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Mychal

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PostSubject: Hebrew?   Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:20 pm

Should we have a section just for Hebrew questions/discussions?

I really need to find someone living/have lived in Israel to ask a couple of Hebrew/social customs of for my book.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Hebrew?   Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:49 pm

Mychal wrote:
Should we have a section just for Hebrew questions/discussions?

I really need to find someone living/have lived in Israel to ask a couple of Hebrew/social customs of for my book.

If you have a Hebrew questions I know someone who may be able to answer. You can send me a message or just ask here...whichever is better for you.
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: Hebrew?   Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:09 pm

My husband lived in Israel for two years. And we have many friends who live in Israel, both "sabras" (born in Israel) and "olim" (immigrants, although mostly those who made Aliyah over 20 years ago), as well as expat Israelis who now live in the US.

I'm curious about your questions about social customs. Israelis certainly have their own way of doing some things. One that shocked me is that when there is a line to use an ATM machine, the person behind the one who is using the machine will often stand right behind and watch over the user's shoulder Shocked Israelis have a very different sense of privacy Very Happy
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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: Hebrew?   Mon Sep 26, 2011 6:19 pm

Lol @ Debbie. One of the rabbis that I listen to said when he first went to Israel, he found it was like being in a family--with no privacy. He said he walked from his army base to the nearest phone booth and was inside, calling his family back in America. It started to rain. Suddenly someone came along, opened the phone booth, and got in with him. He was shocked. He told the guy he was on the phone. The guy replied, "That's fine, go on." Then he said, "This is a PRIVATE call." And the guy looked at him like he was weird, and said, "What are you a terrorist?" Another time, he was getting ready to leave a bank, and found they had locked him in. He kept trying to get the security guard to let him out, but he said he would have to wait. Then he noticed that everyone was getting out their tefillin, and when he counted, he made number 10. They had him locked inside so they could have a minyan.

Okay, here are my questions. Background: my book has vampires in it, and they have their own culture, which runs parallel to human culture (oddly enough, in the same way that Jewish culture is both a part of and separate from other cultures). The highest-ranking vampire is a sort of elected/constitutional monarch, and he's been in charge of everyone for the last 500 years. In English, everyone refers to him as "Master Joshua" as a sign of respect. What would be the best equivalent in Hebrew? Is "Adon" (master/lord) a suitable parallel, or is that reserved strictly for God? And does the title go before or after his name?

Secondly, I have a character whose name is Micah ben Yitzhak. In modern Israel, how would someone--say a hotel clerk--address him?
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Bee

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PostSubject: Re: Hebrew?   Tue Sep 27, 2011 2:31 pm

Interesting book study
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Hebrew?   Mon Nov 28, 2011 5:50 pm

Mychal, did you get help with this or do you still need an opinion?
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PostSubject: Re: Hebrew?   Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:28 pm

I think it would be a neat idea to have either a forum or a sticky thread about Hebrew learning. In any case, I like to go to the WordReference Hebrew forum to ask language questions. (they have almost every language there, for any other language nerds out there)
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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: Hebrew?   Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:50 pm

@Dena, I still need an opinion on my two original questions.

Also, I have another question. How many people in Israel actually use Hebrew script? Is this something we should learn, or is it like cursive in America--dying out and hardly ever seen?
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Hebrew?   Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:07 pm

Mychal wrote:
@Dena, I still need an opinion on my two original questions.

Okay, I'm going to send your question to a friend.

Mychal wrote:
Also, I have another question. How many people in Israel actually use Hebrew script? Is this something we should learn, or is it like cursive in America--dying out and hardly ever seen?

Do you mean like Hebrew cursive? I learned it. It's much easier to write (it's actually how I always write in Hebrew not that I do it very often) and it is used. If that's not what you meant...nevermind.



