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December 10, 2017 | by Stephanie D. Lewis

Spellukah, noun. A democratic way to settle any dispute over how you should write the word ‘Chanukah.’

This Chanukah, let’s see if we can’t circulate some brand new Jewish buzzwords, shall we? Pass this unique holiday vocabulary list around and if it should happen to catch fire and go viral, (burning for eight consecutive nights on the Internet) my work here will be done!

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

  • KingWhatsHisname? proper noun. The default mode we lapse into when we attempt to explain to children the miracle of Chanukah, but can’t remember (or pronounce!) the evil Greek tyrant’s name – ‘Antiochus Epiphanes.’

  • GeltnGuiltnGlutton, noun. One who buys an abundant 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 up, resulting in more subsequent shopping trips to replenish the original stash.

  • PresentsPresence, noun. Designated eerie area of the house (cleared away of all furniture by grunting, complaining husbands) for displaying the ever-accumulating family stash of presents for all eight successive nights. Includes motion detectors and complex surveillance systems. i.e. “Just when you thought it was safe to shake a box or peel back a corner of the giftwrap to sneak a peek, you’ve crossed over into the PresentsPresence Zone!”

  • DecembeRemember, verb. A way to remind children (who envy their non-Jewish friends’ Christmas festivals) to appreciate their own. i.e., “Every year I need to DecembeRemember my twin sons (Reuben and Steuben) that we celebrate eight nights of freilich, while little Christopher down the block only gets one joyous morning.

  • Nebbishwebish, adjective. An online invitation to a Chanukah party used primarily to save postage. Who cares? It’s not like Ben Stiller 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 (which nobody has ever sat in) has now had the white brocade sofa unveiled from its plastic wrap and beckons. i.e. “ShooJewzoo! Go! Sit already!”

  • 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 cool, convenient, and compact 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).

  • BrisketFix-it, 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 Zachariah) who has biblical religious sightings in the fun waxy build-up on the menorah. There’s one in every bunch. Note: Shapes resembling the modern Jewish singing group ‘The Maccabeats’ will be met with raised brows.

  • Fryerliargoodbyers, plural noun. Those who fabricate important reasons why they can’t help cook the latkes in a deep pan of spattering hot, greasy oil -- and abruptly depart the kitchen like an on-call OB/GYN with an old-fashioned pager.

  • Fryercomplier, noun. The pitiful, lone individual who remains near the stovetop after all other fryerliargoodbyers have exited because he/she couldn’t think fast on his feet.

  • Jiltguilt, noun. Feeling of obligation to come back inside the 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 hot stove? Sharing as many potato-pancakes as they want, (fresh from the pan while they’re still hot!) before carrying out the cold platter for others. Also known as “WarmaKarma.”

  • WinchellSmellJell, adjective. Description of that distinctive telltale sugar-glazed scent in the air which can be used as evidence in court of law to prove that the hostess purchased her Sufganiyot (jelly donuts) at an outside chain establishment, rather than deep-frying them up homemade. But seriously, can you really blame her?

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