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Pesach: The Jewish Passover

In Judaism, Passover is one of the most important holidays of the year. It celebrates the release of the Jews from Egypt as described in the biblical book of Exodus, and commemorates the events leading up to it. 

Maybe you’ve heard of Passover before, but never really understood what it’s about or how it’s celebrated. If so, this article will be your golden ticket to understanding the basics and getting better acquainted with Jewish culture and traditions. 

Let’s get started!

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1. What is Passover?

A Depiction of the Passover Sacrifice

Passover is a Jewish holiday celebrated for seven days during אביב (aviv), or spring. The celebration of this holiday is commanded and outlined in the biblical books of Exodus and Leviticus, and the purpose of this holiday is to commemorate the events leading up to the חירות (kherut), or freedom, of the Israelites after fleeing Egypt. 

The history of Passover in the Bible can be found in the book of Exodus, according to which the Jews were once enslaved by the people of Egypt. In the form of a burning bush, Yahweh commanded משה (Moshe), or Moses, to speak with Pharaoh about releasing the Israelites. Despite Moses’s strong faith and devotion, he lacked confidence in his speaking abilities and rather had his older brother אהרון (Aharon), or Aaron, speak on his behalf. When Pharaoh refused, Yahweh brought about the עשר מכות (Eser makot), or 10 Plagues, which wreaked havoc among the Egyptians and caused many deaths. 

The last of these plagues was the killing of all Egyptian firstborn sons, including the Pharaoh’s own son. The Israelites were spared this plague, for Yahweh commanded them to mark their doors with the blood of a lamb which would cause the Angel of Death to pass over them. It is this event which the holiday is named after. 

Passover is one of the Three Pilgrimage Festivals. You can learn about the other two on our website! 

2. When is Passover This Year?

springtime flowers in a green field

The first day of Passover begins on the fifteenth of Nissan according to the Jewish calendar. Here are the start and end dates of this holiday on the Gregorian calendar for the next ten years: 

  • 2021: March 27 – April 4
  • 2022: April 15 – April 22
  • 2023: April 5 – April 12
  • 2024: April 22 – April 29
  • 2025: April 12 – April 19
  • 2026: April 1 – April 9
  • 2027: April 21 – April 29
  • 2028: April 10 – April 18
  • 2029: March 30 – April 7
  • 2030: April 17 – April 25

3. Passover Traditions

seder tu bishvat, or Passover food

Passover traditions actually begin the morning before, on the fourteenth of Nissan. This is when observant Jews scour their homes for any trace of חמץ (khametz), or hametz. Hametz refers to any type of leavened product, which is prohibited on Passover. All of the hametz that’s found in one’s home must be burned.

Another event that takes place prior to the actual Passover holiday is the Fast of the Firstborn. This is a fast that the firstborn son of every practicing Jewish family participates in to commemorate the fact that Yahweh spared all of the Jewish firstborns in the Exodus story. However, people are allowed to break this fast in the event of a celebratory event; synagogues often host such an event so that the firstborn sons can eat during Passover.

On the evening of the first day of Passover, observant Jews have the Passover seder. This is a special meal that aids in telling the Passover story and keeping it fresh in mind. The Passover meal consists of several different foods which symbolize key aspects of the Israelites’ journey to freedom: 

  • מרור (maror), which are bitter herbs symbolizing the bitterness of the Jews’ slavery
  • חרוסת (kharoset), or charoseth, which is a sweet mix of fruit and nuts with honey, symbolizing the mortar Jewish slaves used in building
  • מצה (matzah), or matzo, which is an unleavened bread product symbolizing the unleavened bread eaten by the fleeing Israelites

It’s also customary to pour wine for each guest, as well as a glass for the Prophet Elijah who is said to visit the homes of those observing the seder. 

Each of these food elements is held and consumed in accordance with the Exodus story from the Haggadah. In addition, the recital of the Four Questions takes place during the seder. 

The following day (the sixteenth of Nissan) marks another milestone on the Jewish calendar: it’s fifty days before Shavuot. It begins the Counting of the Omer, during which Jews begin the countdown to Shavuot. 

  • See our vocabulary on Israeli Food to learn more useful cuisine-related words! 

4. Afikoman

Another fascinating Passover tradition involves the children. Parents cut off part of the matzah from the seder, called the אפיקומן (Afikoman), and hide it. The children are then encouraged to find it in order to receive presents as compensation. 

A common variation of this tradition is for the children to steal the Afikoman themselves and return it in exchange for gifts. 

5. Essential Hebrew Vocabulary for Passover

different Passover foods

Here are some of the most important vocabulary words and phrases for Passover in Israel:

  • Spring – אביב (aviv), noun [m]
  • Arm – זרוע (z’roa’), noun [f]
  • Egypt – מצרים (mitz’rayim), noun [f]
  • Passover – פסח (Pesakh), noun [m]
  • Red Sea – ים סוף (Yam Suf), noun [m]
  • Pilgrimage – עליה לרגל (aliya la-regel), noun [f]
  • Afikoman – אפיקומן (Afikoman), noun [m]
  • Aaron – אהרון (Aharon), noun [m]
  • 10 Plagues – עשר מכות (Eser makot), noun [f]
  • Song of Songs – שיר השירים (Shir ha`shirim), noun [m]
  • Passover Sacrifice – קורבן פסח (Korban Pesakh), noun [m]
  • Pharaoh – פרעה (Par-oh), noun [m]
  • Moses – משה (Moshe), noun [m]
  • Matzo – מצה (matzah), noun [f]
  • Maror – מרור (maror), noun [m]
  • Hametz – חמץ (khametz), noun [m]
  • Freedom – חירות (kherut), noun [f]
  • Cleaning – נקיון (nikayon), noun [m]
  • Charoseth – חרוסת (kharoset), noun [f]

Also be sure to head over to our Passover vocabulary list! Here, you can listen to the pronunciation of each word and practice along with the recordings.

Final Thoughts

The Jewish Passover is a defining holiday for Jews in Israel and around the world, so we hope you enjoyed learning about it with us! What are some of the important religious holidays in your country? 

If you liked this lesson and want to continue exploring Israeli culture and the Hebrew language, make sure to explore HebrewPod101.com and take advantage of our numerous resources. Our free vocabulary lists, online dictionary, and numerous audio and video lessons will help you reach your language learning goals sooner than you think! 

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Premium PLUS: The Golden Ticket for Language-Learning

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As an active Premium PLUS member of JapanesePod101.com and KoreanClass101.com myself, I have an enjoyable experience learning at an accelerated pace with at least thirty minutes of study daily. The following Premium PLUS features contribute to my success:

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Pronunciation is an essential ingredient in language-learning. Proper pronunciation prompts clear understanding during conversations with native speakers.

Prior to learning full Korean sentences, my online Korean language tutor assigned the “Hana Hana Hangul” pathway to me. It demonstrated the writing and pronunciation of Hangul, the Korean alphabet. Throughout this pathway, I submitted recordings of my Hangul character pronunciations to my language teacher for review.

I was given a similar task on JapanesePod101.com with the “Ultimate Japanese Pronunciation Guide” pathway. My Japanese language teacher tested my pronunciation of the Japanese characters kana. My completion of the two pathways boosted my confidence in speaking.

Speaking is one of the more challenging components of learning a language. The voice recording tool in particular was a great way for me to improve my speaking skills. Further, because the lesson dialogues are spoken by native speakers, I’m able to practice speaking naturally.

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The host asks the following question:

어디에 살고 있습니까?

eodieseo salgo isseumnikka

“Where do you live?”

If you live in Tokyo, you would readily say the following:

도쿄에 살고 있습니다.

Tokyo-e salgo isseumnida.

“I live in Tokyo.”

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Premium PLUS offers various features to expand learners’ vocabulary, including Free Gifts of the Month. HebrewPod101’s free gifts for April 2020 included an e-book with “400 Everyday Phrases for Beginners,” and the content is updated every month. When I download free resources like this, I find opportunities to use them with co-teachers, friends, or my language tutors.

An effective way to learn vocabulary is with SRS flashcards. SRS is a system designed for learning a new word and reviewing it in varying time intervals.

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With the SRS flashcards, you can change the settings to your liking. The settings range from different card types to number of new cards per deck. Personally, I give myself vocabulary tests by changing the settings.

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Your language tutor is available for outside help as well. When I bought drama CDs in Japan, I had difficulty transliterating the dialogue. My Japanese teacher forwarded me the script to read along as I listened.

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A remarkable thing happened to me in South Korea. I was stressed about opening a bank account with limited Korean. I sought help from my Korean teacher. She forwarded me a script of a bank conversation.

After two days, I visited the local bank. It all started with my opening sentence:

은행 계좌를 만들고 싶어요

eunhaeng gyejwaleul mandeulgo sip-eoyo.

I want to open a bank account.

Everything went smoothly, and I exited the bank with a new account!

The MyTeacher Messenger allows me to share visuals with my teachers for regular interaction, including videos to critique my pronunciation mechanisms. I improve my listening and speaking skills by exchanging audio with my teachers. In addition to my written homework assignments, I exchange messages with my language teachers in my target language. This connection with my teachers enables me to experience the culture as well as the language.

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It’s impossible for me to imagine my continuous progress with Japanese and Korean without Premium PLUS. Everything—from the SRS flashcards to my language teachers—makes learning languages enjoyable and clear-cut.

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Complete lessons and assignments to advance in your target language. Increase your vocabulary with the “2000 Core Word List” for that language and SRS flashcards. Learn on-the-go with the Innovative Language app and/or Podcasts app for iOS users.

