According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plus_and_minus_signs the use of ﬩ (Hebrew letter alternative plus sign) is common in primary schools in Israel instead of + found in most other countries. It speculates that this is because the regular plus sign somewhat resembles the Christian cross. The plus sign "+" evolved from the Latin "et", so it is not derived from a cross, but from the letter "t".

I was wondering if French speaking orthodox Jews would avoid the words "crois" and "croit" for "believe" as they are homophones of "croix" for "cross"? "crois" and "croit" are conjugations of the verb "croire" which goes back to the Latin "credo", so they aren't related to "cross" either. However, I can see the possibility of a devout Jew taking offence at a word that sounds like "cross" but means "believe".

Does this sort of thing happen and if so, how common is it?

  • In an American chassidic school I know of, they certainly use normal plus signs. Not sure if this is on topic, but I have heard of some Orthodox Jews, particularly Chabadniks, avoid using the term "Saint" in American place names. For example, the Lubavitcher Rebbe corrected someone who had said "Saint Louis" (or something similar) and said "Simcha Louis" instead. – Kordovero May 22 '15 at 2:18
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    CJ Dennis, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks for bringing this interesting question here! Interesting that you should mention French Jews. I once used the word "crucial" in (English) conversation with a French-speaking Orthodox Jew, and he interrupted me with "so to speak." I didn't get waht he meant, and he explained that "crucial" means "of the cross." I'd never before and never have since heard of Jews objecting to the use of that word. – Isaac Moses May 22 '15 at 2:29
  • Not far enough as we still have hamsas :^). In all seriousness, anything hukat hagoyim is generally avoided by Orthodoxy. However, it varies with how religious the crowd is (and how many humrot they keep). – rosenjcb May 22 '15 at 4:27
  • @rosenjcb What is hukat hagoyim? And what are humrot? I'd be surprised if I knew more than 10 Hebrew words, so I find most answers hard to follow! – CJ Dennis May 22 '15 at 6:30
  • (C)hukat hagoyim means laws/ways of the nations. (C)humrot are stringencies. – Scimonster May 22 '15 at 7:56

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