27 Comments

  1. Did somebody accidentally drag and drop a pair of foreign objects into the mix? I’m not sure what paper airplanes and maple syrup have to do with menorahs.

  2. Guys, note the posted remark “These comics are here to celebrate a variety of holidays.” (and the “et al.” in the post title). So the cartoons that are bothering you would be for Wright Brothers Day and National Maple Syrup Day !

  3. Thanks to deety for the perfect solution to my puzzlement.
    P.S. @ Mitch – It just happens that the one person to whom I sent a “Happy Hanukkah” e-mail replied (in part) that in deference to the “sufganiyot” tradition, they had maple donuts this year.

  4. My family was nowhere near celebrating a full calendar of Jewish holidays. But without knowing anything about the holiday of Shavuot, I had learned the expression “A year from Shavous” [with that different pronunciation / spelling] from various older relatives. It is a way of dismissively saying “a long way off” in a context of when somebody will repay you a loan or somebody will finish up a job of work, etc.

    I had never even heard the Shavuot version of the name, and was surprised to learn it was apparently the standard modern form. The people who were explaining this to me also speculated that the difference stemmed from different parts of the Diaspora.

  5. Dialect differences may well be part of the issue, but the primary problem in transliterating anything in Hebrew that some of the sounds just don’t exist in English(†), and can therefore only be approximated. The Wikipedia article credits the variation in the initial consonant (“H” vs. “Ch”) to the difference between “classic” and “modern” Hebrew.
    P.S. (†) – Olivier wrote that the French spelling is “Hanouka”, and Wikipedia offers “Hanoucca”, but what I’d like to know is what do the French do with the initial “H”? I can’t speak the language, but as far as I know it just doesn’t have an “aitch” sound.

  6. P.P.S. One thing that I really like about the first comic is that it pits CIDU Bill’s preferred “Ch…” spelling against what is probably the most widespread English version. Back when Bill set up a grid of 16 different spellings to be voted on, he decided to include an experimental version that started with “X…”. The spelling that just “happened” to be omitted from the grid (to make room for the “X”) was the popular “Hanukkah”, but I have no way of knowing whether Bill was intentionally trying to “steer” the results toward his preferred version, or whether this was just a coincidence.

  7. Mitch: All I know about Tisha B’Av is that the great Allan Sherman used it to mark a distant time in the past in “My Zelda”:

    Why did she go and fall in love?
    I haven’t seen her since Tisha B’Av
    My Zelda, she took the money
    And ran with the tailor

  8. Dysfunctional, I’m not sure if I heard that Allan Sherman song, but may have. I know I thought there might be something called “Tish Above” long before ever seeing the holiday named in print, in that standard transliteration.

  9. Thanks for this discussion which led me to go listen to it. It took only a moment hearing the music to recall it. Unfortunately by now I don’t really remember the Belafonte crossover Calypso hit that it was based on, so some of the parodic cleverness flies past me.

  10. A very dedicated Jewish woman I know told me that it was a thing in English to keep it eight letters for the eight days.
    So if you add the C, it’s only spelled with one N. This is not an actual religious practice, just a thing,

    And I also have My Son The Folk Singer.

    He was actually sued for My Zelda. He made his first album an album of folk songs so he wouldn’t have to get permission (this was before the law said you didn’t need it for parody), and he was stunned to discover that “Matilda” and “Water Boy” were both copyright.

  11. The Shavuos/Shavuot difference is between Ashkenazi and Sephardi pronunciations. Ashkenazi Hebrew was better-known in the US for many decades due to immigration patterns, but Israel settled on a version closer to Sephardi for their secular language. Since the 1950s or so, modern Israeli pronunciation has slowly been adopted by American synagogues except in very Orthodox communities. The most noticeable difference between them is that Ashkenazim pronounce the letter “ת‎” as “t” with a diacritic mark and “s” without, but Sephardi/Israeli pronounce it as a “t” either way. There is also a vowel shift between certain “o” and “a” sounds. So “Shabbos” becomes “Shabbat,” etc. Personally the Yiddish-inflected Ashkenazi sounds feel more familiar from growing up, even though my synagogue had already switched to Israeli pronunciation by the time I went to Hebrew school.

  12. Ya gotta like that “A year from Shavous” formation. Even if it’s not that far off to the holiday when you say this, it’ll still be over a year before you expect your nogoodnik cousin-in-law to cover his debt!

  13. So you build up a cute and clever idea to have a new Chanukah comic added each day, only to drop it on the very last day to have a post with several different comics?

  14. The ‘Off The Mark’ difficulty was solved this way by Rebecca Bunch on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend:

  15. To resolve the image, it has to be a fully qualified URL. Unfortunately, the source in this case uses parameters to determine the size, so this is the best that wordpress will be able to do:

  16. Our ‘H’ sound is not as marked as in other languages, but it does exist.
    We say ‘l’homme'(=the man), not ‘le homme’, because the h is just for show, but we say ‘le haricot'(=the bean) because the h is also silent but prevents the linking; it is ‘aspiré’=sucked: ‘l’haricot’ is wrong .

  17. My Zelda was a version of Matilda (which sounded like “My Tilda” when sung by Harry Belafonte. Instead of “she take the money and run Venezuela, for example, Sherman sang it “she take the money and run with the tailor”.

    The difference between Shevous and Shevot – is due to the difference, as mentioned, between Ashkenazi and Shepardic Hebrew. (On a person note, I presume it has some relation to the use of t instead of the s sound in Spanish in Spain and the use of the s in same in Latin American countries, but am not sure as the S as the start remains.)

    When I went to Hebrew school I learned Ashknazi Hebrew. My two cousins went to a Hebrew school which taught Sephardic Hebrew. In the days when we were young the Seders would consist mostly of my older cousin reading the 4 questions in Sephardic, then I would read them in Ashkanzi and then his younger brother would read them in English and then we would eat. Until the year their father decided to do the ENTIRE Seder.

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