Does He Know Hebrew?

hebrew, english, translator, hebrew letters, english letters, hebrew speaking kids, english speaking kdis, bilingual

This year, Shlomo is going to preschool.  Why?  Well, because towards the end of this past school year, I started seeing signs that he was ready.  I can’t exactly explain it, but the signs were there, and I knew that I had to find him something for next year.  The question was only what, and how many days/hours per week.  And obviously, if he needs to be in preschool, I’m not going to stay home by myself, right?

In the end, we found a great preschool (gan), except that it’s from 7:30 until 4:00 (except on Friday, when they end at 12:00).  Not my dream; I would have preferred shorter days.  On the other hand, until I had my schedule in hand, knowing where he’s be until 4 was a good thing.  (As it turns out, they take a nap from 1:15 until 3:00, then they wake up, have a snack, and it’s pick-up time.  So I guess there’s no real difference between a gan that ends at one and his gan.)

The gan is great.  The ganenet (preschool teacher) is wonderful.  He loves going, he loves to be there, and he’s not usually in a rush to come home – first he has to finish what he’s playing with.  The ganenet loves him.  He has a slight issue parting from us in the morning, but apparently, the minute we walk out the door, he’s happy again.  All is good, thank G-d.

Yesterday, the ganenet told Yitzchak that he doesn’t understand the word, “ba,” (came).  When Yitzchak told me this, I scoffed at him – Shlomo has told me a few times, “bo’oo,” (come, in plural) and patted the floor.  I wasn’t sure if Shlomo understood that “bo” and “come” were synonyms, but he definitely knew the word.  Of course, Yitzchak was surprised.

Also yesterday, Shlomo told me, “shan, shan.”  It took me a few minutes to figure out what he wanted, and then I understood.  “Lishon,” to sleep.  Or at least, I thought I understood.  I decided to find out if I was right.

“Atah rotzeh lishon (do you want to sleep)?” I asked.

“Yeah?” he answered.

“You want to go to sleep?”


“Az im atah rotzeh lishon telech l’mitah shelcha v’neileich lishon (so if you want to go to sleep, go to your bed and we’ll go to sleep),” I said.

He gets up and starts walking towards his bed; when he gets there, he points in – pick me up and put me in my bed.

Oops, Shlomo, you’re caught red-handed.  You don’t know Hebrew?  Umm, I think you were ignoring the ganenet, who is nice and wants to make sure that if you’re having a hard time, we get you some help right away.  I gave Shlomo a talk about listening to the ganenet.  Then Yitzchak called, I told him the story, and he told me to tell Shlomo that he’d be in trouble if that happened again.  I relayed the message and Shlomo’s face suddenly got really serious.

Today, Yitzchak took Shlomo to gan.  He told the ganenet that Shlomo was ignoring her, and gave Shlomo another speech.  When Yitzchak came to pick Shlomo up in the afternoon, the ganenet told him that she’d spoken to him in Hebrew, all day, with her hands behind her back (so she wouldn’t give him any clues), and that he did everything she told him.  She was pretty surprised that he knew Hebrew this well, and even more surprised to hear that Shlomo has been using the word, “bo,” at home.  Then Yitzchak told Shlomo in Hebrew to come to him, and then to bring his backpack.  Shlomo looked at him, thought for a second, and listened.

People used to tell us that Shlomo doesn’t know Hebrew (and won’t) because we speak English at home.  Honestly, I wonder which language Shlomo understands better – English or Hebrew (and I’ve wondered that for a while).

One thought on “Does He Know Hebrew?

  1. Pingback: Potty Training, Round 2: Failed | Little Duckies

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