The term "mensch" literally means a "person" or "man," but it represents a moral ideal for all people, men and women alike. . . . It means being sensitive to other people's needs and seeking out ways to help them. It is acquired by living close to family and extending one's sense of obligation beyond the family to the broader community. In the Jewish culture of Eastern Europe where the term arose, to call someone a mensch was the highest compliment that could be given.