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Which Hebrew manifesto did we choose? (Hint: It’s about gender)

“Hebrew has a male and female tense for everything. We have three or four different words for moon, some female, some male.”

What do you mean when you say ‘tense’?
“I mean that not only are the nouns male or female, but also the adjectives and the verbs in a sentence will be either male or female to match the nouns. If you say ‘The girl is running', the form of the verb ‘is running’ will be female, and the verb will be different if the boy is running.”

Is that why you’ve made three translations of our manifesto into Hebrew?
“Yes. In Israel, most texts are just in male form, and sometimes there's an asterisk saying something like ‘We write in the male form but we also include women’. That’s the first version I made. The easiest way to make the text more modern and accommodating is to add a slash and last letters to the words so you can read both male and female forms, like if you were to write ‘shepherd/ess’ in English. For example, to the word ‘student’ you can just add a slash and the letter He, ה. That’s the second version of the manifesto.”

“I read that someone recently developed a new font so some of the letters can be read both ways, both male and female. In Hebrew, you have vowels, but also punctuation marks to change how you pronounce the words. When you learn to read, you’re taught the punctuation marks, and then later on, they’re left out because you recognize the words and know how to pronounce them anyway.”

Is the third version of the manifesto using that font?
“No. In that version, I am putting female before male - 'shepherdess/shepherd’. In both the second and the third versions, I only changed the singular form. Normally, you would only use the female plural if everybody in that group is female and use the male plural if it’s a mixed group.”

Which version should we take? I mean, one of our school values is ‘Inclusion’ …
“I would use the second one. This version with the slash just makes it easier and faster to read. It’s easier to read ‘shepherd/ess’ than 'shepherdesses/shepherds’. The text is shorter and you avoid all that repetition.”

Excellent! Thank you so much for not only translating our manifesto into THREE Hebrew versions but also giving us some guidance on which to choose and offering some interesting insights into Hebrew. I learned a lot.
“You’re welcome.”

You can see all the translations of our manifesto we have so far. Is your language missing? We’d be thrilled to hear from you and excited if you want to help us with our Mother Language project.