Workshop: University Teaching of Hebrew Language (Hebrew U; July 10-14, 2016)

Continuing Workshop on University Teaching of Hebrew Language

Jerusalem, July 10-14, 2016 / 4-8 Tammuz 5776

Teaching Hebrew Morphology in the 21st Century


Workshop Director: Dr. Tania Notarius, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The International Center for University Teaching of Jewish Civilization is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for this year’s session of the Continuing Workshop on University Teaching of Hebrew Language. The workshop will take place in Jerusalem from Sunday through Thursday, July 10-14, 2016 / 4-8 Tammuz 5776, and will focus on Teaching Hebrew Morphology in the 21st Century.

The International Center’s workshops on University Teaching of Hebrew Language are designed to meet the interests of the professors of Hebrew in universities outside of Israel and to provide theoretical knowledge and practical tools relevant for their teaching. The workshop includes meetings with scholars, lecturers and Hebrew teachers from Israel and abroad, as well as sessions in small groups of colleagues held in an informal setting, aimed to promote fruitful discussion and interchange of ideas.

The workshop is conducted in cooperation with the Division of Hebrew Language Instruction at the Rothberg International School for Overseas Students. Workshop participants will have an opportunity to observe classes conducted by the Division teachers and to hold joint discussions on various issues connected to Hebrew teaching. The workshop program will also include a visit to the Academy Language (the co-organizer of this workshop) and attend lectures and presentations by the Academy staff.  In the varied sessions the workshop participants will also be welcome to present the results of their teaching experience.

Hebrew is known for its rich inflectional morphology (verbal, nominal and pronominal), the acquisition of which is often considered difficult, dull and time-consuming, particularly at the beginners’ levels. This year the workshop on Hebrew teaching at the universities abroad will explore the most updated methods that have the potential to optimize this process for both the teacher and the student, addressing the following questions: Do the Web and the Interactive Technologies propose interesting tools? What can be the role of immersion and communication in acquiring morphological patterns?  How should the challenge of linguistic variationism in Modern Hebrew be addressed – by learning ‘normative’ morphology through the access to classical and literary forms or by adhering to conversational vernacular innovations? All these questions will be treated in their practical aspects with a special consideration of the teaching technologies applied in the classroom.


General information:

  • Participation is limited to a small number of university teachers of Hebrew language, chosen from applicants from all over the world.
  • The costs of accommodation, board, and travel to and from Israel are the responsibility of participants or their sponsoring institutions.
  • The fee for participation in the workshop is NIS 1,000.

Interested applicants should submit a CV by e-mail or fax to:

International Center for University Teaching of Jewish Civilization

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Tel: +972-2-5881772; Fax: +972-2-5819096;


New Article: Yemini and Bar-Netz, Arabic and French in Israeli Education

Yemini, Miri and Natali Bar-Netz. “Between Arabic and French in the Israeli Education System.” Journal of Language Identity and Education 14.3 (2015).





In the era of globalization, educational systems are forced to react and globalize through schools’ content and context. Among other 21st century capabilities such as information technology use, team work and entrepreneurship, multilingual competence has been placed among the objectives of education systems worldwide. We analyzed the pattern of students’ choice for advanced studies in English, Arabic and French languages in Israeli schools over the last twenty years (1995, 2000, 2005 and 2010) together with mothers’ education years. Our results revealed a change in the pattern of language learning over the years, with English and French advanced studies highly correlated with mothers’ education (hence associated with a certain perceived status), while Arabic became increasingly correlated with mothers’ education over the years. In addition, we performed semi-structured, in-depth interviews with 20 parents of children studying either French or Arabic in junior high schools. All interviewed parents were selected from schools where pupils can choose between French and Arabic and parents were asked about the motivation for choosing earthier French or Arabic. We found that parents mostly see foreign languages as part of cultural and cosmopolitan capital that their children need to acquire, in order to benefit from it later in their career. While French was found to be perceived in terms of pragmatic and instrumental cosmopolitan capital, Arabic was perceived as a pragmatic but also as an ideological asset. We discuss our findings in the context of Israeli society and the conflict-ridden situation that its education system is functioning within.

New Book: Halperin, Babel in Zion

Halperin, Liora R. Babel in Zion. Jews, Nationalism, and Language Diversity in Palestine, 1920-1948. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014.




The promotion and vernacularization of Hebrew, traditionally a language of Jewish liturgy and study, was a central accomplishment of the Zionist movement in Palestine in the years following World War I. Viewing twentieth-century history through the lens of language, author Liora Halperin questions the accepted scholarly narrative of a Zionist move away from multilingualism, demonstrating how Jews in Palestine remained connected linguistically by both preference and necessity to a world outside the boundaries of the pro-Hebrew community even as it promoted Hebrew and achieved that language’s dominance. The story of language encounters in Jewish Palestine is a fascinating tale of shifting power relationships, both locally and globally. Halperin’s absorbing study explores how a young national community was compelled to modify the dictates of Hebrew exclusivity as it negotiated its relationships with its Jewish population, Palestinian Arabs, the British, and others outside the margins of the national project and ultimately came to terms with the limitations of its hegemony in an interconnected world.

Table of Contents

Note on transliteration and translation


Introduction: Babel in Zion

Languages of Leisure in the Home, the Coffeehouse, and the Cinema

Peddlers, Traders, and the Languages of Commerce

Clerks, Translators, and the Languages of Bureaucracy

Zion in Babel: The Yishuv in Its Arabic-Speaking Context

Hebrew Education between East and West: Foreign-Language Instruction in Zionist Schools

Conclusion: The Persistence of Babel