When speaking a foreign language, many of us fall into the trap of trying to translate expressions from our mother tongue word for word into the foreign language. Hence imagine how taken aback an American journalist must have been when interviewing an Israeli settler. Journalist: "How many children do you have?" Settler: "Seven and one in the road" (baderech in Hebrew, meaning both on the way and on the road). And somehow I doubt whether this applicant for a job as camp cook endeared himself to the chef: "For lunch I will make cancers and shrimps" (sartan in Hebrew means both cancer and crab). And if that weren't enough, imagine the awkward silence of the prize-awarding committee when confronted by a young lady earnestly telling them that she deserves this prize because "I give myself to others." Or take the Argentinean sportsman who is thumped affectionately on the back by an Israeli fan and told: "You are ten! TEN!" (the best). To which he murmurs, mystified, "No I'm not, I'm 21." His colleague experiences similar puzzlement when told enthusiastically: "You're somesing, somesing!" Huh? And if this is all too much to take in and you think I should be going slower, I'm the only one who might understand if you tell me "Cow, cow." A student was so impressed with an informative passage in her matriculation exam that she wrote: "Thank you for lighting my eyes" (enlightening me) while another announced that she intended to go to university "to study economica" (in Hebrew, bleach). A reader wrote in and told me about her brother, who was invited to an Israeli's house for dinner. When he turned down the invitation, his would-be host said: "It's so pity. I wanted to hospitalize you." (Who knows, if he'd stayed for dinner, that's what might have happened.) Students are often required to write a formal letter in their bagrut exams, and the endings are sometimes creatively handled: "Respectibly, Yossi," or (interesting) "Recently, Yael." (Reminiscent of the guy who ended his letter to the burial society: "Yours eventually.") This faux pas of not quite using the right word has produced such gems as: "Dear Mare of Rehovot, Instead of closing down our club, please dislocate it somewhere else." Or another letter to the same gentleman, ending: "So, dear major, we with unpatience will wait for your justicefull decision." Then again, there's the alarming news that Israeli children grow up quickly and reach adultery sooner. Since strikes are part of our daily lives, Israeli students have plenty to say about them: "If we will take this right from them (the strikers), they will be left toothless against the aoutorities and thier rights will be stepped on by the goverment." Sounds like it might be good for the dentists though. And when voicing an opinion of a doctors' strike, "If someone want to make a strike, he doesn't have to go to university to study medication." Talking of doctors, one kind student wanted to donate some money to a hospital, so he wrote and told them: "I won a lump of money recently and I would like you to expand your doctors with it." The most original view of strikes, however, was written about emergency service workers: "We must to limit the way of the strike, its meen that these providers of vital services will keep working all time even when they strike." And since I must end, take your pick from "For inconclution," "Inconglujon," "Nottheless," "Overmore" or "Lastable" (opposite of "Firstaball"). judekrame@gmail.com

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