Facets of Faith: Travel to site to learn Hebrew sign messages

Associated Press file photo -- An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man walks in the Old City of Jerusalem. Jacob Richman's book includes photos of signs from the city and other sites.
Associated Press file photo -- An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man walks in the Old City of Jerusalem. Jacob Richman's book includes photos of signs from the city and other sites.

By LEILA PITCHFORD-ENGLISH

lenglish@theadvocate.com

For many religious people, a trip to the Holy Land is a dream.

However, Hebrew that you may have learned in Bible study won’t necessarily help you on the streets.

To get around Jerusalem, check out learn-hebrew-signs.com/, a free way to learn some modern Hebrew.

This site created by Jacob Richman includes more than 400 photos of signs, including street signs and signs from Old City of Jerusalem, Jerusalem Central Bus Station, Hebrew University, Hadassah Hospital, Israel Museum and Jerusalem Biblical Zoo.

Each page displays one sign. Underneath, the words are written in Hebrew and translated into English.

Some are ones we expect in the United States such as “Express line. Up to 10 items,” “Sale 50% Discount, Summer 2013” and various caution signs as well as signs that point to offices or restrooms.

Some are basic courtesy reminders: “You shall rise before the age. Please give up your seat for older people” and “Please don’t put feet on seats.”

Some are more ominous and reminders that, while a sacred place, Israel does have violence: “The two front seats near the aisle are reserved for security personnel in uniform” and “Dear passenger! Look around your seat — Report to the driver any suspicious object — Remember vigilance prevents a catastrophe!”

And of course, religion is in many signs, including this very Jewish one: “Kohanim (members of the priestly class in Judaism), please note! It is forbidden to pass under the foliage along the length of the cemetery wall because of ‘Tumat Ohel” (contact with the deceased under the same roof),” a sign on Bar-Ilan Street in Jerusalem.

From the homepage, click on the About tab to find a list of other Hebrew sites Richman has created. These include Hebrew jokes, puzzles and audio files.

Contact Leila Pitchford-English at lenglish@theadvocate.com or P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.