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Subscribe to Posted by HebrewPod101.com in Feature Spotlight, Hebrew Language, Hebrew Online, Learn Hebrew, Site Features, Speak Hebrew, Team HebrewPod101

Tisha B’Av: A Day of Mourning

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Israel had a particularly rough history, fraught with tragedies and wrongs. Each year, there’s a special day set aside just for mourning and reflection: תשעה באב (Tish-ah be-Av), or “Tisha B’Av.” 

In this article, we’ll talk about some of these tragedies, cover the most common Tisha B’Av practices and customs, and go over the most important Tisha B’Av vocabulary. 

Let’s get started.

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1. What is Tisha B’Av?

An Image of David’s Tower and the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem

Tisha B’Av is a day of אבל (evel), or “grieving,” for Jews, and it serves as a time to commemorate the many tragedies that Israel has experienced. In particular, Jews mourn a collection of events that are often referred to as “the five calamities.” These events all took place on or around the date of Tisha B’Av, giving this day a negative reputation. Here’s an overview of each calamity:

1 – Moses’s Twelve Spies in Canaan

In the biblical book of Numbers, it’s said that Moses sent out twelve spies (or observers) to explore the land of Canaan, God’s “Promised Land” to Israel. 

However, ten of the twelve spies gave Moses only negative reports about the land and its people (whom the spies called Nephilim). These reports led to widespread fear among the Israelites and revealed the spies’ lack of faith in God’s promise. As a result, God made the Israelites wander in the wilderness for forty years.

Two of the spies gave Moses a positive report, and those two were the only ones allowed to enter the Promised Land after those forty years. 

2 – Destruction of the First Temple

The destruction of the first temple of Israel (which was built by King Solomon) occurred in either 587 BC or 586 BC, when King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon invaded Judah. This happened as a result of Judah’s then-vassal king turning his back on Babylon and backing the Pharaoh Hophra of Egypt instead. 

3 – Destruction of the Second Temple

The destruction of the second temple occurred in 70 CE at the hands of the Romans. This led to the people of Judea becoming scattered and marked the beginning of Israel’s גלות (galut), or “exile,” from the Holy Land. 

4 – Destruction of Betar

In 135 CE, the Romans destroyed the Jewish city of Betar following a strong revolt led by Bar Kokhba. This event resulted in the deaths of nearly 600,000 Jews. 

5 – Plowing of the Temple in Jerusalem

Not long after this massacre, a Roman commander named Turnus Rufus plowed over where the Temple of Jerusalem had once stood. 

While Tisha B’Av largely encompasses these five tragedies, this day is also a time to reflect on more recent ones, such as the First Crusade and the Holocaust. 

2. When is Tisha B’Av on the Gregorian Calendar?

The Jewish Month of Av

Each year, Tisha B’Av takes place on the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av. For your convenience, we’ve listed below this holiday’s date on the Gregorian calendar for the next ten years.

  • 2020: July 30
  • 2021: July 18
  • 2022: August 7
  • 2023: July 27
  • 2024: August 13
  • 2025: August 3
  • 2026: July 23
  • 2027: August 12
  • 2028: August 1
  • 2029: July 22

Keep in mind that this holiday actually starts on the evening before the date listed.

3. Tisha B’Av Customs & Restrictions

A Woman Sitting in Front of an Empty Plate

There’s a three-week period leading up to Tisha B’Av, during which Jews may begin the mourning process. While mourning, Jews may fast from meat and neglect to shave. Those who don’t mourn during these three weeks will usually begin their mourning during the last nine days before Tisha B’Av. 

As mentioned earlier, Tisha B’Av is a time of grieving. On this day, practicing Jews are not to engage in any type of pleasurable activity. In addition, Torah reading for Tisha B’Av is limited to the מגילת איכה (Megilat Eicha), or “Book of Lamentations,” and other sad or grievous books. 

1 – Tisha B’Av Restrictions

There are חמישה איסורים (khamisha Isurim), or “five prohibitions,” that practicing Jews must adhere to on Tisha B’Av. These Tisha B’Av rules are:

  • Fasting for twenty-five hours (especially from meat and wine)
  • No showering 
  • No intimate relations
  • No leather shoes
  • No creams or oils 

Of course, there are limited exceptions to these rules. For example, if someone has a specific medical issue, they may consult a rabbi to permit them to eat as needed. 

2 – Other Customs & Activities

On Tisha B’Av, Kinot text readings and liturgies are given in the synagogues, and many Jews also read or listen to the Book of Lamentations. Both the Kinot and Lamentations mourn the destruction of Israel and the plight of Jews throughout history. 

Because this is a day of mourning, Jews tend to abstain from many day-to-day activities, especially those that are considered pleasurable. Examples include gift-giving and leaving the home for entertainment purposes. People are expected not to laugh or smile on this day, as Tisha B’Av is often labeled “the saddest day” on the Jewish calendar and a day on which bad things are likely to happen.

3 – End of Tisha B’Av

Tisha B’Av officially ends that night, though generally, Jews observe the rules and fasting until around noon of the following day. 

4. Menachem Begin’s Proposal

Former Prime Minister of Israel, Menachem Begin, once proposed that Tisha B’Av should become a holiday devoted to all of Israel’s tragedies. Under this proposal, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Memorial Day, and Tisha B’Av would all be observed on this one day. 

His proposal was denied, however, probably as a means of preserving the significance of each remembrance day and the religious nature of Tisha B’Av.

5. Vocabulary for Talking About Tisha B’Av in Hebrew

The Book of Lamentations

Let’s review some of the Hebrew vocabulary words and phrases from this article!

EnglishHebrewRomanizationPart of Speech + Gender
JerusalemירושליםYerushalayimProper noun, feminine
Tisha B’Avתשעה באבTish-ah be-AvNoun, masculine
FastingצוםtsomNoun, masculine
AvאבAvNoun, masculine
Destruction of Jerusalem wallsנפילת חומות ירושליםNefilat khomot Yerushalayim
Burning of the Templeשריפת בית המקדשsrifat beit ha-mikdashFeminine
Book of Lamentationsמגילת איכהMegilat EichaNoun, feminine
GrievingאבלevelNoun, masculine
Between the gatesבין המצריםbein ha-metzarimMasculine
Cloth shoesנעלי בדna’alei badNoun, feminine
No intimate relationshipאיסור תשמיש המיטהisur tashmish ha-mitahNoun, masculine
No showerאיסור רחיצהisur rechitzahNoun, masculine
KinnotקינותKinotNoun, feminine
Five prohibitionsחמישה איסוריםkhamisha IsurimMasculine
ExileגלותGalutNoun, feminine

Remember that you can find each of these words with an audio recording of its pronunciation on our Tisha B’Av vocabulary list

Final Thoughts

The significance of Tisha B’Av in Jewish society can’t be overstated. It provides an opportunity to reflect on past wrongs, mourn accordingly, and look ahead to what the future may hold. 

What are your thoughts on Tisha B’Av? Is there a holiday of mourning or remembrance in your country? Let us know in the comments; we look forward to hearing your thoughts. 

If you want to learn more about Israel and Jewish culture, HebrewPod101.com has several free resources for you, straight from our blog:

Wherever you are in your Hebrew-learning journey, and whatever your reasons for wanting to learn, HebrewPod101 has you covered! Create your free lifetime account today and take advantage of our numerous audio and video lessons, themed vocabulary lists, spaced-repetition flashcards, and so much more.

We hope to see you around. Shalom!

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Rosh Hashanah: How to Celebrate the Jewish New Year

Rosh Hashanah, which is the Jewish New Year, is a time of new beginnings and fresh starts—very much like New Years around the world. On this day, Jews cast aside their wrongdoings from the previous year in hopes of becoming better the following year, and they wish each other a sweeter new year.

In this article, you’ll learn about the Rosh Hashanah meaning and history, and what traditional celebrations look like today. In learning about this significant religious and cultural holiday, you’ll gain much into Jewish culture. This, in turn, should fuel your desire to master the Hebrew language! On the other hand, if you’re looking for New Year’s vocabulary that would be more useful at a secular, December New Year’s Party, we’ve got something for you, too. Learn how to say all the seasonal words in Hebrew with our New Year’s vocabulary article!

At HebrewPod101.com, we hope to make every aspect of your language-learning journey both fun and informative!

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1. What is Rosh Hashanah?

Israel uses a Hebrew calendar alongside the Gregorian calendar which is used by most other countries. The Hebrew year begins on the first of Tishrei, and on that day people celebrate Rosh Hashanah—the holiday marking the beginning of the New Year. The Hebrew calendar is based on a combination of the cycles of the moon and the sun. Every year is more or less parallel to the sun cycle and contains twelve or thirteen months, each beginning in the birth of the moon and ending with the birth of the next moon.

The Jewish New Year is considered to be a Day of Judgement, or יום דין (yom din) in Hebrew. Additionally, Rosh Hashanah is considered to be the day on which God is crowned by the world. On this day, people are judged on what they did the previous year, and they predict what will happen in the coming year.

Happy New Year!
שתהיה לך שנה טובה!
she`tihiye lekha shanah tovah!

2. When is Rosh Hashanah?

Standing Up Calendar

Each year, Jews celebrate Rosh Hashanah beginning on the first of the month Tishrei, and thus it varies each year on the Gregorian calendar. For your convenience, we’ve composed a list of this holiday’s start date for the next ten years on the Gregorian calendar.

  • 2019: September 29
  • 2020: September 18
  • 2021: September 6
  • 2022: September 25
  • 2023: September 15
  • 2024: October 2
  • 2025: September 22
  • 2026: September 11
  • 2027: October 1
  • 2028: September 20

3. How is Rosh Hashanah Celebrated?

On the day before Rosh Hashanah, it is customary to hold vow release rituals in which every person asks to be released of his or her vows in front of three people who act as a sort of court, holding the power to release a man from his promises.

