- Jonah’s grandmother, Ruth, is frequently referred to as “Savta” or “Safta” in Amazon’s Hunters.
- The word is of Hebrew origin, directly meaning, you guessed it, “Grandmother.”
- It’s one of many options for Jewish grandmothers to choose from.
Fans watching the new series Hunters on Amazon for the Nazi-hunting action that all the promotions promised are about to get a lesson in Jewish culture as well, as the grandmother and lone family member of lead character Jonah Heidelberg ( Logan Lerman ) is frequently referred to as Safta (or Savta). Meyer Offerman (Al Pacino) is a friend of Ruth’s, and he refers to her by telling Jonah “Your Savta,” so context does help us out a bit here. The word is actually of Hebrew origin, and your hint from context was likely correct: it directly means grandmother .
A site for Jewish parents raising children, Kveller says that Safta (or Savta) can generally serve as a name option for when ‘Bubbe’ just doesn’t feel right. A blogger for the site, Renee Septimus, wrote about why “Savta” was her choice of what she wanted her grandchildren to call her when the time came (as opposed to Grammy or Bubbe):
Savta has a nice soft sound. There are lots of young Savtas. The word had no connotations or baggage for me. I tried it. Id say to the babies, Savtas here, Savta loves you, Savta thinks youre terrific! They said Savta by the age of 14 months. By then, I felt like a Savta
By having Jonah, and the other Jewish characters directly in his orbit, refer to Ruth as Jonah’s ‘Savta,’ rather than a more Americanized word like “Grandma,” for instance, helps the show to feel more realistic; a little bit of language goes a long way when taking in a script.
Bubbe and Zayde, of Yiddish origin, are commonly chosen names for Jewish grandparents, but they give more of an old world origin, according to Jweekly.com . Savta is less common in America, which is why it might sound so unfamiliar when first heard in Hunters (though the context does a nice job of helping out). Nonetheless, it’s an expert in trusting your own comprehension and context clues: in this case, the word means exactly what you think it means.