Throughout the millennia of Jewish life, through the history of our people over different continents and time periods, Hebrew tied our people together. It is the language of Torah and our other sacred texts and the language of prayer, the timeless words that our people have chosen to reach out to God. It is the language that was rebirthed with the establishment of Medinat Yisrael, the State of Israel, and the language that connects Am Yisrael, the People of Israel. It is our hope that our students begin to develop a relationship with Hebrew that allows then to participate in Jewish life and in the life of the Jewish people.
At Har HaShem, we have an Individualized Hebrew Tutoring Program. Students studying towards b’nai mitzvah must participate in Hebrew prayer learning. In addition, our Sunday morning religious school students receive an additional Hebrew boost through our Hebrew Through Movement Program and our weekly t’filah (worship) services.
In our individualized Hebrew program, families take ownership over their child’s Hebrew journey, creating a learning plan in partnership with Har HaShem staff. In an initial meeting with the Director of Lifelong Learning, families discuss goals, the child’s learning style, and the role that they hope Hebrew and prayer will have in their child and family’s life. Families choose from four customizable options that include: comfort in Shabbat services, ability to participate in and lead home rituals and prayer (such as reciting the four questions or being able to say the blessing for hanging a mezuzah), obtaining the skill of chanting Torah through the learning of Torah trope, and b’nai mitzvah preparation. Once the option is selected, the Director of Lifelong Learning will help the family engage a m'amein to work with each child. The more expansive the family goals, the more tutoring time will be needed. Please click here for the 4 customizable Hebrew learning options. All options include Hebrew decoding (the process of reading Hebrew by sounding out letters and vowels through the Let’s Learn Hebrew Program), Saturday morning prayer preparation, and memorization of Torah and Haftarah portions. Families participating in the individualized program are also required to attend at least one worship service each month during the academic year. This individualized program asks families to make prayer a regular part of their synagogue experience, creating an authentic context in which the child incorporates prayer into his or her Jewish experiences. This program is also suited to help families navigate their busy schedules, allowing them to determine the time frame in which their child learns Hebrew.