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Hebrew Survival: Important Words & Common Phrases

Settle In Easy

This Hebrew survival article will show you how to get around Tel Aviv with a few key phrases. Despite the wide-spread use of the English language in Tel Aviv, there’s nothing like speaking the native tongue to settle in and get comfortable with the locals.

We’ve compiled a list of common Hebrew words and phrases for basic conversations to ease your stay.

Shalom [shuh-lohm] — Hello; goodbye; peace.

Le’hitra’ot [le’hit’ra’ot] — Goodbye.

Slicha [slee-chah] — Sorry; excuse me.

Todah [toe-DAH] — Thank you.

Bevakasha [be-va-ka-shah] — Please (also “you’re welcome” in response to saying “todah”)

Naim me’od  [ny-EEM meh-ohd] — Very pleasant.
Usually used as way to say “nice to meet you”.

Ma koreh? [mah kor-EH] — What’s happening?
The Israeli substitute for: “what’s up”, “how are you?”, “what’s going on?”

Beseder [be’se’der] — Ok; fine.
The usual response to “how are you?”

Lama? — [lah-mah] Why?

Kama ze oleh? — How much does it cost?

Yalla [yah-lah] — Let’s go; come on.
This is actually a word in Arabic but has become a staple of Israeli slang.

Chaval al ha zman [cha-vahl ahl ha-Z-mahn] — Amazing; great. (slang)
Probably the best way to say that something was just awesome – the Israeli alternative to “out of this world, but used much more often in everyday conversation.

Neshika [neh-SHI-kah] — Kiss.
It’s quite customary to kiss on the cheek with a handshake or a hug, so this word comes in pretty handy.

Neshama [neh-sha-mah] — Soul, darling, sweetie, honey (slang).

Ata Chamud (male) / At chamuda (female) [aht-ah chah-mood/ aht chah-moo-dah] — You’re cute.
Used to describe both attraction as well as a term of endearment for family members or small kids.

Mishpacha [Mish-PA-cha] — Family.
Israelis consider themselves one big family (often a dysfunctional one, yet still, very family-oriented) so this word is important to keep in mind.

Ezeh Bassa — [eh-zah BAHS-ah] What a disappointment (slang).
Though this word is also originally in Arabic, you will often hear people using it when showing support for others’ disappointment

Metoraf [meh-to-raf] — Crazy; crazy person.  Amazing; awesome (slang).
One of those words that can be used to tell someone they are acting mad or to tell them that their food is incredible… depending on your intonation of course

Balagan [ba’la’gan] — Chaos.
Used to describe just about anything… like that crazy party you attended last night.

Nachon [na-chon] — That’s right; correct.

Mis’ada [mi’sa’da] — Restaurant.

Tafrit [ta’fr’eet] — Menu

Eyn bayah [Ein ba’a’yah] — No problem; no worries.

Mayim, b’vakeshah — Water, please.
It’s hot in Tel Aviv… you might want to memorize this one!

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