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Paradise Lost - ?מאיפה את

December 17, 2015

 

גן עדן

The Garden Of Eden. Lost. 

 

When I muster up the nerve to speak Hebrew in a store or restaurant I am invariably met with a response in English. Sometimes this happens because native born Israelis are so anxious to speak English they will use any opportunity to do so. Sometimes, it happens because they think they are doing me a favor by answering in language that I am comfortable with. And some times it is just stam (סְתָם) - just because. But often it is because they think they know better than I do, what language I want to speak. Please -- I am working on my accent. Let me try. 

 

Once we get over the English/Hebrew discussion - often resolved by my continuing to speak Hebrew until they give up on the English - we move on to the inevitably question: 

 

."?מאיפה את"

Where are you from? More properly expressed according to every teacher I have had as "?מאין את" - which no one says. In any event, the question comes up as soon as they hear me speak. 

 

I always answer somewhat truthfully - New York (born and raised in Canada - but that is another long story). 

 

Immediate reaction in bad English. "You come from New York? Where is New York?"

 

I answer, "Manhattan". 

 

Immediate response: "You left Manhattan and came here? New York is the best. The best place in the world. It is Gan Eden. Why would you leave?"

 

There is no acceptable answer to that question.

 

 

 

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