Saturday, June 03, 2006


As the summer begins, we see a lot of Israelis looking for a צימר tzimmer - usually in the North. What does the word mean?

In Modern Hebrew, it refers to a country guest house - a "Bed and Breakfast". The word comes from the German zimmer - meaning "room". (By "room" I mean "an area separated by walls or partitions from other similar parts of the structure or building in which it is located" - in Hebrew חדר - cheder; I don't refer to "a space that is or may be occupied" - in Hebrew מקום makom. There is a story of an American man driving in Israel, who when stopped by a female hitchhiker, mistakenly said "yesh li cheder" יש לי חדר when he meant "yesh li makom" יש לי מקום...)

Zimmer has the same source as the English word timber, since most rooms in Germany were made of wood.

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