Photo Credit: Jewish Press
Lenny Solomon

There are many ways you can use the word gevalt in a sentence. You can say things like, “It’s “mamesh a gevalt.” In this context it means wow – that is an unbelievable thing. It’s a way to explain something that is Unreal! Amazing!

The next use of gevalt is not so positive. You say things like, “gevalt geshrigen.” You use this when you hear some bad news that has befallen your friend or someone you know. You say – “Oy, gevalt geshrigen.” And you have described something not so good.


The third use of gevalt is “Oy gevalt!” This is the most common use of the word. It is an expression of frustration or sadness or trouble. So we see that you can use gevalt on a happy occasion; you can use it when you hear bad news; or you can use it in frustration or sadness on its own.

I think gevalt is a gevaldig word! Meaning it is a great and wondrous word that describes every moment just by your delivery. And that is pretty gevaldig!

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Lenny Solomon is a Jewish musician who has released 42 albums and has performed in over 2000 shows worldwide. He is the founder of the band Shlock Rock and a partner in the Kesher band. He is executive director of The 4 Corners Project, a nonprofit that produces informal Jewish educational projects using music and media. He lives in Bet Shemesh, Israel.