In Yiddish "mensch" literally means "person." But to be a "real mensch" is so much more . . .
In The Joys of Yiddish, Leo Rosten writes, "As a child, I often heard it said: 'The finest thing you can say about a man is that he is a mentsh!' Jewish children often heard this admonition: 'Behave like a mentsh,' or 'Be a mentsh!' . . . To be a mentsh has nothing to do with success, wealth, or status. The key to being 'a real mentsh' is nothing less than character: rectitude, dignity, a sense of what is right, responsible, decorous."
Estie might prefer being a turtle or an octopus on the outside, but when it really counts, she finds her inner mensch.
What about you (or your favorite children)? Are you a mensches? Send me a short description of a way you've been a mensch and, if you have one, a photo, and you could be my Mensch of the Month! I'll feature you here and send you a signed copy of Estie the Mensch. You can post your entry in the comments here, on Twitter (include @janekohuth and #menschchallenge), or on my Facebook page. And make sure I have a way to get in touch with you! You just might win!