The Shofar is the most significant and well-known custom associated with the Rosh Hashanah festival. The Shofar is made of ram’s horn, and it makes a sound that resembles crying as we blow it in-between the holiday prayers. This reminds of the true meaning and importance of Rosh Hashanah.

During the Rosh Hashanah evening, families meet together for a festive holiday meal. They consume special Rosh Hashanah foods, such as pomegranate seeds, cooked fish, dates, and desserts containing honey, or as it’s called in Hebrew, דבש (dvash). Family members will wish each other a better new year.

As Rosh Hashanah symbolizes new beginnings, the Tashlich custom is very popular. On the first day of the holiday, after lunch, we go to a seashore or river, recite special Rosh Hashanah prayers, and shake out our clothes and pockets to symbolically cast away the sins and wicked deeds we did last year, and to express our desire to be a better person the next year.

There’s a common Jewish saying: “He who sleeps on Rosh Hashanah, his luck sleeps too.” For this reason, some people don’t sleep on Rosh Hashanah.

4. Apples & Honey

Person Offering Forgiveness

Do you know why we eat apples and honey on Rosh Hashanah?

On Rosh Hashanah, we dip slices of apple in honey and offer each other Rosh Hashanah greetings that we shall be renewed with a good and sweet year. So we’re asking that the following year will be as good as the sweet taste of apples and honey.

5. Useful Vocabulary for Rosh Hashanah

Man in Deep Thought

Here’s some vocabulary you need to know for Rosh Hashana!

  • תפוח (tapu’ach) — apple
  • ראש השנה (Rosh Ha-shanna) — Jewish New Year
  • גפילטע פיש (gefilte-fish) — Gefilte fish
  • תפילה (tfilah) — prayer
  • מלכויות (Malkhuyot) — Malchuyot
  • דבש (dvash) — honey
  • שערי שמים (sha’arei shamayim) — gates of Heaven
  • סליחה (slikha) — forgiveness
  • תשליך (tashlikh) — cast away
  • ספר החיים (Sefer-Ha’khayim) — Book of Life
  • זכרונות (Zikhronot) — Zichronot
  • התחלת השנה (hatkhalat Ha’shanna) — the beginning of the year
  • שופר (Shofar) — shofar
  • חלה עגולה (khalla agula) — round challa
  • השתקפות (hishtakfut) — reflection
  • רימון (rimon) — pomegranate
  • שופרות (Shofarot) — Shofarot
  • זכרון (zikaron) — memory

To hear each of these Rosh Hashana vocabulary words pronounced, check out our relevant vocabulary list!

How HebrewPod101 Can Help You Learn About Jewish Culture

What do you think about the Jewish New Year and its traditions? How do you celebrate the new year in your country? Let us know in the comments! We always look forward to hearing from you.

To continue learning about Hebrew culture and the language, explore HebrewPod101.com. We provide an array of fun and effective learning tools for every learner, at every level:

  • Insightful blog posts on a range of cultural and language-related topics
  • Free vocabulary lists covering a variety of topics and themes
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Hebrew’s a beautiful language, but no easy feat to learn. Know that your effort and determination will pay off, and it will be well-worth it! HebrewPod101 will be here to help on each step of your journey to Hebrew mastery, with comprehensive lessons and constant support!

Happy Rosh Hashanah!

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The Top 10 Hebrew Movies

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Unlike Hollywood, Israel’s film industry has traditionally been much smaller-scale. Still, it has been growing steadily in recent years, particularly since many breakthroughs have made their way onto Netflix or were even redone as American remakes. Hebrew movies and cinema are characterized not only by a typically more intimate, less bombastic approach to treating human stories (with some notable exceptions), but also by mixing comedy and melodrama quite naturally—something surely representative of the Israeli experience. While one could argue that more and more movies coming out of Israel today are modeled after the Tinseltown blockbuster, there have traditionally been—and still are—many unique, independent gems that could only have been made in Israel, with its singular (and often quite insane) reality.

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In addition to giving you a great glimpse inside Israeli culture, watching Israeli films can without  a doubt go a long way toward helping you as a Hebrew language learner. This is true both in terms of the exposure to natural Hebrew as spoken by actors with varying backgrounds (including non-natives), as well as the chance to pick up on themes and cultural cues unique to Israeli society. Indeed, many Israeli films deal, unsurprisingly, with themes that are particularly relevant to the reality of life in Israel: immigrant stories, intercultural clashes, the military experience, religion and secularity, etc. By watching these films, you can not only enjoy some entertainment but also deepen your language abilities while enriching your cultural appreciation for the crazy hodgepodge that is Israeli culture.

Woman with Popcorn and Soda

While there are dozens, if not hundreds, of excellent Israeli films that have come out over the years—including a number of international prize winners—we’ve put together our list of the top ten Israeli movies specifically for Hebrew learners. We’ve made our choices with an aim to represent the diversity of Israeli society while offering you a mix of comedy, drama, and other genres. We’re confident that these Hebrew-language movies will be both enjoyable and educational. Just don’t forget to jot down a few new words and phrases from each one so you don’t forget them later! A choice quote from a classic Israeli film dropped at the right moment is just the thing to add that extra touch of authenticity to your Hebrew. For more tips on using movies for learning Hebrew, check out this article.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Hebrew Table of Contents
  1. גבעת חלפון אינה עונה
  2. חתונה מאוחרת
  3. מבצע סבתא
  4. סוף העולם שמאלה
  5. קדוש
  6. האושפיזין
  7. אדמה משוגעת
  8. לבנון
  9. פעם הייתי
  10. אלכס חולה אהבה
  11. HebrewPod101 is Your Go-To for Everything Hebrew


גבעת חלפון אינה עונה .1

Our first film, גבעת חלפון אינה עונה (Giv’at Khalfon Eynah ‘Onah), ineloquently translated as “Halfon Hill Doesn’t Answer,” is a true Israeli cult classic, indeed one of the very first to come out of Israeli cinema. First released in 1976, the movie is a satire of military life in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), specifically the experience of lackadaisical reservists stationed in the Sinai Desert. (This was before Israel ceded the territory to Egypt for peace.) 

The film features the comedy troupe הגשש החיוור (Ha-Gashash ha-Khiver), meaning “The Blind Tracker.” This trio is hands-down Israel’s most iconic comedy group, and have had a particular influence on modern Hebrew with their many word plays—much in the same way that William Shakespeare influenced English through his humorous wordsmithing. This movie is no exception, and there are quite a few phrases that have made their way into Hebrew’s lexicon via גבעת חלפון אינה עונה. 

Here are some of the choicest morsels, along with an explanation of each one and how it might be used in day-to-day speech.

  • לסרג’יו פנית, לא טעית.
    Le-Serjio panita, lo ta’ita.
    “You weren’t wrong to come to Sergio.” (lit.: “You’ve come to Sergio; you weren’t wrong.”)

This one, memorable for its end rhyme, is used to say something like, “You’ve got that right,” or, “You ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie.”

  • מניאקים. כל היחידה הזאת, מניאקים.
    Maniyakim. Kol ha-yekhidah ha-zot maniyakim.
    “Nut jobs. This whole unit is a bunch of nut jobs.”

This one, as you may have guessed, is used to say that everyone around you is crazy.

  • מצפון הים המכונה תיכון, ממזרח ישראל המכונה מדינה.
    Mi-tzafon ha-yam ha-mekhuneh Tikhon, mi-mizrakh Yisra’el ha-mekhunah medinah.
    “To the north, the sea known as the Mediterranean, to the east, Israel, known as a country.”

This famous quote perfectly encapsulates the self-effacing humor so typical of this comedy group, essentially questioning whether Israel can even be taken seriously enough to be considered a country.

2. חתונה מאוחרת

Shifting from the comedic realm to the melodramatic (although this film is not without comedy), Khatunah Me’ukheret, or “Late Marriage,” is a classic film starring Lior Ashkenazi in his breakthrough role as Zaza, a 30-something bachelor reluctant to marry despite pressure from his traditional Georgian family. As they attempt to arrange a suitable marriage for him, he secretly dates a somewhat older divorcée, Yehudit (played by Ronit Elkabetz), who also happens to be of Moroccan stock—a clash with Zaza’s Georgian roots, at least as far as his parents are concerned. 

In this bittersweet tale, Zaza must ultimately choose between his love and his family. It’s a wonderful exploration of various issues facing Israel’s immigrant communities, such as opening up to Israel’s multicultural panorama as well as transitioning to a more modern, less old-fashioned lifestyle. The film is also interesting for its mix of Hebrew with Georgian, spoken by Zaza’s family.

  • כאן יש להם משהו אחר. הם קוראים לזה אהבה.
    Kan yesh lahem mashehu akher. Hem korim le-zeh ahavah.
    “Here they have something else. They call it love.”

This quote, said by Zaza’s father when trying to arrange a marriage for his son with another Georgian family, exemplifies the generational disconnect: the younger generation seeking a marriage based on love and the older generation, looking back to life in Georgia, a marriage based on practical considerations.

Theater Seats

3. מבצע סבתא

Shifting back to the realm of comedy, this film is an absolute cult classic in Israel, and one which (similar to גבעת חלפון אינה עונה) has left a deep impression on modern Hebrew as a highly quoted movie. This Hebrew comedy movie centers around three brothers originally from a kibbutz. Two of them have moved off the kibbutz, while one remains behind. When the brothers’ grandmother (their only surviving family member, their parents having died years before) passes away, and the kibbutz refuses to pay for the funeral over a technicality, they must hatch an elaborate scheme to pull off her funeral themselves while also juggling other personal obligations in their lives. The film is a hilarious romp that also affords a glimpse into the sometimes truly bizarre world of the Israeli kibbutz, as well as how it contrasts with city life.

