Hebrew phrasebook

Modern Hebrew is spoken as a daily language in Israel and in parts of the Palestinian Territories. Biblical Hebrew is used as a religious language by Jews worldwide. It is written with a different alphabet than European languages, and is written from right to left.

Pronunciation guide

The Hebrew alphabet consists entirely of consonants, though some can function as vowels. Vowels are indicated with a system of dots and dashes next to the letters, but these are normally omitted except in Bibles and children's books. It is common for words, especially foreign words, to be spelled in more than one way; the Abu-l`afia  Synagogue has five different spellings of its name on its signs.

The stress is usually on the last syllable; most of the exceptions are segol-ates (words in which segol, the /e/-sound), such as elef "thousand". Some words have a diphthong "ua" or "ia" which is one syllable but sounds like two, like English "oil". This is called patah gnuva "stolen /a/-sound" and occurs in שבוע shavua[`]  "week", which is stressed on the -u-.

In conversational Hebrew, only three (בכפ) are pronounced differently when they contain a dot in the center called a dagesh.

Five letters (מנצפכ) have a different form at the end of a word (םןץףך, respectively). These are named by adding סופית (sofit - so-FEET) "final" to the name of the letter, e.g. נון סופית (nun sofit - noon so-feet)

א   alef (', a)
glottal-stop (IPA: /ʔ/) or silent (sometimes used as the letter a when rendering English in Hebrew)
ב בּ   bet, vet (b, v)
with a dot like big; without a dot like move
ג   gimel (g) 
like go
ד   dalet (d) 
like dark
ה   he (h) 
like he or silent at the end of a word with a preceding -a or -e
ו   vav (v, o, u) 
like violin; some dialects pronounce as week; also or or moon when used as a vowel
ז   zayin (z) 
like zoo
ח   het (h) 
Normally as Scottish ch in loch and as German Bach (IPA: /χ/). Some people pronounce it as the Arabic ح (IPA: /ħ/)
ט   tet (t) 
as t in stick
י   yud (y, e, i) 
like yet; also say or honey when used as a vowel
כ כּ ך   kaf, khaf (k, kh) 
with a dot like skip; without a dot like the Scottish ch in loch and as German Bach (IPA: /χ/)
ל   lamed (l) 
like leave, pronounced more forward in the mouth.
מ ם   mem (m) 
like mother
נ ן   nun (n) 
like never
ס   samekh (s) 
like some
ע   `ayin (`) 
similar to Cockney pronunciation of water (IPA: /ʔ/) and sometimes silent. Some people pronounce it as a constriction of the throat as in the Arabic ع (IPA: /ʕ/)
פ פּ ף   peh, feh (p, f) 
with a dot like spoon; without a dot off
צ ץ   tsadi (ts) 
as boots
ק   kof (k) 
As in skip
ר   resh (r) 
pronounced as the French r (IPA: [ʁ]). Some pronounce it rolled as in Spanish burro (IPA: [r])
שׁ שׂ   sin, shin (sh, s) 
with a right-hand dot like shoot (IPA: [ʃ]), or with a left-hand dot like see
ת   tav (t) 
as t in stick

Adding an apostrophe (geresh) to some letters may change their sounds.

as j in jam (IPA: [dʒ])
as s in pleasure (IPA: [ʒ])
צ' ץ'    (tsh) 
as ch in chat (IPA: [tʃ])

Phrase list

Hebrew verbs conjugate according to the gender of the sentence's subject: different verb forms must thus be used when referring to men and women. These have been noted below when appropriate.


