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."