  • סבתא חיה מתה.
    Savta Khayah metah.
    “Grandma Chaya is dead.”

The joke here is that the name חיה (Khayah) also means “lives” or “is alive.” This is one of the phrases that can be used just to get a quick laugh, but it’s often applied to paradoxical situations.

  • יש לכם 20 שניות, שזה 5 שניות יותר מדי, להשלים. זוז!
    Yeish lakhem ‘esrim sh’niyot, she-zeh khamesh shniyot yoter miday, lehashlim. Zuz!
    “You have 20 seconds, which is five seconds too many, to make up. Move!”

This line is spoken by Crembo, one of the three brothers, who is an officer in the military, to his two brothers who are fighting. It’s a good example of military speech.

  • רק שלא תגמור לנו כמו מוטי בננה בציריך, הא?
    Rak she-lo tigmor lanu kemo Moti Bananah be-Tzirikh, ha?
    “Just don’t end up like Moti Banana in Zurich, huh?”

This line is a bit nebulous, but it’s clearly a reference to some cautionary tale about someone from the kibbutz who met a sad fate in Zurich. It can be used when mentioning a fate to be avoided.

4. סוף העולם שמאלה

Classic scene from the film

Yet another film about immigrants, Sof ha-’Olam Smolah or “Turn Left at the End of the World” in English, is particularly poignant. It examines the lives of עולים (‘olim, literally “ascenders”), or immigrants who arrive in the 1960s to a town developed for immigrant absorption in the middle of Israel’s Negev Desert. The immigrant community comprises mainly Indians and Moroccans, two obviously very distant cultures. Told through the lens of two young women, one from each culture, it examines the bonds of friendship, the challenges of maturity, and all the obstacles to integration faced by some of the poorer immigrant communities in the country. It’s worth noting that in Hebrew, סוף העולם שמאלה (sof ha-’olam smolah) is an expression roughly equivalent to “the middle of nowhere.”

  • השנה 1968. האדם עומד לנחות על הירח וסטודנטים מפגינים ברחובות פריז, אך נדמה כי דבר ממאורעות אלה אינו משפיע על החיים בעיירה קטנה ומבודדת במדבר הישראלי.
    Ha-shanah elef tsha’-me’ot shishim u-shmoneh. Ha-adam ‘omed linkhot ‘al ha-yare’akh ve-studentim mafginim bi-r’khovot Pariz, akh nidmeh ki davar mi-me’ora’ot eleh einoh mashpi’a ‘al ha-khayim be-ayarah ktanah u-mevudedet ba-midbar ha-Yisra’eli.
    “The year is 1968. Man is about to land on the moon, students are out protesting in the streets of Paris, but it would seem that none of these events have any effect on life in a small and isolated town in the Israeli desert.”

This is the opening narration to the film, and sets the stage for the events to follow.

Couple Watching Movies/TV on Couch

5. קדוש

Kadosh, or “Sacred” in English, is a painful but keen examination of life in Mea Shearim, one of the most famous ultra-Orthodox communities in Jerusalem. The story follows one couple unable to have children, a situation unacceptable enough in a world so centered on procreation (the first mitzvah or “commandment” in the Bible) that it is sufficient cause for annulling the matrimony, and another couple in a passionless marriage. 

The film examines the ultra-Orthodox world from the perspective of two sisters, the wives in the aforementioned couples, and the ways in which their freedom is inhibited by the highly controlling community. In particular, it challenges the ultra-Orthodox view that a woman’s sole function is to bear children. As the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) population of Israel hovers near two million, it is well worth familiarizing yourself with it to some extent if you plan to spend time in Israel, especially in Jerusalem.

  • אתה סובל בגלל שאין לנו ילדים. אתה סובל בגלל שאתה חושב שאנחנו חיים בחטא.
    Atah sovel biglal she-ein lanu yeladim. Atah sovel biglal she-atah khoshev she-anakhnu khayim be-kheit.
    “You’re suffering because we don’t have any children. You’re suffering because you think we live in sin.”

These lines are spoken by one of the main characters, Rachel, to her husband. They encapsulate the couple’s emotional and spiritual struggle, which is at the core of the film.

6. האושפיזין

Ha-Ushpizin, which refers to the traditional guests to the סוכה (sukkah) during the festival of סוכות (Sukkot), is another film that sheds light onto the insulated world of the ultra-Orthodox. This film, however, is of a much more lighthearted nature; it’s also far less condemning and much more conciliatory. This may have a lot to do with the film’s star, Shuli Rand, who himself became ultra-Orthodox after being non-religious for many years. Such people are called חוזרים בתשובה (khozrim be-t’shuvah) or literally “those who return to the answer,” and this film is one of the few that successfully captures all of the beauty of religious values and the religious lifestyle, while not shying away from its problems either. 

The plot follows a couple as they struggle to fulfill the mitzvah of hosting friends from the main character, Moshe’s, past life as a delinquent in their sukkah. It’s both humorous and profound, and a true work of art. It’s worth noting that Rand’s wife Michal, who plays Moshe’s wife, Mali, was not a professional actress but Rand insisted that he would only act opposite his wife due to religious restrictions on male-female intimacy outside matrimony.

  • בסדר, אני יודע שאתה שונא עצבות אבל אני מה זה בעצבות. כולי עצבות. גוש של עצבות. חס ושלום אני לא חושב שמגיע לי משהו, ריבונו של עולם. לא מגיע לי כלום, אבל האמת אני לא מבין. אני אגיד לך את האמת: אני לא מבין. לפעמים אני לא יודע מה אתה רוצה ממני. לפעמים נראה לי אתה הולך איתי קצת קשה מדי.
    Beseder, ani yode’a she-atah sone ‘atzvut aval ani mah zeh be-’atzvut. Kuli ‘atzvut. Gush shel ‘atzvut. Khas ve-shalom ani lo khosheiv she-magi’a li mashehu, Ribono shel ‘Olam. Lo magi’a li klum, aval ha-emet, ani lo mevin. Ani agid lekha et ha-emet: ani lo mevin. Lif’amim ani lo yode’a mah atah rotzeh mimeni. Lif’amim nir’eh li atah holekh iti ktzat kasheh miday.
    “Okay, I know You hate sadness, but I’m really deep in sadness. My whole being is sadness. A lump of sadness. God forbid that I should think I deserve anything, Ruler of the Universe. I don’t deserve a thing, but the truth is I don’t understand. I’ll tell you the truth: I don’t understand. Sometimes I don’t know what You want from me. Sometimes I feel like you’re a little too tough on me.”

These lines come from a poignant scene where Moshe is praying to God for enough money to celebrate the Sukkot holiday. They illustrate the particularly Jewish notion of negotiating with God.

Projector

7. אדמה משוגעת

Adamah Meshuga’at (literally “Crazy Earth,” but rendered in English as “Sweet Mud”) is a painful look at the problems of kibbutz society. Told mainly from the perspective of a young boy, it illustrates how the kibbutz fails to address issues that tax its rigid ideals of a socialist society. The main character, Dvir, must care for his mentally unstable mother, a task clearly unsuitable for a young boy. The plot follows various complications that arise from this situation, and is an overall critique of kibbutz life and its disruption of family life, which is often whitewashed in Israeli popular culture as a marvelous social experiment. While lopsided in focusing only on the negative aspects of kibbutz life, the film is a good opportunity to get an intimate look at this strange world, as well as its lexis.

  • תסתכלי פנימה ותשאלי את עצמך מה את יכולה לתת לקיבוץ.
    Tistakli p’nimah ve-tish’ali et ‘atzmekh mah at yekholah latet la-kibbutz.
    “Look inside yourself and ask what you can give the kibbutz.”

These lines are spoken to Dvir’s mentally ill mother, Miri, who obviously needs psychological help but is instead pushed to be a functional member of the kibbutz, come what may, ultimately leading her to break down.

8. לבנון

Levanon (“Lebanon”) is a chillingly intimate look at combat service in a tank during the very first days of the First Lebanon War. Following the model of Das Boot, the film is shot almost exclusively within the tank or through its own scopes, so that we really feel as though we are part of the crew. The unapologetically intense film portrays the tankists’ hopes and fears as well as the claustrophobia, noise, smells, etc. of the small space within the tank, while giving us a dirty but accurate picture of the horrors of war so many young Israelis must face during their service. Without making any political statements, it manages to humanize the stories of the individuals serving on the tank as well as their relationships as they depend on, and turn against, one another.

  • יוני 1982. היום הראשון למלחמה. אני מוצא את עצמי בטנק עם שלושה אנשים שאני לא מכיר. אני מוצא את עצמי בעולם שאין לי מושג איך נכנסתי לתוכו.
    Yuni elef tsha’-me’ot shmonim u-shtayim. Ha-yom ha-rishon la-milkhamah. Ani motzeh et ‘atzmi be-tank ‘im shloshah anashim she-ani lo makir. Ani motze et ‘atzmi be-’olam she-ein li musag eikh nikhnasti le-tokho.
    “June 1982. The first day of the war. I find myself in a tank with three people I don’t know. I find myself in a world that I’m unsure how I entered into.”

These lines, spoken by one of the crew members, perfectly captures the bizarre and frightening atmosphere of being sent to a foreign country in a tank with an ad hoc crew, and the uncertainty and surrealism of a young soldier suddenly finding himself at war.

