While Israel is certainly an ancient land with its people being rooted there for thousands of years, it is also a nation of immigrants, who have all brought culture and history along with them from the far corners of the earth as they gathered back to Israel. Nearly everyone is within the first five generation in Israel, if not less. in 2021, over 20,000 people made aliyah to Israel from around the world, bringing food, culture and customs with them.
So where are a few places you can you see these cultural influences and the melting pot that is Israel?
While Hebrew, a resurrected ancient language, is the official language of Israel, there are other languages spoken in the country including English, Arabic, and Russian. Another language spoken by nearly 250 thousand people in Israel is Yiddish.
Yiddish is a mix of Hebrew, Aramaic, germanic languages and the romantic languages that is written with the Hebrew alphabet. This language developed in Europe by Jews during the second diaspora. Around 85% of those murdered in the Holocaust were yiddish speakers.
Today, many yiddish words have found their way into normal conversational speech, and it’s no wonder. With most of today’s Israelis having had family members who were victims of the Holocaust, family influence and passed down tradition certainly has made it’s footprint.
Words you many here in Israel in regular conversation that are actually yiddish include;
Nu: “Come on”, “Spit it out”, “Let’s get on with it”
Mazel Tov- Yes, mazel tov is of Hebrew origin, but it’s current usage actually comes from yiddish. While in ancient Hebrew the phrase meant “good constellations” or basically “good luck”, yiddish turned it into more of a congratulatory phrase. This is an instance where it has influenced each other!
Melting Pot of Food
Many people love the food in Israel when they visit and it’s no wonder! The country boasts fresh ingredients grown right in Israel and it flavors and recipes that people rave about. Some of the dishes that are seen as staple in Israel however are transplants, brought back from around the world through diaspora.
Israel is both a land of ancient culture and immigrants, all at one time. It’s truly unique!
So, what dishes have been influenced by other place in the world? In a word: Everything.
Israel’s main staples are all from other parts of the world. Falafel and humus’s earliest for came from Egypt thousands of years ago. Shwarma comes from Turkey. Shnitzil is straight from Berlin, though there is history saying that the breaded and fried meat was actually a Roman dish originally!
No doubt though that this melting pot has put its own spin on all these dishes. There are foods you certainly must try! Click here to read more about foods to try when you visit Israel with Immanuel Tours.
There are many other ways that you see the melting pot of Israel, but you should come see for yourself! Contact one of our helpful associates today to begin planning your tour today!