Rabbi Richard G. Lampert
When I teach people to read Hebrew I am very fussy about their Hebrew pronunciation. It is all very well reading Hebrew, but it needs to be pronounced correctly. A way to ensure correct Hebrew pronunciation is to break the words into syllables, that way a person is not reading the whole word (which can sometimes be very daunting for a beginner), but rather they read each word syllable by syllable, ensure perfect Hebrew pronunciation.
Once a person has mastered breaking the words into syllables, it is important that they are also able to recognise, and use, the metteg. The metteg is a little vertical line that sits next to some vowels, and it stretches the sound of the vowel out. Not many people know about this little line, and as a result, are not able to achieve perfect Hebrew pronunciation.
However, it is very interesting how different groups of Jewish people from different parts of the world have different ways in pronouncing Hebrew. Jewish people from Eastern European countries (known as Ashkenazim) have different forms of Hebrew pronunciation from Jewish people from the Spanish and Arabic speaking countries (known as the Sepharadim). Take for example, the word Shabbat; the Ashkenazim do not pronounce the “t” sound, but rather pronounce it as an “s” sound, so the word Shabbat is pronounced Shabbas. The Hebrew pronunciation of the word Shabbat is different amongst Sephardim. It is pronounced the way it is written: Shabbat. There are many other words that are pronounced differently between these two groups.
Taking into account the differences in Ashkenazi and Sephardi Hebrew pronunciation, one cannot judge which is correct and which is incorrect, as there are many cultural influences in both groups. However, it is worthwhile noting that the radio announcers and news readers in Israel all use Sephardi Hebrew pronunciation.
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The Easy Learn Hebrew story began in 1986 when I became involved with Rabbi Lampert's teaching methods as a tutor in the 'Learn To Read Hebrew In One Day' course.
This course took students, who could not read a word of Hebrew at the beginning of the day, and by the end of the day they could read Hebrew, slowly, but correctly.
In 1999, I completed my Bachelor of Arts majoring in Hebrew, and, as part of my degree, spent a year in Israel studying Hebrew at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 2008, I became the primary instructor for the 'Learn To Read Hebrew In One Day' course.
Whilst conducting these face to face courses it occurred to me that this unique classroom-based method could be transferred to an online format to make it accessible to people all around the world, and so the Easy Learn Hebrew program was born!
The Easy Learn Hebrew program is the 'Learn To Read Hebrew In One Day' classroom course 'online', however offering much more in terms of being able to revise the 'classroom' content online repeatedly via the videos, take the online quizzes and being able to print out the associated hard copy learning materials as required.
I am very excited to make this program available and look forward to welcoming you as an online Easy Learn Hebrew student.
Founder - EasyLearnHebrew.com