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Hebrew Lesson Number 17:

Independence Day

Yom Ha-Azzmaut is the birthday of Israel, yom ha-huledet shel medinat Israel. In this online Hebrew lesson we will learn how to say how old Israel is, what year she was born, and the Hebrew word for a flag.

Introduction to Lesson 17: 

Independence Day

Each year on the 5th day of the Jewish month of Iyar, Israel becomes one big party.  Imagine 9 million people celebrating a birthday all at one time!  (The 5th of Iyar corresponds to May 14, 1948, the day on which the State of Israel was proclaimed.  It is always 20 days following the first day of Passover, so mark your calendars!)

בניימין זאב הרצל - חוזה המדינה

Binyamin Ze'ev Herzl - Visionary of the State

Yom Ha-Azzmaut is celebrated throughout Israel with parties and picnics, singing and dancing on the streets, flag waving and fireworks.  In Learn Hebrew Pod shiur mispar shva-esre, we will learn all the Hebrew vocabulary we need to participate in these exciting celebrations.  Do you know how to say the current year in Hebrew?  You will after Lesson 17B as we learn to count up to 2,000 . . . and then a little bit beyond!

Declaration of the State of Israel

We’ll also review the basic patterns for changing singular Hebrew nouns and verbs into plural, then we’ll meet a few of the exceptions that define the rule.  

So put on some kachol ve-lavan (blue and white) and join us as we celebrate Israel’s birthday. yom huledet sameach Israel!!

Learn Hebrew Pod - Lesson No. 17

Team Conversation from the Lesson:

Liat:  Hey yonatan, ma shlomcha? - How are you?

Jonathan:  achla!  ma shlomech Liat?

Liat:  Great – ne-hedarI’m very excited - ani me-od mitrageshet about the next holiday, yom ha-azzma-ut. I’m always happy when someone has a birthday, and yom ha-azzma-ut is a kind of birthday!     

!יומולדת שמח

Eran:  Hey Yonatan, a-halan Liat, ma ha-mazzav? - What’s up? - ma ha-mazzav?

Jonathan:  shalom Eran!  ani margish ne-hedar and Liat definitely - lelo safek margisha ne-hedarve eych ata margish ha-yom? - And how do you feel today?

Eran:  sababamamash achla. I share Liat’s feelings about yom ha-azzma-ut. It’s a holiday which is actually like a big birthday party…

מסיבת יומולדת

Liat:  As you know Jonathan, from our Hebrew lessons on PurimEran and I really love parties -Eran ve ani me-od o-havim mesibot.

Jonathan:  ani be-hechlet zocher et ze - I certainly remember thatve ani maskim - and I agreeyom ha-azzma-ut is really like a big birthday party, which is celebrated by many people. Liat, on your way in, you mentioned that you have an idea for today’s Hebrew discussion.

Liat:  ze nachon Yonatan. - That’s right Jonathan. I have a wonderful idea for today’s Hebrew discussion:

!יש לי רעיון

When I visited my sister’s family the other night, I met her lovely daughter Maya. Maya hi bat sheva - Maya is seven years old and she is in kita bet - the second grade

Bet is the second letter of the Hebrew Alphabet - the Alef Betkita bet is, second grade ... anyway, as we were playing together, Maya asked me to help her with her homework. The teacher at their school asked them to write short essays about yom ha-azzma-ut. Of course I helped her…but also asked for her permission to use her essay….


Eran:  ba shi-ur shelanu! - In our Hebrew lesson!  Wow Liat!  That’s a wonderful idea.

Jonathan:  gam ani choshev kacha - I also think so!  Would you like to read it for us?

Liat:  kamuvan. Eran, would you like to share the reading of it with me?

Eran:  ze i-hi-ye li le-oneg - that will be a pleasure for me.

ביום העצמאות אנחנו חוגגים יומולדת למדינת ישראל


*Join us to the full conversation and listen to the Independence day monologue by using the Hebrew Audio/Visual sessions and the online presentation on this lesson page.

Some Grammar from This Lesson:



Eran: In Hebrew, the word yom is a day. So in Hebrew -  yom ha-azzma-ut is the day of independence.  As we remember from our previous Hebrew lessons, in these kinds of combinations, the definite article ‘The’ appears in the second word. yom ha-azzmaut - the day of independence, Rosh ha-shana - the head of the year.

Jonathan:  yom ha-azzma-ut - the day of independence. Even without being a separate word, I can tell that the word yom appears in another place in the monologue.

Liat: The word yom appears also in the word yo-mu-le-det.  As in English, the word birthday is comprised of the words birth and day, so in Hebrew yom huledetyom huledet… but we usually combine these two words very quickly, so they become yomuledetyomuledet. Eran, how would you say in Hebrew “the birthday”?

זיקוקי דינור

Eran:  The same as in yom ha-azzmaut. I attach the definite article “The” to the word huledetyom ha-huledet.

yom ha-azzmaut hu yom ha-huledet shel medinat Israel -                                                                The day of independence is the birthday of the State of Israel.

Jonathan:  One word, which has two versions on our vocabulary list, is the word, state. A state is medina, but in Maya’s essay, she wrote:

Eran:  medinat Isra-el - The State of Isra-el.

Jonathan:  As we can see, the word medina becomes medinat…that is actually a new kind of a Hebrew suffix!  It reveals a unique feature, which exists in Semitic Languages, such as Hebrew and Arabic. This is a situation in which two nouns are in a row, within a special context. The proper grammatical term for this phenomenon is called ‘contiguity’. In our method, we will refer to this as a special type of possessive adjective. In our example, this is an adjective, which actually describes the state, the medina, as belonging to Israel. 

medinat Isra-el meaning the State of Isra-el.

The State of Isra-el- medinat Isra-el.

דגל מדינת ישראל

We use the word medina and add to it the suffix…

Liat:  ’at’. By doing that, we actually say in Hebrew - ‘the state of’.  

This is a very common suffix, Jonathan, for feminine words, which end with the vowel ‘a’ and with the Hebrew letter hey.   

Let me give you another example:  the Hebrew word for a queen is malka. But when I say the Queen of England, I say malkat angliaAnglia is England.

מלכת אנגליה

malka becomes malkatmalkat anglia is the Queen of England.

*Enjoy the Full Hebrew Grammar Discussion - Join us to the Learn Hebrew Pod Beginner’s Speaking Hebrew Program.