Film Slate

9. פעם הייתי

Pa’am Hayiti (literally “Once I Was,” rendered in English as “The Matchmaker”) is a touching nostalgic film about Arik, an adolescent boy who finds himself spending the summer working as an assistant to a rather unusual matchmaker, Yankele, who specializes in finding partners for difficult “matches.” The film, which takes place in Haifa, 1968, is a wonderful examination of a country still figuring out its identity. It seems to tell this story through Haifa’s underbelly, focusing on outcasts and odd characters. It also examines the scars left by the Holocaust, as many of the immigrants are survivors. Additionally, it’s a good opportunity to hear the many accents of Hebrew as spoken by immigrants, or at least actors playing immigrants.

  • שדכן אמור לתת לא מה את רוצה, אלא מה את צריכה.
    Shadkhan amur latet lo mah at rotzah, ela mah at tz’rikhah.
    “A matchmaker should give you not what you want, but what you need.”
  • שדכן עם נשמה חושב קודם כול טוב על בנאדם. רואה צולע, אומר שידוך טוב – לא ירוץ אחרי בחורות. עיוור – מצוין, לא מסתכל ימינה שמאלה. אילמת – טוב מאוד, אין ויכוחים בבית.
    Shadkhan ‘im neshamah khoshev kodem kol tov ‘al ben’adam. Ro’eh tzole’a, omer shidukh tov – lo yarutz akharei bakhurot. ‘Iver – metzuyan, lo mistakel yeminah smolah. ‘ilemet – tov me’od, ein vikukhim ba-bayit.
    “A matchmaker with a soul first thinks well of a person. He sees a man with a limp, he says, a good match – he won’t go out chasing skirts. A blind man – excellent. He doesn’t look right and left. A mute woman – very good. No arguments at home.”

Both of these quotes capture the charming and heartwarming attitude of Yankele, who seems to truly wish to spread love—particularly to those others may deem unlovable—even as he himself clearly bears great suffering and loneliness.

10. אלכס חולה אהבה

Last but not least, Aleks Kholeh Ahavah (“Lovesick Alex”) is a comedy, for sure, but one that also carries the same whiff of nostalgia as The Matchmaker. This is unsurprising as Avi Nesher directed both films and is clearly communicating his own pining for times past, an Israel lost in its own race to catch up with modernity. 

This film is really a gallimaufry of genres, as it mixes linguistic and slapstick humor, melodrama, coming of age, romance, and even a bit of tragedy. The movie focuses on its title character’s journey from boyhood to manhood, his many antics with friends, and his crush on an aunt who comes to visit from Europe in search of her betrothed, whom she lost touch with during the Holocaust. Simply one of the greatest Hebrew films, and one that could only come from Israel.

  • בחורות ערומים זה חולירע!
    Bakhurot ‘arumim zeh kholerah!
    “Naked girls are cholera!”

This is one of the many great lines from Alex’s Russian immigrant teacher, whose Hebrew is truly awful despite the fact that he’s the one teaching the class. He makes Alex repeat this with the class after catching him with some playing cards showing topless women.

  • תשתה מים קרים תקבל אנגינה.
    Tishteh mayim karim tekabel anginah.
    “Drink cold water, you’ll get angina.”

This line comes as one of the many warnings to Alex from his mother, a stereotypical Polish worrywart mother (in Hebrew, אמא פולניה [imma Poloniyah], or “Polish mother” is synonymous with this).

  • ימח שמך טרוריסט שכמוך.
    Yimakh shimkha terorist she-kamokha.
    “May your name be blotted out, a terrorist such as you.”

This hilarious line comes from the rabbi teaching Alex to read his Torah portion for his bar mitzvah, after killing a fly with a swatter.

Top Verbs

11. HebrewPod101 is Your Go-To for Everything Hebrew

We hope you found today’s lesson a fun change of pace. It’s always important to switch things up when learning a language, both to keep things interesting and also to avoid burnout. Making an effort to learn Hebrew through movies is a great option, as long as you make sure to actually find a way to pick up a few words or phrases. Remember that the more exposure you can get, the better.

We here at HebrewPod101 are constantly updating our expansive online archives to ensure that all our Hebrew language learners have access to a broad array of materials in print, audio, and video. We also publish many lessons referring our learners to other media, so make sure to browse around. Let us know how you liked the movies! And don’t forget the popkoren, as we Israelis would say. Until next time, shalom!

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Watch TV in Hebrew: Top 10 Israeli TV Shows for Learners

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One of the best ways to study any language is to expose yourself to real language as used by native speakers in natural, day-to-day contexts. Obviously, immersion is the most effective way to manage this, but not all of us have the opportunity to live in a country where the language we’re learning is spoken.

That’s where TV in Hebrew can come in handy. You can use this as a highly practical tool to expose yourself to native speech. In fact, even if we are staying in the country of our target language, or among natives of that country abroad, TV shows and movies have a certain advantage in that they allow us to pause and replay segments we wish to hear again—unlike people in real life, who tend to resist getting paused and replayed!

Another advantage of watching Israeli TV series is that they generally offer language learners very idiomatic language, as opposed to the more formal or fancy language you might encounter in literature or on the news. For this reason, TV shows are a great way to expand your vocabulary with everyday words and expressions—including slang and colloquialisms—as well as pick up on nuances of pronunciation and inflection.

And it goes without saying that watching Israeli TV shows is a fantastic way to improve your listening comprehension! The best thing of all is that, provided you choose shows that you like watching, TV can make language-learning a fun and relaxing activity which has been proven to improve learning abilities.

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Table of Contents

  1. Tips for Using Israeli TV Shows to Learn Hebrew
  2. Show #1: Ktzarim
  3. Show #2: Ha-Shoter ha-Tov
  4. Show #3: Fauda
  5. Show #4: Srugim
  6. Show #5: Eretz Nehederet
  7. Show #6: Slikhah al ha-She’elah
  8. Show #7: B’li Sodot
  9. Show #8: Mo’adon Laylah
  10. Show #9: B’ney Arubah
  11. Show #10: Ha-Gashash ha-Khiver
  12. HebrewPod101 is Here to Help You Learn the Fun Way!

1. Tips for Using Israeli TV Shows to Learn Hebrew

Study Books

Before we take a look at the top ten Israeli TV shows to learn Hebrew, let’s first see some of the most effective ways we can put TV shows in service of our language-learning goals.

  1. The first thing to remember is that the very act of watching a TV show in Hebrew is going to help you learn passively. Basically, as long as you’re exposing yourself to the sounds, patterns, and rhythms of Hebrew as it’s spoken in modern-day Israel, you’re attuning your ears and your mind to the language.
  2. A very helpful way to both expand your vocabulary and improve your listening comprehension and pronunciation is to use subtitles while watching Israeli TV shows. For beginners, it may be easier to watch Israeli TV shows with English subtitles, but as soon as you’re comfortable, you should definitely switch the subtitles to Hebrew. While it’s useful to match up the English words you see on the screen with their Hebrew equivalents as spoken by the characters in the show, it will help you much more to watch Israeli TV shows with subtitles in Hebrew as you listen to the words being pronounced.
  3. A great way to work on vocabulary acquisition and pronunciation is to set goals for each episode you watch in terms of learning new words and phrases. Say you watch a forty-five-minute show, you can set a goal, for example, to learn ten new words and/or phrases. As you watch, just jot down any unfamiliar words or phrases as you come across them. You can either write the definition if you caught it, or look them up later. Then go and practice them!
  4. To practice pronunciation specifically, you can set a similar goal of words and/or phrases to practice. Listen for whatever language is tricky or confusing for you, and replay the segments so you can practice your pronunciation, matching it to the native speakers’ in the show. You can even take this a step further by recording the bits you want to practice with your cell phone, then recording yourself saying the same bits and comparing to see how close you’ve gotten.
  5. Test your listening comprehension on short segments by trying to write a transcript of what you hear a character, or various characters, saying. Obviously, you want to either not look at the screen or turn off the subtitles while you do so. Then, watch the scene again and check the subtitles to see how close you got.
  6. Utilize the language you learn in your speech. Watching Hebrew-language TV shows is a great way to pick up commonly used words and phrases in Hebrew. Try to grasp the appropriate context in which the words or phrases are used in the show, and use them accordingly when you speak Hebrew!

2. Show #1: Ktzarim

Kids Laughing Watching Computer Screen

Let’s start with one of the best Israeli TV shows for learning Hebrew. This show, קצרים (Ktzarim) or “Shorts,” is a hilarious sketch comedy with the same five actors in a seemingly endless variety of roles and situations. The quintet includes award-winning actor Moni Moshonov, who has appeared in various English-language movies as well, alongside Keren Mor, Shmulik Levy, Riki Blich, and Yuval Segal. The best way to catch this show is on YouTube, where many full episodes as well as sketch segments are available free of charge.

This show doesn’t have any particular theme, and is based, as its name suggests, on very brief comic sketches, ranging from a few seconds to around a minute long. Generally speaking, the characters in these sketches go by their real names (first name only), and can be seen portraying just about anyone.

The main advantage of this show for language learners is that, because the sketches are so short, they provide a great opportunity to focus on listening comprehension for small chunks of language. You can definitely take advantage of their short length by doing some repeated listening and/or repeated speaking to learn new words and phrases.

3. Show #2: Ha-Shoter ha-Tov

One of the greatest Israeli TV shows on Netflix, השוטר הטוב (Ha-Shoter ha-Tov), or “The Good Cop,” is another Israeli comedy show, albeit with full-length episodes rather than sketches.

