Hebrew for What?: Hebrew at the Heart of Jewish Day Schools

March 29, 2017

Source: eJewish Philanthropy


The AVI CHAI Foundation is delighted to release a new research report by Dr. Alex Pomson and Dr. Jack Wertheimer on the teaching of Hebrew language in Jewish day schools. As a foundation that has devoted significant energy and tens of millions of dollars toward Hebrew teaching and learning, we see a number of opportunities for future action emerging from the report. We hope that the reflections below will be helpful to others who share a passion for producing a new generation fluent in the texts and language of the Jewish people.

  • School communities could work together to develop the case (or cases) for schools prioritizing the study of classic and modern Hebrew language.
  • There is a need to define realistic outcomes in both classic and modern Hebrew.
  • Hebrew language teachers should be trained in second language acquisition.
  • Schools are most successful when they raise the bar at the whole–school level.

The new report from Drs. Pomson and Wertheimer encourages us that much is right about Hebrew language education in America. However, the report also provides troubling data that serve as a call to action, coupled with the beginnings of a roadmap for that action. The four ideas we have outlined require differing levels of investment, in time and money. As a spend-down foundation, AVI CHAI cannot set all of these ideas into motion. We would be happy to serve as conveners of the conversation about “Why Hebrew?” and stand ready to assist and potentially partner with other philanthropists who seek to elevate and improve Hebrew teaching and learning at Jewish day schools. We look forward to hearing from you!

Read the entire article at eJewish Philanthropy.

Updated: Apr. 05, 2017