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Your Daily Dose of Hebrew

the sun also (?) over Jerusalem

זריחה   When I was fourteen, I spent the school year with my family in Raanana, Israel. On יוֹם הַזִּכָּרוֹן (yohm hah-zee-kah-ROHN – Memorial Day), I was hooked on the country. A few weeks later, on יוֹם יְרוּשָׁלַים (yohm yeh-roo-shah-LAH-yeem –Jerusalem Day), I traveled with my youth movement to Jerusalem, where, at one in the […]

By Ami Steinberger | May 11, 2010 | Your Daily Dose of Hebrew | 1 Comment
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How do you say “Jerusalem”?

ירושלים   The letter J makes the j sound in English. But in most other languages using the Latin alphabet, J makes the y sound.   That’s how יְרוּשָׁלַיִם (ye-roo-shah-LAH-yeem) became Jerusalem.   So what does ירושלים actually mean? Well, the most likely explanation (according to Wikipedia) is that the name combines two Semitic roots: […]

By Ami Steinberger | May 10, 2010 | Your Daily Dose of Hebrew | 0 Comments
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what would you call a “nice person” in Hebrew?

סימפתי   A conventional way of saying “she’s a nice person” is הִיא אָדָם נֶחְמָד (hee ah-DAHM nekh-MAHD). Note that אדם is used to mean person and stays masculine even though we’re talking about a woman.   Another way of saying it that taps into the person’s nature more deeply, is היא אדם סִמְפָּתִי (hee ah-DAHM […]

By Ami Steinberger | May 9, 2010 | Your Daily Dose of Hebrew | 3 Comments
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How to say “value” in Hebrew

ערך The Hebrew word for value, as in “Ulpan La-Inyan courses are an excellent value”, is עֶרֶך (EH-rekh).    To express that you respect a person – that you evaluate this person positively – you’d use the word לְהַעֲרִיך (le-hah-ah-REEKH). For example, you might say מְנַחֵם בֶּגִין הָיָה קָל לְהַעֲרִיך (meh-NAH-khem BEH-gheen hah-yah kahl le-hah-ah-REEKH) – Menachem Begin […]

By Ami Steinberger | May 8, 2010 | Your Daily Dose of Hebrew | 3 Comments
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lending a helping hand – in Hebrew

תמיכה   Perhaps you’ve called up one of Israel’s phone companies seeking technical support. The phrase in Hebrew for this is תְּמִיכָה טֶכְנִית (te-mee-KHAH TEKH-neet).   You can also support a friend – לִתְמוֹךְ בְּחָבֵר (leet-MOKH be-khah-VEHR) – or an organization – לִתְמוֹךְ בְּאִרְגּוּן (leet-MOKH be-eer-GOON).   Why this word now?    Because this week’s Torah […]

By Ami Steinberger | May 6, 2010 | Your Daily Dose of Hebrew | 0 Comments
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How do you “business card” in Hebrew?

כרטיס ביקור   Today at AACI, the executive director’s teenage son (who may be one of the counselors on our summer program for preteen new immigrants) handed me the most innovative business card I’ve seen in a while, perhaps ever:     I scribbled over the phone number so that he doesn’t get swamped. The […]

By Ami Steinberger | May 5, 2010 | Your Daily Dose of Hebrew | 1 Comment
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How to say “to nurture” in Hebrew

לטפח   This is a nice word.   Suppose you’ve got a garden full of greens and flowers. To really appreciate the garden (גִּנָּה – ghee-NAH) means to nurture it – לְטַפֵּחַ אֶת הַגינה (le-tah-PEH-akh et hah-ghee-NAH).   Likewise, you might wish to nurture a boy – לטפח יֶלֶד (le-tah-PEH-akh YEH-led) – or a girl לטפח […]

By Ami Steinberger | May 4, 2010 | Your Daily Dose of Hebrew | 0 Comments
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how do you say “I’m supposed to be in bed” in Hebrew?

אמוּר ל…   If you wish to express in Hebrew “I am supposed to be… [blank]”, you’d use the phrase אָמוּר ל (ah-MOOR le…), or  אָמוּרָה ל (ah-moo-RAH le…), if you’re a female. It means, literally, I am said to…   For example, right now I might say אֲנִי אָמוּר לִהְיוֹת בַּמִּטָּה (ah-NEE ah-MOOR lee-hyoht bah-mee-TAH) […]

By Ami Steinberger | May 2, 2010 | Your Daily Dose of Hebrew | 2 Comments
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How to say “bonfires” in Yiddish and Hebrew

קומזיץ, מדורה   A common word used in Israel for bonfires is קוּמְזִיץ (KOOM-zeets). This word comes from Yiddish and means, literally, come, sit (say the word out loud and right away you’ll notice the Germanic similarity in the sounds).   To an Israeli, the word קומזיץ brings to mind the bonfire and all that is […]

By Ami Steinberger | May 1, 2010 | Your Daily Dose of Hebrew | 1 Comment
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How to say to “make” a decision in Hebrew

לקבל החלטה   In English we talk about making a decision.   In Hebrew, we talk about receiving or taking on a decision.   The word for to receive is לְקַבֵּל (leh-kah-BEHL). The word for decision is הַחְלָטָה (hakh-lah-TAH); and to decide is לְהַחְלִיט (leh-hahkh-LEET).   So I could say that I made a decision to eat yogurt every day – קִבַּלְתִּי הַחְלָטָה לֶאֱכוֹל יוֹגוּרְטְ כָּל יוֹם (kee-BAHL-tee hahkh-lah-TAH leh-eh-KHOHL […]

By Ami Steinberger | April 30, 2010 | Your Daily Dose of Hebrew | 3 Comments
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how do you say “niece” and “nephew” in Hebrew?

אחיין, אחיינית   Brother is אָח (ahkh); sister is אָחוֹת (ah-KHOHT). I would rate these as Level 2 words for Ulpan La-Inyan.   Nephew is אַחְיָן (ahkh-YAHN), and niece is אַחְיָנִית (ahkh-yah-NEET). These are more likely to be encountered in a Level 3 or Level 4 discussion.   For example, I would say, יֵשׁ לִי אחיינית חֲדָשָׁה (yesh lee […]

By Ami Steinberger | April 28, 2010 | Your Daily Dose of Hebrew | 2 Comments
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