Categorized | Cohen_Joel_H., Lighter Side

‘Just Kidding:’ Trump puts the ‘Ch’ back in ‘Chanukah’

By Joel H. Cohen

Joel H. Cohen

NEW YORK — Anyone hearing strange, guttural sounds emanating from the White House, Trump Tower in New York or Mar-a-lago in Florida need not be concerned.

There’s a logical explanation (sort of).

It starts with President Trump’s recent – pardon the expression – crusade to get storekeepers and just about everyone else, to say “Merry Christmas” instead of what he has characterized as such “disgusting politically correct” substitutes as Season’s Greetings or Happy Holiday.

Trump contended that political correctness had interfered with religious beliefs and was standing in the way of celebrating the holiday appropriately. But, now, thanks to him, he claimed, the original, intended greeting was back.

And then, in a dramatic display of multicultural, ecumenical sensitivity — at the urging of daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared — he launched a campaign to “put the Ch back in Chanukah.”

“I’m great at foreign words,” he tweeted. “Nobody is better at Jewish or Hebrew or whatever. Nobody. Crooked Hillary didn’t even try.”

Problem is, he pronounces the Ch, not the way that the last two letters of composer Bach’s name are correctly pronounced, but more like the Ch in “cha-cha.” Often, the way he says it, the holiday’s name comes out as Cha-NOO -kah.

Other words have also fallen victim. Challah, (the traditional braided Shabbos bread) became, in his pronunciation, “kallah” (the word for “bride”). Chutzpah (gall or meve) sounded like “shootzpa,” “chrain” (horseradish) was is own chrain-wreck, and L’chaim (“to life”) became something akin to Omar Khayam’s brother (“Lee Khayam”).

While they appreciated the president’s efforts at Hebraic speech, his daughter and son-in-law were frustrated with his alien pronunciation.

They’d say the “ch,” and he’d repeat it correctly, but when he used it at the beginning of a Hebrew word, he’d revert to the “cha-cha” pronunciation.

As a last resort, they hired a specialist in pronunciation of foreign words. After leading the president through various speech drills, with mainly negative results, the expert moved to an extreme exercise.

To get the proper “Ch” pronunciation, the president was asked to pretend to gargle and make the sound a person gargling does before expectorating. When he first heard about it, Trump described the exercise as “absolutely disgusting,” But he reluctantly agreed to try it, in the interest of mastering the “ch” sound and thus making good on his stated goal.

“You never heard this sound when Obama was in the White House,” he tweeted.

So very true.

And thus assured, still gurgling, President Trump could return to restoring the Ch to Chanukah.

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San Diego Jewish World reminds readers who are new to this column that it is all in fun, and nothing above should be taken seriously.  Satirist Joel H. Cohen is a freelance writer based in New York.

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