This year's Pesach sedarim were on the larger side for us. Since one of my brothers, his wife, and their kids made aliyah 2 years ago, and the other brother with his wife and kids live near her sisters, it is usually just the four Raggedys at my parents' house. Going to Belgium for Yom Tov is not on the agenda, since RaggedyDad's family there is quite secular/assimilated. And since my parents live rather locally, we're there by default on Sukkos (no outdoor space for a sukkah) and Pesach. We've had all of the other holidays at home at this point, sometimes with my parents here, sometimes with friends, or alone.
This year, my oldest brother (who lives in the U.S.) came with his family for the first days of Yom Tov. For the first seder, my parents also hosted my mother's sister, and my father's brother's family from Israel. Specifically, my aunt and her 3 teenaged/20's kids - my uncle had to stay in Israel for work.
We moved here from Israel over 20 years ago, and it has been a long time since we've had a seder together with that side of the family. Having a seder with non-religious yet marginally traditional cousins who you feel close to yet have very little shared upbringing experiences with is an interesting way to get reacquainted! We had a nice time, and it was great to actually have them meet RaggedyDad and my kids.
They stayed almost until the end, since they were catching a flight to Orlando early the next morning.
The next night, a whole discussion got started (not by me!) about how "Israelis don't pronounce Hebrew words carefully or properly" which drove me a little crazy from a linguistic point of view, plus I just disagree with this take on things. But then again, the slang and alternate grammatical usage my students used in public school didn't bother me, beyond wanting the kids to also be comfortable with standard English for life outside the barrio. When I majored in linguistics, the philosophy was descriptive rather than proscriptive - describing and analyzing the way people DO speak rather than how they 'ought to.'
I tried (probably in vain) to convince everyone that if Israelis (including my father) are altering some obscure vowel construction to fit most closely with a Hebrew word they already recognize, it's not "wrong" as much as it's the nature of language used by native speakers of that language. Since to them, there is no prayer concept of every sound being relevant and exact, they are using the language as we all use our native languages. To communicate the meaning effectively. And in that regard, they are accurate and successful. If the word is "veyeKUDASH" and they recognize it as close to "veyeKADESH" and pronounce it that way, to me this is not only totally understandable, it is alright.
Sigh. What are your thoughts?