Dr Stiofán Mac Suibhne


I am an osteopath with post graduate university qualifications in education and training, Western acupuncture and rehabilitation. I undertook my initial acupuncture training with the British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMAS) in 2003 and then completed a master's level qualification in Western Acupuncture at AUT University in Auckland, New Zealand. I am a full member of BMAS and author of their Practice Briefing on Acupuncture and Related Needling Techniques. I run introductory workshops in needling techniques in manual medicine in Australia. I am a registered in the General Osteopathic and Western Medical Acupuncture Scopes of Practice in New Zealand. I practise in a primary care / GP setting in Sydney, Australia. Clinically I have particular interest in chronic pain and musculoskeletal health in older patients.


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This e-module will help you become familiar with basic Hebrew vocabulary for personal and communal prayer, and study in the context of progressive Judaism.


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:

  • An introduction to the AlefBet
  • Introduction to the concept of consonantal root words of Semitic languages
  • An overview of the development of Hebrew, form Biblical times thru' the Medieval period to the creation of Modern Hebrew 
  • An overview of the Hebrew diacritics - the system of dots and marks (Niqqud & Dagesh) used as vowel markers
  • Recognising vocabulary in the Hebrew script
  • An introduction to the conceptual framework of prayer in the context of progressive Judaism
  • An introduction the main prayers that form the basis of formal worship in progressive congregations

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. 


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