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Resources for Learning Hebrew for New Olim (And 5 Tips to Help You Pick Up the Language Faster) 

Making Aliyah represents a profoundly meaningful step for anyone seeking a deep connection to their Jewish heritage and an opportunity to live in (and contribute to) a lively and diverse society. This journey does come with challenges.

Indeed, the path to settling in Israel is strewn with hurdles, both prior to and following the move. Dealing with all the paperwork, finding affordable housing, and adjusting to a new cultural environment are just some of them. However, most of these challenges can be overcome in weeks or even days. Learning Hebrew can’t. That’s what makes it to some Olim Chadashim, the most challenging aspect of moving to Israel. 

Fortunately there are extensive resources available to support Olim in learning Hebrew. This guide will walk you through some of the most effective ones and give you helpful tips on picking up this complex language faster.

The Top 10 Resources for Learning Hebrew

The Top 10 Resources for Learning Hebrew

Learning Hebrew is more accessible than ever, thanks to an abundance of online resources and the advent of sophisticated language learning technologies. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that the list of the top resources for learning Hebrew primarily consists of online platforms. However, this list also includes some “old-school” methods that remain effective, such as taking in-person classes or reading books. 

Without further ado, let’s dig in.

1. Ulpan Classes

The Jewish Agency for Israel launched the first ulpan in 1949 in an effort to teach Hebrew to hundreds of thousands of Olim Chadashim flooding the newly founded State of Israel. Decades later, this remains the most effective way to master Hebrew. 

Best of all? If you qualify, the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration will subsidize or even fully cover the costs of your ulpan classes. Then, it’s up to you to keep up with the rigorous requirements of these classes designed to turn you into a Hebrew pro as soon as possible. 

2. Online Courses

Olim Chadashim, who don’t have an ulpan nearby, can always go for the online version of this course. But online ulpans aren’t the only courses available for those eager to learn Hebrew. Some of the best online courses catering to Hebrew learners include the following:

3. Language-Learning Apps

Do you want to learn Hebrew on the go? If so, language-learning apps are the way to go, and you’ll be spoilt for choice. However, not all these apps are made equal, so be careful which one you rely on for such a crucial task. Our recommendations? Pimsleur, italki, and Glossika.

4. Hebrew Textbooks

4. Hebrew Textbooks

Let’s say you’re fond of the traditional approach to learning and prefer a more structured learning experience. If that’s the case, you’ll be happy to know numerous free and low-cost textbooks can help you master Hebrew the old-school way. However, few of these books can beat the quality and efficiency of the Nitzanim series, especially for absolute beginners. 

5. Online Websites

As you progress in your Hebrew learning, you’ll look for as many opportunities to expand your knowledge as possible. The good news? You definitely won’t be disappointed by your choices. Here’s a quick rundown of the most valuable online websites and how they can further your Hebrew-learning journey:

  • Hadshon. Hadshon is a news website that offers short summaries instead of articles. These summaries are written using simple Hebrew, allowing you to pick up on the everyday language and improve your Hebrew comprehension skills. Best of all? You can hover over highlighted words and phrases to get their translation, thus expanding your vocabulary daily.
  • The Kefar. Though this website is focused on private Hebrew lessons and self-paced courses, its Learning Center contains a treasure trove of learning materials (free and paid) to support your Hebrew language journey. 
  • Hebrew Songs. The Hebrew Songs website offers a unique approach to learning this challenging language – through music. This extensive library of transliterated and translated Hebrew songs will make learning Hebrew an enjoyable (and melodic) experience.
  • Hebrew Today. Technically, Hebrew Today is a newspaper. However, its primary goal is to teach Hebrew to various learners, from beginner to intermediate level. Plus, this website offers many other useful language resources to help you quickly advance between levels.
  • Project Ben-Yehuda. Project Ben-Yehuda is a free online library with tens of thousands of poems, articles, and stories in Hebrew. This website’s primary goal is to make Hebrew literature classics accessible to readers. Using this website is a win-win scenario – you get to improve your Hebrew and explore its rich literary heritage simultaneously.
  • Chinuch. Practice, practice, practice. This is the only way to improve your Hebrew skills consistently. Practicing is precisely what you can do on Chinuch, thanks to its impressive library of teacher-approved worksheets, charts, and games.

6. Hebrew Podcasts

Podcasts are all the rage now. If you like listening to these audio programs, why not also use them to learn Hebrew? Visit the Hebrew Podcasts website, and you’ll find a wealth of video and audio lessons tailored for learners of various proficiency levels. 

7. e-Books

E-books provide a convenient (and portable) way to access Hebrew learning materials. You can use these handy resources as primary study materials or supplementary tools to reinforce your Hebrew language skills. Ulpan-Or, an innovative center for Hebrew learning, offers two excellent (and free!) e-books for beginners – iHebrew Curriculum Level 1 and Level 2. 

8. Online Translators 

8. Online Translators 

When learning a new language, you’ll constantly discover new unknown words or think of words in your own language you wish to express in the new language. That’s where online translator comes into play. Just type in your word or sentence, and boom – you have the translation.

The top two tools in this department are undoubtedly Morfix and Context Reverso. The former offers a built-in Hebrew keyboard to make typing this language more convenient. As for the latter, it provides many examples with every translated word, allowing you to grasp the nuances of usage in different contexts. 

9. Online Dictionaries 

Similar to translators, online dictionaries help boost your Hebrew vocabulary quickly and easily. Pealim is quite a unique concept among these dictionaries, as it focuses solely on verbs. See what Hebrew verbs mean and learn their conjugation, all in one place.

10. Hebrew Newsletters

Consistency is key to learning Hebrew. Even during a busy day, you should find at least some time for language practice. The solution? Subscribe to Hebrew newsletters and effortlessly incorporate learning into your daily routine. Your Daily Dose of Hebrew is the best way to go for vocabulary learning.

The Top 5 Tips for Learning Hebrew 

The Top 5 Tips for Learning Hebrew 

Let’s be honest – the list of tips for learning any language can be rather lengthy. After all, everyone approaches language learning differently and picks up some tricks to make this process easier and faster. 

However, this short yet valuable list contains tips that have proven effective for Hebrew learners, specifically Olim Chadashim.

  1. “Surround” yourself with Hebrew. Watch Hebrew movies, listen to Hebrew songs, read Hebrew newspapers…do everything you can think of to be exposed to this complex language constantly. This way, you’ll learn just how powerful the so-called passive learning can be.
  2. Be consistent. This isn’t exactly groundbreaking advice, but it’s the one you must wholeheartedly embrace if you wish to master Hebrew. Use every free second of your new life in Israel to work on your language skills. It will be all worth it!
  3. Study before bed. Studies have shown that reviewing learning materials before bedtime leads to better retention. So, what better way to end an exciting day in Israel than with a short study session?
  4. Write down new words. Make a tiny dictionary and carry it with you wherever you go. Have you heard a new word? Jot it down immediately! This hands-on approach will help you retain the new vocabulary better.
  5. Attend Hebrew language meetups. With Hebrew language meetups, you get to work on your Hebrew language skills and meet new people in your new country. Talk about a win-win scenario!

Take Your Time

Take Your Time

When learning Hebrew, remember one thing – patience is key. No one expects you to master this complex language in a short period. But as long as you work consistently and take advantage of all the resources at your disposal, you’ll make huge progress. 

Until you can communicate in Hebrew, you can count on TCS Telecom to take care of all your telecom needs in English. And that’s a great thing, as you’ll need high-speed internet to access the wealth of Hebrew content online.

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