Philologos


Sorry Can Be the Hardest Word

By Philologos

Turkey wants Israel to apologize for its handling of the 2010 Gaza flotilla. Philologos asks whether their understanding of the word apology may be getting in the way.Read More


Unpacking 'Umgepotch' A Word for Sloppy

By Philologos

Our language columnist answers a reader who wants to know the nuance of ‘potchkie’ — a slap, a dawdle or a waste of time.Read More


Was Amy Winehouse 'A Nice Jewish Girl'?

By Philologos

Is it a cliche to call Amy Winehouse a ‘nice Jewish girl’? No, says Philologos, who argues that the term actually has a special meaning imported from the Yiddish word sheyne.Read More


At the Heart of Self-Hatred

By Philologos

Richard Falk isn’t a self-hating Jew, he is a self-lover of the I’m-not-one-of-you variety, argues Philologos. If you can think of a catchier term, let him know.Read More


Legend of Moses’ Death Sets the Example for an Easy Exit

By Philologos

God took the soul of a reluctant Moses with a kiss. To this day, Hebrew speakers say someone who has died at a ripe old age, without suffering, has had a mitat neshika.Read More


Doubling Dutch

By Philologos

The widespread integration of Yiddish words (especially those related to the world of petty crime) into the Dutch language is the subject of this week’s language column.Read More


Wimpels Made Simple

By Philologos

Medieval Jews wrapped baby boys in ornate Torah ties called wimpels after circumcision, a long-lost tradition that Philologos explains.Read More


Walk Softly and Carry a Big Shtick

By Philologos

The vice president recently used the word “shtick” incorrectly. Philologos wonders if we should be sad that Yiddish words are slipping from our grasp.Read More


We Will, We Will Rock You

By Philologos

Philologos likens a recent dispute over the wording of the Yizkor prayer for fallen soldiers, to a quarrel that delayed Israel’s declaration of statehood more than 60 years ago.Read More


Philologos: What’s That On Your Head?

By Philologos

Philologos, our language columnist, uncovers the French, German and Latin roots of sheytl, paruk and other Yiddish words for wigs.Read More





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  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • Pierre Dulaine wants to do in his hometown of Jaffa what he did for kids in Manhattan: teach them to dance.
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