North Shore Hebrew Academy High School Where Dreams Become Accomplishments

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Hebrew Language and Literature

שפה וספרות עברית

שפה וספרות עברית

שפה וספרות עברית

At North Shore Hebrew Academy High School, Hebrew Language instruction is accomplished through application of the "Bishvil Ha-Ivrit" Program, a cutting edge curriculum bringing Hebrew alive with print and digital media, and face-to-face and virtual training for teachers. The "Bishvil Ha-Ivrit" curriculum consists of five books designed for six years of study in secondary schools in the Diaspora and offers materials for all Hebrew levels, from beginner to advanced. The curriculum integrates six dimensions: language skills, subject area content, thought processes, communicative activities, linguistic grammatical topics, and genres.

The utilization of the  "Bishvil Ha-Ivrit" Program at North Shore Hebrew Academy High School is driven by the belief that mastery of Hebrew will promote students’ understanding of their history, culture, and tradition; excite them about lifelong Jewish learning, foster a sense of belonging to the Jewish people; and cultivate strong ties with Medinat Israel and Am Israel. The program cultivates all aspects of Hebrew language learning:  grammar and content, conversation and literature, poetry, songs, writing assignments, independent reading and current events. We would like to create a community of Hebrew speakers who can enjoy a lecture in Hebrew, read a Hebrew book, participate in a serious discussion or casual conversation in Hebrew, read an article in an Israeli newspaper, and write a letter to the editor in Hebrew.

The multi-dimensional  "Bishvil Ha-Ivrit" Program focuses on the four major language acquisition skills – listening, speaking, reading, and writing – by immersing students in a wide range of genres and in a whole language approach to everything from classical Hebrew texts to Israeli music, and from historical documents to poetry and drama. Modern Hebrew is taught in its linguistic, cultural, and spiritual context with concrete reference to Hebrew in different periods: Biblical, Mishnaic, medieval, enlightenment, and the revival of Hebrew.

The goal of teaching is to develop the students’ active linguistic ability, based on knowledge and proficiency in the six dimensions mentioned above. The active linguistic ability is built gradually from the simple to the more complex and from passive knowledge to creative activity. Although all levels and all units use the same linguistic elements, genres, layers, and registers, the level of achievement is measured on several continuums: length of texts, richness of vocabulary, frequency/infrequency of words, syntactic complexity of the sentences, and rhetorical complexity of the texts. For example, along the continuum of text length, students placed in an advanced level will read longer texts, speak in longer sentences, and produce more sentences than students in less advanced levels. Furthermore, they will listen to longer songs and longer stories and write longer sentences, paragraphs, and compositions. The level of achievement is measured in a similar manner on the other continuums.

There are two aspects of learning and achievement in the  "Bishvil Ha-Ivrit" Program: communicative ability and linguistic knowledge. The success of a typical  "Bishvil Ha-Ivrit" graduate is assessed in both of these two dimensions. The learning process engages the student in content related to the theme of the unit studied. The description of each unit’s goals begins with communicative skills and progresses toward linguistic knowledge. Within each unit, communicative achievements appear in order of centrality, complexity, and richness of associated activities, starting with the most central, complex, and rich. Technology enhances and supports learning with audio recordings, interactive technology, documentary films, and more.

During the course of each level, a set number of gateway units are covered, each devoted to a conceptual theme. Relevant vocabulary and level-appropriate linguistic concepts are introduced through the media of poetry, Modern Hebrew songs and fiction, dialogues, non-fiction articles, and excerpts from the Tanach, the Midrash, and the Talmud. 


Overview of Course Sequence:

Mechina (Preparatory) Level    30 lessons (fully online module)

Beginner Level                                   Bishvil Ha-Ivrit 1 and 2

Intermediate Level                          Bishvil Ha-Ivrit 3 and 4

Advanced Level                                 Bishvil Ha-Ivrit 5, online module on Freedom & NETA Books 22-25


Students in the ninth grade are initially placed by ability level measured by personal interview and formal placement tests. Once placed, they advance according to the sequence indicated above. For example, a student may begin his or her Hebrew Language study in the Beginner's Level and proceed to the Intermediate Level during the course of the ninth grade. The goal is for each class to complete one book every year. In every grade there are class sections to accommodate the varying needs of that year's students in terms of difficulty level. Students are placed in homogeneous classes with their grade level peers at the precise level that will ensure they will be challenged to improve their language skills without experiencing undue frustration. 
HE001 Mechina Level

This level is designed for students with no or very little knowledge of Hebrew. The Mechina offers innovative tools for learning to read and write in Hebrew while building vocabulary. Letters and vowels are taught and each student learns how to write, pronounce and understand new vocabulary words, and to use these words in sentences. The Mechina also helps students develop their speaking ability, as the sequence of new vocabulary words is arranged to help students progress step-wise in basic speech patterns. Students who complete this level will be able to speak in short dialogues, write paragraphs, memos, and assertions, read paragraphs of information or description and stories or folk tales, listen to and comprehend short dialogues, and recognize and use appropriate morphology and syntax.

HE002 Beginners Level
Students who complete this level will be able to speak in dialogues and interview, to express and support opinions, write short notes, personal and impersonal letters, read and comprehend informative paragraphs with opinions supported by reasons, read short stories and poems, listen to and comprehend short dialogues, songs, and short informative lectures, and recognize and use appropriate morphology and syntax.
HE003 Intermediate Level
Students who complete this level will be able to speak in conversations on any topic, read press releases and articles, short stories, poetry, form tables from texts, write personal or historical chronological reports, do theoretical written analyses including reasons, results, and purposes, listen to and comprehend simple TV or radio news and dialogues in standard Hebrew, comprehend main ideas of simple songs based on a single hearing, and recognize and use appropriate morphology and syntax.
HE004 Advanced Level
Students who complete this level will be able to speak in conversations on any topic and give short lectures on theoretical topics, read and comprehend literary works in their original form, do independent extensive reading of both general news and short articles in Hebrew newspapers and Modern Hebrew poetry, write standard Modern Hebrew in various forms of communication (memo, letter, essay on a theoretical subject), listen to and comprehend most components of a conversation on any topic, comprehend most of the particulars of songs based on a single hearing, and recognize and use appropriate morphology and syntax.
HE601 Bechina Yershalmit Exam
The North Shore Hebrew Academy High School offers an advanced curriculum which includes Tanach, Mishna, Tefila, Jewish Philosophy as well as Medieval and Modern Hebrew literature. The curriculum encompasses fundamental classical texts and helps to cultivate students who are knowledgeable and well-rounded in Jewish formative writings. The curriculum is typically studied in the 10th and 11th grade and empowers our students to succeed in the prestigious Yerushalmi Exam administered by Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  The Exam is recognized by many colleges and universities for official credit. Students study both narrative and poetic Biblical sections and delve into textual analysis. The sections of Mishna provide a background and familiarity with the Jewish oral tradition (Torah sh'baal pe). Texts in Medieval Jewish Philosophy challenge students to think and better understand their Jewish identity. The classical Hebrew and Modern literature connects our students to our rich history, Hebrew language, and deepens the 
bonds with our Jewish homeland - Eretz Israel. Students emerge with a profound appreciation and meaningful understanding of their Judaism.
Rachel Taylor
Chairperson Hebrew Language and Literature Department
Orna Amir
Instructor Hebrew Language and Literature, Coordinator of Israel Awareness Program, Executive Dean, Dean of Class of 2020 & 2022
Yaffa Farkas
Instructor of Hebrew Language and Literature, Judaic Studies, 10th Grade Dean-Class of 2021
Kohava Lavi
Instructor Hebrew Language and Literature
Gabriela Rozanski
Instructor/Coordinator of Bechina Yerushalmit, Israel Advocacy, Holocaust Studies, Hebrew Language