Esor Ben-Sorek


The “ism” is a suffix added to the end of a word to indicate a particular doctrine or theory, a political or religious practice or policy…. In short, it implies a belief system. It appears mainly in the English language.

Some “isms” are positive (JudaISM and ZionISM) and others are negative (RacISM and Anti-SemitISM), while other “isms” indicate political theories (SocialISM, CommunISM, FascISM, NaziISM) .

In current international policies we can refer to TrumpISM or BibiISM and for present activities we cannot omit TerrorISM.  The first mentioned reflect the policies of the leader of the United States and the leader of the State of Israel, neither of them a threat to humanity.

On the other extreme, TerrorISM is a disease which infects the entire globe and brings with it the destruction of people, places, culture, history and world societies.

TrumpISM and BibiISM are determined by ballots. TerrorISM needs to be determined by bullets.

Can a people survive without belonging to an “ism”? Can one be a Jew without belonging to JudaISM? Can someone hate blacks and Jews without being a believer in RacISM?

ZionISM and Anti-SemitISM were born out of JudaISM.   CommunISM was born out of SocialISM. FascISM, NaziISM and RacISM were born out of hate and fear of the “other” and a strong desire to be superior.

The English-language lexicon lists 887 words which end in “ism”. Interestingly, a large majority of them are related to social and religious beliefs. Among them are words like fundamentalISM, utilitarianISM,

traditionalISM, existentialISMism, atheISM, agnosticISM, CatholicISM, UnitarianISM,and BhuddaISM.  Others are used to express feelings such as constructivISM, sensationalISM, vegetarianISM, journalISM  and even absenteeISM.

All of us are afflicted with ISM-ietis, an incurable “disease”. But how else could one be described minus the “ism”?

JudaISM could be defined as a religious descendant from the tribe of Judah. ZionISM is the ideal of a hope to return to and rebuild the land of Zion from whence we came.  SemitISM can be replaced by being a member of the Semitic race.

I suppose that CommunISM could be defined as belonging to a common group, sharing a common ideology.  Not being a believer in some accepted truth can lead to CynicISM.

Hopefully these words can help those who do crossword puzzles or play the game of Scrabble. There is no shortage in finding words.

We simply must find the right word, the right way to use it, and to be certain that what we do say is real, genuine Israeli DugriISM.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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