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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Hebrew script   Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:55 pm

Mychal wrote:
How many people in Israel actually use Hebrew script? Is this something we should learn, or is it like cursive in America--dying out and hardly ever seen?
Script is the only handwriting that Israeli's over about age 7 use. I'm not even sure why Israeli's bother to teach Hebrew block letters to little kids since it will be completely abandoned after a couple of years---I guess it's just because the block letters look more like more print forms so they don't have to learn to recognize both forms in the beginning.

You need to know how to read Hebrew script in Israel more than you need to know how to read cursive English in the US. Hebrew script printed fonts are often used on signs and posters and such.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Hebrew?   Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:01 pm

I've never really written the block letters. Is that weird? I just find them irritating to write so I did script. Also, in my first Hebrew class we had to write in script right off the bat because the teacher said we would use it. I'm taking another class now with some older people and they HATE script..but they do it anyway. Very Happy
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tamar

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PostSubject: Re: Hebrew?   Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:43 pm

All my Israeli friends write in script and I have been writing in script since I started taking modern Hebrew a couple of years ago. Script is much easier and flows more easily for me.
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PostSubject: Re: Hebrew?   Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:47 pm

Haha, I should learn script...I always worry that my Hebrew print isn't good enough so I spend FOREVER on it. Very Happy But once I get paid next week, I'm ordering myself a shiny new Hebrew textbook on Amazon, so I suppose that will be the perfect opportunity to learn!
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Hebrew?   Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:58 pm

Mychal, this is what he gave me...

The Hebrew for both is אדון יהושע Adon Yehoshua. In Mishnaic Hebrew, you could say מר יהושע Mar Yehoshua instead.


He also said it sounds rather Christian (I agree). Perhaps you might consider a bit of a name change? As for your second question he did not address it but I think the hotel clerk could simply call the man Micah.
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esf

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PostSubject: Re: Hebrew?   Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:59 pm

I'm curious, when you're writing Hebrew (this is for all of us Hebrew learners, not Israeli's, obviously), do you put in the vowel marks? I mean, when writing out vocab lists etc, you need to write the vowel marks to learn the word correctly, but at what point do you drop them?
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tamar

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PostSubject: Re: Hebrew?   Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:14 am

esf wrote:
I'm curious, when you're writing Hebrew (this is for all of us Hebrew learners, not Israeli's, obviously), do you put in the vowel marks? I mean, when writing out vocab lists etc, you need to write the vowel marks to learn the word correctly, but at what point do you drop them?


I am starting to learn without vowels so I don't use them for what I already know. I learn the pronunciation with vowels then I drop them. I don't write with them. When I make index cards I have the words with vowels on one side of the card and no vowels on the other side.

I have just started a new book called Hebrew From Scratch book 1.
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: Hebrew?   Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:53 am

No one writes with vowel marks unless for educational purposes. Most people do not need to know how to write the vowels, but just how to pronounce the words (and some vowels sound the same). Note that the same word may be written (and pronounced) with different vowels based on grammar. For instance, in the special maftir Torah readings for various holidays from Parashat Pinchas, the word for oil "shemen" (שמנ) is sometimes "shamen" depending on the verse. If I were fluent in Hebrew I would know what the vowels are by the grammar, but I don't, so I have to memorize which vowel is used for which occurrence of the word.

Vowels (niqqud) weren't even invented until the MIddle Ages, and nowadays Israelis often use a kind of spelling in which some consonants (Alef, He, Vav, Yud) are used to indicate vowels. It used to drive my husband crazy when Israelis would spell his name, "Yehoshua", with a vav for the "u" sound whereas he prefers to spell it as it is in the Torah. I have noticed that my name "Devorah" is spelled with and without the vav for the "o" sound in different places in the Torah.

Native Israelis sometimes don't know which vowels are used if you can't hear a difference and if it is not clear from grammar. I hear that Israeli teens memorize lists of words like English speakers do for spelling to prepare for the Bagrut, the exams taken at the end of high school which are like high school graduations exams, but also determine whether a young person can join an elite military unit, university eligibility, and even qualifying for certain jobs.


