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The Gallivanting Spatula

Words Jews use

Jeffrey Goldberg & Alana Newhouse
November 15, 2010
(Mark Alan Stamaty)
(Mark Alan Stamaty)

We’re sorry for the delay, but it took more time than expected to sort through your hundreds of delightfully belligerent “suggestions” for The Gallivanting Spatula, our compendium of words only Jews use. (We hope you’ll continue to send your entries, to [email protected].) From this point forward, we’ll update every couple of weeks or so. And you can go here to see the complete list.

Additionally, with each new installment we’ll also induct our favorite suggestion from a reader, who will receive a Gallivanting Spatula mug—emblazoned with Mark Alan Stamaty’s fantastic logo—as a token of our appreciation.

This week’s winner is Ed, who relayed the following: “My mother (72 years old, Jewish, Brooklyn) and her friends have always referred to the gastroenterologist as the ‘gastro-man.’ I thought this was normal and used it myself until someone asked me if my stomach doctor wore a cape and tights.” To be frank, the more popular locution is “GI guy.” But we’re giving this one to Ed on account of the clever superhero joke.

And now, the new words:

Viennese table (noun): A buffet table of desserts (usually parve.) Unrecognizable to Austrians, or anyone else who has not visited Leonard’s of Great Neck. Here is its use in a sentence: “We were going to do the Viennese table, but our catering manager advised us to skip it and do the chocolate fountain instead.” This is not a sentence we made up. Related phrases include “modified Viennese” and “mini-Viennese”—neither of which should be confused with “shmorg (noun)”, which itself has absolutely nothing to do with “shmorg” (verb), go wash your mouth out with soap.

Peoplehood (noun): Mythical state of bliss sought mainly by Jews who are paid by other Jews to think about Jews. Usage: “The Jewish Peoplehood Subcommittee will meet in Room 404, immediately following the plenary.”

Sit-down dinner (noun): See here. Not to be confused with heavy hors d’oeuvres.

Jeffrey Goldberg, is a national correspondent for The Atlantic, a columnist for Bloomberg View, and a Tablet Magazine contributing editor. Alana Newhouse is Tablet Magazine’s editor-in-chief.

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