Hebrew Language and Culture
Coordinator & Advisor: Sami S. Chetrit
The department offers Hebrew language instruction, advanced courses in Hebrew, and courses in English. Language instruction prepares students to understand and appreciate the literature and civilization of the Jewish people by developing skills in listening comprehension, speaking, reading, writing, and translation. For advanced students who already have a command of Hebrew, there are courses in Biblical, Rabbinic, and Modern Hebrew literature, and Israeli culture, as well as courses in Aramaic and Talmud. In many of the courses covering modern works, Hebrew is the language of the classroom as well. Courses in English cover Hebrew literature of various periods, as well as Israeli, Sephardic, and Yiddish literature and culture, with readings in translation. Students can use the advanced courses as the basis for a concentration in Hebrew (including a double-major to complement a primary field of study), as part of the concentration in Jewish Studies, or for a minor.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MAJOR IN HEBREW (MAJOR CODE 054)
30 credits beyond HEBRW 101 and 102. Students must consult the advisor for placement in the language program and
to determine the distribution of credits for the major. HEBRW 203 and 204 may be applied to the Hebrew major only if students have been placed into these courses by the department. All students are required to take a minimum of 18 credits in courses in Hebrew numbered above 300. The remaining credits may include additional courses in Hebrew, courses in Arabic or Yiddish, or courses in Hebrew, Jewish, Israeli, or Mideastern literature or culture given in English. At least 12 credits must be taken at Queens College. Students must attain at least a C average in the courses composing their major.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MINOR IN HEBREW (MINOR CODE 23)
18 credits in Hebrew beyond HEBRW 102. For details, please consult the coordinator or the chair. At least three of these courses must be taken at Queens College.
Study in Israel can give the student a deeper and more extensive knowledge of the Hebrew language and its literature and culture than is normally possible in an academic setting. The department encourages study abroad, and grants varying credit toward the major and toward the degree at Queens College, depending on the nature of the course of study. A matriculated student should consult the coordinator before taking courses abroad.
Students who have had less than one year of intensive high school Hebrew courses (like in a Jewish day school or yeshiva) normally begin with HEBRW 101; those with two such years normally begin with HEBRW 102. Nevertheless, students enrolling to levels 102 and beyond need to take our placement test by appointment at our main office – King hall 203, phone number: 718-997-5570.
students with a level of or similar to Israeli hebrew speakers, should not take language classes, but rather literature classes as listed bellow.
HEBRW 101. Elementary Hebrew I. 4 hr.; 4 cr. A beginner’s course in modern Hebrew.
HEBRW 102. Elementary Hebrew II. 4 hr.; 4 cr. Prereq.: HEBRW 101 or equivalent. A continuation of HEBRW 101.
HEBRW 203. Intermediate Hebrew I. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Prereq.: HEBRW 102 or equivalent. A continuation of HEBRW 102.
HEBRW 204. Intermediate Hebrew II. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Prereq.: HEBRW 203 or equivalent. A continuation of HEBRW 203.
Advanced Language Course
HEBRW 305. Advanced Modern Hebrew. 3 hr.; 3 cr. A study of modern Hebrew texts to improve students’ command of the language. For students who have completed HEBRW 204 (or its equivalent) or for students who have attained a reading knowledge of Biblical or Rabbinic Hebrew without practice in modern Hebrew texts.
HEBRW 315. Hebrew Writing Workshop: Free Writing, Poetry, and Prose. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Students will learn various techniques for free writing (i.e., journals, blogs, etc.) and literary writing (i.e., poetry, prose, etc.) while working together in a workshop format. Instructors will include guest Israeli writers and poets.
HEBRW 317. Skills and Art of Translation. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Prereq.: HEBRW 204 (or equivalent) and ENGL 120W. Discussion of the techniques and problems of translation with extensive practice in translating various texts. This course will enable the Hebrew student to understand the unique structure and idiomatic usage of Hebrew in comparison to English. May be taken by fluent speakers of either language.
Elective Courses in Hebrew Literature
HEBRW 352. Modern Hebrew Literature:1880–1947. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Study of a theme or of a significant author or group of authors selected from Hebrew prose or poetry from the late 1800s up to the creation of the state of Israel. Course may be repeated once for credit when the topic changes.
HEBRW 356. Modern Hebrew Literature: 1948 to the Present Day. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Study of a theme or of a significant author or group of authors writing in Israel since 1948. Course may be repeated once for credit when the topic changes.
HEBRW 358. The Modern Hebrew Media.3 hr.; 3 cr. Readings of Israeli newspapers and journals, listening to Israeli radio, watching television in Hebrew, and browsing the Hebrew web. Students will learn the language of Hebrew journalism and the history and politics of Israeli media today: right/left, east/west, religious/secular, and more. Students will learn to write, record, and/or videotape an op-ed piece and publish it online.
HEBRW 321. Readings from the Torah. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Selected readings from the Torah (the five books of Moses). May be repeated for credit once if the texts are different.
HEBRW 325. Early Prophets and Kings. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Selected readings from the early Major Prophets and the books of Kings. May be repeated for credit once if the texts are different, but no more than twelve credits from HEBRW 321, 325, 328, and 331 may be applied to the major or the minor.
HEBRW 328. Later Prophets, Minor Prophets, and Megillot. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Selected readings from the later Major Prophets, the Minor Prophets, and Megillot. May be repeated for credit once if the texts are different, but no more than twelve credits from HEBRW 321, 325, 328, and 331 may be applied to the major or the minor.
HEBRW 331. Poetry and Wisdom Literature in the Bible. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Poetry and wisdom literature in the Bible (Psalms, Ecclesiastes, The Songs of Solomon, and more). May be repeated for credit once if the texts are different, but no more than twelve credits from HEBRW 321, 325, 328, and 331 may be applied to the major or the minor.
Courses Taught in English
HEBRW 150. Modern Hebrew Literature in Translation. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Readings in modern Hebrew literature in translation. The authors to be read vary from semester to semester, announced in advance. May be repeated for credit provided the content is different. (RL, WC)
HEBRW 160. Masterpieces of Hebrew Literature in Translation. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Readings in English translation of outstanding works in Hebrew literature from the Bible to the modern period, illustrating a variety of genres and themes.
HEBRW 190. Variable Topics: Topics in Culture, Art, and Literature in Israel. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Specific topics in cinema, theatre, music, literature and art will be announced in advance. Taught in English. May be repeated for credit if the topic is different.
HEBRW 250W. Biblical Narrative and Poetry in Translation. 3 hr.; 3 cr. Prereq.: ENGL 110. An ex- ploration of literary and textual questions in the Hebrew Bible, with special attention to the stories of creation, the stories of the Hebrews, and the rise of King David (in Genesis and the books of Samuel). Topics of study may include narrative and character development, rep- etition (of events, plots, formulae) and type scenes, the relationship between law and narrative, forms of poetic writing, and the use of the stories in later literature. All texts are in English; no prior knowledge of the Hebrew Bible is required.