The process of conversion involves learning and immersion in tradition, a big project for the proselyte. It is a journey. Joining a people, a culture, a religious tradition. An important stage is acquiring a new vocabulary and familiarity with Hebrew. There is increased interest and emphasis on traditional aspects of practice including greater use of Hebrew in the progressive liturgy and emerging discourses on post-denominational or trans-denominational Judaism.
The Torah is a unifying force of the Jewish world, and although Jews have lived in many lands and over the course of their history spoken different languages, knowledge of Hebrew is essential to studying the Torah, Judaism, prayer, and participating in Jewish worship.
Hebrew is a fascinating aspect of Judaism. Its history and development are intertwined with the fate of the Jewish people. Ultimately Hebrew is the language of the Jewish story. Fortunately fluency is not a requirement but an appreciation of the language is a great benefit in all areas of Jewish learning.
The intended learning outcomes are:
Reviewing the material frequently and for short periods of time will develop your familiarity with the terms, support your learning and enjoyment of synagogue services.
The information on Hebrew script and language you will find useful but initially it may add complexity that gets in the way of learning. You decide. You may find it more better to go back to it later. Judaism have developed over millennia, influenced by social context and the great thinkers of their times. It should not come as a surprise that Hebrew developed regional characteristics or accents and over the centuries the language evolved and script changed. If a word or phrase is blue, it's a hypertext link, when you click it will take you to additional information (in a new window) elsewhere on the Internet.
This e-module is free, but please consider donating $10 to the Jewish National Fund for tree planting in Israel. I commute from Sydney to Auckland for work. Help me offset my carbon! And make a small contribution to Tikkan Olam תיקון עולם (Repairing the world / construction for eternity)
JNF since its inception in 1904 has planted more than 240 million trees in the Land of Israel.