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Dr. Alissa C Zuchman, Director, 847-291-7788

Learning Hebrew through Song Wednesday, October 20, 2021 14 Marcheshvan 5782

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There are few things more pleasurable to teachers than when a parent says: “I can hear my child singing Hebrew songs in the shower.” In other words, parents realize that their children are making the music and the language of Jewish tradition part of their instincts. Not a small accomplishment!  As educators, we can appreciate the power of songs to create an atmosphere or convey an idea or an emotion. Songs can imprint emotional memories that do not fade out.  In addition, learning Hebrew songs can help students process the language.  Students sharpen their listening skills, fine-tune pronunciation, learn vocabulary and common phrases, and become closer to the culture.  Students who sing in Hebrew, for all intents and purposes, speak the language.  Hence, learning through songs is the perfect tool to enhance language acquisition.

The Gemara in Megillah 32a states this eloquently: “…One who studies Torah through song demonstrates that he is fond of his learning. Furthermore, the tune helps him remember what he has learned.”

To strengthen the power of songs in your own classrooms, remember to incorporate some of the following pedagogic ideas:

  1. Pick a song that you love and that suits your students’ Hebrew level.
  2. Let students listen several times to the song to absorb its rhythms and flow (before digging deeper into the words and meanings).
  3. Provide the lyrics (with vowels if necessary). Model accurate reading and intonation. Have students practice reading by taking turns in pairs.
  4. Familiarize students with the song’s author, composer, and the year of the song’s publication.
  5. Analyze the song’s content, message, and mood.
  6. Encourage students to sing along using the text at first and then memorize the song.
  7. Encourage students to record themselves performing the song (if they so desire).
  8. Provide the music of the song for students who play an instrument.

At JTeach, we are committed to supporting the use of Hebrew songs as a teaching tool to strengthen language skills and cultural competence.  To this end, we have begun writing a series of activities using Hebrew songs. Make sure to check this week’s activity in Nearpod.  We would love to hear your comments or questions.

Dr. Alicia Gejman 

Curriculum Specialist