Besides the obvious connection to your Bar / Bat Mitzvah, what motivated you to learn to read Hebrew?
SOPHIA: There’s something so beautiful about the Hebrew language. I’ve always believed that no matter how good a translation is, you just can’t capture the nuance and musicality of it without the original language. I knew the undertaking to learn to read Hebrew would be challenging – but I also knew it would be worth it – and it absolutely was!
ALEX: I saw how proud Sophia was at her Bat Mitzvah to read in Hebrew, so I was eager to experience the same accomplishment myself. I’m still in the process of learning, but I can already tell that I’ll feel ready and proud when the big day comes.
What did you like best about my teaching program?
SOPHIA: Hebrew is a complicated language, but your teaching materials always explained things in a simple, easy-to-remember way. As an example, I really appreciated the mnemonic devices; each letter has a picture associated with it, and for me, that helped me learn the letter sounds faster – and remember them more easily.
ALEX: I liked the workbook you provided. I still use the audio practice, but I learn best by reading – and the workbook makes it easy to follow along and revisit the trickier lessons.
Sophia, what do you remember the most about your Hebrew reading at your Bat Mitzvah? And Alex, what are you looking forward to the most?
SOPHIA: I remember feeling very grateful to be able to read in Hebrew for my family and friends. This beautiful language has been passed down through generations of our people, so it’s not just about reading the words on the page, but also about connecting with our history, our traditions, and our faith.
ALEX: Reading in Hebrew isn’t something that everyone can do, so I think it’s pretty cool that I’ll be able to do that when I celebrate my Bar Mitzvah. My reading lessons have helped me appreciate the beauty and complexity of the Hebrew language, and like Sophia, I feel proud to be part of this important tradition.
What advice do you have for students preparing for their Bar / Bat Mitzvah who want to learn to read Hebrew?
ALEX: Everyone has a different learning style, and I suggest finding the tools that work for you. As mentioned, I find a lot of value in reading and re-reading the workbook lessons, but others might learn quicker from extra audio practice. Find the mix that helps you learn the best!
SOPHIA: I highly recommend learning to read Hebrew with a “buddy.” My mom completed all the lessons with me, and we really enjoyed practicing together. Going through the learning process with a “buddy” makes it more fun, and you can also keep each other accountable and on-pace.
But most importantly, I would encourage someone thinking about learning to read Hebrew to take the leap and do it. It’s well worth the effort to be able to read in the language of our prayers and sacred texts – and to share your accomplishment with family and friends on your special day.