18 Words That Have A Different Meaning When You’re Jewish

Shalom, y’all.

1. Food

What it usually means: Nourishment, sustenance, source of pleasure.
What it means when you’re Jewish: Literally the most important thing ever; the reason for every holiday; the thing you are not eating enough of, according to your mother.

2. Mom

What it usually means: Person who birthed you, cares for you, worries about you.
What it means when you’re Jewish: The person who wants to know what you want to eat when you come home in a month; the person who constantly asks you when you’re getting married and having children.

3. Nice Boy

What it usually means: A male who is pleasant and kind.
What it means when you’re Jewish: The grandson of someone at the synagogue who is apparently your future husband, according to your mother. She says, “He’s going to send you a Facebook.”

4. Tattoo

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What it usually means: Permanent body art that makes you look cool.
What it means when you’re Jewish: The one thing your mother will disown you for.

5. Friday Night

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What it usually means: The end of the work week; party night.
What it means when you’re Jewish: Shabbat; or … just … whatever everyone else is doing (depending on how involved your family is/was).

6. Saturday Morning

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What it usually means: A time to sleep in, a time to watch cartoons.
What it means when you’re Jewish: Time for Shul and Hebrew school.

7. Children

What it usually means: Your offspring.
What it means when you are Jewish: Your offspring that should definitely be raised Jewish even if your partner is not Jewish.

8. Grandchildren

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What it usually means: The children of one’s child.
What it means when you are Jewish: What your parents really, really want you to give them.

9. Thirteen

What it usually means: The first year of being a teenager.
What it means when you’re Jewish: The year of your Bar/Bat Mitzvah in which you “become a man/woman” (ha yeah right); the year you have to study and stress out about getting your Torah portion right; the year you get a badass party; the year people give you $$$$.

10. Birthright

What it usually means: Anything someone is entitled to by birth.
What it means when you’re Jewish: The program that provides free trips to Israel for young Jews; Shalom U.S.A., Shaloooom Jerusalem.

11. JDate

What it usually means: A dating site for Jews and/or people who want to date Jews.
What it means when you’re Jewish: The thing you’ve tried a couple times to get your mother off your back.

12. Chai

What it usually means: To many people, a hot aromatic tea one can procure in fine coffee establishments such as Starbucks.
What it means when you’re Jewish: Hebrew for “life”; the word on a pendant you have somewhere; the thing that makes money come in multiples of 18.

13. Bagels

What it usually means: Delicious breakfast treat containing many, many carbs.
What it means when you are Jewish: The thing seemingly served at any meal, for any reason; bread that must be consumed with cream cheese and lox and if you do not like it who are you???

14. J.A.P.

What it usually means: Jewish American Princess.
What it means when you are Jewish: Something you’d never call yourself or your friends.

15. Kabbalah

David Silverman / Getty

What it usually means: The thing Madonna is into.
What it means when you’re Jewish: Well, it’s uh … it’s … mysticism? It’s hard to explain, it’s like … It’s the thing Madonna does.

16. Vintage T-Shirt

What it usually means: A worn clothing garment aged several years, usually with ironic references to the past; hipster uniform.
What it means when you’re Jewish: A shmata, according to your mother.

17. Camp

What it usually means: A summer sleep away program for youths.
What it means when you’re Jewish: How you meet your first boyfriend; where the entire summer is leading up to Maccabiah; where you learn to substitute dirty words in the Birkat Hamazon.

18. Sisterhood

What it usually means: A bond shared between women; what once allowed a pair of traveling pants to fit four very different girls.
What it means when you are Jewish: The ladies who magically make all the treats show up at the oneg; a group of awesome Jewish women who believe in helping others and doing good.

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