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How would you describe Israeli culture? Can you say it in Hebrew, or share a related word?

I’ve decided to commit to learning Hebrew more, because I find it to be nice-sounding and the writing always looks rather intriguing. I haven’t had the chance to actually experience or learn too much about Israeli culture, so I was wondering what you like most about Israeli culture. If you like you can type it in Hebrew (preferably with a translation for us newbies) or maybe share a Hebrew word you like that’s related to your comment.

תודה רבה!

October 17, 2019



I have family there and have visited several times. I would say, direct, no bull-❤❤❤❤ but also very warm. No sense of 'boundaries' or standing on ceremony. Usually you know where you stand with an Israeli. Traffic is sort of terrifying. The food is amazing. The Mango languages Hebrew course includes a Culture Note about how much Israeli's love to argue about anything and everything, which was funny but also pretty on point.

The word that comes to mind for me is Sabra which is the term for Jews born in Israel and comes from some sort of prickly desert pear. (It is also the name of a delicious brand of Hummus you can find in North American grocery stores) Prickly and resilient exterior, soft and warm within.

Also Hutzpah, I guess that is a Yiddish word? I don't know how to describe Hutzpah (go getterness?) but you have probably heard the term.

I recently came across a Hebrew word I like very much Kavanah כַּוָּנָה which means intention. I came across this word when I was trying to find information on mindfulness and meditation traditions within Judaism, so I don't know if this is used daily in the way I think, but it is a beautiful sounding word that can carry a lot of meaning and probably my favourite Hebrew word now.

Lately I have been watching a youtube channel called 'The Ask Project'. https://m.youtube.com/user/coreygilshuster It is made by a Canadian guy who goes around asking Israelis and Palestinians user submitted questions (many are political but many also deal with more lighthearted cultural issues). He speaks to all kinds of Israeli's from the most religious to the most secular so it is a really nice window into Israeli culture. All videos are subtitled. I highly recommend it, just avoid reading the youtube comments for your own sanity, they can get pretty ugly.

Also, if you are starting Hebrew, make sure you subscribe to the Memrise courses as well, they will help with the course a lot!

October 17, 2019


I loved what you wrote.

There is a beautiful song called "אם יש כונה" written by Zruya Lahav You can listen to it here: https://shironet.mako.co.il/artist?type=lyrics&lang=1&prfid=853&wrkid=35651


אם יש כוונה קשה לי לראות

ההבנה עכשיו כבדה מאד

ונסגרים סביבי המרחקים



למה ומה, דורכים על גחלים

והאשמה ורעש המילים

וחרדים כל כך המעשים



חוצים את המדבר

עולים מעל ענן

יושבים על הר הצער העתיק

אהבה חכמה

כדרך הזמן

תגלה את הכול כי תעינו מספיק

תיראה שדה, גפן וכוכב

תיראה רוקדים סביב עגל הזהב

ושנינו מלאים מבול ששכך

נצמדים זה אל זה

מבקשים רגע רך

My translation is not doing it justice, all the rhythm and rhyming is lost in translation:

If intention exists it's hard for me to see

the understanding now is very heavy

and closing around me the distances

and waiting

and waiting

Why and what, stepping on coals

And the guilt and noise of words

And tremble so much the deeds

And trying

And trying

Crossing the desert

Climbing above a cloud

Sitting on the mountain of ancient sorrow

Wise love

As the way of time

Will reveal everything because we wandered enough

Look a field, a grapevine, and a star

Look dancing around the golden calf

And both of us full (of) a flood that calmed down

Clinging to each other

Asking for a soft moment

October 17, 2019


Thankyou, what a beautiful song!
תודה רבה! אזה שיר יפה!

October 18, 2019


תרבות ישראלית היא לא משהו שאפשר לתאר במשפט קצר. Israeli calture can't be described in a short sentence.

October 17, 2019


A view from the diaspora: תִּקְוָה

October 18, 2019


It's a mixture of a lot of cultures, because you had Jews coming in from all over the world (& still do). This means that food, slang, music, and cursing are diversed. Only yesterday I watched a BBC (British) game show called "Pointless" in which the contenders have to pick an answer (assuming they know it) that the audience did NOT know - the aim is keeping their score- people who knew- low. I was surprised I knew things that are Morocco, French, Yemenai, etc. even though I'm an 'ashkenazi' Jew (grandparents came from Europe).

I mentioned curse words, and while I will not list them here, will tell you this: even the more "language purists" I know (aka Hebrew Academy made up words people don't use and are not taught here in Duolingo) say the shorter English word for manure in time of sudden agony and despair ... :-)

October 20, 2019
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