Shemot Muzarim (Strange Names)
By SHARI DASH GREENSPAN
This children's book
makes a great Hebrew learning tool for parents and children (see review). By
special arrangement with the author,JBooks.com presents her translation of the
book's text, keyed to the original's page numbers, as an aid to parents who
would like to use the book with their children.
In my Gan, that’s my “kindergarten,” in Israel,
There are 35 kids and I know them all well.
There’s one weird thing, though, that I really don’t get—
Their parents gave these kids the strangest names yet.
Their names are in Hebrew, I’ll “explain” them to you,
And then you will see how these names are strange, too.
Come into my Gan with me, stay for the day.
You’ll meet all the kids who were named a strange way.
Yitzchak means “he’ll laugh” but his jokes make us groan.
Zecharia, “God remembers,” forgets things at home.
(page 8) Shlomo means “perfect” but he looks all wrong.
(page 9) Shira won’t join in when we sing a “song.”
Adina means “gentle” but sometimes she’s not.
Simcha means “happy” but she cries a lot.
We ask for a “favor” but Tova won’t share.
When Liraz “has a secret,” it’s spread everywhere.
Malka’s no “queen”—she’s just dressed up that way,
Tirza means “willing” but she will not play.
Mazal is not “lucky”—she just broke her arm.
And Chen thinks that she can just paint on her “charm.”
(page 14) Rafi, the “doctor,” can’t fix all your aches.
(page 15) Effie, the “baker,” makes really weird cakes.
We play Duck-Duck-Goose, run around just a little,
Then Shalom gets tagged—needs to sit in the middle.
Though his name means “peace,” Shalom doesn’t play fair
And he never makes up—he won’t do pinky-square.
Chanan means “he begs” but he’ll never say ‘Gimme.’
Natan means “he gives” but we all know he’s stingy.
Tom, who looks “innocent,” always starts fights,
And Ram is the shortest though his name means “heights.”
Lilach, the “lilac” can’t grow in a garden.
Shaked is no “almond tree,” I beg your pardon.
Dror’s not a real “sparrow”—his feathers aren’t fluffed.
Ro’i’s not a “shepherd”—his sheep are all stuffed.
Binyamin, “of my right hand,” writes words with his left.
Keshet means “rainbow,” but she loves black best.
Sivan, who’s “the fourth month,” was born in the twelfth.
And Yisrael, “Israel,” was born somewhere else.
(page 24) Nadav does not dare “volunteer” for the teacher.
(page 25) And Yaakov won't “follow” in follow-the-leader.
(page 26) When our teacher says, “Time to clean up for the day,”
(page 27) Asaf, the “collector,” continues to play.
Eran, means “awake,” but he needs a nap badly,
And Avi, “my father,” is not a real daddy.
Keren does not have a “horn” that’s for sure.
Batsheva, “I’m seven,” is really just four.
I don’t see how their parents give all of these kids
Such really strange names—not one of them fits!
There’s only one girl here whose name seems to go.
It fits her quite perfectly, matches just so.
Her parents gave her the best name there could be...
(page 32) That girl’s name is Yaffa, that’s “pretty,” that’s ME!