Two posts by Nitza on Facebook today. I translate what Nitza writes in the post I show here first, which she posted after the amazing first (where her briefer intro is in English, & which i show here second) :

And who says we don’t have time after 70?
One- to two-minute sketches, to teach your hand, and each time anew… (:, to convey and to be part of the excitement of the encounter between the painter and the model.

nitza after70

nitza warmup



Gleanings from a Hebrew→English Translator’s Notes (1): On the Indefinite Article / with an intro, “ah, serendipitty! …”


ah, serendipitty! Looking through the files&folders directory on my hard disk that Jonathan rescued for me, bless him, i realized i have some other gleanings to do beside my collatings of memorings. So here’s the first of these… oh, & in the title pic I just made I added an additional [in fact the basic] meaning of the Hebrew word bayit – house; & this ambiguity too is interesting: in Hebrew the Temple is called the Bayit, the “House” (& the First Temple and Second Temple are called Bayit Rishon and Bayit Sheni, & present-day fomenters are planning a “Third Temple”, Bayit Shlishi). Not that my original translation was wrong, but it was inadequate: for most Hebrew readers the last words of Yehuda Amihai ’s wise & moving poem will be read first of all as “the House that was destroyed”, but for some the simpler meaning with its more comprehensive range will seep in as well. & i must add that I wasn’t expecting to write all this when I added ‘or simply: the house – & having written that, I realize I should add that bayit also means ‘home’ (you couldn’t translate into Hebrew the truth that “a house is not a home”), and that the country the Zionists have expropriated is also called the bayit [home] of the “Jewish people”, so that too is a meaning of this word in Amihai’s “the bayit that was destroyed”…

So here’s the first gleaning:

a blessing and a curse
a shame and a disgrace
a majority and a minority (or several minorities)
a history and a geography
a vision and a way
a hegemony and a plurality

it is most difficult to explain the uses of the indefinite article, especially when used with “abstract nouns”, to people who do not use indefinite articles as part of their everyday speaking and thinking.

blessing and curse are words for alternative options, but any particular event can be interpreted as both a blessing and a curse, or as a blessing or a curse, and in English you could not say this without using the indefinite article; in Hebrew you can only say
ברכה וכללה to refer to either a particular case or a philosophical opposition…

shame and disgrace are almost synonyms, and can be discussed generally as emotions or consequences of certain acts, but in any particular case one will say not that
”this is shame and disgrace”, but “this is a shame and a disgrace”.
again, in Hebrew you will say בושה וחרפה for both options.

history and geography are general ideas; you can study history and/or geography, but any particular place/time will have a history or even many histories) and a geography

there is vision (a faculty, sight, or the capacity to envisage a future) and there are visions, but when someone has a particular vision, we will speak of a vision; the word way cannot be used in a way that makes sense without either an article (indefinite or definite) or some other word before it as in “make way” (which in any case is short for “make a way”. Ben-Gurion. wrote a book called חזון ודרך, a title that I found on the Internet has been translated in 2 different ways, one Vision and Way, by someone who obviously doesn’t have the understanding I’m talking about here, because the book is not about vision, but about a vision that Ben-Gurion is propounding, or about “way”, which by itself makes no sense at all; the correct translation, which I also found there, is: A Vision and a Way.

so, as seen in all the examples above, when referring to a particular case, or using “abstract nouns” to present descriptions, be they alternative or synonymous or simply accumulative, we need to use the indefinite article. After (and only after) using it to describe a situation we can then particularize it further, using the definite article “the blessing was that x happened; the curse was that y happened”; “the history of X is complex, and the geography is very varied”.

Mahmoud Darwish محمود درويش מחמוד דרוויש: Two strophes آيتين שני בתים


English, Arabic, Hebrew below:

O you who pass between fleeting words
From you the sword — from us the blood
From you steel and fire — from us our flesh
From you yet another tank — from us stones
From you tear gas — from us rain
Above us, as above you, are sky and air
So take your share of our blood — and be gone
Go to a dance party — and be gone
As for us, we have to water the martyrs’ flowers
As for us, we have to live as we see fit.

O you who pass between fleeting words
As bitter dust, go where you wish, but
Do not pass between us like flying insects
For we have work to do in our land:
We have wheat to grow which we water with our bodies’ dew
We have that which does not please you here:
Stones… or shame
So take the past, if you wish, to the antiquities market
And return the skeleton to the hoopoe, if you wish,
On a clay platter
We have that which does not please you: we have the future
And we have things to do in our land.

