How to Learn Hebrew: A guide to online courses, tools and programs for adult students


Source: My Jewish Learning 


At no point in history have there been more ways of learning Hebrew. Thanks to modern technology, there are many, many options out there, even for those with limited budgets, schedules and mobility — ranging in price from absolutely free to thousands of dollars. In addition to the traditional route of consulting books or signing up for an in-person class through a synagogue, Jewish community center or university — or traveling to Israel where there are myriad in-person courses and programs, you now can choose from an array of online courses, apps and software. Or, you can set aside a summer vacation for a full-scale immersion program in rustic Vermont!

Selecting the Right Program for You

In sifting among the options, think about your goals, your level of self-discipline and how much time you are able to commit to the endeavor. Are you looking simply to decode, so you can follow along in the prayer book? Do you want to study the Bible in its original? Seeking to learn a few phrases to use on a vacation in Israel? Or are you hoping to become fluent in conversational Hebrew? Also, bear in mind that a program that’s great for the complete beginner may be less useful for an advanced learner.

Vardit Ringvald, director of the School of Hebrew at Middlebury College and a longtime consultant to a variety of institutions that teach Hebrew, also suggests you think about your learning style. “Some people are very independent” and can teach themselves from a book or self-paced program, but others need the social interaction and structure of studying with other people at a scheduled time.

This guide contains a sampling of online courses and resources organized in the following categories:

Self-Paced Courses/Lessons - These lessons can be done completely on your own schedule, but they do not include interaction with a real person.

Online Courses With Teachers or Tutors – These all include synchronous sessions (whether via Skype, Webinar or other software) where you can see and speak with the teacher and other students.

Apps and Podcasts - A search on the App Store or Google Play will turn up on an overwhelming quantity of apps, many of them free, that teach Hebrew reading/decoding and sometimes conversational skills. We selected the following ones because they were personally recommended by individual educators.

Tools for Enrichment

Intensive Immersion Experiences

See the entire listing here.

Updated: Dec. 11, 2019