My Hebrew reading journey

Early Childhood

I have had an interesting journey in learning to read Hebrew and my Hebrew reading journey in general. It pretty much started when I was born! My father is a rabbi, so Hebrew is pretty much his lifeblood.

So I grew up surrounded by Hebrew through the blessings, hearing him practice reading the weekly parashah of the Torah, and not forget the grace after meals “birkat hamazon”, which was sung in Hebrew nightly. The shorter version during the week and the longer version on the Sabbath (Shabbat).

Fast forward to when I was 9 years old. I asked if I could go to a Jewish day school. There I had the opportunity to learn to read the Hebrew alephbet, and to write in Hebrew.

When I was in the last two years of high school, I decided that I wanted to learn Hebrew for my final High School exams, and I learnt both Modern Hebrew, such as Hebrew grammar and sentence structure, as well as a text from the Jewish Bible, the story of Deborah and Barak.

Included in this story, was the story of Yael (my namesake!) and how she slew Sisera, the Army General of the Philistines. It was extremely interesting to be able to read such a well-known story – in Hebrew!

Learning Hebrew as a young adult

My Hebrew reading and Hebrew learning journey has also taken me to Kibbutz Mizra and Kibbutz Maagan Micha-el in Israel, where I spent a combined 6 months in a program called Ulpan. Ulpan is a Hebrew program in Israel that designed to teach non-Hebrew speaking students Hebrew. Hebrew students can be absolute beginners or more advanced. There is a Hebrew class for everyone.

By attending Hebrew classes in the morning, and working in the kibbutz in the afternoon, my Hebrew speaking improved dramatically. I was able to speak to kibbutz colleagues about all different subjects. Immersing myself in the language really helped with my Hebrew speaking and general confidence.

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