Fun facts & enrichment

WHERE, WHEN and HOW MUCH in Hebrew

In Israel, when we don’t understand something, we say it’s like Chinese, “Ze kmo Sinit”. That’s because Chinese seems like a very complicated language. It has weird letters and even weirder pronunciations of words. When I traveled to China a few years ago, I couldn’t understand much of what the locals were saying. But I learned that you don’t have to understand words to communicate. You simply need to smile and use a lot of sign language. But, knowing the local language always gets a larger smile from the locals. So, here are some useful words in Hebrew, which you can learn for your trip to Israel.

In Israel, you can talk in English freely with us locals. Many of us will understand. But still, if you want to learn a few basic words, this post will teach you how to ask questions in Hebrew. I will be focusing on three words: WHERE, WHEN, and HOW MUCH (which is one word in Hebrew). When I was traveling alone in China, I felt those three words were very useful. They helped me search for the restroom, find a specific attraction, wait in line for a show, and bargain over a nice necklace I wanted. So, I believe those words would be useful for you while traveling in Israel, too!

The post was last updated on 18 November 2021.


Want to learn more words in Hebrew?
Read – Shalom! 10 Useful Words and Phrases in Israel.

Clarification: When I write “ch” it’s supposed to represent the Hebrew letter “ח” or “כ”. It’s a sound coming from within the throat. To hear it, you can enter this site, which I found very useful.

Table of contents:

How to ask “WHERE” in Hebrew?

How to ask “WHEN” in Hebrew?

How to ask “HOW MUCH” in Hebrew?


How to ask “WHERE” in Hebrew?

In Hebrew, “Where” is “Ei-fo”. If you want to ask “Where is the _____?” you need to ask: “Eifo ha-____?” There is no “is” in Hebrew. “Ha” means “the” and you use it very often when asking the WHERE question, as a prefix of the place or thing you’re looking for. Here are some WHERE questions you might want to ask:

Where is the restroom?

In Hebrew, you ask: “Ei-fo ha-shiru-tim?” Usually, you’ll find restrooms in restaurants. But in most cases, you’ll be asked to buy something to be able to use them. In other cases, they don’t mind you using them. Bars also have restrooms in them. You might have to pay 1-3 Shekels to enter some restrooms at bus stations or other touristic areas.

Where is my hotel?

You probably won’t ask strangers on the street “Where is my hotel?” because they won’t know which hotel you’re talking about. On the other hand, you can ask “Where is *the name of your hotel*?” This is very simple. You just ask “Ei-fo…” and put in your hotel’s name. For example, if you’re looking for Abraham Hostel, you can ask: “Ei-fo Abraham Hostel?” 

Where is the bus station?

If you want to ask where is the Central Bus Station, you can ask “Ei-fo ha-mer-ka-zit?” which means “Where is the Central?” When you say “mer-ka-zit” (“central”), the Israelis will understand and give you directions to the city’s central bus station.

If you’re looking for a specific station, you should know what bus line you are looking for. When you know your bus line, ask: “Ei-fo ha-ta-cha-na shel kav *your bus number*?” which means “Where the station of line *your bus number*?” “Ta-cha-na” means “station”, “shel” means “of” and “kav” means “line”. But how do you say your bus number in Hebrew? Look into this Wikipedia page and learn the basics.

Where is the train station?

Planning to travel with Israel Railways to Tel Aviv, Haifa, Be’er Sheva, or Jerusalem? You can see the full list of stations in Israel Railway’s official site. The price of a train ticket is usually a bit higher than a bus ticket. But if you want to get somewhere faster, the train is the way. If you don’t know where is the train station, ask “Ei-fo ta-cha-nat ha-ra-ke-vet?” As I’ve already mentioned above, “ta-cha-na” is “station”. “Ra-ke-vet” means “train”. We add a “t” to the “ta-cha-na” to show that the station belongs to the train. 

If you’re in Jerusalem, most people use the light train (“Ra-ke-vet ka-la”), which goes through the city itself.

Need more information about public transportation in Israel?

Read – Full Guide to Public Transportation In Israel.

How to ask “WHEN” in Hebrew?

In Hebrew, “When?” is “Ma-tai?” This word is useful when you’re waiting in line for something. For example, when you’re waiting for your food to arrive in a restaurant or when waiting for a bus or train. Keep in mind that in Israel, not everything comes on time. Many times you’ll discover that Israelis have their own time. So, here are some useful WHEN questions for you:

When will it arrive?

