Fundamentals of Hebrew Language Classes

Fundamentals of Hebrew

Offered On Campus

Fundamentals of HebrewThis curriculum is designed for those who want to learn Hebrew by studying the range of Hebrew works, including modern and classical Jewish texts, the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), the Siddur (prayer book), classic Rabbinic works (Mishna) and Hasidic and modern Hebrew texts in their original authentic language. 

The five-semester sequence (Levels 1- 4 plus “Sources” class) utilizes an interactive and text-based curriculum. Students develop fundamental skills in all modalities of language acquisition and literacy: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Understanding the building blocks of Hebrew grammar allows students to excel in their full comprehension of the Hebrew Language.  Phonology, morphology, semantic, syntax and pragmatics are specifically addressed in each level of study in order to allow learners to develop mastery of text and communication in Hebrew.  The Fundamentals curriculum allows students to study Hebrew throughout its historical layers via diverse genres of the Hebrew literature. Levels 1 -4 are offered either noncredit status or for undergraduate credit; the “Sources” class may be taken for graduate credit or noncredit status.


All classes require purchase of a standard Hebrew-English dictionary. 






Understanding Texts 1


Th, 6:30-9:15 pm

4 UG


(Due to the High Holy Days, the first class meets on Monday, Sept. 23)

This course is designed for those with no prior knowledge of Hebrew who want to engage in the study of classical Jewish texts such as the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), the siddur (prayer book) and classic rabbinic and Hasidic texts — in the original Hebrew. Students will begin learning basic Hebrew grammar and vocabulary needed to read such texts. The pace of the course will be brisk and a significant investment of study time outside the classroom will be expected. The 20-session, yearlong course begins with an introduction to Hebrew grammar and the development of vocabulary. There will be some in-class conversation in Hebrew, but the emphasis will be on developing reading comprehension skills. 

Understanding Texts 3


W, 6:30-9:15 pm

4 UG


(Due to the High Holidays, the first class meets on Wednesday, Oct. 2)

This course is the third of the Understanding Hebrew Texts sequence. After completing volume III of the Shelabim textbook series, students will read selections from classical texts. Students will apply and extend their knowledge of Hebrew grammar to these texts and build their vocabulary, with the goal of enhancing their ability to independently read and understand Jewish texts in Hebrew. Wherever possible, connections will be made to Hebrew passages with which students are familiar from other contexts. The pace of the course will be brisk and a significant investment of time outside the classroom will be expected.
Prerequisite: Hebrew II, Understanding Hebrew Texts 2 

Sources: Reading in Hebrew


M, 6:30-9:15 pm



This course will offer a unique experience of learning Hebrew throughout its history, via diverse genres of literature. It will draw on a variety of Hebrew texts from a selection of sources including the Bible, mishnah, midrash, medieval texts, Hassidic tales, Haskala-era Hebrew literature and modern Hebrew short stories. The anthology of readings will be drawn from the book of Exodus, Ethics of Our Fathers, as well as works of Maimonides, Ramban, Yehuda HaLevi, Martin Buber, Shai Agnon, Hayim Nachman Bialik, Meir Shalev, Amos Oz and Etgar Keret. Grammatical concepts will be fully integrated into this literature-oriented course. Prerequisite: Hebrew IV or Understanding Hebrew Texts 4 


Sigalit Davis
Senior Lecturer and Specialist in Hebrew Curriculum Development