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Upper School Hebrew 1

Class Description:

This class will teach the basics of Biblical Hebrew. Students will learn the alphabet, structure, grammar, and culture of the Hebrew Language.


Class Objectives:

By the end of the year students will:

  1. Know and recognize the 100 most common Hebrew words.
  2. Know the structure of verbs, nouns, and narrative clauses.
  3. Learn of basics of Hebrew syntax and how it differs from English.
  4. Understand how the language developed over 5,000 years into its final, current form.
  5. Understand what the Hebrew Scriptures are in relation to our current Orthodox Bible.
  6. Translating basic narrative texts from the Old Testament.

Class Structure:

Every Monday new material will be presented via lecture and examples from our grammar (TBD this summer). Before Wednesday, students will have been expected to try their examples and translations individually. It is not expected for the students to have perfect work. In fact, I will expect many mistakes on the translations. Then in Wednesday’s class we will go over our examples, questions, or translations together. This is where we will sit back and work through the language organically. Lecture on words, culture, or history will be given as needed.

This class is more concerned about mastering the language, culture, and translation than trying to rush through in order to get through all the material quickly.  If we need to slow down our lessons, we will. That being said, this is a course in ancient language and the students  will be expected to put in individual study time outside of class. Quizzes will be given in order to best gauge where students are struggling. This will not go towards a grade, it is so I can best serve the students and slow down appropriately.




Required Materials

Required Texts: Grammar and Reader TBD. (I am currently looking through the best options).

Optional Texts:

-Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament by William Holladay

-Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia


*Required materials are not included in the purchase of the course.

Sarah Smith– Shalom! Or should I say, שלום! My name is Sarah Smith and I am very excited to join St. Raphael School this year. I am a wife, a mom of two young kids, and an avid reader. I joined the Orthodox Faith with my Chrismation in 2019 along with my husband. Before I inquired into the Orthodox faith I was an associate pastor in the Method church – specially there to serve the youth. I love the honest questions, the search for truth, and the fun-loving nature of teenagers.
Old Testament is more than something I study – it’s my absolute passion! I received my BA in Biblical Studies at Olivet Nazarene University in 2013 and continued my education with an MDiv at Asbury Theological Seminary in 2017 where I spent all my electives on the Ancient Near East. Some of my specialties include Biblical archaeology – I spent a summer living in Israel digging at Tel Abel Beth Maacah – as well as Biblical Hebrew as I was the teaching assistant and grader for two years in Seminary).
I came into the Orthodox Faith by way of Old Testament study – when I first attended the Divine Liturgy I was brought to tears because I saw the worship of the Old Testament taking place in front of me. My year as a catechumen was spent wrestling with theological ideas and personal ideas I had to let go of, but I never looked back. Orthodoxy is a clear continuation of the Faith of our ancient ancestors. I’m excited to get to know you and I hope to see you in one of my classes!

Red checkmarkComputer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with processor with a speed of 1 Ghz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with MacOS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do NOT recommending using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.

Red checkmarkHigh-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with an download/upload speed of 5/1Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.

Red checkmarkWebCam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer.
WebCam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)

Red checkmarkHeadset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class.
Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm

Red checkmarkZoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use.
To download Zoom:

  1. Visit
  2. Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
  3. Open and run the installer on your computer.
  4. In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.


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