In Hebrew, “it” is “zeh.” When I say “it”, it could be the food (“O-chel”) you ordered, the package (“Cha-vee-la”) you sent, or the bus (“Auto-bus”) you’re waiting for. If the person you’re talking to mentioned the “it”, you can ask in response: “Ma-tai ze ya-gi-ah?” which means “When will it arrive?” But if the person didn’t mention the “it”, you’ll need to be more specific.

If you want to ask when your food will arrive, ask “Ma-tai ha-au-chel ya-gi-ah?” If you want to ask when the package will arrive, ask “Ma-tai ha-cha-vee-la ta-gi-ah?” Why do we say “ya-gi-ah” when we ask about the food and “ta-gi-ah” when we ask about the package? That’s because in Hebrew grammar, the food is masculine and the package is feminine. Maybe I’ll write about gender grammar later on.

And if you want to ask when will your bus arrive, ask: “Ma-tai ya-gi-ah kav *your bus number*?” You can also ask “Ma-tai ma-gi-ah kav *your bus number*?” which means “When does line number ____ arrive?” If you’re not sure if your bus has already passed and you’ve missed it, you can ask: “Kav *your bus number* ah-var?” which means “Line ____ passed?”

When does it start?

“It” can be the show or the event you’re waiting for. In Hebrew, ask: “Ma-tai ze mat-chil?” which means “When does it start?” “Zeh” means “it” and “mat-chil” means “starts”. You can also ask “Ma-tai ze ya-tchil?” which means “When it will start?”

How to ask “HOW MUCH” in Hebrew?

In Hebrew, “How much?” is “Ka-ma?” It’s important to know how to ask “how much” in Israel, because everything has a price and with this word you can start bargaining. Bargaining is very common in Israel. You can negotiate over many things: the prices of the vegetables in the Market (“Shuk”), the entry fee to sites that only accept cash, and the taxi fee.

If you want to ask how much something costs, you can ask: “Ka-ma ze au-leh?” which means “How much it costs?” If you want to know how much it will cost you to take a taxi ride to a specific location, you can ask the driver: “Ka-ma oleh le *the name of your destination*?”  which means “How much does it cost to *your destination*?” Make sure to ask BEFORE getting on the taxi. If you don’t like the price, you can try negotiating and lowering the price. “Oleh” means “costs” and “le” means “to”.

You can also use “ka-ma” when asking about time. For example, “how much time will it take?” (“Ka-ma zman ze yee-kach?”) or “how much time does it take?” (“Ka-ma zman ze?” or “Ka-ma zman ze lo-ke-ach?”) “Zman” is “time”. If you want to talk in short, you can just ask “Ka-ma zman?” You should ask “ka-ma zman” when things are taking too long. It will show the other side that’s you’re impatient.


It’s fun to learn Hebrew, right? I hope I’ve given you some useful words in Hebrew. They should help you interact with Israelis and get what you want. Happy travels in Israel!

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If you have anything to add or if you want to know how to say some specific words in Hebrew that don’t appear here – you’re welcome to ask in the comments or through my Facebook Page.

Happy days and good luck with your Hebrew studies,


Fun facts & enrichment

Shalom! 10 Useful Words and Phrases in Israel

Shalom, everyone! Today I want to give you some words that might come in handy for you while traveling in Israel. Language is an integral part of a culture. So, learning the language of the country you’re visiting can really enhance your experience! Most of the people in Israel understand English very well, but if you want to learn some basic Hebrew… Here are some words and phrases that can help you start a very small conversation.

Clarification: When I write “ch” it’s supposed to represent the Hebrew letter “ח” or “כ”. It’s a sound coming from within the throat. To hear it, you can enter this site, which I found very useful.

Post last updated on 14 November 2021.

Learn greetings in Hebrew:

Shalom (שלום) – We don’t really use it a lot anymore. These days we just say “Hi” or “Bye”, but in the past, people in Israel used those words to say “Hello” and “Good-Bye”. We still use it sometimes, so you’re welcome to say it, especially as a hello-greeting. “Shalom” also means “peace”. If you’re speaking to an Arab, you can say: “Ahlan” or “Marchaban” as a greeting.

