"Mom, I want to learn Hebrew," my eleven-year-old daughter said.
"Why do you want to learn Hebrew?" I asked.
"I want to go to Israel like you did , and ride camels."
I wasn't sure you needed to know Hebrew to ride camels, but I'm all for learning languages, so I agreed to help her learn.
I used to know a little Hebrew, because I had taken some classes. But that was ten years ago and I was quite certain that I had forgotten everything I had learned, since my brain has atrophied into a gray blob of mush. I figured I wouldn't be much help. "Okay," I said. "Let's go to Barnes and Noble and find some Hebrew books."
That's what we did. On the way home, my daughter started reading Hebrew for Dummies . After about five minutes, the drama started. "Mom, this doesn't make sense!"
"What doesn't make sense?"
"There are masculine words and feminine words. Does that mean only girls can say the girl words, and the boys can say the boy words?"
"No," I said, and explained how in many languages, there are masculine and feminine nouns, and the articles and adjectives that preceed them have to reflect this.
She didn't get it. "Mom, this is stupid," she said. "This book is the dumbest Hebrew for Dummies ever!"
So now I'm thinking we should go back to the store and find Hebrew for Really Dumb Dummies. Or maybe we should just ride the camels and let them eat the book.