Welcome to The Hebrew Project!

Across North America, Jewish educators are struggling with issues related to Hebrew education in supplementary schools.

Questions abound:
  • What should be the goal of teaching Hebrew in a congregational school?
  • Which aspects of Hebrew (e.g., prayer, textual, conversational, or value-based isolated vocabulary) should be the focus?
  • What are the most "efficient" ways of teaching decoding?
  • Should Hebrew be a separate subject, or integrated with other Judaic content?
  • What works? What could work?

Challenges abound:
  • Formal classroom learning continues to decrease - three days of learning have dropped to two, soccer practice trumps Hebrew school attendance, the pressures of family life create a desire to cocoon, and intermarriages create conflicting family priorities.
  • Connections to Hebrew continue to decrease - students find decoding difficult, worship is not core to most families' daily (or weekly) lives, Hebrew is not a language for communication in most communities, the core value-words of the Jewish people are unknown to many.
  • Teachers, with the requisite background and a sophisticated understanding of the pedagogic issues for the teaching of Hebrew, are not abundant, especially in smaller communities

But expertise also abounds. In the spirit of "two Jews, three opinions," there are a multitude of ways in which supplementary schools format and deliver Hebrew education. Yes, the Jewish publishers currently guide much of what happens in our Hebrew classrooms, but we know that there are congregations, independent schools and individual teachers that have thought seriously about Hebrew learning in today's world. This wiki is a space for us to learn from each other and shape some new thinking about Hebrew education in supplementary schools.

This wiki is:

  • A space to post your thoughts on various aspects of the challenges related to Hebrew learning
  • A forum for pushing on each other's thinking - participants are encouraged to respond to the many posted ideas
  • A "wiki" - which means that any page may be edited by anyone else (just like Wikipedia)

This wiki is not:

  • A place for sharing specific teaching ideas (e.g., no postings of lesson plans or worksheets for teaching the V'ahavta).
  • A place to promote specific Hebrew texts or programs - on the other hand, they may certainly be mentioned as needed in a posting. While we can't control the ads to the right of our wiki (well, unless we paid fee to turn them off), we'd like to keep this as a place of conversation, not commerce.

Please join us!

This wiki is open to anyone who wishes to join and post, whether a director of a congregational school, a college professor, a parent, a students, or a Hebrew teacher. We want you to read the postings, think about the issues, and add your own thoughts! Help us build some new ways of thinking about Hebrew education. Use the HELP feature at the top of this page and the navigation links to the left to explore all that your colleagues have shared ... and to share, as well.
  • If you have trouble posting, as your first "life line" please ask someone in your own building to assist you. Teachers who work in public or private education probably have experience handling wiki postings. Otherwise, your local techies and young'uns are good souls to ask!
  • If are having trouble uploading a link and the "life line" suggested above doesn't work for you, send your document or link to nmoskowitz@jecc.org
Please remember to SAVE every page that you contribute to before you click out of it. [There's a floating toolbar that has a SAVE button.]

We're looking forward to the dialog!

Here is some information that might help you with the wiki:

  • The left side of the screen has a listing of each of the pages on the wiki. Click on any to explore!
  • Notes have been placed on each page to help wiki participants understand what could be appropriate to post. Some basic information about HOW to post is there, too. If you have trouble, click on the HELP link at the top right of the page.
  • It is helpful to click on the NOTIFY ME tab on the HOME page - from there you can create a setting that will send you an email any time someone else posts to the wikispace. This will help you know when to come back to the wiki to read new posts.
  • At the top of the page is a DISCUSSION tab - we hope that as you read articles, you will contribute your reactions by starting a discussion thread, or by adding to one already posted. You can see an example of a started thread on the DEFINING FOCUS page. [It may be that to be notified of changes to the Discussion pages you need to click the box that helps you stay up-to-date on a particular thread. To visually see updates on the Discussion pages, look at the tab at the top of the page - there's a number next to Discussion - e.g., (8) - that tells you how many postings are there.]
  • While postings can be original thinking, our conversation will build if in your writing you refer to information already on the site. An example of this is Isa Aron's post, "What Type of Hebrew" on the DEFINING FOCUS page.
  • Posts should generally be done in a Word document or Adobe PDF and uploaded. This can be a paragraph, a page or two (or more) - see the example on the GETTING TO BETTER HEBREW LEARNING page. It can also be a resource link - see the growing list in the RESOURCES OF INTEREST section. And yes, if you have the ability to do so, feel free to upload an appropriate photo or video!

Feel free to add to this list of helpful info!