Jewish learning Hebrew College: Israel Center for Educational Technology’s North American Home

By Wendy Linden
teachers in classroom CET

For over 20 years, Hebrew College has housed a Hebrew as a second language program for students from North America, Asia, Australia, Central America, Europe, South Africa, and South America. Originally called NETA, the program joined with Center for Educational Technology (CET) in 2012 to create a new offering called Bishvil Ha-Ivrit.

CET, a 50 year old Israeli non-profit organization, is a leader in innovative learning in a changing world. As CET’s North American hub, Hebrew College program administrators work with 553 schools and 55,000 students across the globe serving Jewish elementary, middle schools, and high schools—as well as public schools, charter schools, supplementary schools, online schools, and universities. Among their most popular programs are Bishvil Ha-Ivrit, Hebrew as a second language for grades 6-12, and newly introduced Niflaot, for grades 1-5.

“We see Hebrew as a foundation for shaping students’ identity and connection to Israel,” says Ada Reiter, Hebrew College CET Director. According to Reiter, CET programs use innovative-state-of-the-art methodology and technology to engage students and teachers at different levels, keep materials relevant, and emphasize having fun while learning. “Because we focus on students and the school community, we see teachers as a key to learning. Our programs support the teachers on every step of their way, planning — teaching, and reflecting. Our goal is to support the whole teacher with extensive teacher guides, online and in-person seminars, personal mentoring, and extra teacher materials,” says Reiter.

“I received a lot. It was educational and challenging, interesting, and I’m waiting for the next training. Thank you!” — Lilach, teacher from New Jersey

CET-summer-seminar-2023-2 teachersFor the past few weeks, 110 teachers from across the world gathered at Hebrew College and online to take advantage of CET’s extensive professional development programs. “We offered two in-person seminars to teachers so they could hone their skills while learning more about our programs,” said Reiter. Seminars included Bishvil Ha-Ivrit Introductory Seminar (July 30-August 3), which targeted teachers new to the program, and Bishvil Ha-Ivrit Grammar Seminar (July 31 to August 2) for more experienced teachers. Teachers participated from 12 different states we well as Canada, Chile, and Costa Rica. (Pictured: Hebrew teachers Irit Moyal and Odeya Zach from Levine Academy in Dallas, TX.)

“I enjoyed every moment! It was enriching, fascinating, challenging, and comprehensive!” — Levana, a teacher from Ohio

What’s on tap for the rest of the year? Hebrew College’s CET program just offered the first online session of its new Niflaot seminar, and upcoming Bishvil Ha-Ivrit programs include an introductory seminar, eight regional in-person seminars at various locations in the United States, and an in-person winter seminar in March 2024.

“We are especially excited about our new kid in town—Niflaot—because it’s the first program that teaches first graders how to speak Hebrew before they’ve even mastered how to read or write it,” said Reiter. “CET is rolling out a new hybrid interactive technique where teachers and students can go from online to hands-on activities seamlessly. CET introduced it last year with many subject areas and ages in Israeli schools. We’re excited to use it in our Niflaot program.”

“CET is providing an invaluable service to the global Jewish community through their robust and excellent second language programs,” said Dr. Susie Tanchel, Hebrew College Vice President. “Hebrew College is proud to partner with CET on the advancement of Hebrew, and Jewish education more broadly, in North America.”

Learn more at Photos courtesy of Levine Academy, Dallas, TX.

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