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The Breakdown

From ancient biblical texts to modern incarnations, Hebrew is a language that has transformed with its people. With its unique cadence and elegant alphabet, it’s also a language of theology and debate. If you’re fascinated by the complexity of Middle East politics, the storied history of the Jewish people or language itself, perhaps Hebrew is the major for you.

As a Hebrew major, you’ll certainly have your fair share of classes focusing on conversation, composition and grammar. Fortunately, studying a language at the collegiate level goes far beyond those brick and mortar lessons. Indeed, you will be exposed to the culture, art and history of Israel, Judaism and surrounding Middle Eastern populations. You’ll be able to study everything from historic and sacred sites like the Dome of the Rock to celebratory folk dances such as the Hora. Perhaps most exciting, you will likely have the opportunity to study abroad. And there’s no better way to learn a language than total immersion!

Should you decide to study Hebrew, you’ll need the patience and the fortitude required to achieve proficiency (not to mention fluency) in a foreign language. It also helps to have a good ear for accents and an appreciation for the nuances of grammar. Moreover, when studying another culture, it’s best to maintain an open mind. Finally, we recommend that you practice reading right to left.

Nuts and Bolts

Don’t fret; Hebrew majors don’t spend all of their time conjugating verbs. While grammar is certainly a part and parcel for the department, you’ll enroll in a variety classes designed to address all aspects of Israel, Judaism and the greater Middle East’s culture and history. Courses might include: Beginning Modern Hebrew I, Hebrew of the Media, Exile: Jews Literature and History, Wisdom Literature of the Bible, Introduction to Biblical Hebrew, Trauma and Violence in Israeli Literature and Film, Hebrew Language Teaching, The Jews in the Ancient World, Israeli Women Writers and Topics in Rabbinic Texts.

Decisions, Decisions

Hebrew majors love to learn about different countries and cultures, from languages to literature and all topics in between. Therefore, they might also think about studying French, Italian, Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, English, Portuguese, art history, international business, political science, East Asian studies, international relations, Slavic studies, Latin American studies, African studies and anthropology.

What's Next

You might not believe it but as a Hebrew major you’ll be uniquely positioned. Indeed, the writing and critical thinking skills you’ll hone coupled with the international savvy acquired through studying another culture make you quite marketable. And while teaching and translation are common, noble and attainable positions, you will discover that you are not limited to those two professions. Certainly, many graduates find positions with Israeli-owned companies involved in a variety of different industries. Others might seek employment in international education or with study abroad companies. A handful of Hebrew majors also land jobs with NGOs, doing aid work within the Middle East. The foreign service is another attractive route as is international business. Lastly, the tourism and hotel industries are popular, as they allow for a high degree of interaction with international clients.


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