In May of 2008 I was able to take my first tour of Israel, I was hooked. From the biblical sites to the modern culture, I loved everything about traveling and experiencing the Middle East. Not long into the trip I realized there was much to learn. Culture, contexts, foods and most of all the language. I remember saying to myself, “I need to learn Hebrew.” Well, six years later and multiple trips under my belt I have still not learned Hebrew. I know a few words but overall am still fairly ignorant of the language. This past week while traveling through the Galilee, I decided to learn 20 new words in Hebrew in accordance to The First 20 Hours by Josh Kaufman. The First word I learned was land mine, as you can see.
Throughout the following day I was able to learn 20 new words in Hebrew. Here is a list of the words I learned and am now using in Jerusalem. Rosetta Stone will be next…
- afikomen… a small piece of matzo that is hidden by adults and hunted by children at the Passover seder.
- aliyah… the Jewish word used for the act of returning or making immigration to the land of Israel.
- arabah…desert region in the Rift Valley between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Elath/Aqaba.
- bas mitzvah… ceremony that ushers a Jewish girl into adult religious responsibilities.
- beer… well or cistern.
- beth… house or temple.
- boker tov… good morning.
- challah… braided, sweet bread served on the Sabbath and some festivals.
- diaspora… the Jews living outside the land of Israel, especially applied to those scattered after the exile.
- har… mount, or mountain.
- havdala… the short but meaningful service that brings Sabbath to a close.
- kefar… village.
- kreplach… a pastry pocket stuffed with meat.
- lox… smoked salmon.
- narthex… a hall in the church which leads to the naive.
- pesach… the term used for the festival of the passover.
- sabra… the word for the fruit of the prickly pear.
- shouk… the Jewish marketplace.
- sukkot… word for the one week Feast of the Tabernacles.
- todah… thanks.
Since using these words, I have found even more connection to the special people of Israel and more specifically Jerusalem. Here is a picture of me sitting under our bus, having tea with our Jewish bus driver Nissan. Three cups of tea and an hour later, I am now more nimble in the Hebrew language.