Answers to Quora Questions
'Shoah' means 'barbeque' in my native language. Do Jews consider this to be anti-Semitic despite that my language was not involved in the Holocaust?
(24 April, 2018, 9 Iyar, 5778)
"Shoah" in Biblical Hebrew connotes "disaster, destruction." It is now used for the Holocaust. In the Holocaust millions of Jewish (and other) people were gassed to death and their bodies burnt into ashes. In addition many times whole Jewish communities were jammed into synagogues etc and then the building was set on fire and everyone inside burnt to ashes, i.e. barbecued. Using this word for a barbecue in which meat is deliberately burnt would be offensive IF its similarity to the Hebrew word was deliberate. It depends where the word came from and when it came into use. If its usage precedes the Holocaust and the similarity is a coincidence then it is just one of those things. At all events no matter what the origin of the usage you describe may be it has an unfortunate association. Sensitive people (Jewish or not) aware of its meaning in Hebrew would not like hearing it that way.