March 07, 2009
Reading Amos Oz — אל תגידי לילה, No digas noche
My friend Elisheva/Isabel is visiting me in Tel Aviv for a few days. She arrived by train from Haifa, where she's completing a degree in Hebrew Language and Literature at Haifa University. (There, the native French speaker who is also fluent in Spanish has been polishing her Hebrew and learning Arabic and written Aramaic.)
During infrequent pauses in our itinerary, my polyglot friend has been reading Israeli writer, novelist, and journalist Amos Oz's novel Don't Call It Night in the original Hebrew. Rather than check dictionary translations of the occasional word or phrase she doesn't know, she holds the Hebrew volume in one hand, and the Spanish translation in the other.
We have been enjoying marathon conversations (reminiscent of happy hours among Israelis discussing Hebrew literature class), Kabbalat Shabbat services at Beit Tefilah Israeli (a Jewish spiritual community that combines Jewish and Israeli identities), a spontaneous Shabbat dinner (complete with a guest!), and a sing-along of Israeli Golden Oldies led by Nachum Heiman (one of Israel's most beloved composers of popular songs) at the Tel Aviv Cinemateque.
Despite my linguistic limitations (our conversations are restricted to Hebrew and English), we communicate perfectly.