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Worms, of course, was where the Jew’s harp — not the “Jaw’s harp” as it’s often called — was first invented, when a Chinese idiophone was adapted by local Jews so that they could conduct two conversations at once. The Oxford English Dictionary suggests that the alternative folk etymology “jeu-trompe” or “joy trumpet” is baseless, though more because it prefers its own theory that Jewish traders brought the instrument to England than because it thinks the Chosen burghers of Worms were particularly joyless.
After previous columns brought foreshadowings to the masses, I have been accused of putting the prole into prolepsis — but I must leave such gripes and return to grapes. The grape, anav (from the Latin una uva or “one grape”) of the Holy Land, is one of the few kosher products that keeps the name Palestine, as in Palwin No. 10, the Kiddush wine now exported only to the United Kingdom.
And, though my Palestinian pal and I were not sipping Palwin on the bank of the Rhine, we had ample scriptural precedent for our actions. This time to adopt a phrase from the Psalms: “Behold, how pleasant it is for brethren to sip wine together in unity!”
Addendum: For those who have enquired about my recent dearth of citations, I sold my 32-volume Alexander Harkavy Dictionary of Sumerian, Ugaritic, Finnish, Sanskrit and Perl to a rare books collector in order to buy a Kindle. Sadly, Amazon has been unforthcoming about when they will update their retrograde Ugaritic fonts.