Common signs

OPEN - פתוח (patuah - pah-TU-akh)
CLOSED - סגור (sagur - sah-GUR)
ENTRANCE - כניסה (knisah - k-nee-SAH)
EXIT - יציאה (yetsi'ah - yet-see-AH)
PUSH - דחוף (dhof - d-KHOF)
PULL - משוך (mshoh - m-SHOKH)
TOILET - שרותים (sherutim - sher-oo-TEEM)
MEN - גברים (gvarim - g-va-REEM)
WOMEN - נשים (nashim - nah-SHEEM)
FORBIDDEN - אסור (asur - ah-SOOR)

Hello. (Peace) 
.שלום (shalom - shah-LOHM)
The Hebrew greeting, literally "peace." The English "Hi" is also used.
Bye. (Peace) 
.שלום (shalom - shah-LOHM)
Yes, the greeting is the same for the start and end of conversation. See also "See you later".
See you later. 
.להתראות (lehitra'ot - leh-hit-rah-'OHT)
The most common farewell greeting, besides the English "Bye". Again, the English "Bye" is also used.
Good morning. 
.בוקר טוב (boker tov - BOH-ker TOHV)
Good afternoon. 
.צהריים טובים (tsohorayim tovim - tsoh-hoh-RAH-yeem toh-VEEM) (literally: "good noon", afternoon is אחר-צהריים - ahar tsohorayim tovim - aKHAR tsoh-hoh-RAH-yeem toh-VEEM)
Good evening. 
.ערב טוב (`erev tov - EH-rev TOHV)
Good night. 
.לילה טוב (laylah tov - LIGH-lah TOHV)
How are you? (What's your wellbeing/peace?)- addressing to a man. 
מה שלומך? (mah shlomkha? - mah shlom-KHAH)
How are you? (What's your wellbeing/peace?)- addressing to a woman. 
מה שלומך? (mah shlomekh? - mah shloh-MEKH)
How are you? (What's being heard?). 
מה נשמע? (mah nishma[`]? - mah nish-MAH)
What's up? (What's happening?).  
?מה קורה (mah koreh? - mah kor-EH)
What's up #2? (What's the business?).  
?מה העיניינים (mah ha-`inyanim? - mah ha-`in-ya-NIM?)
Thank you. 
.תודה (todah - toh-DAH)
Please/ You're welcome. 
.בבקשה (bevakashah - be-vah-kuh-SHAH)
Excuse me. 
.סליחה (slihah - slee-KHAH)
I don't understand. (said by a man). 
.אני לא מבין (ani lo mevin - ahni loh meh-VEEN)
I don't understand. (said by a woman). 
.אני לא מבינה (ani lo mevinah - ahni loh meh-VEENA)
What is your name? (said to a man). 
?מה שמך (ma shimkha)
What is your name? (said to a woman). 
?מה שמך (ma shmekh)
What is your name? #2 (said to a man) (lit. "How do they call you?").
?איך קוראים לך (ekh kor'im lekha)
What is your name? #2 (said to a woman) (literally
How do they call you?). : ?איך קוראים לך (eck kor'im lakh)
My name is... 
שמי (shmi)
My name is #2 (literally
I am called...) : קוראים לי (kor'im li - kor-'EEM lee ...)
How much is it?
כמה זה? (kamah zeh? - KA-mah zeh)
מזומן ("me-zu-MAN")
Cash only 
מזומן בלבד (mezuman bi-lvad - me-zu-MAN beel-VAD);
אשראי (ashra'i - ash-RA-'ee);

Pronouns (כינויי גוף kinuye guf)

I: אני (ani - ah-NEE)
You (singular, masc.): אתה (atah - ah-TAH)
You (singular, fem.): את (at - aht)
He: הוא (hu - hoo)
She: היא (hi - hee)
We: אנחנו (anahnu - ah-NAKH-noo)
You (plural, masc.): אתם (atem - ah-TEM)
You (plural, fem.): אתן (aten - ah-TEN)
They (plural, masc.): הם (hem - hem)
They (plural, fem.): הן (hen - hen)

Asking Questions (שאלות she'elot)

מי? (mi? - mee)
מה? (mah? - mah)
Where is ...? 
איפה? (eyfoh? - EY-foh)
Where to? 
לאן? (le'an? - leh-AH-n)
Where from? 
מאיפה\מאין? (me'eifoh?/me'ayn? - meh-EY-foh/meh-Ah-een)
מתי? (matai? - mah-TIGH)
למה? (lamah? - LAH-mah), מדוע? (madua[`]? - mah-DOOah)
How much? (also "how many") 
‫כמה?‬ (kamah? - KAH-mah)
Where are you from?
When speaking to a male: מאיפה אתה? (me'eifoh atah? - meh-EY-foh ah-TAH)
When speaking to a female: מאיפה את? (me'eifoh at? - meh-EY-foh aht)
Do you speak English?
When speaking to a male: אתה מדבר אנגלית? (atah medaber anglit? - ah-TAH meh-dah-BEHR ahn-GLEET?)
When speaking to a female: את מדברת אנגלית? (at medaberet anglit? - aht meh-dah-BEH-ret ahn-GLEET?)

