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Transparent Language's Hebrew lessons promise "radically better language learning, in one complete experience". Their wide variety of strategies - grammar, writing, pronunciation and speech activities, among others - are designed to help you learn Hebrew as easily as possible.
Transparent Language's online subscription allows you to choose native script or transliterated versions, the latter of which gives you an English approximation of the pronunciation in Hebrew. You'll definitely want to use Transparent's 14-day free trial to see which approach is the best fit for your learning style and goals; most beginners will want to choose the transliterated version so they can get a feel for Hebrew pronunciation using the familiar English ABCs first.
Transparent Language uses a wide variety of tools to help you master Hebrew. Core Skill-Building Activities target the four core skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Speaking practice is done using Transparent's own EveryVoice technology, which lets you compare your pronunciation with that of a native speaker. And, the typing activities included in Transparent's Hebrew lessons gradually teach you how to use your regular keyboard to type using the Hebrew alphabet.
If for any reason you are unsatisfied with your subscription or download after becoming a paying customer, you can receive a full refund within six months of purchase (or prior to the next billing cycle if you're a subscriber to one of the online plans). This is one of the most generous customer satisfaction policies among providers of Hebrew lessons.
Transparent's Hebrew lesson structure is very flexible: you can move from one topic to another without gaining mastery of previous lessons. For some learners, this fluidity is helpful because they can jump to the vocabulary or grammar they need most; on the other hand, new language learners might feel overwhelmed by the possibilities and will need to be patient as they decide how to approach their path of study.
For people who want a more personalized experience, Transparent Language offers live classes or individual tutoring: $299 for an 8-week, customized online course that meets weekly, and/or $99 for 90 minutes of one-on-one online tutoring on the language topic of your choice. Many Transparent Language customers make use of this option when they have specific challenges with learning Hebrew and don't have access to native speakers who can answer their questions.
Transparent Languages' Hebrew programs are priced affordably and offer several options not found with other courses, such as native vs. transliterated courses, a program specifically for children, and live lessons or tutoring, Transparent Language earns our top pick for Hebrew lessons.
Who hasn't heard of Rosetta Stone? From TV ads to mall kiosks, they're probably the most well-known name in foreign language instruction. Through a process they call "Dynamic Immersion" - trying to help you learn Hebrew the same way you learned your first language naturally - Rosetta Stone introduces new vocabulary, phrases, and sentences without constantly translating between two languages.
You can get a very simple demonstration of how this works by selecting the "Try a Free Demo" button near the top of the main Hebrew product page. You'll be shown several pictures, which will be labeled in Hebrew and accompanied by an audio clip of the words' pronunciation. You match the sound and the written word with the correct image, which will then be paired with two verbs (for example, boy, girl, the boy eats, the girl drinks). Unfortunately, that's the extent of the free demo for Hebrew; you can only access a free 3-day trial for Spanish, English, French, German, or Italian, which doesn't show how Rosetta Stone teaches Hebrew script, for example. On a more positive note, even if you're not interested in those languages, using the free trial will still give you hands-on experience with Rosetta Stone's overall approach to teaching languages. We recommend that you give the free trial a test run, so that you can decide if the Rosetta Stone approach works for you.
We were excited to see that Rosetta Stone's pricing is much more competitive with other providers of Hebrew lessons than it was in the past. Previously, their language lessons sold for $400 or more, putting their program out of reach for many eager language learners. Now, Rosetta Stone's Hebrew program is listed at $199 for a two-year online subscription and $179 for access via CD-ROM or download.
Also, their satisfaction guarantee/return policy has undergone some positive changes - a 30-day, no risk, money back guarantee on all products, not just their CD-ROMs as the policy had been before.
Students' experiences with Rosetta Stone fall on every part of the spectrum. Some complain that the language instruction wasn't as immersive as they were led to believe, and that they didn't wind up being able to speak as fluently as they expected. Conversely, there are hundreds of reviews from students who felt that Rosetta Stone helped them master a new language much more easily than they anticipated.
Given the complexities of learning Hebrew, we would Rosetta Stone to make it available as one of the languages eligible for the free three-day trial. In particular, this would help students know how Rosetta teaches reading and writing of Hebrew script. Rosetta Stone's Hebrew lessons earns high marks for their new and improved pricing and satisfaction guarantee, and we think most students will gain a respectable level of fluency when using their programs to learn Hebrew.
Innovative Language's HebrewPod101 program provides a wide variety of language instruction levels, from brand-new language learners to those looking to refine their understanding of specific Hebrew dialects.
