ColumnDecember 2014



By Stephanie Lewis


This holiday season, express yourself with some new-ish, true-ish Jewish vocabulary. Because why should someone so cool-ish ever sound foolish?

Spellukah, noun. A democratic way to settle any dispute over how you should write the word Chanukah. “You spell Hanukah, I spell Chanuka, let’s call the whole thing off!”

GeltnGuiltnGlutton, noun. One who buys a big supply of the little mesh bags of chocolate gelt weeks ahead of time in preparation for Chanukah parties and adorning presents, only to stealthily gobble them all up which results in more shopping trips to replenish original stash. (Similar phenomenon as occurs with Halloween candy.)

PresentStation, noun. Designated area of the house (cleared away of all furniture by grunting, complaining males) for displaying ever-accumulating wrapped gifts for all eight nights. Most effective space includes motion detectors and iPhone surveillance system. Oy!

DecembeRemember, verb. A way to remind children who envy their non-Jewish friend’s Christmas celebrations to appreciate their own, i.e., Every year I need to DecembeRemember my twin sons that we get eight nights (all in a row!) of fun, while little Johnny down the block only has one morning.

Nebbishwebish, adjective. A description of an online invitation to a Chanukah party used primarily to save postage. Who cares? It’s not like Barbra Streisand or Adam Sandler emailed it. If they had, we’d call that, “NebbishCelebish.”

ShooJewzoo, verb. The act of insisting that guests (upon their initial arrival) stop loitering in the kitchen, schmoozing, and attacking food like a bunch of untamed animals with ferocious appetites. (The formal living room has been beautifully prearranged for this purpose, for heaven’s sake!)

L.A.S.E.R.; acronym. Stands for: “Latke Applesauce Sour cream Eating Recruiter” One who makes it their business to convert a purist (single topping) latke consumer over to the other side; combining both fruit and dairy into one neat bite.

Ignoramenorah, adjective. A way to describe children who rush through the beautiful tradition of candle lighting so they can rip into their presents (and the adults who allow this).

Brisketfixedit, verb. The cocky action of giving unsolicited advice to the young hostess of a Chanukah party (usually by a wise grandmother type) that results in a moister main course. Often involves adding warm water (a “secret” ingredient?) to the pan drippings for extra gravy.

MessiahJeremiah, proper noun. Someone (usually named Jeremiah but can be a Joseph or even a Zack) who has religious sightings in the fun waxy build-up on the menorah. There’s one in every bunch. Note: shapes resembling Jesus will be met with raised brows.

Fryerliargoodbyers, plural noun. Those who fabricate reasons why they cannot help cook the latkes in a deep pan of oil, (spattering hot grease all over their blouse) then abruptly depart the kitchen.

Fryercomplier, noun. That lone individual who remains near the stovetop after all other fryerliargoodbyers have exited because he/she couldn’t think fast enough.

Jiltguilt, noun. Feeling of obligation to come back inside kitchen to help the overwhelmed fryercomplier, who was previously abandoned. This results in a “Mitzvah-Shvitza-Splitza.” (see below)

Mitzvah-Shvitza-Splitza noun. The unspoken agreement between the two people who end up frying all the latkes together. Their reward for perspiring over the burning stove? Getting to share as much potato pancakes as they want, (fresh from the pan while they’re still hot!) before carrying out the cold platter for the others. Also known as “WarmaKarma.”

WinchellsmellJell, adjective. Description of that telltale scent which is evidence that the hostess purchased her Sufganiyot (jelly donuts) at an outside chain establishment, rather than deep-frying them up homemade. Can you blame her?

Stephanie D. Lewis is a single mother of six and a regular contributing writer for the Huffington Post. She is a humorist at Once Upon Your Prime ( and has a published novel called “Lullabies & Alibis.” She can be reached at





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