National Spelling Bee Contestant Asked to Spell “Chremslach”

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The Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in a tie for the third consecutive year Thursday night, with 13-year-old Jairam Hathwar from Corning, New York, and Nihar Janga from Austin, Texas, declared co-champions after a roller-coaster finish.

But what made the spelling interesting – or perhaps, in yeshivishe jargon, mudneh – was the fact that the spelling bee champion had to spell the Yiddish word “chremslach” – yes, that food you usually eat on Pesach – in the final rounds of the competition.

Last we checked, chremslach in not an English word, but whatever.

In 2013, the winning word was knaidel. That year, a contestant had to spell hesped.

In 2009, kichel was one of the words. In 2006, a 14-year-old had to spell hechsher.

Make you wonder: Is this the English spelling bee?



  1. Any word that gets into the Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, Collegiate Edition, is fair game, but sorry, rabbosai, kneidel, chremslach et al, are not included, even in the Foreign Words and Phrases. English it ain’t!


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