The show follows policeman Dani Confino and his fellow officers through one misadventure after another. For example, due to what’s deemed to be violent and uncontrollable behavior, Dani is sent to meet with a psychologist to talk about his issues. The scenes with the psychologist are frequent and quite funny. The series also follows Dani’s dysfunctional relationships with his parents, as he moves back in with them after finding out that his girlfriend has been cheating on him.

The show features Yuval Semo as Dani, Leora Rivlin as his mother, Moshe Ivgy as his father, Guy Loel as the station chief, Yigal Adika as Dani’s partner, and Ortal Ben Shoshan as Dani’s co-officer and eventual romantic interest.

This show offers a great opportunity to pick up day-to-day Hebrew, including slang and colloquialisms. You can also note the different accents and dialects that are featured, from Dani’s more or less standard Tel Aviv accent to his partner’s Oriental Jewish accent to Dani’s father’s Morrocan accent.

4. Show #3: Fauda

פאודה (Fauda), or “Fauda,” is an absolute must-see. The name of this action-packed Hebrew TV series is actually in Arabic, and means “chaos.” It’s interesting for both its storyline and in linguistic terms.

This show deals with IDF officers involved in Israel’s undercover security operations to track and capture terrorists within the Palestinian territories. As undercover agents, all of these characters (and thus the actors who play them) must speak perfect Arabic, so the show is a good opportunity to hear both Hebrew and Arabic and to note the differences between them. Fauda is available to stream on Netflix.

Fauda stars a number of noteworthy Israeli actors, such as Lior Raz as Doron Kavillio, Itzik Cohen as Captain Gabi Ayub, Yuval Segal as Mickey Moreno, and Rona-Lee Shim’on as Nurit. It also stars Arab-Israeli actors and even French-Lebanese actress Laëtitia Eïdo as Dr. Shirin Al Abed.

This show is a great opportunity to pick up military lingo, which is a huge part of everyday Hebrew in Israel. This is because military service in the IDF is obligatory for all citizens, male and female, upon graduating high school. For this reason, there’s a lot of military jargon—often acronyms—that gets used even in non-military contexts. To give you an idea, here are a few examples of words you may hear on the show:

  • פז”ם
    Pazam
    “Seniority” (literally the acronym for “time out” )
  • שיפצור
    Shiftzur
    “Improvised repair or improvement” (formed from שיפור צורה, shipur tzurah, “improvement of form/shape” )
  • ג’ובניק
    Jobnik
    “Non-combat soldier”

5. Show #4: Srugim

Jews Lighting Menorah

Srugim is a very interesting show that examines life within the so-called National Religious Community in Israel. Essentially, these are religious, observant Jews who are strong supporters of the modern state and participate fully and with distinction in the armed forces as well as the workforce, unlike their ultra-Orthodox counterparts.

In fact, this is the origin of the show’s title. The word סרוגים (srugim) means “knitted” or “crocheted” and refers to the style of כיפה (kipah), or “yarmulke,” that modern Orthodox Jews wear. The ultra-Orthodox tend to favor velvet or leather yarmulkes.

With well-known Israeli actors including Ohad Knoller as Dr. Nati Brenner and Yael Sharoni as Yifat, the show provides a fascinating in-depth look into the lives of Orthodox Jews living in the midst of a mostly secular Israeli society, as well as the dilemmas and choices they face. It’s unique in its attempt to portray this sector of society in an unbiased manner.

Srugim is a wonderful opportunity to learn Hebrew—not just useful daily Hebrew, but also Hebrew that pertains more to religious life, sometimes involving Biblical references (i.e. ancient Hebrew) or rabbinic sources (yet another strain of the Hebrew language).

6. Show #5: Eretz Nehederet

ארץ נהדרת (Eretz Nehederet), or “What a Wonderful Country,” is a satire show that’s similar to Saturday Night Live in that it includes sketch comedy with a notable political bent. Hosted by Eyal Kitzis, it also features such prominent comedic personalities as Tal Friedman, Alma Zak, Orna Banai, and Asi Cohen. It can be found on Netflix, with some episodes and clips available on YouTube. As with Ktzarim, since the show consists of sketches, it’s one of the most practical Israeli TV shows to watch if you want to work on comprehension or pronunciation.

As the show touches on all facets of Israeli life, all accents and dialects are represented, albeit mostly in a humorous vein. The show is also a funny opportunity to see and hear comic impersonations of various famous Israelis, from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to model Pnina Rosenblum.

7. Show #6: Slikhah al ha-She’elah

Questions Marks Above Woman's Head

סליחה על השאלה (Slikhah al ha-She’elah) means “Sorry for Asking.” As far as TV shows in Hebrew go, this one is quite unique in that the premise of the show is to ask difficult or uncommon questions received by anonymous submissions from viewers. For example, episodes may feature people who have at some point been members of a cult or people who use a wheelchair, who are asked to field a number of challenging questions.

The show does not have any set cast, as it merely shows the interviewees for each episode, with each episode having separate interviewees. In addition to providing a wonderful opportunity to hear from different—and perhaps unusual—perspectives within Israeli society, watching this show is also a fantastic way to practice questions in Hebrew! You can watch it on YouTube.

8. Show #7: B’li Sodot

This show, בלי סודות (Bli Sodot), or “Without Secrets,” is a children’s show, so it may not be for everyone. However, if you really want to work on the basics of Hebrew vocabulary and grammar, this is a great choice as far as children’s TV shows in Hebrew go. Its goal is to help teach Israeli children to read, and because it’s geared toward children, the actors—including Oshik Levi and Hanny Nahmias—tend to speak very slowly and clearly.

The show features songs and sketches which are all in some way related to words and reading, so its educational value is unquestionable. Obviously, however, it does tend to deal with juvenile topics and situations, so you may wish to limit how much you use this one for learning. It does, however, contain some great elements that can surely be helpful if you take the show as lightly as it was intended. For example:

  • The recurring character Itonaish plays a game where he must identify syllables in order to match up the ones that go together and determine which one doesn’t fit.
  • Words learned in a previous sketch are repeated, broken into syllables for ease of comprehension.
  • The recurring character Alphy creates words learned in previous sketches. Children read out the words, and in some cases Alphy removes the nikud, much to the children’s initial dismay, but later pleasure, as they realize how to read without the vowels being indicated.

9. Show #8: Mo’adon Laylah

מועדון לילה (Mo’adon Laylah), or “Nightclub,” is another Israeli satire show, hosted by Erez Tal. This show features panelists—including Ofer Shechter, Israel Katorsa, Maya Dagan, and Tal Friedman—who comment satirically on various daily events, often responding to short video clips.

This show is a great way to have fun while getting to know all about Israeli politics, celebs, sports, and more. It’s also another opportunity to expose yourself to a broad array of language, as well as different accents and dialects, including in impersonations. This show is available on YouTube.

10. Show #9: B’ney Arubah

Hands Bound

בני ערובה (B’ney Arubah), or “Hostages,” is a thrilling Israeli series that follows a family that’s taken hostage by armed men who attempt to force the mother, a prominent surgeon, to intentionally cause the prime minister’s death by botching a surgery she plans to perform on him.

Starring Ayelet Zurer as Dr. Yael Danon and Jonah Lotan as Adam, the series was so popular it was acquired by BBC to be remade in English. This show features many highly intense scenes with rapid exchanges between characters, so you can consider it advanced listening comprehension. It’s available on Netflix.

11. Show #10: Ha-Gashash ha-Khiver

Saving the best for last, this one isn’t actually confined to one show. הגשש החיוור (Ha-Gashash ha-Khiver), or “The Pale Tracker,” was a longstanding comedy trio that can perhaps be considered the most important comedic influence in modern Israeli society. The trio consisted of Yeshayahu Levi (nicknamed “Shaike”), Yisrael Poliakov (nicknamed “Poli”), and Gavriel Banai (nicknamed “Gavri”). The three produced shows, movies, and records, many of which are widely available on YouTube.

This comedy is not only brilliant but also very linguistically oriented. In fact, Ha-Gashash ha-Khiver probably influenced the modern Hebrew language much in the way the plays of Shakespeare revolutionized the English language. Plays on words, spoonerisms, neologisms, and just about every other form of language manipulation, are a regular part of the trio’s approach to humor.

The trio very often does impersonations or impressions, and even has skits about language itself. Watching these three comedians is a guaranteed way to enrich your Hebrew and laugh while doing so, while also getting great exposure to different accents and dialects.

12. HebrewPod101 is Here to Help You Learn the Fun Way!

Happy Faces

We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s change of pace. We here at HebrewPod101 are committed to providing you with learning materials that keep you interested and having fun. We know how important it is to the success of any language-learning endeavor to enjoy the process. For this reason, we try to include as much fun as we can.

As we hope you can see, Hebrew TV shows are a fantastic way to bolster your more academic lessons. By no means should you consider them secondary. On the contrary, exposing yourself to real-life Hebrew is just as important as hitting the grammar books!

There’s no better way to work on your comprehension and pronunciation than by hearing and imitating native speakers. Why not do so while enjoying a great Israeli TV show? Consider it a two-for-one: entertainment and education all in one sitting. Just don’t forget the popcorn—in Hebrew, פופקורן (popkoren)!

Which Hebrew TV show do you want to watch first? Let us know in the comments!

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Purim in Israel: How to Celebrate the Purim Holiday

Purim is a Jewish holiday, celebrated each year in commemoration of the overthrowing of Haman’s plot against the Jews, outlined in the Scroll of Esther. Purim in Israel is, therefore, one of the most important holidays the country celebrates.

