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Hebrew

Shalom and welcome to Hebrew

Hebrew is a fascinating language with a unique history. It is the language of the Bible and the language in which the Jewish people composed a large part of their literature over 3,000 years. Hebrew is the only language that was revived after almost 2,000 years during which it was not spoken as an everyday language and returned to daily usage in Israel, where it is spoken by millions with new words coined every day.

Learning Hebrew enables students to read the Bible in the original language and other classical Jewish texts. It also helps students engage with contemporary Israeli writers exploring the experiences of modern Jewish existence, the diversity of Israeli culture and society, the Holocaust, Middle East conflicts, immigrant experience and more.

The Hebrew section offers a variety of courses introducing you to Hebrew language, literature and culture across different periods. In our language courses, students plunge into a Hebrew-speaking environment through communicative and interactive methods. These courses are taught by Professor Ahouva Shulman, a native Hebrew speaker with many years of experience teaching Hebrew. Our literature and Israeli film courses are taught by Professor Sara Horowitz, Professor of comparative literature and Jewish Studies.

Our courses are open to students in any discipline. Hebrew courses may fulfil requirements of the Jewish Studies Major or Minor, the Jewish Teacher Education Program in the Faculty of Education and the Advanced Certificate in Hebrew and Jewish Studies. Hebrew is a perfect accompaniment to undergrad and graduate studies in a range of fields, including Religious Studies, Literature, Jewish Studies, International Studies, Linguistics, International Business, Communications, Classics and Anthropology.

Due to COVID-19, the Department of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics will not be offering in-person classes this semester.

When registering in our courses, you will be presented with the following options: 

  • Online courses. All elements of these courses will be offered online without any fixed meeting time. You can do them at the time of your choosing (Asynchronously).
  • Remote courses. These courses will be delivered in real time via Zoom or other videoconferencing platform at the times indicated in the York Courses website (Synchronously). Some of these courses will have both real-time and non-real-time components. All real-time components will also be recorded and made available to students who could not attend. 

Courses

INSTRUCTOR: Yael Seliger

PREREQUISITE: None. Not normally open to anyone ever having studied Hebrew before either formally or informally. Placement questionnaire is required.

DESCRIPTION: This course is an introduction to Modern Hebrew designed only for students with no previous knowledge of Hebrew. Classes are communicative, with a focus on conversational skills. Students will learn the Hebrew alphabet and acquire basic vocabulary and an elementary grasp of Hebrew grammar. New vocabulary and grammatical structures are practiced through speaking, listening, reading and writing. Students will use computers for additional practice and review of vocabulary and grammar taught in class. FORMAT: Four class hours per week.

EVALUATION: Written assignments –20%; quizzes – 15%; first term test – 15%; oral presentation – 10%; class participation – 20%; final examination – 20%.

TEXTS: Chayat S., Israeli S., Kobliner H., Hebrew from Scratch (Part 1).

Note: Students will be placed in a course at a level that suits their previous experience. The Department reserves the right to deregister students who are found, after a proper hearing, to have enrolled in a course for which they are over or under qualified.

INSTRUCTOR: Ahouva Shulman

PREREQUISITE: None.

DESCRIPTION: This course introduces students to the basic vocabulary, grammar, and syntax of "Biblical" Hebrew as represented in the Bible and in ancient Hebrew inscriptions. Students are introduced to the Hebrew writing system, basic vocabulary, grammar, and syntax. The focus of the grammar is on the Hebrew noun and verb, their various forms and uses. In this introductory course an attempt will be made to introduce students to the reading of biblical Hebrew through small selected units of text.

FORMAT: Three hours mixed lecture and seminar.

EVALUATION:

Assignments – 30%; Quizzes (3 x 5%) – 15%; Fall Term Test – 15%;

Final Exam – 20%; Presentation – 10%; Classroom Participation – 10%

TEXTS: John A. Cook, Robert D. Holmstedt, Beginning Biblical Hebrew – a Grammar and Illustrated Reader. Bakers Academic 2013

INSTRUCTOR: Ahouva Shulman

PREREQUISITE: AS/HEB 1000 6.0 or AP/HEB 1010 6.0 or the equivalent. Placement questionnaire is required.

