“Back to the Basics—Hebrew Reading 101 for Adults” and “Advanced Hebrew Reading for Adults” are two new Zoom courses held weekly at Temple Judea for its members. Both enthusiastic groups of eager students are taught by Rabbi Todd Chizner, Cantor Deborah Jacobson and Lauren Resnikoff, Director of Education.
It is obvious that the pleasure of learning and teaching is a two-way street. The teachers are delighted to be helping their adult students to enlarge and deepen their knowledge of the language. Many of the students have been attending Shabbat services and other religious occasions over the years and have often recited the prayers by rote. They are now pleased to hear themselves reading the Hebrew and recognizing the words and phrases that they until now only knew by hearing them.
The purpose of the basic class is to familiarize the students with the names of the Hebrew letters as well as their pronunciation, gradually being able to read these newly-learned letters in actual Hebrew words. The class is given many opportunities to practice their new-found skills and derives much pleasure in their new ability to recognize and read these familiar words. The advanced class is for students who have some knowledge of Hebrew but want to sharpen their skills and to be more skillful in reading. The teachers also incorporate into the curriculum interesting historical facts and Biblical significance in many of the prayers and blessings studied by the students.
Many examples of the changes in modern Hebrew have taken place since the birth of Israel when Hebrew became its official language. Many of the Jewish people who immigrated to Israel in the first years of its becoming a state were from many parts of Eastern Europe and Russia, where Yiddish was the spoken language and the most widely-used Jewish language in the pre-Holocaust world. Many of the former Yiddish words and pronunciations were incorporated into Hebrew and these Yiddish words are now phasing out as new generations of Israel are speaking modern Hebrew.
Temple Judea is a Reform congregation, located at 333 Searingtown Rd., Manhasset. For more information, call 516-621-8049 or visit www.temple-judea.com. New members are welcome. The first year of membership is free.
—Submitted by Temple Judea