Numbers (מספרים misparim)

0: אפס (efes - EH-fess)
1: אחת (ahat - ah-KHAT)
2: שתיים (shtayim - SHTAH-yeem)
3: שלוש (shalosh - shah-LOSH)
4: ארבע (arba[`] - AHR-bah)
5: חמש (hamesh - khah-MESH)
6: שש (shesh - shesh)
7: שבע (sheva[`] - SHEH-vah)
8: שמונה (shmoneh - shmo-NEH)
9: תשע (tesha[`] - TEY-shah)
10: עשר ('eser - EH-sehr)
11: אחת עשרה (ahat-`esreh - ah-khat es-REH)
12: שתים עשרה (shtem-`esreh - shtem es-REH)
13: שלוש עשרה (shlosh-`esreh - shlosh es-REH)
14: ארבע עשרה (arba'-`esreh - ar-bah es-REH)
15: חמש עשרה (hamesh-`esreh - kha-mesh es-REH)
16: שש עשרה (shesh-`esreh - shesh es-REH)
17: שבע עשרה (shva[`]-`esreh - shva es-REH)
18: שמונה עשרה (shmoneh-`esreh - shmo-neh es-REH)
19: תשע עשרה (tshah-'esreh - tshah es-REH)
20: עשרים (`esrim - es-REEM)
25: עשרים וחמש (`esrim ve-hamesh - es-REEM ve-khah-MESH)
30: שלשים (shloshim - shlo-SHEEM)
40: ארבעים (arba`im - ar-bah-EEM)
50: חמשים (hamishim - khah-mee-SHEEM)
60: ששים (shishim - shee-SHEEM)
70: שבעים (shiv`im - shiv-EEM)
80: שמונים (shmonim - shmo-NEEM)
90: תשעים (tish`im - tish-EEM)
100: מאה (me'ah - MEH-'ah)
200: מאתיים (matayim - m'ah-TAH-yeem)
300: שלש מאות (shlosh-me'ot - sh-LOSH meh-'OHT)
1000: אלף (elef - EH-lef)
1%: אחוז (ahuz - ah-KHOOZ ah-KHAD)
5%: חמישה אחוזים (hamishah ahuzim - kha-misha ah-KHOOZIM)
100%: מאה אחוז (me'ah ahuz - MEH-'ah ah-KHOOZ)
Half: חצי (hetsi - KHE-tsee)
Quarter: רבע (reva[`] - REH-vah)
More: יותר (yoter - yoh-TEHR)
Less: פחות (pahot - pah-KHOHT)

Time (זמן zman)

Today: היום (hayom - hah-YOHM)
Yesterday: אתמול (etmol - et-MOHL)
Tomorrow: מחר (mahar - mah-KHAHR)
The day before yesterday: שלשום (shilshom - shil-SHOHM)
The day after tomorrow: מחרתיים (mahratayim - makh-rah-TAH-yeem)

Days of the week (ימי השבוע yame hashavua[`])

Except for Shabbat, these are ordinal numbers. But both these and the names of the first 6 letters in the Hebrew Alfa-Beit are used.

Sunday: יום ראשון (yom rishon - yohm ree-SHOHN)
Monday: יום שני (yom sheni - yohm shey-NEE)
Tuesday: יום שלישי (yom shlishi - yohm shlee-SHEE)
Wednesday: יום רביעי (yom revi`i - yohm rvee-EE)
Thursday: יום חמישי (yom hamishi - yohm khah-mee-SHEE)
Friday: יום ששי (yom shishi - yohm shee-SHEE)
Saturday: שבת (shabat - shah-BAHT)

Months (חודשים hodashim)

In everyday life, most Israelis use the Gregorian Calendar. The month names pronunciation resembles Central-European (e.g. German) pronunciation.

