Online Hebrew learning
Online Hebrew learning is a fantastic way for people who live in remote areas to learn a language they otherwise would not have had the chance to engage with. I only realised how important learning Hebrew online is when in 2020, the people of New South Wales (NSW) in Australia had a brief reprieve from the COVID-19 lockdown, and I decided to take a road trip to Outback NSW.
Before embarking on this road trip, I had yet to learn how vast the distances are in the Australian Outback. I often wonder how people, before the advent of the internet, who lived in these remote areas managed to learn new skills. I imagine they would have to pay for books to be posted to them and perhaps have telephone lessons with a tutor. Online Hebrew learning was not an option!
Driving through the Australian Outback is an experience like no other; the deep orange/brown sand contrasted against the aqua blue sky, with a kangaroo hopping away in the distance, is a sight to behold. Yet, despite the beauty of this area, I had to remind myself that, even though I was on holiday, I still had to teach online.
Online Hebrew classes
Online Hebrew classes in the Outback! That was one of my stand-out memories. I was sitting in an armchair outside, engaging with my students with online Hebrew learning, using the program online program Easy Learn Hebrew. It was the ultimate contrast; using a laptop to help my students with learning online whilst the kookaburras screeched in the background.
Even though I was teaching, I will never forget the moment's solitude. To put the remoteness of the Outback into perspective, I taught for two hours, and only one car drove past the entire time. So, it was a perfect space for online learning. It is something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. However, the irony of teaching the Hebrew bible via a computer, in nature's beauty, did not escape me. It was the modern world meeting the ancient. Indeed, it is fascinating to examine the biblical Hebrew language, specifically the first chapter of the Torah, the book of Genesis, or B'reisheet as it is called in Hebrew, in the context of teaching in the Outback.
B'rei'sheet tells the story of Creation. In the first chapter, it talks about how the world was null and void; how God separated the Heavens and the Earth to make land and sky and continues to talk about the creation of darkness and light and of the creation of land, air, and water animals. Finally, it talks about the creation of the trees and the ocean, concluding with the creation of man, Adam.
Teaching Hebrew lessons in Mother Nature was a very poignant moment in my Hebrew teaching career. I was conducting Hebrew lessons, teaching a child how to recognise the Hebrew letters of the ancient Hebrew alphabet. Using the very same alphabet as the one that is used to tell the story of Creation in the Hebrew bible, the Torah.
I was teaching Hebrew lessons accompanied by the screeching of the air animals (birds) that God created. It was a stark contrast to teaching in my computer room in suburbia, where nature is not always appreciated. I also try to incorporate games and extracts from audio books when I teach modern Hebrew vocabulary or a biblical Hebrew word.
Moving away from teaching Hebrew in the Outback, a positive aspect of learning Hebrew online is being able to connect with like-minded individuals. It brings people with similar interests together. It allows people to practice their ancient and modern Hebrew, asking questions and engaging with people with the same passion to learn Hebrew.
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