FROM CAMP "ETIKET"*
*The Yiddish word for etiquette
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York
Oscar Wilde said, "The world was my oyster
but I used the wrong fork." In Chaim Potok's book, "The Promise," we
telephone is a mighty thing. It can also be
a nuisance, but used wisely, it is a mighty
thing." This book was written in 1969, long
before the popularity of "der tselularer
telefon" (the cell phone), "di kol-post" (voice mail), and the
Today, almost seven out of 10 people say
they observe "grob" (rude) and infernal
yakking on cell phones. There's a Yiddish
expression, "Redn on a mos." It means to
chatter without end (literally, to talk without measure). Cell phones now
during synagogue services, wedding
ceremonies, and theater performances.
Imagine hearing the ring tones of, say,
The William Tell Overture, as Tovah Feldshuh [as Golda Meir in "Golda's
Balcony"] says, "A dank eich vos ihr seit
geblieben Yidden." (Thank you for remaining Jews).
Protocol schools have been around for years and CEOs have been forking over
megabucks to receive "etiket" advice. Now
we've also got "etiket" camps for our
Shown below is a form letter which the
owners of a Jewish "etiket" camp might
use. A simple check mark by the camper
is all that's required.
How to yak on the "tselularer telefon" w/o
Remedial Fork and Knife
Laundry Room "Etiket"
"Hant" (hand) Shaking
Formal Napkin Folding
Thank You Notes
Have learned to use a "lapkin"--a
Can spell "etiquette"
Know the Yiddish word for napkin:
Don't talk or play with food
in my "moyl" (mouth)
Sleep on Pratesi 300-thread-count linens
Keep my "telefon" conversation
Have read the "Dummies
Guide to Jewish Etiquette"
Have learned that "zup" (soup)
should be seen but not heard
Know that one out of every
3 residents in the U. S. now own a "tselularer
There's a website for people to vent against
cell phone owners
I've learned that
When someone says "pass the biscuits," one
should pass the entire plate
In some homes, youngsters
have "tsvey" (2)
choices of food:
Take It or Leave It
One should never use CALLER ID to dodge
a mother's phone call
You're a "homemaker"--not
Some people suffer from Starbucks' Line
Anxiety Syndrome (SLAS)
One cannot get pneumonia
from standing in front of the open "fridzhider" (refrigerator)
Menace never said "Please"
CDs make a "vunderlekh" Hanukkah
gift; you never have to refrigerate them
One should remove the fortunes from fortune cookies before
One should never call a
pediatrician at 3 a.m. and ask, "Did I wake you?"
Proper People don't say "ZIP
"corpse reviver" (strong drink), or
"handcuff" (engagement ring)
One should never use "tooth twine" (AKA
dental floss) in public
At a health club, it is common courtesy to
wipe down a machine or weight bench before
At Motel Quarter to Six, they leave a
flashlight on for you
One never asks for a "slice" of "demi-tasse."
One pair of Jou Jou designer jeans is
not considered a mini load
A "squeeze" is
a girlfriend or boyfriend
One should never ("keyn
mol nit') call Collect on Mother's Day
compassion for someone worse off than yourself
The normal proper toilet
seat etiquette state of the toilet
seat is "arop"--DOWN"
Humans are the only species
that do favors. Animals
don't do favors.
doesn't go up to a cockroach
and say, 'Could you do
me a favor and
I'd like to eat you alive.'" (from Jerry Seinfeld)
A "mensch"means a kind, caring person--and
you don't have to be Jewish to be one.
Marjorie Wolfe's favorite definition of"
manners" (provided by Henry Beard) is
as follows: Knowing which "gopl" (fork)
to use to jab your little brother or sister