosh yeshiva either alive or not and follow their minhagim and Mesorah.
Heimish = i can do what ever i want i don’t need to follow chasidims minhagim because we are only “heimish” and we are not either yeshivish.
there is a phenomenal of yeshivash heimish or modern heimsh that would mean chasidic background and some chasidush minhagim.July 10, 2012 6:42 pm at 6:42 pm #884075ohr chodeshMember
getzel: That is a completely incorrect definition.July 10, 2012 6:44 pm at 6:44 pm #884076DasMember
People have different interpretations of the word heimish. My husband’s family is heimish – and the way I’ve heard it defined most is that you come from chassidish background, and may have a few chassidish minhagim, but not chassidish all the way. My guess is that the connection to the word “heim – or home” is that they are following some of their traditions from the alte heim, but that’s my own take on it.
It is not the OPPOSITE of yeshivish – as you can be both – we are also yeshivish. And of course there are different interpretations of yeshivish, but that’s another whole topic lol.July 10, 2012 6:46 pm at 6:46 pm #884077a maminParticipant
Zehavasdad: Forgive me for correcting your spelling, The Heimeshe way to spell BEKESHE is this.July 10, 2012 6:48 pm at 6:48 pm #884078DasMember
NOBODY: I actually wouldn’t rule out baalei teshuvah bec I know baalei teshuva that come from chasidish background and returned to their original roots (but not necessarily all the way – see my previous post)July 10, 2012 6:55 pm at 6:55 pm #884079yehudayonaParticipant
Hmmm, according to getzel1’s “big shadchan” a “tuna beigel” is heimish.July 10, 2012 6:55 pm at 6:55 pm #884080golferParticipant
Ohr chodesh, you are wrong. A heimishe yid might or might not believe in Daas Torah &/or have a strong mesorah. Shticky there’s nothing sad here, because most people know that heimish doesn’t mean superior or more frum. Heimish people have parents or grandparents who came to America from Eastern Europe (Poland, Hungary, Romania, what used to be Czechoslovakia) after WWII. They still preserve some of the behaviors, minhagim, recipes, and Yiddish vocabulary of their ancestors, but they pick and choose which they like best. As an earlier poster pointed out, they may insist on mitzvah tantz as if it is halacha l’Moshe mi’Sinai, but discard most or all of the chassidishe levush (shtreimels are so uncomfortable in the heat). It’s always interesting to notice at weddings how many heimish mitzvah tantz families, have both parents walk the chosson and kallah to the chupa, instead of the two fathers walking the chosson etc as their heimish grandparents most certainly did. In the sense that we realize that the closer the Dor is to maamad Har Sinai the greater it is, and therefore our ancestors’ minhagim are precious and it is our duty to preserve them, we can say that heimishe people are good people. I find it is a beautiful thing to hear children sing zemiros Friday night that their great-grandparents sang before Churban Europa. On the other hand when we notice that heimish people may cling to their potato kugel and galleh with a tenacity not quite matched by their insistence on maintaining the zeideh’s nusach tefillah or attachment to his sefarim, they might make us laugh, or raise an eyebrow here & there.
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