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Cultural Sensitivity through Hebrew and English Animal Sounds!

Posted by Ellen Bari on 9/14/2020 to Israel

When Harry met Shula it was love at first sight. Harry was a nice American boy who had visited Israel. Shula was a nice Israeli girl exploring New York. The wedding, a tasteful blend of Middle Eastern and American customs, included a lovely ceremony performed in Hebrew and English.

When baby David was born, no one could have predicted the tiffs that ensued over the sounds that animals make.

Shula was teaching David that dogs say hav, hav, while Harry was teaching him that dogs say bow, wow.

Not only that, roosters don’t cock-a-doodle-do in Israel- they coo-koo-ri-koo! And you should hear what frogs say!

It turns out the way we hear and repeat animal sounds depends on the culture we live in and the language we speak. 

After numerous arguments over the “right” way to mirror dogs, frogs, birds and you-name-it, Harry and Shula came to understand that both were valid, and that David would have a richer experience if he learned animal sounds in both languages.

By viewing the same animals through different cultural lenses, Harry and Shula were  opening the door to cultural sensitivity. Even the youngest children can learn to embrace cultural differences without negativity, if we show them how. And a little can go a long way! When learning to respect and value others starts at home, it can grow to the larger community and even the world at large.

Does Your Dog Speak Hebrew? is a fun way to start expanding your child’s universe and explore Israeli culture. Plus you’ll bond by making silly animal sounds together, learning new Hebrew words, and talking about pictures of iconic scenes from American and Israeli cultures.  (Would you say that rooster is watching soccer or football?)


Thank you Joni Sussman and Kar-Ben Publishing for bringing this fun book of animal sounds into the world. Does Your Dog Speak Hebrew? takes its inspiration from a number of sources including American and Israeli nursery songs, my experience living and working in Israel, and lessons I learned about multicultural education and building early literacy skills while developing exhibits for the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.

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