Last edited by Debbie B. on Sat Feb 04, 2012 11:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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esf

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PostSubject: Re: Hebrew?   Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:58 am

Thanks Debbie, very interesting.
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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: Hebrew?   Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:42 pm

Awesome discussion. Yes, I was talking about script/cursive. I didn't want to spend time learning it, only to find out that it was a dead writing form, like cursive is here. Now I know not to spend a lot of time learning block/print letters and spend more time focusing on script.

If it's not traditional to use vowels and no one today uses them (except when learning to read Hebrew), then I wonder why some sounds (like "ah") have more than one mark? You'd think there would be only one mark for each vowel-sound, since it's only a late-addition, learning tool.

Quote :
The Hebrew for both is אדון יהושע Adon Yehoshua. In Mishnaic Hebrew, you could say מר יהושע Mar Yehoshua instead.

Okay, time for me to learn something new. What is Mishnaic Hebrew?

Quote :
He also said it sounds rather Christian (I agree). Perhaps you might consider a bit of a name change?

Do you think it sounds Christian because of the title or because his name is Y'hoshua? Or both?

I will explain the background a little better. My fantasy trilogy involves vampires. The vampires are, as a whole, quasi-Jewish. At some point in their history--thought to be about the time of the Israelite exile in Babylon--the vampires attached themselves to the Jewish people and modeled their government and morals (yes, they have morals) on that of the Jews. They even wrote their own creation myths to coincide with those in the Bible. While they are not, as a people, actually Jewish, they have always considered themselves an allied people.

However, some of the vampires are, as individuals, Jews, because they were born Jews. (Although there's some pretty hot debate over whether they remain Jews after they are turned into vampires; people have been arguing for and against it for at least 2,500 years and have, on occasion, come to blows over it. It's the classic "Who is a Jew?" question).

Joshua was born a Kohen around the year 50. He took part in the rebellion against the Romans and was captured when Jerusalem fell in 70 and was sold into slavery. He was bought by a nomadic group of vampires (at that time, all vampires kept human slaves to feed from). The female vampire of the group took a liking to him, but he was disgusted by what she was and rebelled against her. Unfortunately for him, vampires have the ability to completely control a person, so he very quickly lost the contest of wills, and she not only fed from him, but she raped him. This continued for over 30 years, when, finally, the woman's father, out of pity, offered to turn Joshua into a vampire. At the time, it was the only way he could be set free. And Joshua was so desperate to get away from his tormentor, he consented to be turned.

In 1099, Joshua took over the leadership of the group of vampires who lived in Jerusalem. In 1512, Joshua was voted into the position of Erujtah, which is the leader of all of the vampires.

The vampires are organized into 14 tribes by descent from a common ancestor. Each of those tribes elects a representative to sit on the Council--which determines law and enforces it for both the vampires and their humans (who are no longer slaves, but who still feed the vampires). From among all the people, one person is elected to take up the 15th seat on the Council to act as a tie-breaker and to lead the Council.

The position of Erujtah most closely represents a constitutional monarchy. The person is elected by the rest of the Council members, but can only be removed by a 2/3rds majority of the Council members. (He can also step down if he wishes.) So it's quite possible for someone to serve for life--and given that none of them die of natural causes, that can be a very long time.

Joshua has already served as Erujtah longer than anyone previously. He's also the oldest living vampire in existence. That alone earns him some respect, but he's actually a very good leader and an immensely compassionate, moral man. Over the years, more responsibility has been laid on him, until he's now capable of some unilateral decisions. And even when he has to have the vote of the Council on some matter, his opinions are very heavy; not many people openly contradict him (although there's always some level of subversive grumbling and rumors).

He earned the title of "Master" the first year he was in charge of the Council's Convening. Another Council member was being an asshole to a guest, Joshua called him on it, and they got into a shouting match--in front of everyone--as it became clear that Nassim's real problem was jealousy of Joshua's position.

