Spending the holidays in Israel is a unique experience. Here’s some common Hebrew words and phrases that are essential for surviving the chagim!
1. חג שמח
Transliteration: chag sa’me’ach
Meaning: Happy holidays! You’ll hear this constantly throughout the month, for Rosh HaShana and Sukkot, and Simchat Torah. Don’t say it for Yom Kippur, though—that’s not a cheerful holiday.
Meaning: Closed. During the chagim, you’ll see this word written on all the stores and restaurants. Sometimes it feels like everything is closed this time of year!
Meaning: Heavy traffic. With everyone traveling during the chagim to visit family, the roads can get very congested.
Meaning: Stress. The chagim can be a stressful time—having to visit extended family, forgetting to stock up on groceries only to find everything is closed, no access to public transportation…just remember to take a deep breath. We will all get through this!
Transliteration: ra-ev, ra-ev-ah
Meaning: Hungry. Perhaps you are fasting for Yom Kippur, or perhaps you just can’t find an open restaurant anywhere, this is a useful word for the chagim.
Transliteration: ma-le (m) , me-le-ah (f)
Meaning: Full. If you’re having a big Rosh HaShanah feast or eating dinner in a suka for Sukkot, you’ll need to know this word, or else they won’t stop feeding you!
Meaning: Bicycle. On Yom Kippur, the empty streets become filled with bicycle riders, especially gangs of children.
Meaning: Guests. The chagim are a time for family and friends to come together and celebrate with one another. Chag sameach!
About The Author:
Zoë Biehl is a full-time freelance writer and editor with an insatiable passion for travel. Originally from New York, she now happily calls Tel Aviv home.