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How Do You Say ‘Podcast’ in Hebrew?

Now there’s a word for it…

Liel Leibovitz
February 15, 2018

Every few years, the Academy of the Hebrew Language is faced with new challenges, tasked with translating words with which the language of the Bible has little or no experience. Like podcast: Now a popular medium, the term—a portmanteau of “iPod” and “broadcast”—left Hebraists scratching their heads. What should the proper Hebrew term be?

Ever the good sports, the Academy posed the question to the public, receiving more than 1,200 replies from enthusiastic podcast listeners. Some wrote in to suggest Shmion, which comes from Shema, or hear, and is diminutive and sweet. Others advocated for Ta-Shema, which, loosely translated, means listening cell. Many wanted to resurrect Taskit, a beautiful and old-fashioned word for radio play (think Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds), and a handful of punsters proposed Taskis, an amalgam of Taskit and Kis, meaning pocket.

But six lucky winners came up with the mot juste: Hesket, which is a nod to Taskit but also evokes the word Hasket, which means listen up.

Now you know. And if you’re looking for something to liven up your Thursday, there’s our very own Unorthodox, the world’s greatest Jewish podcast. I mean, Hesket. Listen here.

Liel Leibovitz is editor-at-large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One. He is the editor of Zionism: The Tablet Guide.

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