“I’ll have you know I’ve been on this Council two hundred and thirty-one years," Nassim said angrily. "You haven’t been here a year."
Joshua drew himself up to his full height. “And I’ll have you know that I’m the Erujtah. I don’t care how long you’ve been here; I am master of this Council. Me, not you.”
“I will not be insulted by an upstart like you, Y’hoshua Cohen.”
I’m an upstart?” Joshua replied, clearly affronted. “Your ancestors were tending goats in the middle of nowhere while my family was here in Jerusalem, tending the altar of God. I fought the Romans for this city before your great-great-grandparents were even born, and I have the scars to prove it. I’ve held the group here together through war and persecution and plague for four hundred years. I’ve killed for our people and our humans, and I’ve nearly died for them as well. But I’m beneath you? I’d like to hear your list of credentials, if they’re so much more impressive than mine.”
Nasim turned and stomped towards the door. He jerked it open, but paused when Joshua’s words rang out through the silent room. “This Council is still in session. If you walk out, I will bring a vote of no confidence against you.”

Nassim walked out, Joshua brought a vote against him, won it, and immediately appointed a temporary member to sit in Nassim's place. There was shock and awe; no one had ever seen anything like it at a Convening before. Shortly thereafter, people began referring to him as Master Joshua and it's a title of respect that he's had ever since.

So my question arose from the question of how a Hebrew-speaker would address him. His title is very definitely more than the equivalent of Mr. or sir; it's supposed to be a title which smacks of kingship or worship. It was out of reverence that it was given and is still used 500 years later.

An interesting side note to all this rambling is that when I started researching Judaism in order to know what my Jewish characters would or would not do, I became so engrossed that I started studying Judaism for its own sake, then decided to convert. I can actually say I started writing these books as an Episcopalian and will be a Jew by the time I finish. It's like I proselytized myself, LOL.
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: Hebrew?   Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:19 pm

Mychal wrote:

Quote :
Quote :
The Hebrew for both is אדון יהושע Adon Yehoshua. In Mishnaic Hebrew, you could say מר יהושע Mar Yehoshua instead.

Okay, time for me to learn something new. What is Mishnaic Hebrew?
The Talmud is made of up the older part called Mishnah and later rabbinical analysis and commentary called Gemara. There are two versions of Gemara: the more commonly cited and studied, Babylonian Gemara, and the Jerusalem Gemara. So the "Talmud Bavli" and "Talmud Yerushalmi" have the same Mishnah, but different Gemara versions.

The Mishnah is written in the kind of Hebrew used at the time of its redaction (around 200 CE), referred to as "Mishnaic Hebrew", which is somewhat different from Biblical Hebrew as well as being different from Modern Hebrew. Most of Gemara is in Aramaic, with some parts in Hebrew as well.

Wikipedia says "This dialect [Mishnaic Hebrew] is primarily found from the 1st to the 4th century AD." So it seems that מר יהושע (Mar Yehoshua) fits your story line.

Quote :
Quote :
He also said it sounds rather Christian (I agree). Perhaps you might consider a bit of a name change?

Do you think it sounds Christian because of the title or because his name is Y'hoshua? Or both?
Yehoshua=Joshua is a very common Jewish name. It is the name of a strong Jewish leader in Torah. My husband, a Jew by Birth, has that name. In Israel, some with the name are called by the nickname "Shuki" (which my husband hates). I think the person thought the combination of "Adon Yehoshua" sounded Christian. Note that Yehoshua is similar but different from Yeshua=the Hebrew name for Jesus.


