The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Basic Question

OOS writes, in a comment to his own post:

I was not debating the merits of the (early Hebrew immersion) program. In all likelihood, the kids would come out speaking Hebrew well. I know that I can't wait for my kids to come home from gan speaking Hebrew to each other in our ancient tongue (is there anything cuter than little kids playing in Hebrew? "Tafasti!!!" Lo! Lo tafasta!!!").

I think that the question for American schools is what happens after preschool? Fern mentioned that although she had a good grasp of Hebrew in third grade, she was not able to hold onto it after she left a surrounding where she was immeresed in the language. I think this is the challenge that the proponents of this method face. O.K. the little kids know Hebrew. Now that they are big kids and need to start learning real stuff, what language to we teach it in.

If we make a commitment to teach in Hebrew, what happens if the most scholarly and charismatic rabbi has a poor grasp of the language? Do we give up the love of Yidddishkeit that this rabbi can give over to his talmidim because he can't speak Hebrew? The answer for me is simple-- no. The answer for the school that I mentioned in the post is simple-- yes.

But this is the basic question.



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