Lonely Man of Cake

April 29, 2007

Creative, But Incorrect, Protest Sign

Filed under: Academia,Education,Hebrew,Israel — lonelymanofcake @ 5:33 pm

The Israeli universities, for those not in the know, have been on strike for almost three weeks now in protestation of a government committee’s plans to raise tuition by almost 300%.

Here is a creative sign (on the right) held at one of the many student protests.

The sign on the right is a parody of the חד גדיא song, which is the final part of the Pesah Haggadah. Here’s what the sign says:

ואתא דשוחט
ושחט לסטודנט
שכר לימודיא
בתרי זוזי

Translation and Commentary:
1. “And the Shochat came,” i.e., the committee convened by the government is led by a fellow whose last name is Shochat. That whoever put this cute sign together was trying really hard to imitate Aramaic is apparent in this line. Even though the linguistic style of the song in the Hagaddah is a mix of Hebrew and Aramaic (e.g., in the Hagaddah, this line reads ואתא השוחט, and not ואתא שוחטא, or whatever the Aramaic word for slaughterer is, with a terminal alef), nonetheless the students chose to add a “ד,” maybe to give the impression of Aramaic. Either way, with the daled, the translation is impossible, so I translated according to what they probably intended.

2. “And slaughtered the student.” This is a play on the name Shochat and its slaughtering connotations. This line is linguistically sound and fits with the song.

3. “Who pays.”

4. “Tuition fees.” Here’s another mistake in the Aramaic. The Hebrew phrase for tuition (fees) is שכר לימוד. The equivalent of the (pseudo) Aramaic here would be שכר לימודים, in the plural (which doesn’t translate into English).

5. “For two zuzim.” It looks like this line is a secondary addition. Not really sure what it has to do with the protest, unless it means that students formerly paid very little in tuition.

Yeah, going back to school might not be the worst idea.


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