Family, dear family: Hebrew vocabulary for family members

Is there anything better than sitting around the table with your entire family and celebrating, all together, one of the delicious and meaningful holidays of the year? Is there anything more comforting than receiving the hug of your mother or father? Is there anything more amazing than listening to the old stories of how grandpa and grandma met?

In this article, we want to give you a different Hebrew vocabulary. Please learn how to say each family member in Hebrew.

“What’s the goal?”, you might be asking yourself. Well, the goal is to give you more — and new — information that’ll allow you to better interact with your Israeli family, or even to start calling dad אבא or your sister אחות. Who knows? You might even want your בן and בת to talk to you in Hebrew, so these are some Hebrew words you have to start learning…

Are you all reading this article together with some family members? Are you guys having a family reunion soon? Whatever the case is, get ready because we will give you some handy words to expand your Hebrew vocabulary.

Family members in Hebrew

Dad, mom, aunt, son, daughter, cousin… so many family relations in such big family trees. In this article, we will give you the essential Hebrew words for family relations, but do not ask us how to say the son of your grandfather’s second cousin, who is now married to your aunt’s daughter-in-law, who comes from Druya. That, we don’t know… what do we know? The Hebrew words we are giving you right now, here we go!

Dad: Dad in Hebrew is אבא, it is pronounced ah-bah, and you should not get confused with the lyrics of the famous song “Hava Nagila”. Because even if both words are pronounced almost the same way, they are two different terms. As some of you already know, when you hear your child call you אבא for the first time, it is one of the happiest moments of your life. It is a straightforward word to learn, and your kids should start practicing it right away…

Mom: The real superhero of any house is אמא in Hebrew (pronounced eeh-mah). Even though the Jewish mother is a character that psychology students don’t go over in textbooks, there is nothing more heartwarming than hearing your אמא asking you if you are cold, telling you that you haven’t gained any weight in the last year, or offering you even more food after you just finished two dishes, three main courses, and one big, sweet dessert. Our mothers are the best! If you want to surprise her, call her אמא once in a while, she might feel happy that her baby is learning some Hebrew. Give it a try!

Grandmother in Hebrew is סבתא (pronounced sav-tah), and they are just amazing. They always have some nice story to share about their youth or something nice to say about how we look. Please take advantage of time and spend as much time with them as possible… we can always learn something new from their experiences.

Grandfather: In Hebrew, Grandfather is סבא (pronounced sah-bah). Our grandparents are a huge source of inspiration, knowledge, understanding, and comprehension of our history and roots. If you are lucky enough to have your grandparents still with you, take them for a drive, for dinner or lunch. Spend time with them, and you will learn several things about yourself you weren’t even aware of.

Son: What a beautiful word! Even though all Israeli families refer to their sons and daughters as their ילדים (pronounced: yeh-lah-deem), which means “kids,” there is a specific word for both son and daughter. Son in Hebrew is בן (pronounced ben). According to some spiritual and kabbalistic perspectives, בן also means “blessed in everything”. Which makes this word one of the most meaningful Hebrew names as well. If you want to check some other Hebrew names for babies, check out this article we published a few months ago.

Daughter in Hebrew is בת (pronounced baht), and they are just amazing. If you are a daughter yourself or have any daughters, you can understand how magical the connection with the entire family is. For parents who only have daughters, they are a tremendous blessing… and if you are the parent of only boys, don’t worry… you are blessed too!

Aunt: Who doesn’t have a crazy, hilarious aunt or uncle? Aunt in Hebrew is דודה, and uncle is דוד. It is pronounced doh-dah and dod, respectively. Having a great connection with them can only guarantee unique, fun, and exciting times for their אחיינים (nephews, pronounced ah-chi-ah-neem). There is nothing for young kids like going for an ice-cream with their דוד and דודה after school. Or like staying over at their house for a movie night! If you don’t have any nephews or nieces just yet, wait for it… it will be legendary!

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Cousin: What amazing memories you can build with your cousins! Deep-hearted conversations about the family’s dynamic and even sharing the same amazing grandparents. Cousin in Hebrew is בן דוד for men and בת דודה for women. It is pronounced ben-dod and baht-doh-dah, respectively, and it literally means “son (or daughter) of an aunt (or uncle).” Simple, isn’t it?

Sister in Hebrew is אחות, it is pronounced ah-chot, and it is the same word we use to say “nurse”. Our sisters can be our worst enemies when growing up, but at some point, they turn into our best friends ever. If you are lucky enough to have a sister, go and hug her! You never know when she needs that. Show some love! Hug your sister!

Brother: Same story that with sisters, our brothers become our closest friends at some point. Brother in Hebrew is אח (pronounced: ach). Go out with your brother for dinner, if you haven’t yet… do some bonding activities, spend time together. If you live far away from each other, don’t you worry. WhatsApp video, Skype, and other video-conferencing tools are here to make you guys closer than ever.

Excellent songs in Hebrew about family members

There are always great musical methodologies to learn more about Hebrew. Many songs have been written, recorded, and published in the Israeli music industry, in which artists and songwriters dedicate beats and poetry to their dads, children, mothers, and others.

After you have just learned some of the essential Hebrew words to talk about your family members, we leave you with a selection of the best songs to add another musical pathway to extend your Hebrew vocabulary.

Dad’s little boy — Mooki

This lovely Hebrew song by Mooki speaks about the relationship between a father and his little boy. In these beautiful lines, we can learn the best usage for some of the words you just learned, and when learning a bit more Hebrew, you can even shed a few tears when listening to it.

Mom — Moshe Peretz

This heartwarming song talks about the role of the mother and the endless things mothers do both for their children and their entire families. In this Israeli song from the last decade, Moshe Peretz talks about his own mother and most moms around the world.

Happiness revolution: We are family — Lior Narkis

This fun Israeli song will make you want to stand up from wherever you’re reading this and start dancing. It talks about many things, but it mentions what’s most important about everything you have read in the previous lines: משפחה, family. Ready to dance? This song is a must if you’re hosting an Israeli party soon.

Learn some Hebrew today. Could you do it for your family?

Bring something new and cool to the family table: Hebrew. Start a family challenge, and whoever learns Hebrew first goes to Israel with someone else from the family! Does that sound fun?

The Hebrew courses offered by Rosen School of Hebrew are fun, engaging, live, and online. You don’t even have to go to the closest shul to start learning the language of our matriarchs and patriarchs. You can start today!

Hebrew has arrived here, and it’s up to you to make it relevant both for yourself and for the lovely branches of your family tree. Are you ready to learn more about Hebrew? Behatzlacha!

About the author

Arie Elbelman R.Arie was born and raised in Chile, and immigrated to Israel in his early twenties. He wants to take an active role in the development of this young and smart country. Arie believes that the best way to shape our present and future is to live with more horizontal hierarchies, to smile a whole lot, and to always, always respect each other.

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