The high-pressure sales pitch used by Innovative Language might not be appreciated by some customers. The main site promises a free account with lifetime access, but no further information is available until you enter your name, email address, and level of learning (beginner, intermediate advanced), and then activate your account once you receive the email. The confirmation page then takes you to a "limited, one-time offer" that includes the following:
In order to access this "one-time offer", you'll need to pay $1 as a "bandwidth fee". Otherwise, click on the "No Thanks" link and it will take you to your main account page. On that page, we got yet another "special offer", explaining that we had now been given a 7-day free trial with access to the entire lesson library and Premium tools, but we could get a 10% discount if we upgraded to a subscription plan that day. Fortunately, the sales pitch seems to finish there, as you can jump directly to audio Lower Beginner Lesson 1, "Asking People Where They're From in Hebrew"
In that sample lesson, we particularly like that the audio speed can be changed right on the main screen if you need to hear the lessons more slowly (or more quickly!). Also be sure to check out the spot at the top of the lesson that says "Download PDFs". Here you'll find a transcript of the lesson, lesson notes (including cultural notes, grammar explanations, the approximate pronunciation using the familiar English alphabet, or the "Romanization"), and checklists to help you track your progress through the materials.
From that point, we found it difficult to know the recommended path(s) for logically progression through the lessons. We saw that there are also video lessons, so we went to the series "Learn Hebrew in Three Minutes" found under the "Lessons" heading on the main page. Those videos made more sense than the audio files, but we weren't sure if we needed to follow the instructions to "add course to dashboard". It took some digging to find "Hebrew Alphabet Made Easy" under the "Introduction" heading as we browsed available lessons), which would be very useful for those who need to master both written and spoken Hebrew. We recommend that students go to the Lessons navigation at the top of the page, and select "Learning Paths": here you will find groups of lessons categorized as Absolute Beginner, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. The content initially looks skimpy - for example, under the "Advanced" section of the Learning Paths, it appears to only contain two areas of instruction. However, looking more closely, we saw that the "Flexing Your Fluency" area includes a total of 57 lessons.
Additionally, the learning dashboard shows the recommended lesson progression under the "My Pathway" heading, access to flashcards and other tools, and access to the "My Teacher" feature included with Premium Plus memberships.
We were also confused by the pricing for Innovative Language's packages. On one page, it said that their packages were priced at $4/month for the Basic plan, $10/month for the Premium package, and $25/month for Premium+; however, on the main pricing FAQ page, the prices were listed as nearly double those amounts. The difference? The higher prices are for a 1-month subscription, and the lower prices reflect a 50% discount given for a 24-month subscription. Keep that in mind as you decide which plan meets your needs and your budget, and be sure to compare the features offered at each subscription level (interactive voice recording is included with Premium and Premium+ only, while printer-friendly lesson notes are included with all paid memberships).
Innovative Language does offer a guarantee. If you are unsatisfied with your membership at any level, you may request a refund within 60 days. Be aware that you will only be refunded for the unused time on your membership plan.
Because of the breadth of the content offered and the solid variety of teaching approaches (such as audio, video, MP3 downloads, and mobile apps), we give Innovative Language's HebrewPod101 respectable scores. This rating would improve with fewer hoops for prospective customers to jump through in order to check out what the Hebrew program has to offer, and less emphasis on the sales pitch.
Living Language's uses a four-step approach to studying Hebrew: Build a Foundation, Progress with Confidence, Retain What You've Learned, and Achieve Your Goals. For almost seven decades, the techniques that Living Language initially developed for the US State Department have allowed students to create a strong foundation of core words and phrases, moving easily to complete sentences and conversations, and eventually conversing comfortably in Hebrew in a number of real-world situations.
The Hebrew lessons offered by Living Language are delivered in two basic formats: Hebrew Essential and Complete, which are presented through books and audio CDs, and the Hebrew Online Course:
If you'd like to get an idea of Living Language's approach to teaching Hebrew, be sure to take a look at their free Language Lab. You can access it directly from the website, without having to enter your email address or any other personal information. We suggest going directly to Lesson 1: Essential Expressions and trying the vocabulary flashcard game. You may want to set the transliteration feature to "on", which will allow you to see the approximate English pronunciation of the Hebrew script. You will also be able to see which topics are covered in the Hebrew program; for example, the 10 lessons in the Essential level cover basic expressions and other everyday topics, while the Intermediate and Advanced levels help you talk about health and food (among many other subjects).
However, we felt that the free Language Lab activities didn't really help us understand how Living Language structures its teaching of Hebrew. We were left wondering if there is any direct instruction regarding the Hebrew alphabet or its pronunciation. We would have liked to see, at a minimum, a video or screenshots of the lessons themselves, or a description of the progression within the lessons. Most competitors allow prospective students to see the dashboard, syllabus, or other detailed information, so that they know exactly what they're getting with their program. Living Language felt like something of a mystery with respect to how, exactly, they teach their Hebrew lessons. Especially because there is no return policy or satisfaction guarantee - again, unlike most of their competitors - students may find it best to try one of their lower-priced options, such as the one-month online course, before committing to a more expensive package or subscription.
