On The Seventh Day - Oh the Polyglotness Of It All!
So, here we are on the 8th day of our trip. What is interesting is the Shabbat lunch and the people who sit around the table and the polygotness of it all (I think I made up that word, but it fits.) So, starting at the head of the table is David. David (that's pronounced Dah-veed) was born in Morocco somewhere around 1926...to this day, he claims to be no older than 60, go figure) , moved to Israel in the 1956, and then to Paris, France several years later, where he resided until about two years ago when he moved to Montreal. David speaks mainly French, but also Hebrew and Arabic. He is my hub's brother-in-law, married to his siter, Laurette. Next to David is Maurice, hubs uncle, brother of his mother. Maurice was born in Morocco and as far as I know went directly to France in the 50's. He lives in Dijon, France. Maurice speaks French and Arabic. By the way, the Arabic that they speak is called Mugrabit. Mugrabit is to Arabic what Yiddish is to German. They both have the influence of Hebrew.
Next to Maurice is Nicole, Maurice's wife. Nicole was born and raised in France. Niclole speaks only French. Alongside Nicole sits Georgie, hubs sister-in-law, married to his brother Mordechai. Georgie was born in Egypt, of a Scottish father and Israeli mother. She was in Palestine before it became the State of Israel, as her father was in the British Military. When she married Mordechai she remained in Israel. However, work took their family to Uruguay for about 7 years and to Paris for about 4. Georgie speaks first Hebrew, then English, then French and some Spanish. Next sits Alizza, hubs other sister, who was born in Morocco, grew up in Israel, and went to study at the Sorbonne in France and met her future husband and remained there until recently. Alizza divorced, but stayed in Paris with her children, met another man who lived in France, but was Israeli. Alizza now lives mostly in Tel Aviv, with frequest junkets to Paris to be with her two daughters.
At the other head of the table sits Laurette (as fore mentioned) Laurette, like her hub, David, was born in Morocco, went to Israel, by way of a short stop-over in the French port of Marseilles, which was a port-of-call for most Jews who left Northern Africa for Israel. Laurette had her children in Israel, but raised them in Paris. She and David recently followed their daughter, Lea, her hub and children, to Montreal after becoming terribly discouraged by the anti-Semitism they saw growing worse daily in France. Laurette speaks first French, then Hebrew and Arabic. Having worked for the International Tribune, and now living in Canada, Laurette speaks a smattering of English words.
Sitting near Laurette is Ruby, the great mother figure of this large tribe. Ruby was born in Morocco, had her first 7 children there and the next 1 in Israel. Ruby speaks Arabic and Hebrew, with a little French. Next to Ruby sits yours truly, Sherril, better known as Sharona here in Israel. I was born in NJ...USA, raised there and still live there. I speak first English, then Hebrew, with a smattering of High School
Spanish and Italian, which I learned during my semester abroad in Florence, Italy. Next to me sits Mordechai. Mordechai, also born in Morocco, then to Israel to live his life, with the exception of those years he and his family lived in Uruguay and Paris. Mordechai is the Polyglot of all Polyglots. He speaks Hebrew, Arabic, French, Spanish and English. almost all equally well.
Alongside Mordechai sits another perfect polyglot, Gidon (pronounced Gee-done and Gideon in English.) I am not sure where Gidon was born, but he has lived in France, Switzerland, a few other countries in Europe and of course Israel. He speaks Hebrew, English, French and I think German. And, finally, next to Gidon sits, the hub, Haim. Haim was also born in Morocco, emigrated to Israel and has lived in the United States since 1979. Haim speaks English, Hebrew, Arabic and a little bit of French.
Such was my polyglot day in Beersheva, Israel, April 8, 2006. Also of interest was the food that this multi-lingual group ate today and many of them eat every יום שבת...Yom Shabbat...Saturday! The main deal at this meal is the traditional חמין...Chamin (pronounced with that gutteral CH sound- ah-mean.) In the Ashkenazi Jewish world (that being from Eastern Europe as opposed to the Sephardic Jews who are from the North African countries and today I believe also those from Iran, Iraq, and Syria are considered to be Sephardic) is called "Cholent" (pronounced cho-lent.) Chamin or cholent consists of beans (usually chickpeas, can be other beans), barley or rice, potatoes, whole eggs, vegetable oil and the meat is generally chuck or flanken). The trick and necessity of this dish is that is is cooked very slowly and for a very long time. Everything gets this brown color and it doesn't look so appetizing, but it is D*E*L*I*C*I*O*U*S.