Prerequisite: All students are required to do a special Online Hebrew Program:
Living Biblical Hebrew, Part One (LBH1).
The course LBH1 takes approximately 45-50 hours for someone without a background in Hebrew. The student learns to understand the spoken descriptions of 1000 pictures without English, learns to read the alphabet, and then learns to read the descriptions of the 1000 pictures. The purpose of LBH1 is to present Hebrew as a human language and to prepare the student to understand words by hearing and to begin to think in and with the language. Students will not be accepted into the SBH program unless they have completed LBH1. The student should plan their schedules so that LBH1 is completed three months prior to the course start date. The preferred module is the online course, since it has a few extra features. However, if internet service is unavailable, then a hard copy of the course with audio is available.
Recommendation beyond LBH1:
We recommend that students begin to listen to Living Biblical Hebrew, Part 2 (LBH2) if they can find time for extra preparation (up to 100-200 hours). This course includes about 14 hours of recorded audio materials, listening exercises, and drills in BH. (Additionally, all students will work with these materials in LBH2, as a first time or revision, during the first month at SBH.) Working through the recorded LBH2 material is recommended over simply working through an English class or other foreign-language textbook about Hebrew. The more that Hebrew can be understood by listening, the better prepared a student will be to use Hebrew in Israel at normal speeds of conversation. The student will have a stronger foundation for attaining a basic fluency and internalizing the language during the nine-month program. (There are, of course, many syntactical, grammatical, and textlinguistic notes in LBH2 in English to satisfy curious linguist-translators. However, it is the listening interaction that will best prepare someone for the time in Israel.)
Other courses and background:
Some students will have studied Hebrew for one, two, or several years. They are still required to listen to LBH1 because of its effect on one’s natural-language processing of Hebrew. During the first months of SBH, students with extensive background may have an advantage in the amount of vocabulary or kinds of structures that they can begin to use but they will likely have a disadvantage in not dealing with Hebrew words in a natural manner. The advantages can be put to good use through more extensive language use, and then the extensive language use will help in re-orienting Hebrew within the user as a human language (rather than as etymological algorithms or cross-word puzzles). This paragraph will probably have more meaning after 3-6 months of using Hebrew exclusively for communication.