Written and Illustrated by Tamar Weir
Learning a new language on your own is extremely difficult. It consumes a lot of time, effort, and can be very draining, but hopefully after reading this short blurb you’ll be prepared with more confidence to try to speak Hebrew. Israel is the homeland of this beautiful language which is spoken by over 9 million people around the world. The Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters, is read from right to left, and is related to Arabic and Aramaic.
Hebrew phrase: איפה השירותים
Meaning: “Where is the Toilet?”
Pronunciation: Ei-fo ha sher-OO-teem
Spelled in English: Eifo ha sherutim
Wherever you go you’ll need to know where the bathroom is or else you’ll be in trouble! This phrase is a lifesaver and you will definitely need to know how to ask for the bathroom.
Hebrew phrase: יָאללָה
Meaning: “Let’s go” or “come on!”
Spelled in English: Ya’alla
This word actually derives from Arabic and not Hebrew. It is a casual slang word used daily to express a desire to get going and get the group moving!
Hebrew phrase:מה שמך
Meaning: “What’s your name?”
Pronunciation: Ma Sh-mecha (female)/Ma Sh-mech (male)
Spelled in English: Ma shmech
This may be the most important sentence, especially when traveling in Israel because you want to be able to connect with others and introduce yourself as well.
Hebrew phrase: אני רעב/ה
Meaning: “I’m hungry”
Pronunciation: A-ni ra-a-va (female)/a-ni ra-ev (male)
Spelled in English: Ani ra’ava / ani raev
This is my personal favorite because food is essential, especially when traveling. It is important to express your feelings, find awesome restaurants, and satisfy your hunger!
Hebrew phrase: מה מספר הטלפון שלך
Meaning: “What’s your phone number?”
Pronunciation: Ma mis-par ha-te-le-fon shel-kha? (female)/ma mis-par ha-te-le-fon she-lakh? (male)
Spelled in English: Ma mispar ha telefon shelach/ shelcha
When making a new friend in order to connect with them another time, you must ask for their number or other forms of communication — especially when you find a cutie!
Hebrew phrase: למי יש את החומוס הכי טוב בארץ
Meaning: “Who has the best hummus in Israel?”
Pronunciation: Le-mi yesh et ha-khu-mus ha-khi tov ba-a-retz?
Spelled in English: Le mi yesh et ha hummus hakhi tov b’aretz
Hummus is one of the main foods in Israel and when visiting you don’t want to waste your time and money on sub-par hummus. So ask around to find the best local spots and you won’t be sorry!
Hebrew phrase: נעים מאוד
Meaning: “Nice to meet you.”
Pronunciation: Na-im me-od.
Spelled in English: Na im meod
It is important to know a few sentences that are used often when beginning a conversation with someone. Even if this is all you know, people will be impressed that you are able to at least end the conversation in Hebrew.
Hebrew phrase: מאיפה את/ה
Meaning: “Where are you from?”
Pronunciation: Me-ei-fo at? (feamle)/me-ei-fo a-ta? (male)
Spelled in English: Me eifo at/ ata (male)?
This is another good line when having a beginner conversation. Where people are from can be important for future hangouts plus it expands your knowledge about different places.
Hebrew phrase: אין לי רעיון
Meaning: “I have no idea.”
Pronunciation: Ein li ra-a-yon
Spelled in English: Ein li ra’ayon
This is super important as a beginner learning Hebrew because when people speak to you, and you do not understand, this is a way to communicate that!