Hebrew from scratch
Imagine landing in Israel, and you cannot read or speak a word of the national language. You will need to learn Hebrew from scratch. This ancient script and dialect can be a complex language to learn if you have not encountered it before. Indeed, this is the case for many people.
Looking at some statistics, Jewish people only make up 0.2% of the world's population, which is estimated to be 15 million people of the world’s population of 8 billion people. It is clear that many people will need to learn Hebrew from scratch if they have not already learned it. It is important to remember, that just because a person is Jewish does not mean they can read, write or speak in Hebrew.
Learning Hebrew from scratch
Learning Hebrew from scratch translated into Hebrew is Ivrit min hatchala ‘Hebrew from the beginning’. The word Ivrit comes from the Hebrew word ivri comes from the Hebrew word ever, which means 'beyond or across' or avar, which translates as 'pass over'. It generally referred to people who 'passed over' the river. In this case, the rivers referred to are the Euphrates or the Jordan River in the Middle East.
Ivrit min hatchala is a perfect phrase to describe someone who wants to learn Hebrew from the beginning. So, how does one learn Hebrew as a beginner? There are a variety of options available. However, it depends on where you live and what resources are available to you. It also depends on if you are in Israel or living outside of Israel, also referred to as the 'diaspora'.
If you have moved to Israel (for either a period of time or to live there indefinitely), then there are many opportunities for people to learn Hebrew from scratch. A person who wants to engage in Hebrew studies can join a Hebrew course called an 'ulpan'. The 'ulpan' teaches Hebrew grammar, reading Hebrew. It is advisable to have a Hebrew keyboard if you join an 'ulpan'. It will help with typing.
However, if you live outside of Israel, which is also known in the Jewish community as 'the Diaspora', there will be different kinds of options, to those available in Israel. The options to learn this ancient language include attending face-to-face lessons at the local synagogue. This option is usually available for both children and adults. If it is not an option, you can make enquiries about where you can go. Alternatively, another option is using an online program like Easy Learn Hebrew. Online programs are generally suitable for people aged 10 and upwards. Learning Hebrew online is especially useful if someone cannot or does not want to travel. It is also helpful if there are no available classes in your area or if the whole family wants to learn the bible or modern Hebrew.
The Hebrew keyboard is an essential item to have for people who are studying this language, whether they are in Israel or studying elsewhere in the world. It helps students become familiar with this unique ancient text. The Hebrew alphabet (or aleph bet) is entirely different to any other set of alphabet characters in the world. Therefore, it is a distinctive set of letters.
Indeed, a Hebrew keyboard enables students to learn to type in Hebrew, practice their Hebrew writing and eventually communicate with other students online in Hebrew. Even if a person decides to engage in an online Hebrew program, a Hebrew keyboard will help them become familiar with the language. Of course, if a person needs to use a book to become familiar with the keyboard, that is fine too.
An interesting topic is a person’s name. Everyone's name is important to them, and everyone has a Hebrew name, even if they do not know what it is. One example of a frequently used Hebrew name is Shlomit. Translated into English, it means 'peaceful'. It comes from the word 'shalom', which means 'hello', 'goodbye' and 'peace.
Indeed, many Hebrew names given to people today are derived from the Tanakh, the Jewish bible. Therefore, finding out the name's origins and meaning is fascinating. For example, the name 'Yael' means mountain goat (and yes, there are mountain goats in the Negev desert in Israel). However, it is also found in the book of Judges (chapter four, to be precise). According to the Tanakh, Yael seduced the Philistine General, Sisera, by inviting him into her tent for some goat's milk. Once Sisera fell asleep, she killed him in a very gruesome fashion, thus preventing the Philistines from destroying Israel. Meeting a person named 'Yael' can make for an exciting conversation and an insight into ancient Jewish history.
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