January: ינואר ("Yanuar")
February: פברואר ("Februar")
March: מרץ ("Merts")
April: אפריל ("April")
May: מאי ("May - Mah-ee)
June: יוני ("Yuni - Yuh-nee")
July: יולי ("Yuli - Yuh-lee")
August: אוגוסט ("Ogust - O-guh-st")
September: ספטמבר ("September")
October: אוקטובר ("October")
November: נובמבר ("November")
December: דצמבר ("Detsember")

For holidays and events, Israeli Jews and Jews worldwide use a lunisolar calendar, in which the month begins at the new moon and a thirteenth month is added every few years. The months start with Tishrei (Sept.-Oct.) and run through Elul (August-September); thus Elul 5760 is followed by Tishrei 5761. "Aviv," the word for "spring," is sometimes substituted for "Nisan" and is also the name of a stage that the growth of barley reaches at that time.

Tishrei: תשרי (tishrey - tish-REY)
Heshvan: חשון (heshvan - ḥesh-VAN)
Kislev: כסלו (kislev - kis-LEV)
Tevet: טבת (tevet - tey-VET)
Shevat: שבט (shevat - shuh-VAT)
Adar: אדר (adar - ah-DAR)
Second Adar (the leap month): אדר שני (adar sheni - ah-DAR shey-NEE) or אדר ב (adar beth - ah-DAR beth)
Nisan: ניסן (nisan - nee-SAHN)
Iyar: אייר (iyar - ee-YAHR)
Sivan: סיון (sivan - see-VAHN)
Tammuz: תמוז (tamuz - tah-MOOZ)
Av: אב (av - ahv)
Elul: אלול (elul - eh-LOOL)

Duration (משך meshekh)

Day: יום (yom - yom)
Week: שבוע (shavua[`] - shah-VOOah)
Month: חודש (hodesh - KHO-desh)
Year: שנה (shanah - shah-NAH)
Hour: שעה (sha`ah - shah-AH)
Minute: דקה (daqah - dah-KAH)
Second: שניה (shniyah - shnee-YAH)
Time: זמן (zman - zmahn)

Seasons (עונות `onot)

Spring: אביב (aviv - ah-VEEV)
Summer: קיץ (kayits - KAH-yits)
Autumn: סתיו (stav - stahv)
Winter: חורף (horef - KHO-ref)
What time is it?: מה השעה? (mah hasha`ah? - mah hah-shah-AH?)

Colors (צבעים tsva`im)

black: שחור (shahor - sha-KHOR)
white: לבן (lavan - la-VAN)
gray: אפור (afor - a-FOR)
red: אדום (adom - a-DOM)
blue: כחול (kahol - ka-KHOL)
yellow: צהוב (tsahov - tsa-HOV)
green: ירוק (yaroq - ya-ROK)
orange: כתום (katom - ka-TOM)
purple: סגול (sagol - sa-GOL)
brown: חום (hum - khum)
pink: ורוד (varod - va-ROD)

Transportation (תחבורה tahburah)

Bus and train (אוטובוס ורכבת otobus verakevet)

