Has the election left you feeling uneasy about expressing Jewishness in public? Are you worried about wearing your yarmulke? That your kids will see incorrectly drawn swastikas that are invariably accompanied by a misspellings, like “seig” or “hiel”? Are you cluttering your Facebook feed with shared GIFs of Indiana Jones beating the crap out of Nazis, or Captain von Trapp angrily and efficiently ripping in half the “flag with the black spider” that has been hung on his home in his absence? Well, the New York Post’s intrepid and ancient matriarch, Page Six gossip columnist Cindy Adams isn’t, and maybe you shouldn’t be either. She’s out there changing—nay, confirming—hearts and minds, one movie star at a time, and she’s starting by teaching Nicole Kidman Yiddish.
Nicole Kidman? Yiddish? (I hear you cry.) Well, look, Nicole didn’t exactly come to Cindy saying, “Cindy, I’m starring in an upcoming HBO adaptation of The Family Moskat”—note to self: not a bad idea—“and I am absolutely committed to performing in its original language. Can you help me?” No. Adams approached Kidman, and admired the “schmatta” she was wearing. When Kidman expressed an unfamiliarity with the term (Really? After all those years in Hollywood, which is filled with Jews, most of whom don’t regularly use Yiddish phrases in conversation because they were born after 1925?), Adams gave her the third-degree about the Yiddish words Kidman does know, correcting her pronunciation of farmisht, tschotchke, and pupick. (To be fair, Nicole Kidman does have an Australian accent, and therefore routinely pronounces English words incorrectly, that is to say, like an Australian. To expect her to speak Yiddish like she was born and raised in Flatbush is a little bit unfair.)
Normally, I would find this whole display mildly obnoxious, but after the last couple of weeks, I have to say: Thank God for Cindy Adams. After the outright hate and terrifying prospects we’ve all been facing—the potential appointment of white supremacists, er, I mean, alt-righters to high positions of power; the frat boy Nazis heiling Hitler in a D.C. Maggiano’s (poor Maggiano’s!)—it’s nice to have someone out there being unapologetically, extravagantly, nosily Jewy. Getting in someone else’s business, forcing them to defend something they had no idea was a problem and then to gamely laugh along—because that Cindy! She’s such a character! In the words of Game of Thrones, which is looking more and more like a prophetic vision of the future, rather than a fantastical retread of the Middle Ages, winter is here. But as long as Cindy Adams piles on her cocktail rings and clacks out her column for the Post, what is dead may never die. Hail Cindy!
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