Friday, July 31, 2009

Fun and Games Friday: Presidential edition

It was like hitting the blog fodder jackpot.

It all began innocently enough. The Shiputzim daughters were playing a card game, and mildly curious, I asked what it was called.

“President,” one of the girls volunteered.

“President?” I repeated, never having heard of such a game.

“Yes,” came the confirmation.

My interest was piqued. This definitely had blogging potential.

“What’s it called in Hebrew? Prrrreh-zeedent?” I asked hopefully.

My daughters nodded.


But the best was yet to come.

The girls began to explain the rules, and although most of the details are well beyond the scope of this post, there are three elements which specifically appealed to the blogger in me:

1) When a player wants to pass, s/he says “pahss.”

2) When one puts down four cards from the same suit, it’s knows as “Kodak” (pronounced “koe-dahk”).

3) And then there’s the following, which, IMHO, is truly awesome:

  • The winner is the “president” (or, rather, the “prrrreh-zeedent”) – hence the game’s name.
  • The loser is called “zevel” (literally, garbage).
  • If there are a total of three players, the one who comes in second place is usually referred to as the “middle” (pronounced “mee-dell”). In an alternate version of the game, this player is called “nootrali” – i.e. “neutral”. (Mah?! Zeh gam milah b’Anglit?!)
  • If there are five players, the second place winner is the “vice president” (pronounced “viiiice prrrreh-zeedent”), and the one who comes in second to last is known as – are you ready? - “viiiice zevel” (i.e. “vice garbage”).

I kid you not.

So, thank you, Mr. or Ms. Game Originator, from the bottom of my blogging heart. You really, really, REALLY made my day…


!שבת שלום ומבורך


  1. This one might actually be better in "Heblish" than in English. In English, the person in last place is called "tush," and yes, there can be a "vice tush!"

  2. When I played this game in high school, it was not "garbage" or "tush" but "jack@$$".

  3. My kids play a card game called Prez, but the Heblish terms are funnier.

  4. In the version my kids play the loser is called the janitor.

  5. Rachel and Michael Kopinsky - I had no idea that kids play it outside of Israel, but it even has a Wikipedia entry. (Apparently, some versions use terms that are even worse than the ones listed here...)

    Raizy - Just thinking about "vice zevel" makes me smile.

    Malke - How did your kids end up with an English term? Did they learn to play the game in the States?

  6. No, they learned it here. And of course it's not an English term-is "jenitorr" an English word??
    By the way, baseball here is also hysterical. When my kids played on the Gezer team with Israeli kids, they used to get a "strrike", hit a "home rrahn" or sometimes have a "muchrach" (or "force" in English)

  7. I have got to interrogate my kids about this game :-)

    Do your kids also play the "Settlers of Catan"? I think the Hebrew version was misnamed as "mityashvei Catan" instead of "Mitnachlei Catan"

  8. Malke - Ah, "jenitorr." That makes more sense... :-)
    And LOL about the baseball terms!

    Jameel - No, it hasn't really made significant inroads into our neighborhood [yet]. In fact, only one of the Shiputzim kids had even heard of it.

  9. Very funny. Niw I am wondering what this game is about.

  10. Ilana-Davita - Thanks. You can read about the game on Wikipedia. (I posted the link in one of my comments above.)

  11. Dd1 (15) is sitting giggling over the Heblish posts with me and said they play this in shul. Yes, it's called Janitor. The positions are President, Vice-President, Neutral, Vice-Janitor (or if there are fewer little kids, a less-complimentary term). If there are more than 5 players, they also put in Secretary, or just extra Neutrals.

    Instead of Kodak, it's Top-and-Drop when you put down 4 of a kind.

    I had never heard of this game until now. Maybe somebody brought this back from the Holy Land along with the souvenirs!

  12. Jennifer in MamaLand - I'm glad you and your daughter enjoyed the Heblish posts!

    It's one of those little-known added fringe benefits of making aliyah: one ends up with Heblish-speaking kids! Nefesh B'Nefesh really should consider including it in their promotional literature...


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