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 ancient stories of how grandpa and grandma met?

In this article, we want to give you a different kind of Hebrew vocabulary. In this article, we want you to 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 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 must learn…

Is the family meeting over, or are you all reading this article together? Whatever the case is, get ready because we are going to give you some very useful Hebrew words to expand your vocabulary.

Family members in Hebrew

Dad, mom, aunt, son, daughter, cousin… so many family relations in such big family trees. In this article, we are going to give you the most important 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 exactly the same way, they are two different terms. 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 very easy word to learn and your kids should start practicing it right away…

Just in case “Hava Nagila” got stuck in your head after we mentioned it, here it is for you to enjoy…

Mom: The real superhero of any house, is אמא in Hebrew (it is pronounced eeh-mah). Even though the Jewish mother is a character that psychiatrists study, there is nothing like hearing your own 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. Our mothers are the best ever! 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 her youth, or something nice to say about the way we look. Take advantage of time and spend as much time with them as possible… We can always learn something new from all of 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 ride, for dinner, or for lunch. Spend time with them and you will learn a number of 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 literally means “kids”, there is a specific word for both son and daughter. Son in Hebrew is בן (pronounced ben). For some spiritual and kabbalistic rabbis, בן also means “blessed in everything”, which makes this word one of the most gorgeous Hebrew names as well.

Daughter in Hebrew is בת (pronounced baht), and they are just amazing. If you are a daughter yourself, or if you have any daughters, you can understand how magical the connection with the entire family is. For parents of just daughters, having them is 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 amazing, 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!

Cousin: What amazing parties you can have 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 aunt (or uncle)”. Simple meaning, right?

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Sister in Hebrew is אחות, it is pronounced ah-chot, and it is the exact 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, at some point, our brothers become our closest friends. 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.

Learn some Hebrew today. 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 is here, and it’s us up to you to make it something relevant for yourself, and for your lovable family members. Are you ready to learn? 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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