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  • Sara Hurand

Basic Miss Understanding (Lincolin Street)


Photo of Abraham Lincoln Street, pronounced Avraham Linco-lin in Hebrew, of course.

Just call me Miss Understanding, or Ms. Understanding, as the case may be. It is important to us to become conversational in the modern Israeli language, Hebrew, in our daily lives. Elie speaks perfect taxicab Hebrew. The boys are doing remarkably well navigating school in their second language. Then there is me. Who, you ask? That's right, “me!”

In Hebrew, the sound “ME” means who, “WHO” means he, and “HE” means she. I can't make this stuff up. When Elie asked who left the toilet seat up in the bathroom, I raised my hands in exasperation, “OY, MEEE?!” (meaning “who???” in Hebrew, but of course sounding like ME in English, and I was laughed at). It wasn't me. I promise.

Sounds a bit like “who’s on first” if you haven't noticed, and ‘he’ is definitely on first. I have a good base of Hebrew thanks to my Jewish education at the Ivriah in Flint, Michigan. It is however, just first base. I don't know how to conjugate or use any tense beyond the present. I try to use Hebrew as much as possible, which means I am basically asking if anyone wants cereal all day long.

A lack of pride helps me float through the day unscathed by my endless focus on the present, being corrected for the same darn mistakes over and over again.

There is a certain joy and terror in witnessing my children surpass me in knowledge and know-how. I cheer them on. I have no idea what they are saying, but they look so cute saying it. So here I am, learning a resuscitated ancient language in modern times. Today I learn more Hebrew. “Ani lomedet od Ivrit hayom.” (Don't quote me, it's probably not correct…..yet, anyway)

Rotze cereal? Want some cereal?


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