أيها المارون بين الكلمات العابرة
منكم السيف – ومنّا دمنا
منكم الفولاذ والنار- ومنّا لحمنا
منكم دبابة أخرى- ومنّا حجر
منكم قنبلة الغاز – ومنّا المطر
وعلينا ما عليكم من سماءٍ وهواء
فخذوا حصتكم من دمنا وانصرفوا
وادخلوا حفل عشاء راقص.. وانصرفوا
وعلينا، نحن، أن نحرس ورد الشهداء
وعلينا، نحن، أن نحيا كما نحن نشاء

أيها المارون بين الكلمات العابرة
كالغبار المرِّ مُرّوا أينما شئتم ولكن
لا تمرّوا بيننا
كالحشرات الطائرة
فلنا في أرضنا ما نعمل
ولنا قمحٌ نربيه ونسقيه ندى أجسادنا
ولنا ما ليس يرضيكم هنا
حجرٌ.. أو خجل
فخذوا الماضي، إذا شئتم إلى سوق التحف
وأعيدوا الهيكل العظمي للهدهد، إن شئتم
على صحن خزف
لنا ما ليس يرضيكم، لنا المستقبل
ولنا في أرضنا ما نعمل

הוי העוברים בין המילים החולפות
מכם החרב – ומאתנו הדם,
מכם פלדה ואש – ומאיתנו בשרנו,
מכם עוד טנק – ומאיתנו אבנים
מכם גז מדמיע – מאיתנו גשם
מעלינו, כמעליכם, שמים ואויר
אז קחו לכם את חלקכם של דמנו –
והסתלקו !
לכו למסיבת ריקודים – והסתלקו !
ואנו, עלינו להשקות את פרחי נרצחינו.
ואנו, עלינו לחיות כפי שנראה לנו.

הוי העוברים בין המילים החולפות
כאבק מר, לכו לאן שתרצו, אך
אל תעברו בינינו כחרקים מתעופפים
כי לנו יש עבודה לעשות בארצנו:
לנו חיטה לגדל ולהשקות עם טל גופינו
לנו מה שלא תרוו ממנו נחת פה:
אבנים… או בושה
אז קחו את העבר, אם תרצו, לשוק העתיקות
והחזירו לבולבול את השלד, אם תרצו,
על מגש של חימר
לנו יש מה שלא תרוו ממנו נחת: את העתיד
ולנו יש מה לעשות בארצנו.

[I’ve edited  here English & Hebrew translations I found online, using the knowledge & tools available to me. Any informed suggestions for changes or corrections will be welcomed.]

כשאין בעברית-ישראלית מילים למילים המדייקות יותר

נסיוני לתרגם הקדמה קצרה וקולעת באנגלית ששיתפתי (עם הדגשות שלי) אתמול – לחצו על התמונה כדי להגדיל

My attempt to translate a short & incisive intro in English that I shared (with my emphases) yesterday . A complex task: I note here – & ask what it says about Israeli-Hebrew – that there are no words in it for ‘colonist’ or ‘colonised’ – click on the pic to enlarge.


PINK & GREEN THE WORLD! #ForEqualityForAll&ForViableEcology!


Here’s the story of what sparked this meme (though it’s only part of a bigger story): my Facebook friend Rachel Elior posted a status that so far has received almost 100 comments & many more likes. I translate the first two paragraphs (readers of Hebrew can read the entire post & the comments here):

‘A question – What in your opinion is the connection between the occupation that has continued for fifty years in which one people oppresses another people in a process of colonization of millions of human beings who have no civil and political rights in the Occupied Territories, and the numerous acts of violence by men (with positions of authority and rank and connections and power) against women who have no power or connections, are dependent and subordinate – acts that in various circles are called rape, forbidden intercourse by force or by consent, rape by dint of superior rank, acts of sodomy. torture, breaking the body and the psyche of the raped female, debasing her dignity as a human being and objectifying her while turning her into a vessel or object for satisfying the uncontrollable lust of men?
A reflection: Is the inability to relate to other human beings as human beings and to respect their humanity, their sovereignty, their liberty and their dignity, the common denominator?’

As I said, there were many comments to this status. I commented too (my translation):
‘It’s good that you raised this good question, Rachel. In my opinion, the connection’s a tight one. The principle that really rules in human “society” in our world is the power of privilege & the privilege of power: might is right.
By the way, the “Israeli”-Jewish occupation of Palestine (EY) has continued for almost 70 years, since the implementation of Plan Dalet on April 1, 1948.’

A little later I added another comment:
‘To further point my earlier comment: this principle can be summed up in one word: conquest/occupation. The conqueror is always tight. The conqueror does as he lusts. The conqueror dictates the history. No?
& another comment that I found in my feed that connects with what sparked the question raised here: in Hebrew ; my translation: ‘Buchris may have raped a female soldier or ten, but on the other hand he murdered lots of Arabs – so the State takes that into consideration.’

One person replied to my first comment. Eliahu Galil (my translation):
‘A pity. Because in other places everything’s pink and the dignity of women is not violated.’

For those who may not know this “everything’s pink” is an Israeli-Hebrew idiom for “everything’s wonderful”.

I replied:
‘Eliahu – read well. You responded to two sentences as if they were one. No, The principle of the conquering/occupying power rules in our entire still-patriarchal world. & see my additional comment further on. But thanks for mentioning the color pink. I’m thinking that this should indeed be the color of our struggle for a truly egalitarian world – together with green, the color of the struggle for the continuation of life on our planet. Let’s develop this…’

So, here’s the first outcome…