Hebrew is a key to fully understanding and appreciating Israeli culture. With that in mind, the World Zionist Organization and its American affiliate, the American Zionist Movement, are creating ways to bring American Jews closer to the Hebrew language. Model programs are being developed, including using the language to teach about aspects of Israeli society and culture. Three pilot programs will be launched, one in Chicago and two in New York, and will target young professionals and young families. These conversational and thematic programs will serve to engage constituents through immersion in Hebrew as well as through experiential activities. Other types of programs are also being explored, such as yoga in Hebrew and Hebrew mifgashim (encounters), social settings where people with Hebrew knowledge interact, play board games, eat and drink while “exercising” and “strengthening” their Hebrew – and their confidence.
AZM and WZO are also working to create a Hebrew Council, an umbrella organization for the various organizations, institutions, foundations and educators who teach or care about Hebrew. The Council will provide support and leadership to those involved in the strengthening of the language and who work to ensure its continuity.
There’s a rich history of how Hebrew words relate to Zionist concepts. Tzedakah, hesed, tikkun olam, am segullah, aliyah, and shalom are just a few of the myriad words and phrases that define who we are with meanings and associations that cannot be fully appreciated in translation. Learn more about their relationship with Zionism through Ivrit Tzionit (Zionist Hebrew – the Jerusalem Program), an AZM and WZO unit that delves into the roles of Hebrew and Zionism in our future.