Hebrew

Welcome to the Hebrew Program at the University of Virginia.

The Hebrew program at the University of Virginia has grown rapidly over the past decade. We are part of the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Culture and collaborate closely with the Jewish Studies Program. At present, we offer classes in beginning, intermediate, and early advanced levels of Modern Hebrew, which completes undergraduates’ foreign language requirement. In addition, we offer advanced literature and culture courses on an independent study basis. The University also offers classes in Biblical Hebrew, through the Religious Studies Department.

Our goal is to train students in all four skills (listening comprehension, reading, writing, and speaking) of Modern Hebrew. Starting in the first level, we teach the language through engagement with authentic cultural and literary materials – music, newspapers, radio, Internet, novels, poetry, academic texts, TV shows, films, paintings, photos, and so forth. We conduct classes fully in Modern Hebrew and disallow the use of English in our learning environment.


Hebrew Placement Test

Placement / Foreign Language Requirement Exemption for Modern Hebrew

Placement into Modern Hebrew language courses at the University of Virginia is done through a test administered in person by the teacher of the language classes. This test should take about 20-30 minutes. Both written and oral competence in Modern Hebrew will be evaluated.

Who should take the placement test

1. Students who have studied Hebrew before at home or in some setting other than UVa and don't know exactly which class they should enroll to, should take the placement test before they register, and
2. Students who want to be exempted from the College’s Foreign Language requirement.

When to take the test

Placement meetings for the Modern Hebrew program are individual, and should be coordinated with the Modern Hebrew Language Coordinator.

Whom to contact

Please contact Zvi Gilboa, the Modern Hebrew Language Program Coordinator, at zg7s@virginia.edu.

When you will know the result

We will discuss your placement at the end of our meeting.


FAQ

Q: I am a complete beginner. I cannot read the Hebrew Alphabet and I do not have any knowledge of vocabulary. Is there a class in your program for a student like me?

A: Of course! HEBR 1010: Introduction to Modern Hebrew I. This course is intended for complete beginners. Please note that this course is offered only in the fall. The spring semester of Beginners level is the second course in the Hebrew sequence. If you do not take the first semester in the fall, you will have to wait until next fall.

Q: I learned Hebrew in Hebrew school many years ago. I forgot most of my Hebrew. For which class should I register?

A: Please take the Hebrew placement test and you will be notified about your placement. For info about the test, please visit the Placement Test webpage.

Q: I graduated from a Yeshiva high school and I am quite proficient in Hebrew. Am I exempt from language requirement in Hebrew?

A: Only if you take the Hebrew placement test and place out. If you are not exempt, you will be notified about your placement. For more information, please visit the Placement test website.

Q: I am a transfer student. In my previous college I took Hebrew courses. Am I exempt from language requirement in Hebrew?

A: The University of Virginia requires you to complete four semesters of Hebrew, in which classes meet five hours a week. If you took the same number of hours in your previous college, you may be exempt. Please present your transcript from your previous college to the Hebrew Language Program Coordinator.

Q: I was born in the U.S. but my family speaks Hebrew at home. I speak Hebrew, but I do not read well and I cannot write Hebrew at all. For which class should I register?

A: Please speak to the Hebrew Language Program Coordinator.


Hebrew Faculty

Gilboa

Director of Undergraduate Programs, Language Program Coordinator

Assistant Professor, General Faculty
Lefkowitz

Associate Professor

Course Descriptions

HEBR 1010/1020 - Introduction to Modern Hebrew

Prerequisites for 1020: Completion of Hebrew 1010 with a grade of C+ or better, or permission of the instructor.

An introduction to the pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and writing system of modern Israeli Hebrew. This course teaches students to understand and produce simple texts in Modern Hebrew through exposure to the Hebrew currently used in Israeli television, cinema, pop music, Internet, literature, and everyday conversation. Each lesson emphasizes all four skills – reading, listening comprehension, speaking, and writing – so students will feel comfortable to use their skills in the same manner. Class will be conducted in Hebrew, and the use of English by students will be discouraged. By the end of this sequence, students will have mastered the core grammatical principles of Hebrew, along with a basic vocabulary of 1000 words, and will be able to read and understand simple texts and carry out simple conversation.

* This course is open to anyone, even if the student has no background in Hebrew*

Credits: 4

HEBR 1410/1420 - Elementary Classical Hebrew

Studies the essentials of grammar, syntax, and vocabulary. Includes readings of narrative portions of the Hebrew Bible.

Credits: 3

HEBR 2010/2020 - Intermediate Modern Hebrew

Prerequisites for 2020: Completion of Hebrew 2010 with a grade of C+ or better, or permission of the instructor.

Continuation of the study of the fundamentals of grammar, with special attention to verb conjugation, noun declension, and syntactic structure, of modern Israeli Hebrew. This course teaches students to understand and produce texts in Modern Hebrew through exposure to the Hebrew currently used in Israeli television, cinema, pop music, Internet, literature, and everyday conversation. Each lesson emphasizes all four skills – reading, listening comprehension, speaking, and writing – so students will feel comfortable to use their skills in the same manner. This course will combine and broaden the grammatical structures and vocabulary studied at the Beginner level. Class will be conducted in Hebrew, and the use of English by students will be discouraged. By the end of this sequence, students will be familiar with the basic structure of the Hebrew language.

Credits: 4

HEBR 2410/2420 - Intermediate Classical Hebrew

Prerequisites: HEBR 1420 or equivalent, or instructor permission.

Readings in the prose narratives of the Hebrew Bible. Emphasizes grammar, vocabulary, and syntax. Attention to issues of translation and interpretation.

Credits: 3

HEBR 3010/3020 - Advanced Modern Hebrew

Prerequisites for 3020: Completion of Hebrew 3010, or equivalent, permission of the instructor

Continuation of the study of the fundamentals of grammar, with special attention to the conjugation of weak, or hollow, verbs, the passive form of all verb conjugations, and subordinate and adverbial clauses, of modern Israeli Hebrew This course teaches students to understand unaltered articles and produce passages in Modern Hebrew through exposure to the Hebrew currently used in Israeli television, cinema, pop music, Internet, literature, newspaper, and everyday conversation. Each lesson emphasizes all four skills – reading, listening comprehension, speaking, and writing – so students will feel comfortable to use their skills in the same manner. The course will combine and broaden the grammatical structures and vocabulary studied at the Lower Intermediate level. Class will be conducted in Hebrew, and the use of English by students will be discouraged. By the end of this sequence, students will be able to read texts in regular Hebrew and write on topics discussed in class.

Credits: 3

HEBR 4993/8993 - Independent Study in Hebrew

Prerequisites: Instructor permission.

Independent study for advanced students of Hebrew.

Credits: 1-3