Photo Credit: Naaleh

You don’t need to be a millennial to appreciate that learning should – and can – be fun. But sometimes when learning a new language it can instead feel overwhelming and frustrating, especially if you’re used to sounding smart, witty and eloquent. This struggle is one that often comes up in Israel, where so many cultures and languages converge onto a tiny piece of land. This makes learning the native language, Hebrew, a must!

So how can you have a smashing time learning a new lingo? Obvi, by learning its expressions and idioms, and how they speak to the cultures quarks.


For ideas on the most popular Hebrew expressions that tourists, students from abroad and new residence learn, we turned to the students of Naale’s free Jewish high school program in Israel, for a listable of Hebrew expressions and how they translate across the many English speaking dialects of its student base.

We hope you have as much fun reading it as we did making it!

  1. Ha’Kol B’sader – הכל בסדר

Literal translation: Everything is in order

America: I’z all good

Australia: She’ll be right

Britain: Fine an’ dandy

South Africa: Lekker

  1. Chaim Tootim – חיים תותים

Literal translation: Life of strawberries

America: The sweet life

Australia: Sweet as

Britain: A dog’s life, coming up roses

South Africa: Living the jol

  1. Chaim She’Li – חיים שלי

Literal translation: My life

America: Sweetheart

Australia: My sheila

Britain: M’luv

South Africa: My china

  1. Sababa – סבבה

Literal translation: Great

America: Cool beans

Australia: Gold

Britian: Ship shape

South Africa: Sick

  1. Lo Mi’shanae – לא משנה

Literal translation: It makes no difference

America: No biggie

Australia: No worries

Britian: Never mind

South Africa: No worries

  1. Stam – סתם

Literal translation: without intent

America: Just kidding

Australia: Just joshin

Britian: Random

South Africa: Jokes

  1. Ei’ze Keta – איזה קטע

Literal translation: What a laugh

America: How funny!

Australia: Pickle me grandmother

Britain: What a palaver!

South Africa: Se-ri-us

  1. Kapara – כפרה

Literal translation: Atonement

America: Babes

Australia: Darling

Britain: Dearie

South Africa: My love

  1. Mamash – ממש

Literal translation: Really

America: Literally

Australia: bloody-oath

Britain: Really

South Africa: Dinkum

  1. Ba Li – בא לי

Literal translation: It comes to me

America: I’m in the mood

Australia: I fancy

Britain: I fancy

South Africa: I feel

  1. Chabibi – חביבי

Literal translation: My friend

America: Dude

Australia: Mate, pronounced Maaaate

Britain: Mate

South Africa: Boet

  1. Imal’e – אמאלה

Literal translation: Mommy

America: OMG

Australia: Fair Dinkin

Britain: Blimey

South Africa: Hectic

Now, for the real challenge, use three of these Hebrew expressions in your native tongue. I’ll start:

Chabibi, you’re mamash in for chaim tootim in Israel once you get these expressions down-pat!

You’re up next…


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