On teaching Hebrew
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On teaching Hebrew

January 13, 2019 10:08AM
One ongoing lament among day school educators is the inability to successfully teach Hebrew language skills to the students in their schools. Ivrit be-Ivrit instruction, once commonplace in many day schools in North America and across the globe, is in use less and less frequently. Even schools that were once bastions of Hebrew language instruction are begun to despair about its effectiveness.

This issue was revisited recently when the new chairman of the Jewish Agency called for Israel to devote resources to teach Hebrew to Jews around the world.

Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog has announced a new plan to teach Hebrew to Jews worldwide as "a Jewish national value and birthright privilege."

Herzog was laying down his vision as the agency's new leader in a speech to the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly.

"If Israel and the Jews of the Diaspora do not seek common ground … to courageously confront together the challenges of this new age, we are in danger of losing a significant part of the Jewish people," he said.

"Our first act should be to find a common language. When I say common, I mean both literally and figuratively. We have a rare and sacred national treasure: the Hebrew language.

"In order for us to be able to speak to one another and listen to one another and to debate, discuss, and delight one another, we must return to our national treasure. In order for us all to be able to embrace our rich history and dream of a flourishing future, we must enable every young Jewish person in the world to learn Hebrew."

The full article can be accessed at [www.israelhayom.com]

This topic has been discussed on Lookjed a number of times, with the most powerful statements coming from Professor Shawn Zelig Aster – then at Yeshiva University and currently at Bar-Ilan – who penned two articles on the subject. The first refers to an article that Professor Aster wrote for the Commentator, the Yeshiva College student newspaper, where he relates how he discovered that students entering YU -many of whom had studied in day schools for 12 years before spending a year or two in Israel - were functionally illiterate when they entered his Bible courses. The Lookjed post lays out a planned intervention program to assist those students in reaching a level of competency in the language.

Aster’s first Lookjed post, was entitled “Adventures in Literacy-Land” introduced the challenge and the suggested responses -

The second Lookjed post, entitled “Through the Looking Glass” was written a year later. It describes how the program was implemented and take-aways from the experience - [www.lookstein.org]


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/2019 10:16AM by mlb.
Subject Author Posted

On teaching Hebrew

Shalom Z. Berger January 13, 2019 10:08AM

Re: On teaching Hebrew

Shalom Z. Berger January 13, 2019 10:21AM

Re: On teaching Hebrew

Larry Kobrin January 13, 2019 10:23AM

Hebrew/English sound changes & idiom formation

Israel A. Cohen January 13, 2019 10:25AM

Re: On teaching Hebrew

Elisha Paul January 13, 2019 10:27AM

Re: On teaching Hebrew

Dania Shapira January 15, 2019 09:37AM

Re: On teaching Hebrew

Jeremiah Unterman January 15, 2019 09:32AM


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