Jason Shvili
An Israeli in Canada

It’s Shabbat, Not Shabbos!

I grew up in a family with roots both in the Jewish diaspora and Israel. My father was born and raised in Israel.  In fact, he is a few years older than the state itself, having been born before 1948. My mother was born in Canada to parents with roots in Poland, which was at the center of European, Ashkenazi Jewry before the Holocaust.  For the better part of my adult life, I have chosen to emphasize my Israeli identity over the Polish, Ashkenazi heritage of my mother’s family. The reason is that I perceive Israeli identity as being closer to what the Jews were as a people before two thousand years of exile began polluting our Semitic Hebrew culture with foreign customs, names and languages.

For example, when mentioning Jewish holidays or anything associated with them, I prefer to use Hebrew terminology.  I say “Shabbat”, not “Shabbos”.  I say “yom tov”, not “yantef”.  In fact, for me, anything said in Yiddish is basically a four letter word.  For me, Yiddish is a relic of our long exile, which ended in 1948 with the creation of the State of Israel. For me, using Yiddish in the context of Jewish life is anti-Zionist, as is corrupting the modern Hebrew language by using European, Ashkenazi pronunciation.

It bothers me enough that people in the diaspora still insist on perpetuating the pollution of our Semitic Jewish heritage with non-Semitic elements.  But what really gets me ticked off is that Jews that have made the righteous decision to make Israel their home continue in the corruption of their own culture.  So for example, if you are a Jew who lives in Israel, you should not have a name like Rubenstein or Wasserman. You should also certainly not be walking around in medieval Polish garb with black hats and long black coats, as if you were still living in the old shtetls and ghettos of Europe. Doing any of these things, for me, is anti-Zionist and a form of sedition in a country where all the corrupted, non-Semitic elements that have polluted Jewish culture should be abandoned. Now of course, Israel is a democracy, so we can’t ban people from conversing in Yiddish or wearing medieval Polish garb, but we should certainly be discouraging such practices, because we cannot truly return to the land of our forefathers — the Land of Israel — until we return to our Semitic Hebrew roots.

About the Author
Jason Shvili was born and raised in the Greater Toronto Area. He studied at the University of Toronto and now owns and operates a small business. He is proficient in Hebrew and also has working to advanced knowledge of Arabic, French, Italian, Spanish, and Russian.
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