On a positive note, Living Language's e-Tutoring has many positive reviews from students who feel that it's well worth the investment. Pricing varies, but Living Language includes two e-Tutoring credits with their full-year package, and students can purchase further credits if they wish. Living Language's best value is their Platinum package, which combines the full-year online course and all of the print/audio materials, along with twelve e-Tutoring credits to help you get one-on-one help as you study Hebrew; unfortunately, Hebrew is not included among the languages eligible for the Platinum package. We suggest contacting Living Language regarding their e-Tutoring prices if you would like more specific information about working one-on-one with a native speaker of Hebrew.
Overall, Living Language's Hebrew lessons seem to be a solid choice for Hebrew lessons, particularly with respect to their e-Tutoring program, but we felt that they could be more transparent with the structuring of their lesson program so that students could get a feel for the program without making a financial commitment first. We give Living Language good marks that would quickly improve with a more robust free trial, the addition of a Platinum package, and a return/satisfaction policy that is more comparable to what their competitors offer.
Pimsleur is a worldwide name in language instruction, known for their 30-minute audio lessons. If you need to learn how to speak and understand Hebrew, Pimsleur could be a good fit for your learning goals - especially if you learn best by listening. What makes Pimsleur particularly useful is that their audio lessons come either as a CD or an MP3 download, so that you can listen on your iPod, smartphone, or other mobile device at any time that's convenient.
The best way to know if Pimsleur's audio lessons match your learning style is to click on the orange "Try a Free Lesson" button on their main Hebrew lessons page. Once you enter your name, zip code, email address, and reason for learning Hebrew (such as for fun, business, and so on), you can listen to their complimentary 30-minute introductory Hebrew lesson. We found the sample lesson easy to understand, and we especially liked the detailed explanation of the nuances of what we heard; many of the programs in our review had us listening and repeating sounds without explaining what we were doing or why. Be sure to choose an environment where you can speak out loud; you'll need to try and imitate what you hear as you listen to the trial lesson.
Unfortunately, if your goals include writing and reading Hebrew as well as speaking it, Pimsleur isn't likely to be much help. The product description says that reading instruction is included, but with no description of how that actually happens with an MP3 download.
Pimsleur's "Proficiency Guarantee" is also lacking, compared with most competitors' return policies and satisfaction guarantees: once you complete Pimsleur's Level I Hebrew program, you can opt to take a competency exam through an independent testing company Pimsleur has chosen (which, incidentally, gave us a 404 error when we tried to follow Pimsleur's link to the testing site). You can only get a refund if you fail that exam.
Finally, Pimsleur is the most expensive provider of Hebrew lessons. Given that their instruction consists solely of audio lessons, Pimsleur doesn't offer the same value as other more well-rounded Hebrew programs that teach listening, conversation, and reading/writing skills for a smaller hit to your wallet.
If you do feel that Pimsleur's auditory approach might be good fit for your learning style and decide to invest in their program, make sure to look for any special offers that may be offered, as we occasionally found discount offers when we visited the site.
Hebrew Podcasts was created in 2008 and focuses on teaching contemporary, conversational Hebrew as one would hear it spoken in Israel today. Although the name of the site would suggest that their main lesson format is audio, there are only 10 podcasts currently available on iTunes. Looking more closely at what Hebrew Podcasts has to offer, it soon becomes apparent that their focus shifted towards video lessons rather than the audio-only format.
On their main page, you can see the 150+ lesson topics currently available, from advanced topics like Phone Call Mistake to beginner themes such as Seasons and Weather. We like that there are several lessons that can be tried for free (as indicated by the "Try for Free" designation under the "Listen Now" and "Download" buttons), to get a feel for how the lessons are structured. We also recommend clicking on the Video Lessons link at the top of the main page and watching the Video Sampler. We felt that the video sampler gave us a good idea of what to expect from the lessons provided by Hebrew Podcast, though the quality of the video did feel amateurish compared to the more professionally-produced Hebrew lessons in our review.
Membership options for Hebrew Podcasts include 3-, 6-, and 12-month plans, which cost $49, $59, and $79, respectively. Paid plans give subscribers access to all levels of lessons, from beginner to advanced, video editions as well as podcasts; flash cards and written lesson guides; games to help students practice; a new lesson each month; and, a quiz to test mastery of each lesson's content.
Hebrew Podcasts also rewards members for continuing their subscription. Renewal options are $16 for 60 days, $40 for 6 months, or $69 for one year; after two years of membership, subscribers qualify for an even further reduced rate of $59/year.
Customers are protected by a 60-day money-back guarantee, which must be requested using the form found on the Feedback page (which can be found by using the upper navigation tabs on the site).
