Hebrew: Beginning Your Journey

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About the author: “Mary Alice Merritt holds a Master’s Degree in Music Education form Ithaca College. After homeschooling her eight children she began her study of the Hebrew language. Her principle books of study were Biblical Hebrew, Step by Step, and Contemporary Hebrew by Menahem Manor, a Hebrew-English Interlinear Bible, James Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, and a couple of good Hebrew dictionaries. She has also benefited much from the hebrew classes at Beth Israel Sephardic Congregation in Florida, as well a various online study programs. She will always be indebted to Dr. Micahel Micahel of Tampa, Florida, a teacher of Hebrew across the U.S.A. and in Israel, for his invaluable instruction and helps.” (p. 117)

About the editor: “Dr. D. Micahel Micahel was born in Haifa, Israel in 1943, and first came to the United States of America as a foreign exchange student in 1960. After several years of attending church and Bible studies, he was changed by the holy Spirit to follow Jesus as his Messiah and Lord. In 1963, as permanent resident of the U.S.A., Dr. Michael was drafted into the Army and served as the combat chaplain in Vietnam from ’64 to ’68. In ’73 he returned to Israel as volunteer in the Israeli Defense Forces during the recapture of Jerusalem. Over the years, Dr. Michael’s knowledge of the Hebrew language qualified him to teach in various Jewish schools, synagogues and churches both in Israel and the United States. He currently teaches Hebrew studies at the Tampa Theological Seminary and Christian College in Tampa, Florida.” (p. 117)

Nearly a year ago I took a semester of Hebrew. It was not easy, I spent a lot of time writing the alphabet, listening to and studying vocabulary, and writing Hebrew. Regardless of which text used, I would never suggest that learning Hebrew is easy. But I have discovered this excellent Hebrew primer that I believe can be useful in learning Hebrew without the aid of a teacher. This particular book would be great for families or homeschool learning.

When I first opened the book I was pleasantly surprised. Reading Hebrew is different than reading English, rather than reading right to left, the Hebrew reader reads from left to right. What the English reader would consider the back cover, the Hebrew reader recognizes as the front cover. This may not be extremely important in the learning process. In fact, my college textbook reads like an English book. But I think that the author of this book demonstrates cleverness and fun by publishing this book in the Hebrew format.

“The purpose behind the making of this book is, very simple, to learn to read in the Hebrew Language…. It is hoped that as the student begins to understand Hebrew, he/she will have the appetite whetted to continue searching the Old Testament’s original Hebrew, as for, “hidden treasure,” long after he/she has masters the things therein.” (p. 1)

At the beginning of the book you can find the table of contents and purpose of the book. There are forty lesson plans and each plan is detailed for the purpose of clarity. Learning Hebrew is difficult to learn, but the author provides instructions on how to use the book. I believe that the author and editor have done their best to simplify a difficult subject.

The book is a primer, therefore two pages are dedicated to each letter in the alphabet. One page includes an excellent illustration with a verse at the top or bottom. Within the verse, one word is written in Hebrew and translated into English. This helps the reader to recognize the word in the verse. The second page includes a large example of the letter, the pronunciation and spelling, and an example Hebrew word containing the letter. Below there are eight photos or illustrations and words that depict the respective Hebrew word, each beginning with the appropriate letter represented on each page. The second page includes another verse which additionally includes at least one Hebrew word beside an English word.

At the conclusion of the alphabet portion of the book you can find the pronunciation guide, vowel stems, and notes for each letter of the alphabet. There are plenty of reading and writing practice pages available (for the alphabet), and I assume that you can copy them if you need extra practice. The quiz portion includes matching and fill in the blank. The assignment portion includes memory verses, pronouns, common expressions and even a Strong’s Concordance assignment. Last but not least the answers are provided in the back of the book.

Learning Hebrew may seem like an impossible task. And I admit it is difficult. But this primer is a great way to get started. You can learn Hebrew yourself, or maybe you can learn Hebrew as a family. For what it is worth, I have enjoyed learning Hebrew.

I have received a copy of this book from Olive Press in exchange for an honest review. I have given an honest review.

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