How much is a ticket to _____? 
כמה עולה כרטיס ל (kamah `ole kartis le___? - KA-ma `oLE karTIS le___?)
One ticket to _____, please. 
כרטיס אחד ל___, בבקשה (kartis ehad le___, bevakashah - karTIS eKHAD le___, bevakaSHA)
Where does this train/bus go? 
?לאן הרכבת הזאת נוסעת?/לאן האוטובוס הזה נוסע (le'an harakevet hazot nosa`at?/le'an ha'otobus haze nosea[`]? - le'anleAN haraKEvet haZOT noSA`at?/leAN haOtobus haZE noSEa?)
Where is the train/bus to _____? 
?___איפה הרכבת ל___?/איפה האוטובוס ל (eifoh harakevet le___?/eifoh ha'otobus le___? - EIfo haraKEvet le___?/EIfo haOtobus le___?)
Does this train/bus stop in _____? 
הרכבת הזאת עוצרת ב___?/האוטובוס הזה עוצר ב(harakevet hazot `otseret be___?/ha'otobus haze `otser be___? - haraKEvet haZOT oTSEret be___?/haOtobus haZE oTSER be___?)
When does the train/bus for _____ leave? 
מתי יוצאת הרכבת ל___?/מתי יוצא האוטובוס ל (matai yotset harakevet le___?/matai yotse ha'otobus le___? - maTAI yoTSET haraKEvet le___?/maTAI yoTSE haOtobus le___?)
When will this train/bus arrive in _____? 
מתי הרכבת הזאת מגיעה ל___?/מתי האוטובוס הזה מגיע ל (matai harakevet hazot magi`ah le___? matai ha'otobus haze magia[`] le___? - maTAI haraKEvet haZOT magi`A le___?/maTAI haOtobus haZE magi`A le___?)

Directions (כיוונים kivunim)

How do I get to _____ ? 
איך אני מגיע/ה ל (eikh ani magia[`]/magi`ah le___? - eikh aNI maGI`a/magi`A(f) le___?)
...the train station? 
תחנת הרכבת (...tahanat harakevet? - takhaNAT haraKEvet)
...the bus station? 
תחנת האוטובוס (...tahanat ha'otobus? - takhaNAT haOtobus)
...the airport? 
שדה התעופה (...sde hate`ufah? - sde hateuFA)
מרכז העיר (...merkaz ha`ir? - merKAZ ha`IR)
...the youth hostel? 
אכסניית נוער (...akhsaniyat no`ar? - akhsaniYAT NO`ar)
...the _____ hotel? 
מלון (...malon ___? - maLON ___?)
...the American/British/French/Chinese/Indian/Russian/Polish consulate? 
הקונסוליה ה אמריקאית/בריטית/צרפתית/סינית/הודית/רוסית/פולנית (konsuliyah ha'amerikait/habritit/hatsarfatit/hasinit/hahodit/harusit/hapolanit? - HaKonSULia ha ahmehriKAHit/BRItit/tsorfaTIT/SInit/HOdit/ruSIT/polaNIT?)
Where are there a lot of... 
איפה יש הרבה (eifoh yesh harbeh... - EIfo yesh harBE...)
מלונות (...melonot? - meloNOT)
מסעדות (...mis`adot? - mis`aDOT)
ברים (...barim? - BArim)
...things to see? 
דברים לראות (...dvarim lir'ot? - dvaRIM lirOT)
Can you show me on the map? 
אפשר להראות לי במפה (efshar lehar'ot li bamapah? - efSHAR leharOT li bamaPA)
רחוב (rehov - reKHOV)
Go left. 
לך שמאלה (lekh smolah - lekh SMOla)
GO right. 
לך ימינה (lekh yeminah - lekh yaMIna)
שמאל (smol - smol)
ימין (yamin - yaMIN)
straight ahead 
ישר (yashar - yaSHAR)
towards the _____ 
לכיוון (lekivun ___ - lekiVUN)
past the _____ 
אחרי ה (ahrey ha___ - akhaREY)
before the _____ 
לפני ה (lifney ha___ - lifNEY)
Watch for the _____. 
חפש את ה (hapes et ha___ - khaPES et ha___)
צומת (tsomet - TSOmet)
צפון (tsafon - tsaFON)
דרום (darom - daROM)
מזרח (mizrah - mizRAKH)
מערב (ma`arav - ma`aRAV)
במעלה ההר (b-ma`aleh ha-har - b`ma`aLEH ha`HAR)
במורד ההר (b`morad ha`har - b`moRAD ha`HAR)

Taxi (מונית monit)

מונית (monit! - moNIT!)
Take me to _____, please. 
קח אותי ל____, בבקשה (qah oti le___, bevakashah - kakh oTI le___, bevakaSHA)
How much does it cost to get to _____? 
כמה זה עולה עד ל (kamah ze `oleh li `ad le___? - KAma ze `oLE `ad le___)
Take me there, please. 
קח אותי לשם בבקשה (qah oti lesham, bevakashah - kakh oTI leSHAM, bevakaSHA)
Could you use a counter/taximeter, please? 
תוכל להשתמש במונה בבקשה? (tukhal lehishtamesh bemoneh bevakasha? - tuKHAL le-hish-ta-MESH be-moNEH be-va-ka-SHA?). A counter/taximeter (מונה - moneh) gives the price based on certain factors such as travel time and distance (plus initial price), rather than a fixed overprice. Luggage costs extra in either case.


