In Our Words
Click Play to hear the word "Mensch"
"Mensch" is a Yiddish word meaning "a person of integrity and honor"
Leo Rosten, author of the lexicon "The Joys of Yiddish", says a "mensch" is a term that Jews grew up on in their childhood. The Jewish mother frequently told her child "Be A Mensch" . To "Be a Mensch" is the greatest praise and to say to someone that he is not a "Mensch" is the biggest put down.
Being a "mensch" is not at all related to success, wealth or social status. A judge can be a slob, a millionaire can be detestable, a professor can be sleazy and a Doctor can be unscrupulous.
A Mensch is many things and one simple thing. A mensch does what is right because it is right towards family, towards strangers, at home and in public. When people behave with honesty, integrity, consideration and respect they themselves prosper as does society at large. By spreading mensch-like behavior we can make our society happier, healthier and more successful.
A Mensch is considerate of others
* as a driver
* as a customer
* as a neighbor
A Mensch does the right thing
* guided by honesty
* with integrity
* regardless of who knows about it
A Mensch knows actions have consequences
* Obeys Laws
* Drives Safely
* Keeps control of his temper
A Mensch treats everyone with respect
* knows everyone is an individual
* doesn't judge by appearances
* works to understand the other
A Mensch respects our resources
* knows our streets aren't ashtrays
* cleans up after themselves
* conserves, reuses and recycles
A Mensch has courage
* to do the right thing
* to stand up for whats right
* to admit when s/he is wrong
A Mensch cares
* about his community
* about Am Israel
* about the world
How You Can Help
In your words, a Mensch is…
We’ve asked lots of people what they think a mensch is – and they told us. Now we want to hear from you! Tell us: It can be a person, a thought, an idea or a few words. Whatever it means to you.