Advice on Learning Hebrew in Eretz Yisroel

Dear Beyond BT

Just wondering if someone can give me advice –

i am 50 years old and started trying to be a BT over 30 years ago. i still cannot understand Hebrew very well (yes i know some elementary basics, but cannot really translate). I live in Jerusalem.

Any ideas what i can do to try and breakthrough?

Thanks so much

5 comments on “Advice on Learning Hebrew in Eretz Yisroel

  1. as Menachem Lipkin suggested, the radio is a great way to learn Hebrew. It is a real challenge because the announcers on the news speak fast and you don’t have any visual clues as to what they are talking about. many years ago I used to make a cassette tape of the news and then listen to it several times, until I really got it, and then make a different tape and move on to listening to that one. that way I was really learning to understand. With today’s technology there must be an even easier way to do the same thing. Another thing to do is to carry around a pad and pencil and write down words you hear and don’t know, as well as words you would have like to have known so you can say them, and at the end of the day look them up, record them in your notebook, and study them.

  2. To learn how to translate Hebrew into English, use:
    The Metsudah Siddur,
    The Metsudah Tehillim,
    The Metsudah Machzor
    and The Metsudah Chumash/Rashi.

  3. Sha’ar lamatchil is an easy hebrew newspaper available both online and in print.
    The best thing as Menachem says is to be in a Hebrew environment and talk Hebrew! Don’t worry about making mistakes or your accent. Let people correct you. Try listening to the news (every hour on the hour).
    Good luck and kol hakavod on wanting to learn Hebrew (the most important step).

  4. Living here 7 years, same age as you, still cannot string more than a few sentences together. When I try, which isn’t often, the most common response I get is מה אתה אומר? (what are you saying). Needless to say, it’s quite demoralizing.

    Ulpan alone is not enough, I did two full sessions. My “problem” is that I live in an Anglo neighborhood, go to an Anglo shul, and work for an Anglo company.

    The most important thing you can do is put yourself into a Hebrew speaking environment. My wife works in such an environment and even though when we moved here my Hebrew was better, she is basically fluent now.

    Other suggestions are:
    -Watch Israeli TV, even just news
    -Listen to Israeli Radio
    -Talk to Israelis
    -Don’t be inhibited about making mistakes. (Many Israelis have horrible grammar too.)
    -Get a time machine and make Aliyah much younger. :)


  5. Yisroel, there is a wonderful ulpan in Beit Ha’am that has part-time classes in the morning. The rates are pretty reasonable.

    If that’s not an option, I recommend

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