I am currently coming back on the train from picking up a special certificate for a Barmitzvah pupil of mine. I taught him Hebrew reading for about 6 months. For him, learning to read Hebrew was a challenge as it wasn’t part of his life until he started preparing for his Barmitzvah. The certificate I bought him was to say that I bought some trees in Israel for him. On the certificate is writing in Hebrew, which is easy for him to read, because he knows how to read Hebrew.
Sitting on the train thinking about this boy, and thinking how he found reading in Hebrew difficult because it wasn’t part of his life, made me reflect on my life. If I think about it, Hebrew has been part of my life since I was a baby, but my first really memory of Hebrew was when I was 3 years old at pre-school in South Africa. I went to a Jewish preschool, and, although we did not learn to read in Hebrew at that point, every day we sang songs in Hebrew, that ultimately helped me learn to read Hebrew, as I was familiar with the sounds from an early age.