Posted by Word Camel on December 12, 2003
In Reply to: Wandering Jew posted by Harold on December 12, 2003
: : : : : : : I first heard the term "Hannukah Bush" when I was a child, in the late 1960's. Hannukah Bush is a mildly derisive term for a Christmas tree put up in a Jewish household to appease the children. My first exposure to this phrase was overhearing one of my Jewish classmates asking another, "you guys puttin' up a Hannukah Bush?" and being a child, I thought there really was such a thing. I grew up in a town that was mixed pretty evenly, at least in my neighborhood, between Catholics and Jews. It seemed reasonable, that since Jewish people worshipped on Saturday and we did on Sunday, etc., that they'd have a bush while we had a tree! Roughly the same, only slightly different.
: : : : : : : I wonder when the term Hannukah Bush was coined, who first used it and what the context was...
: : : : : : I looked in a couple of regional slang books and in The Joy of Yiddish. No luck.
: : : : : Then, of course we have George W Bush whose personal utterances are greeted with derision worlwide - the set speeches are OK. Perhaps we have the makings of a whole new phrase here 'George W. Bush'; what does it mean?
: : : : I've heard "Hanukkah bush" used for a Jewish household's Christmas-tree substitute without derisive overtones.
: : : : There's a plant called Wandering Jew. For the sake of fairness, a Unitarian friend of mine, part Jewish by heritage, calls it Creeping Christian instead.
: : : That's a cute response by your Jewish friend, but I always thought that plant was called 'Wandering Dew'. Have I always been mistaken about that?
: : Yes. Wandering Jew.
: While we are exploring the infinity of meanings re Wandering Jew, if indeed we are, I had thought, when a crass child of about eight, that the phrase was 'wandering due', i.e., it was not here at present, was wandering abroad in a desultory fashion but was due back at any moment. The 'it' in question could be any object or individual that was not to hand, or in view, when I required them.
Would that it were so easy, Harold.