Easy Learn Hebrew
The idea for the online program Easy Learn Hebrew was created about ten years ago. I wanted to give people all over the world the opportunity to learn to read Hebrew quickly and easily. For about twenty years, I had been teaching people of all ages to learn to read Hebrew in one day. I was keen to pass this method on to others who still needed to attend the class.
The name Easy Learn Hebrew was chosen because it means just that: an easy way to learn Hebrew. I wanted a name that imparted the message. The content of the Hebrew language program is unique. It has only ever been taught in a classroom environment, and to open it up to the world was so exciting (and still is!) The method used in the Easy Learn Hebrew program dates back to the 1960s in South Africa. My father’s rabbi (whose name escapes me) thought of cute, fun stories to enable beginners to remember the letters and vowels. He, in turn, taught my father the method, and together they created a program called ‘Learn to Read Hebrew in One Day’.
Once we immigrated to Australia in 1977, my father started the ‘Learn to Read Hebrew in One Day’ courses again. This course is ideal for English speakers who want to learn all about Hebrew reading. All the stories are in English and use English-speaking concepts. In addition, all the stories are based on English words. For example, the way the letter reish is taught is that the top left-hand section of the reish is ‘r-r-rounded’. The word ‘round’ is in English, and this teaching method does not apply to other languages. I taught a Vietnamese man to read Hebrew using this method, and he had to learn the English words to apply them to the stories.
Easy Hebrew lessons
Regular easy Hebrew lessons became part of my life once I started tutoring on these courses and slowly learned the method. It was at this point that I started providing Hebrew lessons. When my father retired, he gave me all his teaching materials, so I had the opportunity to carry on teaching the course. A few years later, I was walking my son in his pram, and the idea struck me, why not put this method online? Once people can learn Hebrew online, it will be accessible to a broader audience. Five years later, the online program was born and made available to people globally.
Modern Hebrew is not so different to the biblical Hebrew alphabet. The Hebrew letters and vowels are precisely the same. The only differences are the structure of the words and sentences. I liken Biblical Hebrew to Shakespearean English. These days people do not say, ‘Wherefore art thou’?
Like in Modern Hebrew, people do not say ‘, and God spoke to Moses saying’. However, as I mentioned, the basics are the same. I think people get awestruck by Biblical Hebrew; however, it is a different way of structuring Hebrew sentences. Something else similar in both Modern and Biblical Hebrew is the root letters in the verbs.
At the beginning of each Hebrew in One Day course, I always start by asking people how hard they think Hebrew reading is. All the hands go up! I then pointed out to them that the English language is complicated to read! Finally, I show them a few words such as ‘though’, ‘through’, and ‘thought’, and they all nod, acknowledging that English can be challenging. At the end of the course, I ask them again how hard they think Hebrew reading is. Everyone acknowledges that, once they have learnt the alphabet and how to break up the words into syllables, it is undoubtedly easier than English! It is a matter of being able to recognise each vowel and letter and how to break up the words into syllables.
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