Firgun (Hebrew: פירגון) is an informal modern Hebrew term and concept in Israeli culture, which describes genuine, unselfish delight or pride in the accomplishment of the other person. Another definition describes firgun as a generosity of spirit, an unselfish, empathetic joy that something good has happened, or might happen, to another person. The concept does not have a one-word equivalent in English.[1][2][3][4][5] The infinitive form of the word, lefargen, means to make someone feel good without any ulterior motives. This absence of negativity is an integral part of the concept of firgun.[2]


The word can be traced back to the Yiddish word farginen (a cognate of the German word vergönnen). A relatively modern addition to Hebrew, the word was initially used in the 1970s, and gained momentum in subsequent decades. According to Tamar Katriel, professor of communications in the University of Haifa, firgun differs from giving compliments, since it is "about an affinity that is authentic and without agenda".[1] The concept of firgun can be found in Talmudic Hebrew as ayin tova or ayin yafa - "a good eye". Those phrases are not commonly used in modern Hebrew.[3][6][7][8]

International Firgun DayEdit

In 2014, Made in JLM, an Israeli non-profit community group, set out to create "International Firgun Day", a holiday celebrated yearly on July 17, where people share compliments or express genuine pride in the accomplishment of others on social media.[9][10][11][12] To help promote the holiday, Made in JLM holds an overnight marketing hackathon at the night before July 17 and an online automatic firgun-generating tool in several languages, called the firgunator."[13][14]

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit


  1. ^ a b Carmon, Irin. HEBREW’S SPECIAL PRIDE. Tablet Magazine; June 18, 2012
  2. ^ a b Kordova, Shoshana. Word of the Day / Firgun: The art of tooting someone else's horn Haaretz. Aug. 25, 2014
  3. ^ a b Firgun. Balashon. March 07, 2010
  4. ^ Miriam Ben-Peretz, Shifra Schonmann. Behind Closed Doors: Teachers and the Role of the Teachers' Lounge. p.32. State of New York University Press, 2000
  5. ^ Bloch, Linda‐Renée. "Who's Afraid of Being a Freier: The Analysis of Communication Through a Key Cultural Frame." Communication Theory 13.2 (2003): 143.
  6. ^ Collins, Liat. "Say what? Firgun." Jerusalem Post. May 7, 2015
  7. ^ Bíró, Tamás. "Weak Interactions Yiddish influence in Hungarian, Esperanto and Modern Hebrew." On the Boundaries of Phonology and Phonetics: 123.
  8. ^ Katriel, Tamar. "Lefargen: A study in Israeli semantics of social relations." Research on Language and Social Interaction 26.1 (1993): 31-53.
  9. ^ Firgun: An optimistic little word.
  10. ^ Aslan-Levy, Eylon. "The Firgun: Israel’s Secret Weapon". July 17, 2014. The Times of Israel.
  11. ^ Davis, Barry. Spreading the good word. Jerusalem Post. July 2015
  12. ^ Shamah, David. Jerusalem techies show each other, and the world, a little love. Times of Israel. July 16, 2015
  13. ^ Ravitsky, Michael. Social Media Strategy for Creating Something Out of Nothing. August 11, 2014
  14. ^ Firgunator