Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I am most definitely not a Whora!!

I have been wholly devoted over the past few weeks to reading up on Yohanan ben Zakkai, the fall of Jerusalem, Vespasian, and all that is contained therein. So, to be completely honest, I needed a break. The kind of break that I usually get by reading a graphic novel -- something that's functional, but sort of mindless with lots of pictures and not so much text. When my mind gets to the point of exploding, I turn to these lighter books (though oftentimes they're really heavy topics) to sort of cleanse the brain tissue. So this is a bit of a review, and a bit of me hoping to get you guys to giggle a bit.

This time, on this special occasion of brain cleansing, I turned to "Webstein's Dictionary: The Essential Guide to Yiddishizing Your Life," thanks to the book's author Joel M. Stein. Thanks to him and his kitschy little book, I'm giggling and relaxing. It's definitely a coffee table reader, something to place beside your copies of "Cool Jew " and other schwankily Jewish books. The thing is, it's a pretty small and unsuspecting book, and I was actually surprised by its compact size, but it packs a big punch with the funny. Some of the definitions produce those "oy ... really!?" kind of reactions, while others had me going "YES! YES!!!!" in an almost orgasmically pleasing fashion. After all, I am a word person!

My favorite definitions -- not to spoil the book, of course -- were
challahscopy n. the procedure to remove thirty years of Friday evening white bread impacted in your colon (from the root challah: traditional braided bread served on Sabbath, and most holidays)
drek tech n. the shleppy guy in the IT office whose sole purpose is to ruin your computer every time he runs a Windows update (from the root drek: crap)
whora n. the uncomfortably-close dance your divorced cousin performs at every wedding with every man -- single or otherwise (from the root hora: traditional Jewish circle dance)
You get the drift, right? Yes, Stein takes traditionally Jewish/Hebrew words and puts a kitschy spin on them, creating wordage that is convenient for just about any and all circumstances in your techy, cheesy, Yiddish-style life. The only thing I would have liked to see in this book that was overlooked, was how the author could have spelled out these modern twists on ages old words in Hebrew characters. Just a thought, but I think it would be a cute, unique addition to add a little Hebrew spice to an already fantastic book.

I mean, I can imagine how you'd write out challahscopy ... 'חלהסקופ?