Section: News

GLCA pilots online course in Hebrew

Next semester, Kenyon will be partnering with the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GCLA) to offer two courses in Modern Hebrew. Professor Galit Golan of Ohio State University will teach the class online, and students from both Kenyon and other GLCA member colleges will be able to enroll.

“Modern Hebrew is not taught on all of our GLCA campuses … individual schools have offered courses here and there in Modern Hebrew, but not in a reliably consistent manner,” said Gabriele Dillmann, associate professor of German/Modern Languages at Denison University and director of the GLCA Shared Languages Program.

“So the colleges that have Jewish studies programs, usually within broader religion studies programs, have not been able to consistently offer their students Modern Hebrew language instruction.”

The classes will be taught on the platform Zoom, an online video-conferencing service. It will be offered to Kenyon students at no additional cost for full credit.

There are two sessions for the Modern Hebrew class: The first course, Hebrew 1101, runs from 9:10 a.m. to 10:05 a.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The second course, Hebrew 1103, is from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 a.m. on those same days. While the enrollment numbers are not official, there is at least one Kenyon student confirmed for Hebrew 1101.

The introductory-level Modern Hebrew class available through GLCA, Elementary Hebrew (Hebrew 1101), covers the language’s basic principles.

“In Hebrew 1101 … you come without any knowledge of Hebrew. You are learning how to write the letters, how to recognize the letters, how to read Hebrew, how to write in Hebrew,” Golan said. “You are also learning some of the foundations of the language — that means short conversation, introducing yourself, talking about your house, your community,  your school and yourself in Hebrew … All that is taking students who know zero Hebrew all the way to becoming an independent Hebrew learner at the end.” 

Hebrew 1103, which requires Hebrew 1101 and 1102 as prerequisites, focuses more intensely on developing the students’ vocabulary, and daily communication in Hebrew.

Golan believes one of the key benefits for Kenyon students having access to the Modern Hebrew course is exposure to new languages.

“I think it is important for everybody to take a class like Modern Hebrew … students in a smaller college I don’t think they have exposure for this, because the main languages that are being taught in smaller colleges are Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, etc.” Golan said. “Hebrew is the holy language, it helps people that are Jews and non-Jews to better understand the scripture …  and any language you are learning helps develop your mind.”

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