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Modern Hebrew for Beginners

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Modern Hebrew for Beginners

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Modern Hebrew for Beginners
A Multimedia Program for Students at the Beginning and Intermediate Levels
By Esther Raizen
Illustrations by Gil Zilkha
University of Texas Press, (Third Reprint, 2006)
ISBN: 978-0-292-77104-8

Reviewed by Simone Bonim - January 7, 2011

Modern Hebrew for Beginners by Esther Raizen in a combination textbook and workbook. There are many beginning Modern Hebrew textbooks currently on the market, is there really a need for another text? In this case the answer is yes.

The one feature that makes this textbook so unique and practical is that is keyed to a website, located at: This website contains exercises, video clips, sound recordings, tutorials, and much more - most of which are keyed to the textbook. In fact, throughout the textbook you will find little disc icons, indicating that there are corresponding lessons or material on the website. This plethora of information serves as an excellent resource for both teachers wishing to expand upon the lessons contained in the text, as well as students seeking additional practice in the Hebrew language. Best of all, this freely accessible website will prove a boon to independent learners who may need additional help in understanding the material as presented in the book proper. In addition this website includes a section called Yours Truly which provides students with material with which to practice their listening comprehension skills, in addition to additional exercises tied to the audio components in this section.

The textbook, in combination with this website, serves as an outstanding introductory text. This textbook was originally published in 2000, and according to the book's introduction, the author chose to add the book's companion multimedia material to the dedicated, University of Texas's Hebrew Language website, and make the material freely available to all students of Hebrew, rather than to include a CD with the book, so that material could be continually added to and updated.

While the companion website makes this book unique, it is the textbook that makes this an ideal introductory textbook for students just embarking upon the study of Modern Hebrew. The textbook does not assume any previous knowledge of Hebrew, and as such starts with the basics - namely the alphabet. There are eleven units in this textbook, and they follow the same basic format, consisting of vocabulary lists, exercises, oral practice, various lessons and notes, written activities, a variety of reading segments, and more. By the time you complete this text, you will have advanced to the beginning of the intermediate level. The language of instruction, throughout this textbook, is English and it can be used successfully in both one and two semester college-level Modern Hebrew language courses. Once you complete this textbook, you can immediately proceed to Modern Hebrew for Intermediate Students, also by Esther Raizen.

I highly recommend Modern Hebrew for Beginners for high school and college students, as well as independent learners who are embarking upon the study of Modern Hebrew!

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