Stars of David Week of Sep. 28, 2005

Thanks to a new curriculum at Congregation Beth Israel of Media, Hebrew-school students there may have an easier time making their way through the streets of Jerusalem or ordering falafel in Tel Aviv.

Starting this school year, the daled through zayin students – fourth- to seventh-graders – at the Reconstructionist synagogue will be taught conversational Hebrew, in addition to the biblical and siddur Hebrew that's already a part of the curriculum.

According to Rabbi Linda Potemken, while there aren't a "ton of students" that go to Israel, the numbers are increasing.

Teaching Hebrew to students, she continues, whets their appetites for it and raises their interest level.

"Hebrew is a living language," says the rabbi. "Prayer-book Hebrew is impractical with respect to being able to participate in conversations around the land of Israel."



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