COURSE CREDIT EXCLUSION: AS/HEB 2010 6.0 or AP/HEB 2010 6.0.

DESCRIPTION: This course is intended to improve the student's ability to read, write, speak and comprehend Modern Hebrew. Although the course presupposes the equivalent of one year of elementary Hebrew, a systematic review of grammar is included. Emphasis is on vocabulary building and comprehension of Modern Hebrew texts through reading of short stories and discussions. Computer Programs will be used for additional practice and review of vocabulary and grammar taught in class.

FORMAT: Four class hours per week.

EVALUATION: Written assignments – 20%; quizzes – 15%; first term test – 15%; oral presentation – 10%; class participation – 20%; final examination – 20%.

TEXTS: Chayat S., Israeli S., Kobliner H., Hebrew from Scratch, Part II.

INSTRUCTOR: Ahouva Shulman

PREREQUISITE: AS/ HEB 2000 6.0 or AP/HEB 2000 6.0 (formerly AS/HEB 2010 6.0 or AP/HEB 2010 6.0), or equivalent. Placement questionnaire required.

DESCRIPTION: In this course students further develop their ability to read, write, speak and comprehend Modern Hebrew. Various aspects of Hebrew grammar will be reviewed. Emphasis is on vocabulary enrichment, and comprehension of Modern Hebrew texts through intensive reading, writing and discussions. Computer Programs will be used for additional practice and review of vocabulary and grammar taught in class. This course is recommended for those who wish to do advanced work in Hebrew or to study in Israel. Classes will be conducted in Hebrew.

FORMAT: Three class hours per week.

EVALUATION: Written assignments – 20%; quizzes – 15%; first term test – 15%; oral presentation – 10%; class participation – 20%; final examination – 20%.

TEXTS: Cohen, M. Agada Shel Safa Hebrew -- What a Language! Tishler G. Verbs in Transition.

INSTRUCTOR: Judith Shapero

PREREQUISITE: AS/ HEB 3000 6.0 or AP/HEB 3000 6.0 or equivalent. Placement questionnaire required.

COURSE CREDIT EXCLUSION: AP/HEB 3221 3.0

DESCRIPTION: This course addresses both the geography of the classical Jewish Hebrew prayer text, the Siddur, as well as the overall structure of the text. It focuses also on selected prayers and their internal structures, histories and meanings.

FORMAT: 1.5 contact hours per week for the entire year. This is a three credit course offered over the entire academic year.

EVALUATION: classroom participation – 15%; two research papers – 25% (12% and 13%); Two presentations – 20% (each 10%); Two tests – 40% (each 20%).

TEXTS: Daily Prayer Book (Siddur). Recommended: Birnbaum, Philip. Ha-Siddur Ha-Shalem. New York: Hebrew Publishing Company.

INSTRUCTOR: Yael Seliger

PREREQUISITE: None.

DESCRIPTION: What is "Jewish" and what is "modern" about "Modern Jewish Women's Literature"? What particular issues and attitudes concern the diverse body of works written by Jewish women in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries? What connects Jewish women writers in and out of Israel, and what distinguishes their literary cultures from one another? The course addresses such issues as immigrant and post-immigrant experiences, gender and "the Other," identity after World War II and the establishment of the State of Israel, exile and home, responses to the past and to Jewish tradition. Readings include literature written by Dvora Baron, Cynthia Ozick, Amalia Kahana-Carmon, Grace Paley, Shulamit Hareven, Nessa Rapoport, Savyon Liebrecht, Yehudit Hendel, Mira Magen, Ronit Matlon, and Rebecca Goldstein. Readings will be in English, and classes conducted in English.

FORMAT: Three hours mixed lecture and seminar.

EVALUATION: Participation 25%; Four (mini) reviews – 20%; One report – 15%; Mid-Term exam – 20%; final exam – 20%

Questions?

Contact Ahouva Shulman at sahouva@yorku.ca for help with academic and administrative questions.