Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ah Gut (T)Zimmer!

I love a good play on words and this one fell right into my lap. It began when Bill came home from shul after Shavuos and wished everyone "ah gut zimmer" (a good summer), the customary Yiddish greeting for after the Shavuos holiday when summer seems suddenly upon us - even if the calendar won't make it official until June 20.

Villa Rimona
A few days later, I received an email from Chana Veffer, proprietress of Villa Rimona, a beautiful place to stay in the peaceful, northern town of Yavne'el which Bill and I had the pleasure of visiting on our last trip to Israel. Chana's request: "If you know anyone who may be visiting the Golan and Galil (this summer), please let them know about our guest zimmers". Zimmer, in this case, is a whole 'nother word - one which I thought was spelled/pronounced "tzimmer". A quick Google search led me to Balashon, the Hebrew Language Detective, who gave me exactly what I was looking for:

"As the summer begins, we see a lot of Israelis looking for a tzimmer - usually in the North. In Modern Hebrew, (tzimmer) refers to a country guest house - a 'bed and breakfast'. The word comes from the German zimmer - meaning 'room'. Zimmer has the same source as the English word timber, since most rooms in Germany were made of wood." (Much to my pleasant surprise, the Hebrew Language Detective turns out to be none other than the husband of "A Time of the Signs" which I've linked to in previous blog posts. What a terrific team they are!)

K'far Zippori
So it looks like tzimmer and zimmer are both correct but for the purpose of this post, I'll use "zimmer" for "summer" and "tzimmer" for "B&B". In case "tzimmer" makes you think four walls and an outhouse, think again. Sometimes deceptive from the outside, tzimmerim (pl.) offer everything from jacuzzis to cable TV on the inside. Most have minimal-yet-functional kitchen facilities and some even provide four-legged friends to accompany you around the grounds. If you're a wise Israeli, you booked your tzimmer for this zimmer many months ago in order to get the best location, size, amenities and near-by attractions to make your zimmer vacation a wonderful one. But there are surely still some excellent tzimmer opportunities available for procrastinators.

All this talk of tzimmers in the zimmer got me reminiscing about some of the lovely places we stayed during our kids' chofesh ha'gadol (literally, "big vacation" as Israeli schools' summer break is called). At K'far Zippori, breakfast was delivered to the door of our cozy cabin - the cheese, straight from the goats on the moshav; the vegetables fresh from the local fields. This provided a rare, exciting opportunity for us Jerusalemite city mice to practice taking t'rumot and ma'asrot (agricultural tithes) from the country fresh produce.

Neve Ativ
Neve Ativ was another delightful vacation spot. Nestled at the foot of the Chermon (Mount Hermon) in the Golan, it is Israel's answer to a Swiss chalet in the Alps. The surrounding scenery was spectacular and the close proximity to Israel's highest peak was a real treat.

One of the nicest things about getting away in the zimmer was to Remember Jerusalem and look forward to returning to the holy city that we were privileged to call home. Whether you'll be vacationing this year in Israel or in chu"l  (chutz la'Aretz - outside the Land), I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you fine accomodations, rest and relaxation and a safe return home (ideally with an upper case "H"!). In other words...Have a Very Gut (T)Zimmer!


  1. We enjoy meeting new people from all over the world and it was such a pleasure hosting you and Bill last spring at Villa Rimona in. Thanks for the lovely mention. Come back soon!

  2. A good tzimmer and zimmer to you as well! I'm so glad that you enjoy our little blogging family, it's nice to have a fan :)

  3. As always, you make me happy that I get to live in this little paradise of ours... and prayerful and expectant for the day my friend Shprintz is back Home for good!