Jewish portmanteaus

Two Jewish portmanteaus (Jewmanteaus?) for the season.

First, on NPR’s Saturday Morning Edition yesterday, in the segment “Songs to Annoy You this Holiday Season” (selections by Jim Nayder, host of WBEZ’s Annoying Music Show, interviewed by host Scott Simon), Kenny Ellis’s “Hanu-Calypso”, from his album Hanukkah Swings. Yes, an Afro-Caribbean Hanukkah song. To my mind, more infectiously charming than annoying. (Though some of the other selections — Kay Brown, “Daddy, Is Santa Really Six Foot Four?”; Twisted Sister, “Heavy Metal Christmas (The Twelve Days of Christmas)”; and Sonny Cash, “Merry Christmas Polka” — are certainly annoying.

Then, from Larry Horn on ADS-L yesterday, under the heading

Blend (+ reclamation) of the season: “Heebster”

this subhead from the Washington Post of the day:

Hip young Jews embrace the ‘heebster’ sensibility with shared sense of irreverence

It’s an article by Emily Wax that begins:

Jason Feldman’s Star and Shamrock, a Jewish-Irish tavern in Washington’s H Street corridor, has to be the only bar in the District where battery-operated menorahs are on each table, fried matzoh balls are served with He’brew drafts and Hanukkah has been proclaimed hip.

That’s heebster, a telescoping portmanteau of Hebrew hipster — which works at reclaiming Hebrew and Heeb from their status as mildly slurring ethnonyms.

The bar also provides a Star of David-shaped board game called Spinagogue (spin + synagogue).


3 Responses to “Jewish portmanteaus”

  1. Melinda Says:

    There’s been a big pile of punning around this stuff, starting with but not limited to I’m kind of fond of “Jews for Jeter” and particularly fond of a “Let My People Go” toilet seat cover on a matzoh print (a reference to the colonically demotivational effects of matzoh during Pesach).

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    From Arne Adolfsen on Facebook:

    Heebsters do have their own magazine: Heeb: The New Jew Review.

  3. Pairmanteaus « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] to tell whether the source of a particular portmanteau is telescoping or coordination. Heebster (here) could be a telescoping of Hebrew hipster or a coordination of Hebrew and hipster; similarly for […]

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