Sunday, January 03, 2010

In hiding?

See the comments.


Blogger Shira Salamone said...

See next comment.

Wed Feb 03, 09:17:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Keep going.

Wed Feb 03, 09:17:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Please be patient.

Wed Feb 03, 09:18:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Just one more, to be on the safe side.

Wed Feb 03, 09:18:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

See below.

Wed Feb 03, 09:19:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

This is one of my (in) famous "hidden" posts, published in the comments so that my co-workers would have to click and scroll to read it. I'm not sure whether I'm really still "in the closet" as a blogger at the office, but I don't want to be too obvious.

The date and time of the original publication of this post will appear below. I'm adding links to the original text.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

In hiding?

It occurs to me that there's another issue involved in the use of "Yeshivish" and other Jewish languages (see my ”Yeshivish” as a second language post), and that is, an almost paranoid sense among some Jews that there are some perfectly innocent matters that we don't want our non-Jewish neighbors to know about. For an example, see my Rude Attitude post: Why does my organization so frequently word the death announcement of a Jew in transliterated Hebrew, so that non-Jewish employees are deliberately discouraged and/or prevented from "paying a condolence call" on a co-worker who's sitting shiva? When I complained to a co-worker, the reply I got was, "It's not for them." What do you mean? Don't they work here, too? And why wouldn't my boss entertain my suggestion that our organization's Bet Midrash have a "Chapel" sign in English, for the benefit of non-Jewish employees and visitors? Why doesn't he want them to know? Are we embarrassed? Are we afraid? Why do some of us feel that we have to hide our Jewish observance in secret code?

posted by Shira Salamone at 8:33 AM

Wed Feb 03, 09:30:00 AM 2010  
Anonymous jdub said...

So, I'll disagree again. I don't disagree with the "niftar" thing, I never use it. However, "shiva" is something almost universally understood, even if the particulars are not. In my office (a 70 person law firm, of whom perhaps there are 10 jews, at most, and I'm the only obserant one) when one of the Jews loses someone, and shiva is being sat, an email goes around saying "So and so will be sitting shiva on x days at y times." I then get consulted as to what the appropriate behavior is (no, you don't have to bring food, no, you aren't expected to participate in any rituals involving the blood of christian babies, that's purely voluntary.) And you live in NY! Everyone knows what shiva is, although one of my sister's sorority sisters thought it was "sipping chivas."

As to Bet Midrash, I have to disagree again. Why need it say "chapel" particularly since a bet midrash would be better translated as "study hall". It's a name. Our shul's latina custodian knows the names of the rooms, whether they're hebrew or english, although she doesn't understand why some of us call it the beit midrash and others call it the beis medrash. : 0

Wed Feb 03, 11:48:00 AM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Okay, maybe the word "shiva," is in sufficiently common usage to be understood, especially in NY. Still, a translation/explanation never hurts, in my opinion.

"Bet Midrash" does, indeed, mean "study hall," but the one in our office is used principally for Mincha/Afternoon Service, which is why I suggested the (inaccurate) translation "chapel."

But what's the excuse for an announcement such as this example (without the translations that I'm putting in brackets): "X was niftar [passed away] on Friday afternoon. The levaya [funeral] took place on Sunday. Davvening [praying] times will be: Shacharis [Morning Service] __ AM, Mincha [Afternoon Service] __ PM, Maariv [Evening Service] __ PM.

It's likely that the majority of our staff is either not Jewish or non-observant. It seems to me that there are only two explanations for announcements being worded in this manner. Either this is a deliberate attempt to discourage these fine folks from attending funerals and shivas. "It's not for them," as my co-worker said. Or the people writing the announcements are simply being thoughtless and/or clueless.

I've run into the exclusionary attitude before. For the record, when I first started blogging and reading other blogs, I encountered a Yiddish word in one post that was accompanied by the point-blank statement that anyone who didn't understand that word didn't belong on that blog. I was so incensed by that obnoxious attitude that I came right back to my own blog and added the words "welcoming the entire Jewish community" to my masthead.

"she doesn't understand why some of us call it the beit midrash and others call it the beis medrash. : 0." I second the smiley. :)

Wed Feb 03, 11:32:00 PM 2010  
Anonymous jdub said...

Ok, I agree with you on the p'tirah announcement ; ).

I would probably want the whole thing in English, except that it could be "Services will be as follows: Shacharit at __, Mincha __" I don't see the need for translating those to "Morning prayers" etc.

I just checked my emails, and found an example from our shul:

With deep regret, we announce the passing of Joan Smith, z”l, beloved mother of our member, John Smith. The funeral will take place tomorrow, Jan. 27 at 11:00am at Jewy Jew Cemetery.

Shiva will be at [address] until [date]. Davening times are as follows: Shacharit, Mon/Thurs: 6:45, etc.

I can live with that.

Thu Feb 04, 07:45:00 AM 2010  

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