The French say tu to close friends and vous with others, which won’t work in Hebrew or English. In his final column for the Forward, Philologos explains these linguistic intimacies.
What if Israel wasn’t a Jewish state but a Hebrew state? Having one common language might help forge one Israeli identity — but not without some problems.
Philologos admits that he is no stranger to profanity, and defends himself against critics, who argue that he misinterpreted what it meant when Benjamin Netanyahu was called ‘chickenshit.’
Philologos points out that not every rabbi is a ‘rabbinical scholar’ and not every rabbi’s pupil is a smart man. Did a Forward article muddy the Talmudic waters?
Being called ‘chicken’ is one thing but ‘chickenshit’ is quite another. Philologos explains why Benjamin Netanyahu got so upset when the diplomatic stuff hit the fan.
How seriously should we take the movement to create a unique identity for Israeli Christians? Philologos investigates the revival of Aramaic, the language of Jesus.
Should we bend over backward to avoid using male-centric language? No, argues Philologos, because political correctness can sometimes get in the way of communicating properly.
A common Yiddish phrase literally means ‘I have it in the left earlock.’ Philologos investigates the idiom, which does not require knowledge of Jewish hairstyles.
At the heart of the Shemini Atzeret rain prayer, there is a reference to ‘the angel of rain.’ Philologos investigates how it wound up in the Sukkot celebration.
Just as it is a commandment not to eat on Yom Kippur, it is also a commandment to eat before it. Philologos says there is no other meal of the Jewish year which is required of the faithful.