Monday, 5 May 2008

Stupid sayings...

Last week we spent a day picnicing at a volcanic lake ( look at the picture). The weather was beautiful and there were lots of people. In front of us a typical French family, 3 generations, drinking wine, eating cheese, ham and other things to bring on a picnick. The older men wore strawhats, they spoke a fancy French and I couldn't help listening to them, they were quoting poems, talking politics, singing...

They kept all the food on plates on the blanket and suddenly one of the women said with a loud voice to another - Why do you keep the cheese "in Jew" ("en juif") like that?

A few years ago, when I worked in a French company outside Paris, I heard this horrible and quite common expression for the first time.

When I asked what it meant to keep or eat something "in Jew". The man kindly explained that it means you're hiding a good thing for others in order to keep it for yourself, just like the Jews, they are very stingy, they don't share things you see...

Fortunately my children didn't hear the woman, I think those kind of things are difficult to explain and would lend to increase the gap between "us" and "them".

It also shows how bad they know Jewish families. We're always eating and making food for at least 3 more people than expected, because we never know who's going to show up for dinner and I have never heard of a family sending the neighbour's kid home ( the Swedes reading my blog probably smile now, remebering their childhood, waiting alone in a room while their best friend was having dinner with her or his parents) because they're eating, the table is set for everyone in the house no matter who they are! To "eat in Swede" would actually be more apropriate, but as you all know the Swedes already have their reputation and it has absolutley nothing to do with food., I guess we Jews will have to continue being stingy and greedy...

Today I'm going to the Jewish Agency with the last documents to complete our Aliyah file and I think I'll sneak in at H & M at the Opera too, I deserve it!


Lillie dAmour said...

Dear you
I have never heard of this saying, and I think thats quite lucky.
I cant stand people like that and I now myself, If I would hear something like that I would have problems to keep silent.
This weekend someting funny happened when I walked my swedish family along in Paris, we bought all kind of things to taste and ate in a restaurant and paid for drinks etc. I find that normal, they are my guests.
Yesterday we went for a picnic and I bought the food and drinks as I did not want them to carry all of it on the train, anyway, as we were walking in the afternoon some in the family went to fetch drinks and came back with drinks for themselves.
Thats when I realized that its not french people, but swedish.
In Sweden you never pay all the drinks, you only pay for yourself.
I had to excuse them for my husband who didnt even notice.
I felt quite bad.
I don't wait for them to pay back, but at least offer to buy some water to everybody and not only for themselves.
My dad was the only one on our street to tell our friends to stay for dinner and not to go back home or to stay in on of the bedrooms.
Gosh, this brings back memories.
Love J

swedish chekchouka said...

we're all so different, what is polite in one country is inpolite in another. I am generous and can't stand people who are not.I understand you felt sad and bad treated!

Monica said...

My husband has ha HUGE problem with this. He definately thinks that swedes are the most greedy people on earth (catalans are known as the greedy ones in spain...). I try to explain the cultural difference, but, i start wondering myself... (luckily there are some exeptions around us, but in general...)