In learning about Purim, you’re opening your heart and mind to Jewish culture and its people—including its previous and current hardships. At HebrewPod101.com, we hope to make this journey both fun and enlightening. So let’s get started!

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1. What is Purim?

Purim (also called the Feast of Purim) is based on a story written in the Scroll of Esther. According to the Purim story, Ahasueros, the king of Persia, banished his wife and chose Esther, the Jewess, to take her place. Haman, the highest ranking minister in the kingdom, planned to kill all of the Jews, but Esther discovered his plot, and thanks to her wisdom and sensitivity, she was able to thwart Haman’s plans. Since then, Jews have celebrated the victory over Haman, and have read the Scroll of Esther ever year.

2. When is Purim?

Girl with Face Painted

The date of Purim varies from year to year on the Gregorian calendar. However, the Purim month is always Adar, with the celebration on the fourteenth. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s beginning and end dates for the next ten years:

  • 2019: March 20 (sundown) through March 21 (nightfall)
  • 2020: March 9 (sundown) through March 10 (nightfall)
  • 2021: February 25 (sundown) through February 26 (nightfall)
  • 2022: March 16 (sundown) through March 17 (nightfall)
  • 2023: March 6 (sundown) through March 7 (nightfall)
  • 2024: March 24 (sundown) through March 25 (nightfall)
  • 2025: March 14 (sundown) through March 15 (nightfall)
  • 2026: March 2 (sundown) through March 3 (nightfall)
  • 2027: March 22 (sundown) through March 23 (nightfall)
  • 2028: March 11 (sundown) through March 12 (nightfall)

3. Reading Practice: How is it Celebrated?

Woman in witch Costume

So, how is Purim celebrated? Read the Hebrew text below to find out (you can find the English translation directly below it).

—–

בכל מקום תוכלו לראות נסיכות, אבירים, מכשפות, ליצנים, קוסמים וגיבורי-על. את התחפושות לובשים לא רק בערב, אלא גם ביום החג: בבתי הספר, ברחוב ובמקומות העבודה. בפורים צריך לשמוח ולחגוג, ובכל מקום תוכלו למצוא מסיבות רחוב ומצעדים צבעוניים ועליזים.

בפורים נהוג גם לתת אחד לשני חבילות של מאכלים טעימים, שנקראות משלוח מנות. את משלוחי המנות נותנים לחברים, לעמיתים לעבודה ולפעמים גם לזרים, כדי לשמח אחד את השני. מנהג נוסף בחג הוא לתת תרומה לעניים, וכמה שיותר – יותר טוב.

בפורים נפגשים כדי לקרוא יחד את מגילת אסתר. בזמן הקריאה מחזיקים כולם רעשנים, ובכל פעם שמוזכר שמו של המן הרשע – מרעישים בכל הכוח. הרעש מסמל את הבוז כלפי המן.

—–

The most prominent custom associated with Purim is wearing costumes. Princesses, knights, witches, clowns, wizards, and superheroes can be seen everywhere. The costumes aren’t worn only at night, but also during the day, during the holiday, at school, on the street, and at work. On Purim, we must be happy and celebrate, and you can find street parties and bright, colorful parades everywhere.

On Purim, it is customary for people to give each other tasty food packages. These are called mishloach manot. They are given to friends, colleagues at work, and sometimes even to strangers, so that we make each other happy. Another holiday custom is to give alms to the poor—the more, the merrier.

On Purim, people gather to read the Scroll of Esther together. During the reading, everyone has noisemakers, and each time the name of the evil Haman is mentioned, people make as much noise as they can. The noise symbolizes our disdain for Haman.

4. Additional Information: Haman’s Ears

Which sweet Purim food do we eat to celebrate, and what body part is it associated with? On Purim, we eat a sweet, brittle cookie made of dough stuffed with poppy seeds, or sometimes, with chocolate or dates. They’re called “Haman’s ears”, because their triangular shape looks like the ears of the evil Haman.

5. Must-know Vocab

A Pastry called Hamentasch

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for Purim!

  • אלכוהול (alkohol) — alcohol
  • פורים (Purim) — Purim
  • זרש (Zeresh) — Zeresh
  • עשרת בני המן (Aseret Bnei Haman) — ten sons of Haman
  • משלוח מנות (Mishloakh Manot) — Mishloach manot
  • מגילה (megilah) — Megillah
  • מרדכי (Mordekhai) — Mordechai
  • אוזן המן (Ozen Haman) — hamentasch
  • המן (Haman) — Haman
  • רעשן (ra’ashan) — gragger
  • מתנות לאביונים (Matanot La-evyonim) — Matanot l’Evyonim
  • סעודת מצווה (seudat Mitzvah) — festive meal
  • אסתר (Esther) — Esther
  • תחפושות (tachposot) — costume
  • אחשוורוש (Achashverosh) — Ahasuerus
  • להטיל פור (le-hatil pur) — draw a lot
  • תהלוכה (tahalucha) — parade

If you want to hear each of these vocabulary words pronounced, check out our Purim vocabulary list. Here, you’ll find each word accompanied by an audio of its pronunciation.

Conclusion

Now you know how Jews celebrate Purim. What are your thoughts? Is there a special holiday in your own country this reminds you of? Let us know in the comments!

To learn more about the Hebrew language and culture, visit us at HebrewPod101.com. We offer an array of insightful blog posts, free vocabulary lists, and an online community where you can discuss lessons with fellow Hebrew learners. You can also upgrade your account to begin using our MyTeacher program, so that you can learn Hebrew one-on-one with your own personal Hebrew teacher.

Know that your hard work will soon reap benefits, and you’ll soon be speaking Hebrew like a native. In the meantime, keep studying and treat yourself to a hamentasch or two!

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Tu BiShvat: How to Celebrate the Jewish Tree Holiday

Tu BiShvat (meaning Jewish New Year for Trees) is a Jewish holiday dedicated to preserving the environment, keeping the beautiful world that God created in good condition. It should come as no surprise that the Jewish people care so much about environmental health, considering the command it’s believed God gave to Adam, the first man: not to ruin the world’s beauty.

Learn more fascinating Tu BiShvat facts with HebrewPod101.com, from its origins to important vocabulary you should know!

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1. Why Should You Know About Tu BiShvat?

Learning the most popular holidays of any country reveals a lot about that country’s culture, and cultural knowledge is just as important as vocabulary knowledge. Understanding Tu BiShvat will provide you with greater knowledge of the Jewish people as well as context for your vocabulary.

Tu BiShvat is certainly an important holiday to the Jewish people; it reflects both their devotion to God and their care for the world we live in. When we examine the origins and customs of this Jewish holiday, it’s clear to see that this is a day close to Jews’ hearts.

2. What is Tu BiShvat?

Also known as ראש השנה לאילנות (rosh ha-shana la-ilanot), the Jewish holiday Tu BiShvat is an agricultural holiday, meaning that it centers on the environment and its preservation. Tu BiShvat derives its name from the date on which it takes place: the fifteenth day of the Hebrew month Shevat.

When looking at the history of Tu BiShvat, we can see that it’s celebrated mainly as a way of commemorating and honoring the command that Jews believe God gave the first man Adam, which was to protect and care for the world He made.

Jews typically do this through נטיעות (netiot) or “planting” trees. In fact, just about everyone gets involved with the tree planting; schools even take classes on field trips to do this!

But the customs and celebrations don’t end there; find out more about common Tu BiShvat traditions below.

3. When is Tu BiShvat?

15th of Shevat on Hebrew Calendar

Tu BiShvat takes place on the fifteenth day of Shevat on the Hebrew calendar. This usually converts to a date in January or February of the Gregorian calendar. Here’s a list of this holiday’s dates, converted to its date on the Gregorian calendar, for the next ten years:

  • 2019: January 21
  • 2020: February 10
  • 2021: January 28
  • 2022: January 17
  • 2023: February 6
  • 2024: January 25
  • 2025: February 13
  • 2026: February 2
  • 2027: January 23
  • 2028: February 12

4. How is Tu BiShvat Celebrated?

A Variety of Fresh Fruit

As mentioned earlier, Tu BiShvat in Hebrew culture is an agricultural holiday and is often observed by the planting of trees. But what holiday would be complete without food?

1- Tu BiShvat Seder

The Tu BiShvat Seder is a relatively new tradition for this holiday, starting up about four-hundred years ago.

In Hebrew, a seder is a type of religious feast, often accompanied by prayer and other religious formalities. While they usually take place during the two days before Passover, many Jewish people also participate in a Tu BiShvat Seder.

During this the Tu BiShvat Seder, families often gather together to eat fruit (usually dried), which is an absolute staple and symbol of this holiday. While feasting, prayers are said and blessings are given in both celebration and respect for טבע (teva) or “nature.”

2- שבעת המינים (Shiv’at ha`minim) — The Seven Species

Jews typically consume a particular group of foods, called שבעת המינים (Shiv’at ha`minim) or “The Seven Species.” This is a list of seven agricultural foods which are named in the Torah, the main religious book of the Jews.

These seven Tu BiShvat foods are:

  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Grapes
  • Figs
  • Pomegranates
  • Olives
  • Dates

3- Children’s Songs and Stories

The Jewish people want to do everything they can to make sure Tu BiShvat is a holiday their children will enjoy celebrating, now and in the future. Aside from school field trips to plant trees, children also come to appreciate this holiday through a variety of fun songs about it as well as Tu BiShvat stories.

5. Additional Information

1- Why Dried Fruit?

In case you’re wondering why Jews tend to eat their fruit dried on this day, it’s important to take the country’s history into account.

This holiday was first observed before the time of refrigerators and other more modern methods of preserving food. And because fruit spoils quickly, it was important to find some way to preserve it; this meant drying it.

