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Teach Yourself to Read Hebrew Paperback – Jul 1985


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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Eks Pub Co; 2 Revised edition (July 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0939144115
  • ISBN-13: 978-0939144112
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 17.8 x 25.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #359,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This lesson is an introduction to Hebrew consonants and vowels. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 132 reviews
289 of 291 people found the following review helpful
Unconditionally, the BEST Hebrew book for self-teaching Sept. 27 2003
By Liora Hess - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I can't rate this book highly enough. I had looked at several different Hebrew books to try to teach myself Biblical Hebrew. Each book started off with teaching you the names of the letters and so on. This book doesn't bog you down with technicalities to start with. It launches you right into learning to read Hebrew.
For example, in the first chapter you are introduced to three letters. You are taught the sounds and some vowels. It is very simple, yet you learn quickly and find that you are actually reading real Hebrew words by the end of the first chapter! That is so encouraging when you're just starting out.
I have seen Hebrew language books that don't even teach you how to write the Hebrew by hand, which is much different than the formal typed Hebrew. This is necessary, and this book also includes directions on how to write the letters. Exercises are varied and comprehensive and include writing, reading, creating words, adding vowels, etc. There's even some humor in a few of the exercises.
The back cover of the book folds out to include charts that will help, too.
From this 92-page book, I taught myself to read Hebrew. I recommend it above all the others you may find here. It's also one of the least expensive. Additionally, you can also purchase tapes from EKS Publishing. They have many more Hebrew books for when you have mastered this one. This is the one to get.
98 of 100 people found the following review helpful
It is a mitzvah! Oct. 19 2005
By Dondi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am teaching myself Hebrew and was looking for a few good books to help with this goal. Well, the reviews for this book were positive so, I ordered it.

Boy, I am so glad that I did too! First of all the book is very compact so, it is easy to take with you. It can fit into a handbag or briefcase with ease. There is a handy chart in the back for letter recognition. It even shows it with block print. This is the style that is considered handwritten. Nobody can write the letters that are in books. This was the only style that I saw and I tried to copy the book texts. It makes all the letters with curls, and wavy lines extremely difficult to write. This book changes that around!

In lesson 1, I was introduced to 3 letters. That is it, three! But what they did with those three letters are amazing. They introduced a vowel and it had the same sound. So, you are only learning one vowel every couple of lessons. It allows you to get comfortable with a couple of letters when combined with a vowel. I was reading and performing the exercises all in the first lesson! Unbelievable!

I like the exercises because they are self checking. Meaning, the words when pronounced correctly sound like real English words. This is encouraging to hear yourself reading. They do this purely for the exercises the words mean very different things in Hebrew. However, if you really doubt yourself, the answers are in the back. Of course, they are in Hebrew so, if you had problems with the exercises, this will not make it any easier for you. You will learn better, if you do not have the security net of the answers in the back of the book.

In the following lessons, they keep building upon the skills that you have learned in previous lessons. It is not isolating the lessons like most texts tend to do and they even review the lessons with you. They only introduce a few letters at a time which makes it really a lot more fun.

I was finally able to see what to do with Alef. It turns out that it really is a silent letter unless there is a vowel under it. It is what the books have been showing all this time. Who knew?

I wanted to teach my son Hebrew using this book but it would need modifications made to it. This is for adults who are self-disciplined enough to put their efforts into it. I think it is a great way to introduce vowels and this I will be doing with my son. However, this book is not to substitute for teaching or learning letter recognition. This does make a nice review for it. They do compare similar letters and how to tell them apart. This is extremely helpful for little ones who are having a hard time with letter recognition.

I know that there is a cassette companion for this book. However, I have just the book and I think that it is enough for me. Enjoy! You will not be sorry!
111 of 119 people found the following review helpful
Christian OT Students Please Take Note July 25 2005
By A. D. Handman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Easily the best text out there for novice students of general Hebrew. The Christian seminarian and prospective Tanakh ("Old" Testament) scholar who purchases this book as preparation for more advanced study will benefit tremendously. However, do keep in mind that your seminary or university texts will probably NOT use the modern Sephardic pronunciation that this book employs. Sephardic has a considerably simplified phonetic scheme,useful for learners of spoken and ceremonial Hebrew, in which a number of the vowels and consonants have identical sounds.

The Masoretic Text generally studied in Christian seminaries was attempting to transcribe a now archaic pronunciation in which each letter and pointing has its own sound, including subtle variations when the dagesh is absent. This by no means compromises the usefulness of this introductory book, but the novice Hebrew scholar should be aware that things get more precise on the academic level. Folks unfamiliar with Semitic languages will find Masoretic Hebrew sounds more challenging. Still, this book serves well as a gateway to an endlessly fascinating language.
75 of 79 people found the following review helpful
use this tool with caution June 19 2009
By Zhao Jijiang - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Hebrew alphabet is hard to learn, and this is a wonderful tool to learn it. After finishing it, you can continue your learning of either Modern Hebrew or Biblical Hebrew. However, some of the pronunciation in this tool is somewhat 'beautified' to a USA ear, and not really Modern Israeli Hebrew Accent. some examples: (1) letter 'resh' is pronounced /r/, but an Israeli does not pronounce it that way; (2) vowel 'tsere' is pronounced /ei/, but an Israeli pronounce it /e/.

My suggestion is: use this to start, but after you finished, fine tuning your pronunciation by using other works such as:
Colloquial Hebrew (Colloquial Series)
Modern Hebrew for Beginners: A Multimedia Program for Students at the
A Reference Grammar of Modern Hebrew (Reference Grammars)

Then, you can download the Hebrew module of a free software 'byki'(google it). About 150 words and phrases are pronounced by native Hebrew speakers, you can follow and practice. Additional words are available(about 1000), but not for free, you have to pay for them. But even the 150 free words can do a lot.

Finally, you may want to know the detailed rules of Hebrew Phonology. For this purpose, I recommend:
Invitation to Biblical Hebrew: A Beginning Grammar (Invitation to Theological Studies Series)
It is a first-year grammer for Biblical Hebrew, but even if you are learning Modern Hebrew, the ch1-ch9 would benefit you quite a lot, IMHO.

Now I would add my reply to a comment of my review. I disagree the comment in two points:
(1) He said hebrew is EASY to learn to read: mostly, it is. but: How to read a shewa? The effect of so many silent letters?(by the way, is letter 'He' silent? ) How to pronounce the abundant word connections? (when letter 'resh' after a silent shewa; when encoutering silent letters). These things bewildered me as a non-native speaker. The detailed rules for shewa is admittedly given up in the book of this set.
(2) He recommend Sephardic pronounciation: the first two textbooks I listed in my review are from native Israeli speakers, both advocate an 'Israeli Hebrew', which seems to be the standard pronounciation of mordern colloquial Hebrew today. so why Sephardic?
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
excellent for beginner Jan. 2 2006
By Maryland Liz - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I purchased this as a recent convert to Judaism with no previous knowledge of the Hebrew alphabet. I actually ended up taking a short course at our synagogue that used this book, but did use the CD on my own also. With the exception of one or two points I needed clarified, the CD and book were as good as going to class (only without the drive!). Presents things very clearly, in a good order and pace. I feel comfortable reading (obviously, not understanding) basic prayerbook hebrew after going through this set. Highly recommend for beginners.

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