Hebrew Reading Crash Course Cory Walker '15
As I was walking through the Hillel House to get a bagel for lunch, I came across a flier that advertised that I could "Learn
Hebrew!" Washington and Lee University does not offer any courses on the language, and I was intrigued. Since coming to college two years ago, I have made many Jewish friends and become fascinated with the culture that had previously been completely unknown to me. I have attended services at a synagogue, attended a Passover Seder at the Hillel House, and I lit a candle at a friend's house for Chanukah in 2011. However, I never understood what was being said, or even how to pronounce any of the words they showed me. I always felt like I was missing a fundamental part of the culture.
Learning Hebrew is a very long process that usually takes years. However, the program that the Hillel Director, Brett Schwartz, offered was only an hour long. In this hour, we learned the entire Hebrew "aleph-bet" and the sound that each letter makes. A follow-up class was offered, and I gratefully agreed to attend. In this econd and final hour-long class, we learned exceptions to the rules and put together the letters to pronounce words. Because of just two hours of class, I can now pronounce the words that had previously seemed so alien to me, and can follow along in services without a great deal of trouble. I am very grateful for the opportunity to learn to read a completely new language in such a short amount of time, and I highly recommend the class when it is offered again in the future.