Philologos


A Real Metsiya!

By Philologos

The Forward’s features editor, Erica Brody, tells me she knows a dedicated subscriber whose Yiddish-speaking family had a “hullabaloo” about the word metsiya. What precisely this “hullabaloo” was about I don’t know, but I can imagine. How many words are there that also mean their opposite and can be confused with their homonym in the…Read More


Pardon My Turkish

By Philologos

In the Israeli writer Amos Oz’s autobiographical account of childhood and adolescence “A Tale Of Love And Darkness,” to be published in English translation this spring, Oz’s father, a Hebrew University librarian with a love for words and their etymologies, says at one point to his son, “And as for your [Hebrew word] gazoz, it comes to…Read More


By Me, By You

By Philologos

In an e-mail entitled “Schadenfreude,” reader Sam Weiss of Paramus, N.J., writes about my September 5 column on foreign place names:“I couldn’t help noticing your misuse (a classic among Yiddish speakers) of the word ‘by’ in the sentence, ‘Or take the Chinese, who don’t mind our speaking of Shanghai when by them…Read More


Goats to the Slaughter

By Philologos

‘And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat…. And the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him and to let him go for a scapegoat unto the wilderness.”This passage from Leviticus 16 stands at the heart of…Read More


Upping Yor Ante

By Philologos

This being the week of Rosh Hashana, I took advantage of the occasion to ask the Israeli scholar Shmuel Gelbart, an expert on Jewish custom and Yiddish usage, a question that has been bothering me. Why is Yiddish the only language in the world whose speakers make a practice of wishing each other a good year every day of the year?Read More


Rav, Rebbe, Rabbi

By Philologos

M r. Rosenberg writes from Kansas City: “A group of us were discussing the derivation of the word ‘rabbi.’ We know what it means, obviously, and are aware of its various permutations — rov, reb, rebbe, rebenyu. But what is the root meaning of the word?”The root meaning of the Hebrew word rav, “rabbi,” is “large,” “great” or…Read More


The Buzaglo Test

By Philologos

As scandal swirls around the office of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, and some political commentators wonder why he isn’t held more strictly to accounts while others protest that he has been tarnished unfairly, almost everyone in Israel agrees that he should be subject to the Buzaglo Test.Read More


Also Known As...

By Philologos

‘Bombay — Forty-five people were killed and at least 135 were wounded Monday by the explosion of two bombs placed in a pair of taxis in the heart of India’s commercial capital, the police said.”That’s from a front-page New York Times report on August 26. Further on we are told:“At the scene of the first blast, the state’s tense and…Read More


What Would Jesus Speak?

By Philologos

Probably no film in history has been written about as much before its public debut as Mel Gibson’s new movie about the last days of Jesus. Many of the critics and scholars who have seen it screened in advance have accused it of both antisemitism and historical ignorance — an ignorance all the more appalling in light of its pretensions to…Read More


Feminine Fasting

By Philologos

The story is told of the newly religious Israeli who informs his boss that he isn’t coming to work the next day because it’s “Tesha be’Av.”The correct Hebrew name of the fast day, commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples, that was observed by many Jews this week is of course Tish’a [pronounced…Read More





Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.