Download and print your FREE checklist and write down the names of each Hebrew letter and vowel symbol as you go through each lesson.
Welcome to B’nai Mitzvah Academy’s free Hebrew training! After completing these 10 lessons successfully, you will be able to read any Hebrew text that contains vowels. Before you get started, read this introduction as we break down everything you will be learning and provide important tips on how to learn to read Hebrew in the fastest, most effective way.
1. There are 26 Hebrew letters and 5 final letters. You will learn more about what final letters actually are in Lesson 9. Hebrew letters sound like their English counterpart unless I tell you differently. Ex. Hebrew letter BET has a “b” sound like boy in English.
2. There are 13 vowels that you will learn. These vowels are not A, E, I, O, and U. They are pronounced AH, EH, EE, OH, OOH, and AY. Most all of the vowels are symbols placed either directly underneath the letter, above the letter, or next to the letter. As we learn each vowel, I will tell you exactly where it is placed.
3. Promise me that you will make flashcards for every letter and vowel. 26 + 5 + 13 = 44 flashcards in total. It is by far the most effective way to learn to read Hebrew. Write the letter/vowel symbol on the front of the card and the name of the letter or the sound of the vowel on the back. Don’t start a new lesson until you have memorized the flashcards from the previous lesson!!! This is SO important.
4. The examples shared in the lessons won’t all be real Hebrew words. However, sometimes points are proven more clearly by making up a word using a variety of Hebrew letters and vowels.
5. We read Hebrew from Right to Left. That means that the sound you will read first comes from the letter furthest on the right of the word. Then you will look below or next to that letter on the far right to add a vowel to the syllable.
Here’s an example of what I mean:
6. When you transliterate — write a letter or word using the closest corresponding letters of a different alphabet or language — from Hebrew to English, there is always some variety in spelling. For example, the Hebrew letter א is commonly written as ALEPH AND ALEF. There is no wrong answer, however, some transliterations are more common than others. To keep everything uniform, I will be formatting my Hebrew word transliteration as follows:
- The sound of the first letter will be capitalized.
- All vowel sounds will be capitalized and written out in their full form as follows: AH, EH, EE, OH, OOH, AY.
- Letters in the middle and end of a Hebrew word will all be written in lowercase except for l “el” because it is an exact match for a capital I “eye” in the Open Sans Font and impossible to differentiate. All l’s will be capitalized (L) so there is no confusion.
Let’s look at an example of the transliteration you will see throughout the rest of the 10 lessons:
The Hebrew word for big which we learned to read above: GAHdOHL