Last edited by Debbie B. on Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:36 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : added more comments)
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: Hebrew?   Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:19 pm

Mychal wrote:
If it's not traditional to use vowels and no one today uses them (except when learning to read Hebrew), then I wonder why some sounds (like "ah") have more than one mark? You'd think there would be only one mark for each vowel-sound, since it's only a late-addition, learning tool.
I think that the sounds were different at the time the vowels were invented. There are differences even today in how different groups of Jews pronounce Hebrew. For example, in Ashkenazi pronunciation, תּ (tav with a dagesh in it) is pronounced like an "s", hence "Shabbos" instead of "Shabbat". Another example is ע (ayin) which most Hebrew speakers treat like א (aleph), i.e. it is silent, but which Yemenite Jews pronounce as a kind of glottal stop similar to the ayn of Arabic. I loved that my Yemenite Ulpan teacher in Israel pronounced ע distinctly so that I could hear the difference between עם (=with) vs אם (=if) which helped me to stop mixing them up.

Then there is the opposite situation that some vowel symbols have different pronunciations although typical fonts use one symbol. For example, the "shva" which is written as two vertical dots underneath a letter and is pronounced ("eh") if it is a "shva na", but silent if it is a "shva nach". I really like my Tikkun Simanim because it differentiate by making the "shva na" in bold so that I know to pronounce it when I do Torah readings. To see what the text looks like go to this webpage, click on "LOOK inside", and scroll to the second page:
Tikkun Korim Simanim
I also like the way the unpointed text on the left aligns with the pointed text on the right, so that it is easy to go back and forth when trying to memorize the trope.
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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: Hebrew?   Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:01 pm

Quote :
Wikipedia says "This dialect [Mishnaic Hebrew] is primarily found from the 1st to the 4th century AD."

Gotcha. But in that case he would definitely be an Adon instead of a Mar, because he didn't get the title until 1512 AD.

I downloaded a bunch of old Hebrew grammar books (from the late 1800's through the early 1900's) for free from Google, and many mention that aleph "stands for a light emission of the breath like that which precedes the utterance of any vowel" and ayin "stands for a strong guttural sound with various modifications difficult to reproduce. The Greek rough breathing is a sufficient approximation to it."

Obviously both letters were not silent originally, but are some sort of breathing sound which has no equivalent in the Romance languages or English; so difficult to describe and teach, it was dropped as a sound all together by most (all?) Ashkenazi Jews.

But obviously it still exists in Yemen (and perhaps in other places in the middle east as well).
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: Hebrew?   Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:16 am

Mychal wrote:
Quote :
Wikipedia says "This dialect [Mishnaic Hebrew] is primarily found from the 1st to the 4th century AD."

Gotcha. But in that case he would definitely be an Adon instead of a Mar, because he didn't get the title until 1512 AD.
Well, "Adon" is Modern Hebrew which might not be correct for the 1500's. And maybe "Mar" would be used in the 1500's to refer to someone who is nearly 1500 years old in a nod to the address from his earlier years. I think the archaic nature of that form of address would give nice color to your story.

Quote :
But obviously it still exists in Yemen (and perhaps in other places in the middle east as well).
Some people think that Temani Hebrew is one of the closest dialects to ancient Hebrew in part because it pronounces every consonant distinctly except for ס and שׂ. However, Temani Hebrew may also have been influenced by Arabic which the Yemenite Jews also spoke. Jews who speak Hebrew with distinctly Yemenite accents (like some members of a Yemenite family we know in Israel) sound to me a little like they are speaking Arabic (although I don't know Arabic, so I'm not a good judge).
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PostSubject: Re: Hebrew?   Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:21 am

Do you really think that English cursive is outdated? I write in cursive, and I've never noticed most other people writing in print, though maybe I just haven't been paying attention.

Can we upload images on this forum? It would be fun to see other people's hebrew script if anyone feels like writing out a few lines of a psalm or something as a sample!
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: Hebrew?   Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:25 am

esf wrote:
Do you really think that English cursive is outdated? I write in cursive, and I've never noticed most other people writing in print, though maybe I just haven't been paying attention.

I keep hearing that but I do see people writing in cursive. My handwriting is a combination of cursive and print.

esf wrote:
Can we upload images on this forum? It would be fun to see other people's hebrew script if anyone feels like writing out a few lines of a psalm or something as a sample!

Yes, you should be able to post an image.


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