Hebrew is simultaneously one of the world’s oldest and newest languages. The Hebrew Bible is one of the foundations of western culture, and its study in the original language was a foundation of the curriculum in America’s first colleges and universities. Hebrew was used as a medium of communication among Jews throughout the world for centuries. In the twentieth century it became the language of the State of Israel; today it has millions of speakers in Israel and in other countries.
Contemporary Hebrew writers have produced a world-class literature, and the Hebrew-language cinema is gaining international recognition. Penn’s Modern Hebrew Language Program gives students the opportunity to become proficient in all of the essential language skills – understanding speech, speaking, reading, and writing. After becoming familiar with the full range of language structures, students listen to selections from Israeli radio and television; discuss current events; converse with one another about a wide range of social situations; read Israeli journalism, poetry, and short stories; write essays about a variety of topics; and prepare presentations on subjects of special interest to them – all in Hebrew. Students in many areas of the humanities and social sciences, as well as those preparing for careers in international business, law, and medicine, gain direct access to a dynamic culture via the skills the Modern Hebrew Language Program imparts.