Homeshuling

Homeshuling


Why Hebrew? (Or, why I send my child to a Jewish Day School, part 2)

posted by Homeshuling

hebrewI spent yesterday at a conference about teaching Hebrew to students with various learning needs. The conference wasn’t as useful as I had hoped*, but it left me thinking a lot about why, of all the second languages my children could be learning, we have chosen Hebrew. There are many languages that would serve them well if they choose to follow their father’s footseps and travel the world; Hebrew is one of the least useful, ranking right up there with Laotion and Tok Pisin. After all, there just aren’t that many Israelis, and most of them speak English better than my children or I will ever speak Hebrew.
Granted, we didn’t exactly make a choice. We did choose to send them to a Jewish day school, where the second language happens to be Hebrew. At least their school gives some kind of second language instruction in elementary school, unlike the public schools which have phased these programs out along with recess, gym, art, music, and pretty much everything else that doesn’t appear on a standardized test. 
Despite the relatively small number of Hebrew speakers in the world, I still think learning Hebrew well (not at the Sunday school level) is a valuable use of their time. I took a wonderful class at Teacher’s College many years ago called “Teaching Foreign Languages to Young Children,”  which convinced me that the study of any foreign language is fantastic for brain development, and will make it easier to learn subsequent languages later in life.
More importantly, I fantasize that my daughters will become lifelong Jewish learners. No matter what their level of commitment to Judaism is, and how far they take their educations, knowing Hebrew ~ and by this I mean understanding it, not just being able to sound out the words ~ will give them the ability to access the religion, especially its sacred texts, and make it their own in a way that is virtually impossible otherwise.
Even if we could afford to travel overseas, I’m not sure Israel would be our first choice for a family trip. Nevertheless, I’m thrilled by their course of study.
*The best thing I learned there? The @ symbol in an email address is called a strudel in Hebrew.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(2)
post a comment
gwen

posted September 16, 2009 at 8:04 pm


i wanna learn hebrew!!!!



report abuse
 

Susan Salisbury

posted March 7, 2010 at 9:14 am


Of course there are not many important religious texts written in Laotian. I know that there are differences in old Hebrew versus new Hebrew, but being able to read the Bible in the language it was written is the reason many people learn Hebrew.



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

More blogs to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Homeshuling . This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Truths You Can Use Inspiration Report Happy Reading!!!

posted 9:57:03am Jul. 06, 2012 | read full post »

Teaching the Four Questions to young children
One of the greatest privileges of being a kindergarten teacher in a Jewish day school is having the opportunity to teach children to recite the four questions. Unlike almost anything else I teach them about Jewish ritual, this is "real work." The candles will get blessed, kiddush will be recited, an

posted 7:36:03am Apr. 01, 2012 | read full post »

Guess what's Kosher for Passover (this will change your life.)
I'm not exaggerating. The bane of my Passover existence has been pareve baking. I cook a lot more meat during the holiday than I do the rest of the year, which means a lot more pareve desserts. Which has, up until now, usually meant margarine made from disgusting ingredients such as cottonseed oi

posted 5:02:27pm Mar. 22, 2012 | read full post »

Why I love the New American Haggadah (and it's not just because I got to have a martini with Nathan Englander.)
I'm not a haggadah junkie. I know many Jews whose shelves are overflowing with numerous versions of the Haggadah - from the traditional Maxwell House to the not-so-traditional Santa Cruz - and whose seders are an amalgam of commentaries, poems, and (alas) responsive readings, from these dog-eared, p

posted 9:25:37pm Mar. 14, 2012 | read full post »

Best Hamentashen Ever, even better. And, a Purim opera.
This time of year, I'm always excited when I look at my google analytics and see that people have landed at my blog by searching for "hamentashen recipe". I love the idea of people all over the world making my great-grandmother's fabulous hamentashen, the same ones my mom made with me and that I mak

posted 7:13:38pm Mar. 05, 2012 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.