In Israel, many restaurants and eating places are kosher meaning that they observe the Jewish dietary laws of kashrut. For a restaurant to be officially kosher and have a Kosher Certificate, in addition to serving only correctly prepared kosher food, it must also not open on the Shabbat - from sundown on Friday through sundown on Saturday.

In many places in Israel such as Tel Aviv, there are non-kosher restaurants that will open on Shabbat and will serve non-kosher food (e.g. the restaurant serves both meat and milk dishes). Comparatively few places serve non-kosher food items like pork.

In some religious villages and small towns there are very few if any places that open on Shabbat.

A table for one person/two people, please. 
בבקשה, שולחן לאחד /לשניים (b-vakasha shulhan l'ehad/ lishnayim b'vakaSHA, shulKHAN l'ekhAD/ lishnAIYM)
Can I look at the menu, please? 
אפשר תפריט בבקשה (Efshar tafrit, b'vakasha?)
I'm a vegetarian. 
אני צמחוני /אני צמחונית (Ani tsimhoni (masc)/ Ani tsimhonit (fem))
I don't eat beef. 
אני לא אוכל/ אני לא אוכלת בקר (Ani lo okhel bakar (masc)/ Ani lo okhelet bakar(fem))
I only eat kosher food. 
אני אוכל /אוכלת רק אוכל כשר (Ani okhel (masc)/okhelet (fem) raq okhel kasher)
Can you make it "lite", please? (less oil/butter/lard) 
אפשר עם פחות שמן בבקשה (Efshar `im pahot shemen bevakashah)
ארוחת בוקר (Aruhat boqer)
ארוחת צהריים (Aruhat tsohorayim)
ארוחת ערב (Aruhat `erev)
I want _____. 
אני רוצה _____. (Ani rotseh (masc); Ani rotsah (fem))
I would like to eat _____. 
אני רוצה לאכול _____. (Ani rotseh/ rotsah le'ekhol)
עוף (`Off)
בקר (Baqar)
דג (Dag)
גבינה (Gvinah)
ביצה (Beitsah)
סלט (Salat)
(fresh) vegetables 
ירקות (Y-raqot)
(fresh) fruit 
פירות (Peirot)
לחם (Lehem)
טוסט (Tost)
נודלז (Nudelz)
פסטה (Pastah)
אורז (Orez)
חומוס (humus)
hummus: חומוס (humus)
May I have a glass of _____? 
אפשר כוס (Efshar qos)
May I have a cup of _____? 
אפשר כוס (Efshar qos)
May I have a bottle of _____? 
אפשר בקבוק (Efshar baqbuq)
...קפה (Kafeh)
...tea (drink) 
תה (Teh)
...מיץ (Mits)
...(bubbly) water 
...סודה (Sodah)
...מים (Mayim)
...בירה (Birah)
...red/white wine 
...יין אדום. יין לבן (Yain adom / Yain lavan)
May I have some _____? 
אפשר (Efshar)
מלח (Melah)
black pepper 
פלפל שחור (Pilpel shahor)
Excuse me, waiter? (getting attention of server)
סליחה (Slihah)
I'm finished. 
סיימתי (Siamti)
It was delicious. 
היה מצוין (Hayah metsuyan)
Please clear the plates. 
אפשר לפנות (Efshar l-fanot)
The check, please. 
אפשר חשבון, בבקשה (Efshar heshbon, b-vakasha)
Where is the bathroom ? 
איפה השירותים ? (Eifo Hasherutim?)
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