As many customs and traditions do around the world, this tradition stuck. (Plus, dried fruit tastes fantastic, and is oftentimes more convenient to eat!)

2- The Almond Tree

Another important symbol of Tu BiShvat is the שקדיה (shkediya) or “almond tree.” This is because it happens to bloom right around the time of Tu BiShvat.

6. Must-know Vocab for Tu BiShvat

A Green Sapling

It’s good to know certain words and phrases for any holiday you plan on celebrating or taking part in. With that in mind, here’s some helpful vocabulary terms for you to take with you to your Tu BiShvat celebration:

  • פרי (pri) — Fruit
  • עץ (etz) — Tree
  • פירות יבשים (peyrot yveshim) — Dried fruit
  • שבעת המינים (Shiv’at ha`minim) — Seven Species
  • נטיעות (netiot) — Planting
  • טבע (teva) — Nature
  • ט”ו בשבט (tu bishvat) — 15th of Shevat
  • איכות הסביבה (eikhut ha`svivah) — Environment
  • שתיל (shtil) — Seedling
  • שקדיה (shkediya) — Almond tree

To hear each of these words with a pronunciation, you can listen to them with audio recordings on our Tu BiShvat vocabulary list on HebrewPod101.com!

Conclusion

Now you know a little more about the Jewish agricultural holiday Tu BiShvat. Is there a similar holiday in your country? If so, we’d like to hear about it!

If you want to learn even more about Hebrew culture, be sure to visit us at HebrewPod101.com. We have an array of insightful articles, vocabulary lists, and even an online community where you can chat with other Hebrew language learners! For one-on-one guidance in language-learning, also be sure to check out our MyTeacher app.

Happy Tu BiShvat!

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5 Ways to Profit from Your Mistakes While Learning Hebrew

5 Ways to Profit from Your Mistakes While Learning Hebrew

The fear of making mistakes is one of the biggest roadblocks to language learning. Out of all the discomforts that come with learning a foreign language nothing looms quite as daunting in the mind of a beginner.

It’s almost as if we’re hardwired to want perfection when we speak. However the reality is that mistakes are unavoidable. I’d even go so far as to say that they’re an integral part of the learning process.

But still we try are hardest to fight them, thinking that perhaps the key to learning rests in the flashiest method or the LiveFluent Hebrew course or HebrewPod101.

Think of small children who are just starting to learn English. They mispronounce words. They use words incorrectly, and their grammar is usually pretty lousy. Sometimes they even make up their own words. Research and academic opinion show that this is all a natural part of the process. If making mistakes made up such a huge part of learning our native language, why do you expect it to be any different when learning a foreign one?

In this post we’ll talk about five ways you profit from your mistakes while learning Hebrew. Because in the end mistakes shouldn’t be feared they should be welcomed. The more you make the faster you will learn.

1) Be humble

There’s no room for pride when you’re learning Hebrew. If you’re a beginner, native speakers will likely be very accommodating with your mistakes and slower reaction times during conversations. There’s no reason to be embarrassed. Remember that it’s a sign of respect to learn another person’s language. No one expects you to speak flawlessly right from the start. No on else with hold your mistakes against you, so make sure you don’t either.

2) Don’t play the comparison game

Whether it’s a native speaker or another Hebrew learner don’t make the mistake of comparing your progress to someone else’s. No doubt at the beginning there will be times when it feels like everyone is speaking perfect Hebrew while you’re left you in the dust.

Try not to get discouraged. It’s your race to run not theirs. Everyone has their story, their own reason and method for learning Hebrew. Comparing your progress to someone else’s is like well…comparing apples and oranges.

It’s easy to freak out when someone speaks perfectly while you’re struggling to make the most basic sentences. But don’t forget that while you can easily see someone else’s success, you’re much less likely to see the hard work that got them their. Every Hebrew speaker you meet had to learn the language at some point. Whether it was as a child or an adult they too had to wade through their mistakes before they could speak fluently.

Get feedback on your mistakes

3) Get feedback on your mistakes

Anytime you write or speak Hebrew try to get feedback from someone who speaks the language. I cannot stress this enough. You can make mistakes day and night, but if you’re never corrected they do you no good. You can’t learn from a mistake if you don’t know that it’s a mistake. Many in the language learning community hold that feedback is an integral part of the language acquisition process.

Encourage friends and language partners to correct your Hebrew anytime all the time. Worst case scenario you’ll make a mistake 100 times and get corrected 100 times. It might seem petty or frustrating, but it’s all worth it the 101st time when you finally remember your mistake and start speaking correctly.

Some mistakes will be easy to amend and you’ll adjust your Hebrew right away. Others might take awhile. Speaking a foreign language is a lot like juggling. There are a lot of moving pieces you have to keep in place. Whether it’s pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary getting feedback on your effort will help refine your Hebrew until you feel comfortable in the language.

Listen to your brain

4) Listen to your brain

After all the practice and feedback, eventually you’ll start to notice that certain Hebrew words come to mind quicker than you have the chance to think about them. Instead of having to scan your brain for the latest “Hebrew word file”, you sort of instinctively come up with a word for a given sentence.

Don’t hesitate to blurt this word out. Sometimes it will be completely wrong. Other times it will be dead on. When words start coming to mind instinctively that means your brain is starting to get more and more used to using Hebrew. The incorrect words (I like to call them brain farts), are sort of like growing pains. You’ll have them for a little while but over time you’ll see them less and less until all of your instinctual words are correct (this is essentially fluency).

So don’t let the fear of making a mistake short circuit your brain’s natural learning process. Go with whatever word your brain gives you!

5) Never take the easy way out

If there are two ways to say what you want to say in Hebrew, one you know and are comfortable with, and the other you’re not sure off….use the one you’re least comfortable with. Purposely choose subjects and sentence constructions that are difficult for you. Don’t get complacent and fall into the trap of using the same phrase over and over again, or having the same type of conversation with a language partner.

You always want to push the boundaries. Think of it as lifting weights. If you only ever lift 20 lbs for 20 reps, you’re not likely to get stronger after a certain point. Eventually you have to increase the weight. When you do it’ll burn and it won’t be comfortable, but overtime your body will adapt and you will become stronger.

It’s the same with languages. Except in this case your brain is the muscle and the weights are the difficulty of the language.

6) Enjoy the language for its own sake

Small children not only make a ton of mistakes when they learn to speak, they also have a ton of fun. To them life and language are both one giant mysterious adventure. They aren’t worried about making progress, impressing people, or speaking perfectly.

Take a note from their playbook. Enjoy Hebrew as you learn it. Let your focus be on the beauty and magic of the language. Savor the times you get to use it. If you loosen up and enjoy the ride you will learn much faster.

Final thoughts

Mistakes are a powerful and indispensable part of learning a language. I hope this post inspired you to stop being afraid of them and start embracing them. This subtle change in outlook could mean the world to your Hebrew learning!

Your Learning, Streamlined – The New Lesson Interface

Click Here to Get Your All Access Pass at HebrewPod101

Your Learning, Streamlined – The New Lesson Interface

Your learning is about to get a whole lot easier.

More than ever, learners are choosing mobile as the platform to study Hebrew. Mobile has always been a part of our DNA. We began our life on your iPod, and have remained by your side ever since.

In our 11th year, we’re returning to our roots as a way to learn Hebrew on-the-go. How? With a brand-new lesson interface just for you.

Hint: It will launch in beta later this month!

If you want to secure access to this brand new upgrade, take advantage of the upcoming All Access Pass Sale! Click Here to Get 25% OFF All HebrewPod101 Subscriptions!

(example taken from japanesepod101.com)

It’s built from the ground-up to be a great experience on your phone, tablet, and computer.

You don’t have to compromise anymore.

Take the whole lesson experience with you wherever you go.

Our lessons are the heart of our learning system and now they’re the heart of the interface as well. Just tap the big play button to start learning right away.

(example taken from japanesepod101.com)

As you scroll through the lesson contents, the player sticks with you at the bottom of your screen.

Pause, rewind or adjust your speed and volume without losing your place.

(example taken from japanesepod101.com)

Navigation is also just a tap away.

Quickly jump to the dialogue, vocabulary, or lesson notes with our new lesson navigation bar. Available at the top of your screen wherever you are.

(example taken from japanesepod101.com)

And for the first time ever, you don’t need to download a PDF or jump between tabs to read the lesson notes and transcript. Read it all on your mobile browser as you listen.

(example taken from japanesepod101.com)

There are many more small improvements but the end result is this: a drastically improved lesson experience on mobile and desktop.

Spend less time squinting at your screen and more time reaching your Hebrew goals.

The new lesson interface will launch in beta this month.

We can’t wait to hear what you think. Keep on studying!

Sneak peek! And if you take advantage of our upcoming 25% OFF All Access Pass Sale, you secure full access to this new update! You unlock our complete Hebrew learning program – ALL Audio/Video Courses from Beginner to Advanced, Premium Study Tools, Bonus Apps and much more!

Click Here to Get 25% OFF All Plans until March 31st, 2017.

To your fluency,

Team HebrewPod101

P.S. Get 25% OFF ANY Plan! Master Hebrew with YOUR All-Access Pass!

Want to learn Hebrew fast with an ALL-ACCESS PASS to our entire learning system? Get 25% OFF Basic, Premium and Premium PLUS and unlock ALL audio/video lessons, study tools and exclusive apps that you’ll ever need. And with Premium PLUS, you get your own teacher! Just $3 a month & up to $137 in savings. Ends March 31st, 2017.

Get Your Hebrew All-Access Pass! Click here to get 25% OFF ALL Plans!