View Full Version : Israel & Santa, and Yiddish (or Hebrew) profanity

10-29-2015, 04:40 PM
Two quick questions:

1.) In Israel, are the secular celebrations of Christmas -- particularly Santa -- either not a thing or at least markedly less than in countries with much higher Christian populations? My assumption would be yes, but I couldn't seem to figure out fruitful Google terms and I don't want to make an ass of myself.

2.) I want a word an Israeli person would believably say in the context an Anglophone might say "fuck" or "shit" as an exclamation about a shocking and bad thing happening -- like, the plane's about to crash, you just realized you accidentally sent an inappropriate email to the wrong person, you've been told an assassin is after you. I was thinking Yiddish and right now have written "oy gevault" -- yielded by Google, please forgive if that's totally wrong! -- but if something else would work better, or Hebrew or another language would be more appropriate, please let me know. (Given the option, I'd rather have something here semi-recognizable to Anglophones as an exclamation of trouble.)

Thanks in advance!

10-29-2015, 05:05 PM
Secular, as in, secular Jewish celebrating Christmas? Not much, if at all. But Christian Arabs as well as some smaller Christian minorities such as Russians, do. In Christian Arab towns and districts, you will find lots of decoration, and shops specializing in seasonal kitsch.
As for Santa, not really. There are some Santa dolls, figurines, and paintings on various items such as candy platters and mugs, but there is no fat guy dressed up as Santa taking kids on his lap. Seeing american movies, I feel like that country makes the hugest deal of Santa out of most countries I know to have a notion of him. In Israel, not so much.

Cursing: we Israelis say "fuck" and "shit" - the English words - non-stop. We also use an Arabic curse phrase: "Kos emmek!" which means "Your mother's minge!" or "Kos ommo!" ("his mother's minge") but is also used to express astonishment, anger, or other strong, sudden emotions not directed at a person. Or "Mah keebeeneemutt?" (kibinimat), where "kibinimat" is a Russian curse word but with the "Mah" (what) it makes "WTF".
Less vulgar, you got "Elohim yishmor!" - "God forbid/protect!", "Hashem Yerakhem!" (God have pity!), or "Shma Israel", a prayer phrase often said when expecting to die. Or "Eemaleh!" which means "Mommy!". Elohim and Hashem both mean God. More religious Jews probably tend toward the latter which literally means "The Name" as they avoid invoking "His" name in vain.

But fuck and shit kinda.. well... they very much established themselves.