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WOLFE'S WORDSJuly 12, 2007
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by: Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
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In the prologue to the book, "Fiddler on the Roof" by Joseph Stein, we meet Tevye the dairyman, Golde his wife, and their daughters. In Anatevka they have traditions for everything--how to eat, how to sleep, how to wear clothes. They always keep their heads covered and they always wear a little prayer shawl. NO ONE was ever "fapitzed"--all dolled up, all decorated, dressed to kill.

Molly Goldberg ("Yoo-hoo, Mrs. Bloom!"), who spent nearly 30 years in millions of American homes on radio and later TV, was never "fapitzed" She, Jake, and their two children lived at 1030 East Tremont Avenue, Bronx, New York. Rent: $78 per month. Molly was a short, plump, homey Jewish mother always looking for the "perfect match" for their teenage son and daughter. Her dress style: a black, long-sleeved dress with a checkered "fartekh" (apron).

Long Island (NY) is home to the Charlotte Russe Store, Forever 21, Off The Hanger, Penache, Totally You, 2 B Seen, The Emperor's Old Clothes (a consignment shop), and a new store in Westbury, named "Fapitz'd." Their ads instruct the non-Jew that the Yiddish word means "all dolled up."

Today we even have an online retailer named "FunkyFrum," for women who don't want to show too much. And "" says women are "tired of the expectation that they present themselves in a sexual way....Girls are discovering that showing their belly button to strangers is not as empowering as they have been led to expect."

Marcia Fine ("Boomerang, When Life Comes Back to Bite You"), writes, "Fapitzed, a Yiddish word for showing off everything you've got, means make-up, hair, nails, fancy clothes, jewelry, high heels, all the girlie stuff that requires a commitment of time and supreme effort."

The Yiddish word "oysgeputst" also means dressed up (to the hilt!) And "oisgetsatsket" means an overdressed woman. Rabbi Benjamin Blech writes about the 100 degree weather in Miami Beach and the woman still has to wear her mink coat so that everyone will know she has one.

Today we have an eighth grader celebrating her $500K Bat Mitzvah wearing a $27,000 Dolce & Gabbana gown.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach says that "a husband and wife must always strive to be presentable and attractive without overdoing it."

Can a Jewish woman get all "fapitzed" and still present a fashion faux pas? According to Martha Bolton ("Didn't My Skin Used to Fit?"), the following combinations DO NOT go together:

. A nose ring ("noz fingerl") and bifocals
. Spiked hair ("hor") and bald ("lise") spots
. A pierced tongue ("tsung") and dentures
. Bikinis and liver ("leber") spots
. Miniskirts and support hose ("zoknvarg")
. In-line skates and a walker
. Ankle ("knekhl") bracelets and corn pads
. Speedos and cellulite
. A belly button ("pupik") ring and a gall bladder surgery scar
. Unbuttoned disco shirts and a heart ("harts) monitor
. Hot pants and varicose veins
. Midriff shirts and a midriff bulge

Note: The Yiddish words have been added by the writer.

Yiddish-speaking women may be familiar with these two proverbs:

"A maidel zal zich putsen far fremdeh bachureem, un a veibel far ir aigenem man." (An unmarried woman should dress up for unknown bachelors, and a young wife should adorn herself for her own husband.)

"Az men hot a nay kleyd'l oyf der vant, iz dos alte keyd kayn shande nit." (If you've got a new dress, you're not ashamed of the old one.)
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe has been known to imitate Ally McBeal's fashion- forward "filosofye": "Whenever I get depressed ("dershlogn"), I raise my hemlines. If things don't change, I'm bound to get arrested."


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