Mensch (Yiddish: מענטש mentsh, cognate with the German word Mensch meaning a "human being") means "a person of integrity and honor". The opposite of a "mensch" is an "unmensch", meaning an utterly unlikeable or unfriendly person.
According to Leo Rosten, the Yiddish maven and author of The Joys of Yiddish, a "mensch" is "someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character. The key to being 'a real mensch' is nothing less than character, rectitude, dignity, a sense of what is right, responsible, decorous." The term is used as a high compliment, implying the rarity and value of that individual's qualities.
In Yiddish, mentsh roughly means "a good person". The word has migrated as a loanword into American English, where a "mensch" is a particularly good person, similar to a "stand-up guy", a person with the qualities one would hope for in a friend or trusted colleague. Mentshlekhkeyt (Yiddish מענטשלעכקייט, German Menschlichkeit) refers to the properties which make a person a "mensch".
During the Age of Enlightenment, in Germany the term Humanität, in the philosophical sense of "compassion", was used in Humanism to describe what characterizes a "better human being". The concept goes back to Cicero's humanitas, which was literally translated as Menschlichkeit in German, from which the Yiddish word mentsh derives.
Mensch on the Bench
"Mensch on the Bench," a stuffed toy that looks a bit like a rabbi or a Hasidic Jew, was created as a Jewish counterpart to The Elf on the Shelf. Jewish father Neal Hoffman, a former Hasbro Toys toy marketing executive, raised more than $20,000, using the crowdfunding website Kickstarter to fund creation of the toy in the Spring of 2011.
Cody Decker, the starting left fielder for Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, brought the team's mascot, a five-foot version of "Mensch on the Bench," with him to Asia from the United States for the World Baseball Classic. Decker said he "tried getting him a first-class ticket. But that didn't fly, so he was put in a duffel bag and checked." The mascot proved to be a big hit. He has his own locker, sits on Team Israel's bench in the dugout during every game, and sat alongside Decker at a press conference in South Korea. Decker said:
He's a mascot, he's a friend, he's a teammate, he's a borderline deity to our team.... He brings a lot to the table.... Every team needs their Jobu. He was ours. He had his own locker, and we even gave him offerings: Manischewitz, gelt, and gefilte fish... He is everywhere and nowhere all at once. His actual location is irrelevant because he exists in higher metaphysical planes. But he's always near.
Team Israel Manager Jerry Weinstein said: "He's on the team. Everybody brings something to the team, and certainly The Mensch is a unifying factor for the ball club." Pitcher Gabe Cramer said: "The Mensch on the Bench is ... a symbol we can rally around as a team. We are proud to be Jewish, but we know how to make and take a joke, something Jews have a long history of doing. The Mensch is a great way to have fun in the dugout while reminding us of why we're here and who we're representing."
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- Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary
- How to Be a Mensch[self-published source?]
- "Israel's Mensch on the Bench mascot at World Baseball Classic," Newsday.
- "Israel's World Baseball Classic mascot: Mensch on a Bench," Yahoo.
- "With Mensch on Bench, Israel ready for Classic," mlb.com.
- Modern Philology
- "Meet Mensch On A Bench, Jewish Counterpart To Elf On The Shelf," NPR.
- "The Mensch On The Bench," The New York Post.
- "The Mensch on a Bench is Hanukkahs answer to the Elf on the Shelf," The Daily Mail.
- "The Mensch on a Bench claims space on elf toy's holiday turf," The New York Daily News.
- https://www.forbes.com/sites/sap/2014/12/11/the-mensch-on-a-bench-from-basement-to-big-box-and-now-shark-tank/#2d31052210da, Forbes.
- "Dutch Players Take Leave From Spring Training For World Baseball Classic," NPR.
- "Mensch on a Bench, mascot of Israel baseball team, a hoot ahead of WBC,", The Times of Israel.
- "The best thing about Team Israel's World Baseball Classic run is their delightful mascot," USA Today.
- "Israel's suddenly the undefeated darling of the baseball world," The New York Post.
- "Team Israel scores another surprise baseball win — with a Marin pitcher," J.