Schumer uses Yiddish shtick in new campaign ad


(New York Jewish Week) — In a new political ad, Sen. Chuck Schumer gives constituents a Yiddish lesson while lauding some Democratic victories and decrying some Republican actions of the last term. 

The thirty-second ad is titled “Yiddish Lessons with the Senate Majority Leader.”

“Let’s start with an easy one: schmos,” the New York Democrat says in the ad. He gestures to an animated blackboard where a chalk drawing of former President Trump, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Ted Cruz appear. In parentheses, the blackboard translates schmos as “jerks.” Jaunty klezmer music plays in the background.

Schumer goes on to teach the Yiddish words shande (shame) in referring to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. He uses mishegas (insanity) to describe “the horrible games those MAGA Republicans play.”

The Senate Majority Leader also highlights several Democratic wins from the last term. He teaches the words kvell (to feel proud) and naches (joy), which is “how we felt when we passed the boldest climate legislation in history.”

The ad will air beginning today, according to Jewish Insider, which first reported on it.

Schumer grew up in a Jewish family in Midwood, Brooklyn. As Senate Majority Leader since Jan. 20, 2021, he is the highest-ranking elected Jewish official in the history of the U.S. government.

Yiddish mavens may remember when another New York politician’s use of derogatory Yiddish slang gave Schumer’s career a major boost. In 1998, the Republican incumbent, Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, referred to Schumer as a “putzhead” during a meeting with Jewish leaders first reported by the New York Jewish Week. Voters found D’Amato’s use of the slur unseemly, and it helped get Schumer elected to his first term in the Senate in an extremely close race. 

In his bid for a fifth term, Schumer does not face any serious competition from Republican candidate Joe Pinion, a political commentator on the right-wing news site Newsmax. However, the balance of the Senate — and Schumer’s role as Majority Leader — is up in the air.

“I’m Chuck Schumer and I approve of this message because fighting for New York is no shtick for me,” Schumer says as the ad ends.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.