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.
The Hebrew alphabet consists entirely of consonants (an abjad), 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 letters (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)
ד dalet (d)
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)
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)
נ ן nun (n)
ס samekh (s)
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)
ק qof (q)
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.
In everyday life, most Israelis use the Gregorian Calendar. The month names pronunciation resembles Central-European (e.g. German) pronunciation.
מאי ("May - Mah-ee)
יוני ("Yuni - Yuh-nee")
יולי ("Yuli - Yuh-lee")
אוגוסט ("Ogust - O-guh-st")
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.
תשרי (tishrey - tish-REY)
חשון (heshvan - kḥesh-VAN, also מרחשון mar-khash-VAN)
כסלו (kislev - kis-LEV)
טבת (tevet - teh-VET)
שבט (shevat - SHVAT)
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)
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)
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.