Transliterated Hebrew

She says “brucha”, and he says “bracha”. They say let’s call the whole Seder off! I say wait! Transliterate!

Working on the transliteration of Hebrew-to-English in the Joyous Haggadah I have come to the conclusion that it is as much an art as a science.

There seem to be any number of standards of how to write the pronunciation and sounds of Hebrew with the English alphabet.

For instance, the Hebrew letter “Het” is also written “Chet,” but you won't know that it's pronounced gutturally unless you hear it spoken. Or the letter “Tsadek,” can also be spelled “Tzadik” or “Tsadeh.”

I relied on the expertise of my editor, Zelda Shluker, longtime managing editor of Hadassah Magazine who wrote

For English style, for instance, there is the New York Times, the AP stylebook, the Chicago Manual of Style—they are not the same. We follow NYT but with variations.

In Hebrew, it is the same…. The Jewish Publication Society has a style (and even published a book on it). There was an unofficial stylebook at Hadassah Magazine from before I came. Whatever style we used in the Joyous Haggadah, the most important thing was whether it read correctly and if we were consistent. Yes, some things could be different, but it doesn’t make what we did wrong.

So whatever you decide is the right pronunciation, stick with it. From your lips to God’s ear, it’s all good!