Tag: Hebrew

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Robert Alter, Emeritus Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California at Berkeley, and author of the landmark three-volume book, The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary. As Jews around the world celebrate Passover this week, Dr. Alter shares why the Hebrew Bible is probably the most influential book in human history, and the larger lessons 21st century teachers and students should draw from its timeless wisdom. They also discuss the text as a record of the Jewish people, and vital historical lessons of persecution, resilience, and survival. Professor Alter describes how the Psalms and the Book of Exodus’ stories of liberation and Moses’ leadership inspired several of the major figures of the Civil Rights Movement. The interview concludes with Dr. Alter reading from his trilogy.

Stories of the Week: In California, K-12 public school enrollment has declined below 6 million for the first time in over two decades, with COVID accounting for only some of the loss. New Brookings research explores whether major federal aid packages directed to schools during COVID, and after the 2008 Great Recession, have been used for the intended purpose.

Member Post


If I were being responsible right now, I would be just finishing an essay analyzing Brodsky’s cultural influences in Russian (as it is I’m 70% done with the essay and 100% done trying to connect my “ы”s to my “т”s while maintaining the proper stem), or reviewing my infinitives for my return to Hebrew tomorrow. […]

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Learning Hebrew


At the age of 11, if I remember correctly, I began to attend Hebrew School after public school on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and on Saturday mornings. We carpooled with family friends for the 40-minute drive to Temple Beth Emet, a young, conservative synagogue in Anaheim, CA. To amuse ourselves during the drive, I remember arguing with Alan about whether there was such a thing as a purple car; I never won the argument, but neither did he.

The synagogue was in an old home that had been converted to a simple sanctuary and classrooms. The old wood floors creaked, and the rooms were austere: our classroom had just a long table and folding chairs to sit on. Cantor Model usually taught us: he was an elderly man with thinning gray hair and a mustache, a sweet smile, and spoke with a European accent. We all knew that he adored us. Although I was excited about learning Hebrew, his enthusiasm further spurred me on.

I was fascinated by Hebrew; the letters whispered of mystery to me. I loved the fact that it was written from right to left and was (obviously) read the same way! I loved printing the Hebrew words carefully, trying to imitate the graceful and exotic symbols and words, and adding the dots and lines as vowels under the letters that made them readable to a novice like me. I learned the formal letters; I don’t remember if I learned writing in script during that time. Sometimes Rabbi Tofield would stop in to say hello to our class; I remember him as a quiet, gentle man.