There’s an increasing interest in using Hebrew and other foreign languages on jewelry and tattoos. Even the Bieb and his pop have latched on to (or fomented) this trend. Whether it’s the mystique of using an ancient language or the beauty and abstraction (to non-speakers) in the script, the appeal is understandable. What is harder to fathom is how careless consumers and artisans can be in getting the translation of their work correct. There’s even a whole website devoted to such disasters.
Why I Googled it: I saw a ring via a Pinterest pin that claimed to have the Hebrew word “Kodesh” (meaning: sanctified, set apart) on it. Knowing some Hebrew, I was curious to know if the word was rendered correctly. Translation and design mistakes frequently occur because the Hebrew alphabet and right-to-left writing are unfamiliar to the artisan and the words do not always translate easily.
What I found out: There are various spellings (in Hebrew) of the word “kodesh.” This is due to the fact that vowels are designated by various symbols below, above, and within certain Hebrew letters. Which means that without vowels, it’s difficult to determine what a word is if it’s taken out of context.
Somewhat predictably, Strong’s Concordance was one of the first search results I checked that proved helpful. I looked up the word sanctified (#6942) and found that the word קדש is often translated as the verb “holy,” “sanctified,” or “set apart.” Wikitionary also captured this definition.
The ring I had seen used the word קדוש (note the additional letter vuv). When I originally searched for קדוש, without vowels, I found it translated as “kadosh,” meaning “speciality.” After additional research with Strong’s (#6918), I found that it is more frequently translated as either the noun or adjective form of קדש. The Hebrew Wikipedia entry(after running it through Google Translate) also supported the alternate spelling of the word.
This would seem to be the more accurate word choice for use on jewelry since it describes the person (or what they’re striving toward). This is the same word that is used in perhaps the most well-known of all Jewish prayers, the Shema Yisrael.
The takeaway: Based on these results, I concluded that the word used on the ring is indeed correct. And, in case you were wondering, Justin Bieber and his dad must have done their research, too, since their ink is the correct way to spell Jesus in Hebrew (which is Yeshua, more frequently Anglicized as the name Joshua).
If you need to gain some perspective on life, check out the Scale of the Universe 2, an updated interactive animation first published in 2010. The new version includes information on many of the featured elements. Starting at a common reference point – the size of an average human being – the slider lets you zoom waaaay out to see, for example, the largest galaxies photographed by Hubble and waaaay in to see, for instance, the smallest particles known (or hypothesized) by theoretical physicists.
Lest you think that this amazing animation is a big-budget product from some science-loving organization, think again. According to ABC News:
“Scale of the Universe 2″ was created by Cary Huang, a 14-year-old ninth grader from Moraga, Calif., with technical help from his twin brother Michael…”My seventh grade science teacher showed us a size comparison video on cells, and I thought it was fascinating. I decided to make my own interactive version that included a much larger range of sizes,” said Cary in an email forwarded by his mother. “It was not a school project — just for fun. However, my science teacher loved it so much she showed [it] to the class! My brother, Michael, helped me put it on the internet.”…Cary said he worked on the project, on and off, for a year and a half, getting information from Wikipedia and astronomy books.
Nice job, guys!
Jon Acuff recently recommended a couple of children’s books with encouraging messages, which I quickly added to my reading list (though unfortunately, our library doesn’t carry them yet). Coincidentally, I also recently came across some children’s books that stand out from the dozens we plow through monthly.
I often feel overwhelmed when I enter our local library to find new books that the kids will enjoy and that have a positive and meaningful message. Thankfully, our librarians regularly pluck out some of their favorites and place them on top of the low children’s bookshelves. I’ve taken to simply browsing these selections since it has resulted in many gems. Here are three that recently stood out.
moon rabbit (Natalie Russell). If you’ve ever experienced the desire to travel beyond your home, then had the conflicting desire to return to the comforts of home, you’ll appreciate this charming tale. Little Rabbit loves her city life, but longs to find her soul mate. One day she follows the sound of music to the country and finds Brown Rabbit, with whom she becomes fast friends. Hanging out in the countryside enjoying her new friend, Little Rabbit eventually longs for the familiar experiences of the city. The two new friends find a wonderful compromise in the final pages of the book.
Fletcher and the Falling Leaves (Julie Rawlinson). Fletcher is a young fox who loves his favorite tree. But something is terribly wrong as the tree begins to lose its leaves. Fletcher struggles as nature and other animals begin to prepare for Fall, but in the end finds that change isn’t so bad after all! You can hear the entire book read in this video.
You and Me, Little Bear (Martin Waddell). “Mommy, Daddy, play with me!” This is a refrain every parent hears countless times every day. Little Bear is no different and wants to play with his dad. But Big Bear has a busy day of chores that he can’t put off (sound familiar?). The two find out, however, that work and play do not have to be as different as we often make them out to be. Simple watercolor images make this a great anytime story.
In this visually stimulating TED talk, architect Thomas Heatherwick shows off some of the best designs inspired by biology in his portfolio. While some may go gaga over the famous Seed Cathedral, in a surprising conclusion to the presentation, Heatherwick reveals plans for high-rise apartments in Malaysia that are designed…upside-down. This unique configuration provides the economic benefit of creating more of the valuable top-floor real estate while also creating ample space for a natural rainforest ecosystem.
The before and after pictures below show how a seemingly simple adjustment in a traditional design – the “flip” – produced a dramatically new result (click each image for the full-sized version).
While he doesn’t explain structural aspects in his talk, the design does not seem especially suited to earthquake-prone regions (which seem to be increasing around the globe).
If you still think graphic novels are just for kids, check out this very serious novel, “The DOCS”. Designed by RTI International in collaboration with the Naval Health Research Center, this 200-page publication serves a critical population: active duty personnel deploying to war zones and their family and friends.
The story follows four fictional corpsmen as they deploy to Iraq with the Marine Corps and encounter insurgent attacks and roadside bombs, as well as deal with the emotional turmoil of treating the wounded and family issues at home.
Corpsmen Banks, Jackson, Mendez, and Wallace deal with insurgent attacks and roadside bombs, treat gravely wounded Marines, and wrestle with the emotional turmoil of leaving their families behind.
The Docs realistically portrays common concerns faced by our military personnel in war zones and serves as a discussion tool for lessening the stigma associated with combat/operational stress (COSC).
While the novel is set in Afghanistan, the encounters and lessons can be applied to any war zone. The story covers common sources of stress soldiers encounter before, during, and after deployment. But, while the story is easy to read, many of the scenarios are not easy to digest.
There’s the pain of a mother left behind to take on the responsibilities of her husband’s job and role as father.
Then there’s the soldier who disobeys orders because he can’t personally justify firing on a child.
You may be moved trying to understand the emotional pain of a medic knowing she can’t do anything to save a fallen colleague.
For anyone who has a direct or indirect tie to a warfighter, this novel is a must-read. It could even prove useful for those who support national defense efforts from the comfort of an office and may never get near a war zone.