Lost in Translation

Ever since our arrival at the Kadima centre, the children have pointed out our insufficient knowledge of Hebrew slang. On the first day, we were welcomed with the question “Etz o Pali” which is equivalent to asking “heads or tails.” However, we quickly learned that this was not just an innocent game of heads or tails as either response led to whispering followed by lots of giggling. We’re still not exactly sure what they were giggling about but the children have moved on to another question: “yesh li po ma-ader?” as they point to their heads. This literally means “do I have a shovel here?” When we answer no, they respond “az lama ata chofer?” (then why are you digging). Despite understanding this phrase, they still ask us daily. So we started asking them. It has turned into an inside joke that we can all laugh about. 
The children have also come up with some nicknames. For example, Rachelle has become Marshmallow and Monica has become Economica (which is bleach in Hebrew). This is their way of getting our attention and creating a bond between ‘the Canadians’ and ‘the Israelis’.
Also, during one of our educational programs on hygiene, one of the boys took it upon himself to schmere shaving cream on Yael’s face, getting it in her hair and on her sunglasses. It became a game between them as the next day he put ice cubes down her back. It was all in fun but after the shaving cream incident he helped her get it out of her hair and off of her sunglasses.
Even though most of our communication is gestures and body language, we are still able to understand each other and strengthen our bond. It has taken a couple of weeks to really get to know the children, but we are definitely sensing a deeper connection and a great interactive environment.
By: Yael Hart and Rachelle Marmur
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