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The Hebrew Studies Department

At the Academy, we know that Modern Hebrew is an indispensable tool in the study of the history, culture, and tradition of the Jewish people, representing the rebirth of a Jewish state on the soil of the Land of Israel. After four years at the Academy, students are well equipped to analyze a variety of complex Jewish texts in the original Hebrew and Aramaic. We were one of the first schools in the country to pilot the Hebrew program of Project NETA, an innovative Hebrew language and culture curriculum. The honors Hebrew language program culminates in Hebrew University’s prestigious Jerusalem Examination, which entitles students to college credit.

An assessment test is administered to prospective students prior to formal acceptance into the Academy. Initial placement is made primarily on the assessment test results as well as teacher and administrator recommendations from students’ former schools.

The Ivrit program is composed of one preparatory level and five consecutive levels. Generally, students progress at a rate of one level each year. Some students begin at Level 2 and advance to the most sophisticated level in the course of their four years of Ivrit study.

Some students begin at Level 2 and pursue an accelerated program that allows them to advance to the most sophisticated level in the course of their four years of Hebrew language study.

Students have the opportunity of placing into higher levels upon demonstrating skills commensurate with that level. Students are required to complete four years of Hebrew language study.

Courses Offered

Preparatory Level: 1 Credit

This course is designed to assist students who have a Hebrew background, but do not yet possess the requisite skills to succeed in Level 1. The goal of this course is to give students the basic skills to read, write, comprehend and speak Hebrew. At this level, students build their Hebrew vocabulary and learn how to structure comprehensible and meaningful phrases and sentences.

Level 1: 1 Credit

In this course, emphasis is placed on the ability to communicate in Hebrew. Through activities and exercises, students learn how to compose nominal clauses correctly, fluently and naturally in all three tenses, and to use temporal words and consequence words correctly. In addition, students begin reading non-fiction and fiction texts and summarizing the texts orally and in writing. Also, students learn how to rewrite and translate ancient texts and classical Jewish maxims into Modern Hebrew.

Level 2: 1 Credit

In this course, students refine and expand upon skills developed in Level 1. Students begin to read in Hebrew about scientific research, which makes their study more relevant to their daily lives as high school students. Students learn to comprehend complex sentences and to create them in their own writing. The texts covered are more sophisticated in linguistic complexity and intellectual content. Students use dictionaries to learn about roots with multiple meanings and nuances evoked through varied binyanim (verb patterns). Students learn to transform verbs from one of four binyanim to the dictionary entry form. The verb pattern Piel is explored in depth through reading, writing, speaking, listening and dictionary usage. In addition, a significant amount of time is dedicated to rephrasing expressions and sayings so that students actually begin to think in Hebrew.

Level 3: 1 Credit

At this level, Students read conversations and monologues about moral issues of truth and falsehood, and are presented with moral dilemmas that they must analyze in Hebrew. Students must utilize a sophisticated knowledge of Hebrew to understand classical texts. In addition, students build upon skills learned at earlier levels. Students practice how to correctly use irregular verbs such as “ayin vav” in their speech and writing. Also, students learn the application of the Binyan Hitpael and the grouping of regular verbs in all seven Binyanim, and how to transform regular and irregular verbs from one Binyan to another.

Level 4: 1 Credit

In this course, students are required to read for comprehension texts in Hebrew parallel to the texts in their general studies classes. Topics read include scientific explanations about natural phenomena relating to water and sky, such as clouds, rainbows, sky color, tides, the surface of the moon and water depth. In addition, students read, write, and report about poetry, Jewish sources and non-fiction texts. At this level, students master the application of certain Binyanim in all three tenses, conjugate prepositions, recognize several noun patterns, find the meanings in the dictionary, and conjugate and apply irregular verb groups, such as Lamed –Hay.

Level 5: 1 Credit

In this course, students read for comprehension and discussion purposes just as they would in any of their general studies classes. The readings include topics on immigration, absorption, and Aliya; scientific articles on food-related topics such as nutrition, eating habits around the world, taste and smell; and non-fiction texts from the fields of sociology, psychology and law. In addition, students study and analyze poetry and drama. Refinement of usage continues with special emphasis on the verb pattern Hufaal with regular verbs. At this stage of their development, students are well adapted to the use of complex sentences with relative clauses and retrospective pronouns in their writing and speech. At this level, students are capable of writing summative non-fiction articles and passages of a linguistic nature, and lecturing about the topics they read.

Level 6: 1 Credit

In this course, students prepare for the Jerusalem Examination, studying excerpts from the Bible, Mishnah, liturgy, Medieval Literature (philosophy and poetry), modern Hebrew literature (prose and poetry) and articles on Jewish thought and philosophy. They practice reading unseen articles without the use of a dictionary to build skills in reading and inferring meanings from context. The course incorporates a comprehensive review of all Hebrew grammatical structures and syntax. Students expand their essay-writing in Hebrew by writing on diverse topics and continue developing their Hebrew vocabulary.

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