Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Notes

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Lesson Transcript

Intro

Michael: What topics are taboo in Israel?
Lenny: And what are some things I should avoid doing?
Michael: At HebrewPod101.com, we hear these questions often. Imagine the following situation: Karen is trying to invite her Israeli friend, but she seems a bit surprised when Karen says
"Let's have a picnic at the park!"
Karen Lee: !בואי נעשה פיקניק בגינה הציבורית (Bo'i na'ase piknik ba-ginah ha-tsiburit!)
Dialogue
Karen Lee: !בואי נעשה פיקניק בגינה הציבורית (Bo'i na'ase piknik ba-ginah ha-tsiburit!)
Tsipora Tsadok: !אבל יום כיפור היום (Aval yom kippur hayom!)
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Karen Lee: !בואי נעשה פיקניק בגינה הציבורית (Bo'i na'ase piknik ba-ginah ha-tsiburit!)
Michael: "Let's have a picnic at the park!"
Tsipora Tsadok: !אבל יום כיפור היום (Aval yom kippur hayom!)
Michael: "But it's Yom Kippur today!"

Lesson focus

Michael: In this lesson, we will talk about some taboo topics in Israel. This is about providing you with some general information about Israeli culture, so that you have what you need when it comes to conversations about sensitive topics, or in order to avoid making a blunder.
[Recall]
Michael: Let’s start with a closer look at the dialogue.
Do you remember how Karen says "Let's have a picnic at the park?"
(pause 4 seconds)
Lenny as Karen Lee: !בואי נעשה פיקניק בגינה הציבורית (Bo'i na'ase piknik ba-ginah ha-tsiburit!)
Michael: And do you remember how her friend replies "But it's Yom Kippur today?"
(pause 4 seconds)
Lenny as Tsipora Tsadok: !אבל יום כיפור היום (Aval yom kippur hayom!)
Michael: Yom kippur or
Lenny: יום כיפור (yom kipur)
Michael: which literally means "Day of Atonement" is a celebration day which starts at sunset, until the sunset of the next day, during which people usually fast or in Hebrew:
Lenny: צמים (tsa’mim)
Michael: This word is the plural verb form of the noun
Lenny: צום (tsom)
Michael: which means "fasting." As part of the fast and Jewish tradition, people in Israel are not allowed to "eat"
Lenny: לאכול (le’e’khol)
Michael: or "drink"
Lenny: לשתות (lish’tot)
Michael: during the period of Yom Kippur’s fasting. Therefore, according to the Jewish tradition, it is "forbidden" or
Lenny: אסור (a’sur)
Michael: Picnics cannot be conducted during the period of Yom Kippur’s fasting.
When in Israel, there might be other things that you might overlook as a foreigner, like driving a car or
Lenny: נהיגה ברכב (nehiga be’rekhev)
Michael: "on Saturdays" or
Lenny: בשבת (be’shabat)
Michael: in an orthodox area or
Lenny: באזורים שבהם גר ציבור דתי (be’ezorim she’bahem gar tsibur dati)
Michael: Saturday is the day of the rest and driving is prohibited for Orthodox Jews, so you should avoid it as it might be offensive. Also, if you are a woman visiting an orthodox area, avoid physical contact, even a "handshake" or
Lenny: לחיצת יד (lekhitsat yad)
Michael: Finally, let’s list some topics that you should definitely avoid when starting a conversation. The first is "religion" or
Lenny: דת (dat)
Michael: Next is anything related to the delicate relationship between Israel and Palestine
Lenny: יחסי הרשות הפלסטינית-ישראל (yakhasei ha’rashut ha’falestinit-Israel)
Michael: In general, in first encounters, you should avoid talking about anything related to politics
Lenny: פוליטיקה (politikah)
Michael: ethnic groups and discrimination.
Lenny: עדות ואפליה (edot ve’kipuakh)
Michael: cheating of tourists
Lenny: רמאות של תיירים (ramaut shel tayarim)
Michael: and dirt and neglect in public space
Lenny: ליכלוך והזנחה במרחב הציבורי (likhlukh ve’haznakha ba’merkhav ha’tsiburi)
[Summary]
Michael: In this lesson, we were introduced to a few different topics that could be controversial in Israel, but just remember that it always depends on the individual you are talking to. These are just general guidelines and overall Israeli people tend to be tolerant towards foreigners’ lack of knowledge on their taboo topics.

Outro

Michael: Do you have any more questions? We’re here to answer them!
Lenny: !להתראות (lehitra’ot!)
Michael: See you soon!

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