We love the fact that Hebrew Podcasts adds new content every month, providing current topics across a variety of levels. On the other hand, the presentation of that content may feel less polished than other Hebrew lessons, and the fact that we weren't able to find current customer reviews left us wondering if Hebrew Podcasts' customer service may be somewhat behind as well. We were also surprised to see that the only payments accepted for membership plans are PayPal and Amazon, rather than a traditional credit card payment.
Overall, Hebrew Podcasts can offer exposure to and experience with the language as it is spoken today, which is a valuable advantage over programs that aren't updated as regularly. However, the presentation of the lessons and even the structure of the site itself is much less professional than other sites in our review; with no new testimonials on the site since 2014, it's difficult to say how well their lessons continue to help students learn to speak Hebrew.
When you think of learning Hebrew, an image of young children reciting the Shema before bed may come to mind. While it's true that Jewish youngsters are often taught Hebrew from an early age, both at home and in special schools, many teenagers and adults also find themselves interested in this language that is so rich in history and symbolism.
Currently spoken by approximately five million people in Israel and two million others throughout the world, Hebrew enjoys a prominent historical place on the world's stage as one of the primary original languages of the Bible. And, with Israel rapidly growing as a global science and technology hub, being able to speak Hebrew can be an important inroad for business transactions.
Hebrew is also designated as a critical language by the US government, largely because of the close political ties between Israel and America, as well as the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. Whether you plan on traveling to Israel or doing business with native speakers in the U.S., modern technology allows you to study Hebrew according to your own schedule.
You can even study on-the-go, as most providers of these language lessons have convenient mobile apps and audio files that can be used anytime.
As you select a program to help you learn Hebrew for the first time or improve what you already know, you'll want to identify your preferred learning style. For instance, if you learn well by listening, choose Hebrew lessons primarily delivered in an audio format, such as MP3 or CD-based lessons that you can play while driving or relaxing at home.
Alternately, if you know that the way to make your learning stick is by seeing it in print or on a video, look for Hebrew lessons with many opportunities to read, watch, and see what you're studying.
An essential question as you compare Hebrew lessons is if you will need to be able to read and write in the Hebrew language as well as understand and speak it. If that's the case, your Hebrew lessons should include in-depth coverage of the written language, because it is very different from the English alphabet you already know.
For instance, Hebrew is written from right to left using 27 letters - and no vowels! - and it may take some time to wrap your head around the sounds that match each letter.In short, there are three main factors to evaluate as you choose the Hebrew lessons that match your goals, individual learning style, and budget. These include:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Hebrew Lessons available today. We hope these reviews will help you choose the ideal Hebrew lessons to quickly set you on the path to fluency!
Hebrew Lessons In The News
Students at Wilmette Community Hebrew School are combining creativity with spiritual lessons to bring a charitable light to the holiday season. Their "can-orah" campaign builds an ever-growing Hanukka...
Published: Wed, 14 Nov 2018 11:37:00 GMT
Local students recently received a lesson in flag folding in honor of Veterans Day ... The 11th fold, in the eyes of Hebrew citizens, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King So...
Published: Thu, 15 Nov 2018 10:30:00 GMT
For $5 a month you will receive access to the following: A user experience almost completely free of ads Access to our Premium Section Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly m...
Published: Wed, 14 Nov 2018 11:30:00 GMT
One of the most important lessons I learned in that first year was not to be embarrassed to speak incorrect Hebrew. At least then, almost everyone that I encountered would cheerfully and politely ...
Published: Sat, 03 Nov 2018 12:57:00 GMT
In the era of so-called fake news, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute ... "Understanding the Pittsburgh Attack: Lessons of Europe and Britain," a unity brunch reflecting on the recent ...
Published: Thu, 08 Nov 2018 09:17:00 GMT
It is a genuine aspiration for a young Lithuanian Jewish school pupil in 2018. While a percentage of the 400 students are not Jewish, teaching Hebrew classes and Jewish traditions to all means this ge...
Published: Fri, 02 Nov 2018 04:12:00 GMT
Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum of the Kehilat Zion synagogue brought up a relatively unknown medieval Hebrew text that deals with what we now call "slut-shaming" and attempted femicide - a story with unca...
Published: Thu, 01 Nov 2018 04:14:00 GMT
I never even felt that Jewish growing up, because I always knew people that were more Jewish. Sure, I went to Sunday school every weekend and Hebrew school twice a week and became a bat mitzvah. I've ...
Published: Wed, 31 Oct 2018 07:22:00 GMT
During the sermon, Tomlin learned the English language is more limited than Hebrew, in which the Bible was written. Hebrew has seven words that indicate distinct types of praise. For example, Towdah m...
Published: Fri, 26 Oct 2018 10:53:00 GMT
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