Jewish as a Second Language: How to Worry, How to Interrupt, How to Say the Opposite of What You Mean

Jewish as a Second Language: How to Worry, How to Interrupt, How to Say the Opposite of What You Mean

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by Molly Katz
     
 

Now bigger, better, and with more guilt: a completely revised, updated, and expanded second edition (would it hurt to have a little more?) of Jewish as a Second Language, the hilarious field guide to Jewish language and culture.

Written to help her Gentile husband and others like him who fall for believing a Jewish mother-in-law when she says,

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Overview

Now bigger, better, and with more guilt: a completely revised, updated, and expanded second edition (would it hurt to have a little more?) of Jewish as a Second Language, the hilarious field guide to Jewish language and culture.

Written to help her Gentile husband and others like him who fall for believing a Jewish mother-in-law when she says, "Don't bother driving me, I'll take a cab," Jewish as a Second Language shows how to be one of the family—how to worry, how to interrupt, how to change your hotel room. It's not Yiddish. Though non-Jews can endear themselves by learning how to mis-use words like schmendrick and schmatta—providing both laughs and confirmation of Jewish superiority—this Jewish language is about the complex twists and somersaults of everyday speech, of unexpected nuances, hidden meanings, and swampy thickets of behavior, of wins, losses, and draws in competitions you never knew you entered. It's about the most common OAQs (obsessive anal questions): "This mole looks okay, doesn't it?" "Can Saltines go bad?" "They'll de-ice the wings before takeoff, right?" The Four Basic Shrugs. Acronyms never to use again: NASCAR, STD, and MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, the potentially deadly skin virus that’s spread by contact, and also by talking about it casually). The things non-Jews do for fun and what Jews do: Contra dance/Contradict, Read the comics/Read the obituaries, Get your boobs done/Get your taxes done. Stuff never found in a Jewish home (trout flies, a lineoleum knife, a Lay-Z-Boy, a rottweiler) or mouth (Miracle Whip, marshmallow fluff, Bud).

So you'll sit, you'll read, you'll laugh until you're nauseous. It's a nice book.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780761158400
Publisher:
Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date:
04/29/2010
Edition description:
Revised
Pages:
182
Sales rank:
296,046
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

WHERE TO CONVERSE

Whether we're talking with friends, acquaintances, clerks, or total strangers, the most enjoyable Jewish conversations are impromptu. They occur in the following locations.

At the Supermarket. When you run into a friend here, of course you must catch up. Select a narrow aisle piled with cartons. Position your shopping basket so no one can get by. Feel free to chat as long and as loudly as you wish. Ignore the glares of other shoppers-they're just jealous of the good time you're having.

In a Department Store. The salesclerk showing you a lipstick will be glad to wait while you catch up with the friend who's just greeted you. That's what she's there for. Never be so rude as to exclude her from your talk. If your friend doesn't think to get the clerk's input on her upcoming hysterectomy, you do it.

In a Restaurant. If you see people you know, hurry to the table no matter what stage of their meal it is. They'll be eager to chat with you and introduce their tablemates. Make sure everyone joins the conversation. They can eat anytime.

At a Party. Ignore all the guests you don't know; they can talk to their own friends. Scream to familiar faces to come join you. Spend the entire evening trying to outyell one another on the most inconsequential topics. You'll know you're doing this correctly when the room rings with shouts like "What do you mean you haven't fertilized your lawn all summer?"

On a Waiting Line. Jews love lines. Aside from the fact that finding one at the movie or other event we've picked confirms the brilliance of our choice, we consider a waiting line our personal studio audience.

As soon as you reach the line, ask the person in front of you if he or she is the end. Ask as many other questions as you can think of, even if the person obviously knows no more than you do. When you're out of questions, begin talking to whoever you came with. Keep up a running dialogue about everyone walking by and everything happening around you. Do this in a tone so loud that others on line know they're expected to join the conversation. With practice, you can hone this technique so exquisitely that bystanders feel guilty for keeping silent.

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Meet the Author

Molly Katz, author of humorous romance novels, psychological thrillers, and magazine and newspaper articles, is also a former stand-up comedian. She enjoys dancing, cooking, and traveling to places no sane person would go.

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