Ma Kor-eh? (מה קורה) – This phrase usually comes right after the “Hi” and is actually a part of the greeting. “Ma kor-eh?” actually means “What’s up?” or more precisely, “What’s going on (with you)?” When people say “Hi, ma kor-eh?” it doesn’t necessarily mean that they want to really know how are you feeling. It’s just a way to say “Hello”. But sometimes people really do ask you “Ma kor-eh?” and want to hear an answer. If you want to ask “How are you doing/ feeling?” you can also ask “Ma shlom-cha?” (more formal. When you talk to a female you need to say “Ma Slom-ech?”) or “Ma nish-ma?” And yes, if you wondered, “Ma” means “What”, just so you know… In Arabic, you can ask: “Kayf halik?”

Tov (טוב) – You can use this word to say that you’re feeling good or to say “OK”. “Tov” literally means “Good”, but you can also use if to let someone know that you got what they asked you to do and are going to do it. Add an understanding nod.

Times of the day:

Bo-ker Tov (בוקר טוב) – “Bo-ker tov” means “Good morning” and is a very common greeting. In Arabic it’s “Sabach al-chayr”.

Lie-la Tov (לילה טוב) – “Lie-la tov” means “Good night” and is a common saying, too, especially when you’re leaving after meeting with someone in the evening. If you want to say “Good evening” you need to say “E-rev tov”. In Arabic “good evening” is “Masaa’ al-chayr”.

Learn manners in Hebrew:

To-da (תודה) – “To-da” means “Thank you”. You can say “Toda” when someone helps you with directions, when you get your order in a restaurant, when you get off a cab or any other time. It’s always nice to hear! If you really want to show your gratitude, you can say “To-da Ra-ba!” which means “Thank you very much!” In Arabic, you can say: “shukran”. 

Be-va-ka-sha (בבקשה) – “Be-va-ka-sha” means “please”. You won’t hear it a lot in Israel, because people here usually don’t ask for things, but who knows… maybe you’ll need it. Waiters usually say it when they bring food to your table, meaning “Here you go…”

Yes and no:

Saying “Yes” or “No” – “Yes” is “ken” and “no” is “lo”. “Lo” also means “not”, so if you’re not feeling good, for instance, you can reply to “Ma kor-eh?” with “lo tov”.

Saying your name:

If you want to introduce yourself, you can just say “Ani (your name)”. “Ani” means “I” and this is a very common way of introducing oneself. If you want to say it more officially, you can say: “Ko-rhim li (your name)”. “Ko-rhim” (קוראים) means “is called” and “li” means “for me” and together they mean “my name is…” In Arabic you can say: “Ismi (your name)”. When you say your name, people will usually say theirs, too. But if for some reason they don’t say their names, you can ask them: “Eich ko-rhim lecha?” (when you speak to a male) or “Eich ko-rhim lach?” (when you speak to a female). “Eich” (איך) means “How”, “Lecha/ Lach” (לך) means “for you” and all the sentence together means “How are you called?”

“Name” in Hebrew is “Shem” (שם).

Where are you from?

If you want to say where you are from, you can just say: “Ani mi (your state or city)”. “Ani” means “I”, “mi” means “from” (sometimes people might say “meh” instead of “mi”) and together they mean “I’m from…”

Here are a few names of countries in Hebrew. Maybe you’ll find your place here:

Germany/ Deutschland = Ger-man-ya (גרמניה).

Poland = Pol-in (פולין).

Britain/ England = Brit-an-ya (בריטניה) / An-Glee-ya (אנגליה).

Russia = Roo-si-ya (רוסיה).

Nederland = Holland (הולנד).

France = Tzar-fat (צרפת).

Italy = Ital-ya (איטליה).

USA = Artz-ot A-brit (ארצות הברית).

“I don’t understand”:

What if you can’t understand what they’re saying? Say “Ani lo me-vin” (if you’re male) or “Ani lo me-vina” (if you’re female). That means “I don’t understand”.

Want to learn more Hebrew?

Check out – WHERE, WHEN and HOW MUCH in Hebrew.

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That’s all for now. If you really want to know how to say something else, you’re welcome to ask in the comments! I might add a few more posts about Hebrew in the future (more travel-related). Meanwhile, have fun learning!

And don’t forget to like my new Facebook page – Backpack Israel


Lior (: