The Modern Hebrew program at Fordham University is part of both the Modern Languages and Literatures Department and the Center for Jewish Studies department.
Studying Modern Hebrew is a good way to learn about contemporary Israeli culture and the issues that face modern Israel. Studying Hebrew is also essential for those who want to focus their scholarship on Middle Eastern Studies, modern politics, ancient languages, or to deepen their understanding of the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, and Jewish history from antiquity to the present.
Hebrew goes back to the 2nd millennium B.C.E., and it was continually used throughout the centuries. In the ancient world, it belonged to the group of Semitic languages that included Canaanite, Aramaic, Phoenician, and Akkadian. As a Semitic language, it also shares strong links and similarities to Arabic. In the medieval and early modern periods, it continued to be used by Jews in both Christian Europe and Islamic lands: in commentaries on the Bible and the Talmud, in theological and legal texts, and as a common language through which Jewish communities around the world could communicate with one another. In the nineteenth century, Hebrew was renewed as a modern spoken language, currently spoken in Israel. In Fordham’s Modern Hebrew language sequence, students begin by learning the alphabet as well as how to read, write, and converse in the language. As students progress through the different levels, they also learn about Israeli culture, Hebrew literature and film, and Jewish texts and history.
Students who wish to extend their studies of Hebrew beyond these offerings are encouraged to do so with partner (consortium) universities.
Studying Hebrew also is beneficial for those who want to study abroad in Israel. Knowledge of Hebrew is required of those who wish to enroll in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program in Israel. Those wishing to find study programs in Israel are encouraged to reach out to the Study Abroad office, the Fellowships office, or the Center for Jewish Studies for more information.