The Gift of Hebrew

It’s Chanukah Time! Have you figured out what youre going to give during each night of Chanukah? Maybe, youre just going to give a gift on the First and Eighth day of the Holiday, but even then, what are you going to give? WellWhy not Hebrew?

Unfortunately, an amazing number of people studied Hebrew as a child, but over the years, they have let those Hebrew skills fall by the way side. Sometimes, as they become parents or enter their leisure years, the desire to learn Hebrew returns. In big cities, many of them take courses at the Jewish Community center, but in more remote places, many people turn to the computer to become their Hebrew teacher.

Several products from help children and adults to learn Hebrew, either for the first time, or to refresh their prior skills. The series of programs typically begins with “At Home with Hebrew”, their most beginner level program, that teaches a person how to read and write the Hebrew Alef-Bet (alphabet). After learning basic reading skills, the students go on to learn some basic grammar and vocabulary.

Hebrew Kindergarten is not just for kids. Its for anybody who wants to learn more advanced Hebrew grammar; this program assumes you know the basics, but it will make you comfortable reading Hebrew without vowel points and speaking and thinking in the language.

Something very special is Shirei Ha-Shabbat. This program teaches the basics of Jewish Liturgy for Shabbat. Again, this program assumes you already some basics about Hebrew grammar. The program highlights Shabbat Liturgy with two cantors from the Ashkenazi and Sephardi traditions. Its fun, delightful, and educational!

Selecting the right cantor for the job of recording was a challenge. One was finally found with an amazing, but easy-to-follow voice and pronunication. The software let’s you hear each word or line of the prayers, as you desire, at your own pace.

Children are often the focus of Hanukah. Jewish parents usually require their children to learn some basic Hebrew, even if their own skills have become rusty. The tutorials above, can be used by inividuals. But how much better, if parents and children learn Hebrew together?

Believe or not, Jews are not the only people learning Hebrew. Many Christians today have a growing interest in the original language of the Bible, and many are learning the basics of Jewish practices to better understand the Bible. It has been said that “all translations are commentary”, meaning that any English translation of the Hebrew scriptures cannot help but have ideas of the translator behind it.

Whether you celebrate Chanukah or Christmas, consider giving the “gift of Hebrew”. Any of the above tutorials can keep a student busy for months, so they are truly gifts that give all year round. Even if you miss the winter holidays, you can start Hebrew as a New Years resolution, or any time of the year.

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