The Hebrew Program in the School of Languages and Cultures offers language instruction in both Modern and Biblical Hebrew. In addition, there are courses on modern Israeli literature, society, and culture, as well as on the Hebrew Bible and ancient Judaism.
Biblical Hebrew may be taken for language credit to meet course requirements in all fields that require a language. The first semester is devoted to learning the basics: alphabet, vowel signs, how sentences work, basic vocabulary--all of which is learned using sections of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). The first semester ends with translating one of the most interesting passages in the Hebrew Bible, Genesis 22, that tells of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac. The second semester finds us learning more about how the language works and translating more sections of the Hebrew Bible (Genesis 28, 29, and 37, and Exodus 3). Second year biblical Hebrew (the third and fourth semesters) is entirely devoted to translation of books of the Hebrew Bible. By the end of two years of studying biblical Hebrew the student is equipped to enjoy reading and understanding the Hebrew Bible.
The modern Hebrew program, which is generously supported by the Juliette Benhamou Endowment for Jewish Studies, is designed to teach all skills (comprehension, reading, writing, and speaking) of modern Hebrew, the colloquial language of Israel. In addition, it aims to provide students with cultural and literary knowledge of modern Israel. We offer four levels of language and courses on Israeli culture, literature, cinema and other important topics. Professional and research interests of the faculty include Hebrew literature, literary history and criticism, linguistics, translation, language and technology and the teaching of Hebrew as a foreign language.