Lead With Hebrew
Why Learn Hebrew
The renaissance of a language and its role in the creation of culture and society is deeply instructive. Hebrew is a language that has gone through a profound revitalization over the past century and a half from a classical to a living language. The modernization and secularization of the language and its transformation to a spoken, cultural medium has been central to the development of a secular Hebrew speaking society and culture in the land of Israel. This unique historical occurrence offers meaningful opportunities for students to explore the evolution and purposes of language and its function in building and sustaining communities worldwide. The study of Hebrew therefore provides great potential to connect people to Israeli life and culture, as one maximizes the teaching of a language by teaching about the culture and day to day life of the places in which that language is spoken.
There are about 5 million Jews in the United States, and Hebrew is the primary language used by Orthodox and Conservative Jewish congregations. Hebrew also powerfully exemplifies the capacity of language to unite people across time and space. Prior to its revitalization, Hebrew served as a connector of communities around the world. The study of Hebrew language, therefore, is a valuable vehicle for encouraging students’ development as global citizens and fostering students’ commitments to dialogue and understanding.
Hebrew & Business
Hebrew is becoming increasingly relevant in the world of international business, and mastery of the Hebrew language has pragmatic benefits as Israel’s influence in world markets continues to expand. Israel has the third-greatest number of companies listed on the NASDAQ exchange, and is recognized worldwide as an indicator of the cutting-edge of industry developing the technology of the future. Israel is a giant when it comes to innovation: a global leader in R&D spending and VC investment, and home to global R&D centers for the likes of Google, Apple and IBM. In light of Israel’s growing influence and prominence, fluency in Hebrew and modern secular Israeli culture is a profound asset for students’ futures.
Hebrew is also a desirable language to know for those pursuing a career in government and in areas such as diplomacy, intelligence, and the military. The U.S. Government has, in fact, designated Hebrew a critical language and a number of its agencies offer scholarships and grants to students pursuing studies in this and other non-Western languages considered critical to U.S. security.
An Exciting Challenge
According to ACTFL’s four categories of languages, Hebrew is the third most difficult group for English speakers (more difficult than languages like Spanish and German, equally challenging as Russian and Turkish, and less challenging than languages like Arabic and Chinese). Taking Hebrew is an exciting challenge that will promote positive brain development in students.
Adapted from the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life
How Will You Lead with Hebrew?
Scholarships and Grants
AJLI offers financial support to students enrolled in a select number of Israeli universities (other institutions will be considered).
AZM grants scholarships to students enrolled at an American university who have been accepted to study abroad at a participating university in Israel during the academic year; applicants must be involved in the Jewish or pro-Israel community.
Each year, the Dorot Foundation selects 12 young Jewish lay leaders (ages 22-29) to live in Israel while completing volunteer and personal learning projects.
Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies Israel Scholarships (+ high school)
The Foundation awards financial assistance for study and travel abroad to Israel to Jewish high-school and college students from the counties of Erie and Niagara, New York.
Jewish students can inquire about funding opportunities for study abroad or academics at the Hillel nearest their campus.
Jewish students can use this online tool to locate their local Federation, which may provide study or travel abroad scholarship opportunities.
Looking for a Hebrew college program? While initially developed to report language enrollment figures, the MLA database provides a comprehensive listing of postsecondary language programs, allowing you to refine your results by language, geographic area, and/or type of institution. The data is based on MLA’s most recent survey of 2013.
To Get Started:
- Select your language(s), up to eight
- Narrow your search, as desired, and click “search now”
- Expand your findings to reveal specific schools offering programs in your language by clicking on the small triangles on your results page
A Few Notable Hebrew Camps & Programs
These students used Hebrew skills while studying abroad in Israel.
Carlo took a Hebrew course while studying dance in Israel.
Several Brigham Young University students have blogged about their experiences at the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies in Israel. Check out:
Trevor from From Where I Stand
Rachel from Rachel’s Adventures in Jerusalem
McKenzie Sue from In the Shoes of Kenzi Sue
In Association with the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life