What’s a shababnik?

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I tend to think I have a fairly good grasp of Jewish lingo, but this YNet article on a real-life haredi West Side Story used a word I’d somehow never come across: Shababnik.

YNet defines this as “a yeshiva dropout.” FailedMessiah defines it as “a kid who hangs out on the streets and doesn’t learn.” According to a TalkBack post on YNet, a shababnik is “a person from a haredi family who thinks secular but for cultural reasons dresses with a Kippa and like a Hareidi.”

Two questions I haven’t answered yet: Can a girl be a shababnik or does it specifically refer to haredi young men? Where does the word come from?

Posted on April 10, 2008

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3 thoughts on “What’s a shababnik?

  1. ymp

    hi, the term “Shababnik” comes from arabic, “Shabab” in arabic means “youth”.
    a shababnik girl is “Shababnikit” :)

  2. Mark Berch

    Yes, the root word is used for women too. The plural is “shababnikiot”. The more polite term is “yatzu m’haderech”
    The origin of the word comes from from the name for the young Palestinians who launched the first intifada.

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