Sunday, January 25, 2009

What's the Hebrew word for Uranus?

Granted , this headline sounds like the start of a sophomoric rude joke, and yes, boys, we do have scientific proof that we can see the rings around Uranus (nudge nudge, snigger) -- just check out the photo above.

It turns out that calling the heavenly orbs by their common Roman, ie pagan deity names, is anathema for some Israeli scientists. So today marks the start of a competition launched by the Hebrew Language Academy, which still lacks monikers for two big, cold planets in the outer limits of our solar system. Kosher nomenclature is long overdue for Neptune and Uranus. [No need to bother with Pluto, which is out of the running after astrophysicists demoted it to a lonely sub-category.] Anyone who can come up with a suitable Hebrew planetary name before May 12 should click here to submit it to a panel of judges, who will in turn submit a shortlist to a popular vote online.

For those who didn't know, here's a partial list of approved Hebrew terms for the planets (and Shabtai, it gives your name some real cachet!)

Mercury: Hama (not Hamas)
Venus: Noga
Earth: Eretz
Mars: Maadim
Jupiter: Tzedek
Santurn: Shabtai

Who knew?

1 comment:

Saleema said...

Indeed, who would have thought?

I once read an article in a Muslim magazine devoted to Sociology, that we needed to have our own (substitute Halal for Kosher here) terms for concept in Sociology/Psychology. Reasoning was that the name change would help Muslims understand the concepts better.

Some people have a lot of time on their hands.