A language that’s both modern and ancient, Hebrew has an uninterrupted literary tradition that can be traced back to more than three millennia. It’s a classic example of an ancient language being revived and becoming the primary language of a worldwide community.
Now, learning Hebrew offers great potential in terms of connecting people to the Israeli culture and life. However, that’s not the only benefit of learning this historical language. The revival, secularization, and modernization—and its evolution into a spoken cultural symbol—is a historical phenomenon that’s completely unique. Those who learn Hebrew get meaningful opportunities to explore the language’s purposes and evolution and its role in sustaining and building communities across the world.
Why Learn Hebrew?
The State of Israel has two official languages—with one of them being Hebrew. There are more than 9 million speakers of the language across the world, and it’s the primary language of more than 5 million people. Hebrew has been connecting communities worldwide for thousands of years and is a perfect example of how language can unite people across space and time.
For those who like learning new languages, Hebrew presents an exciting challenge. For English speakers, Hebrew lies in the third most difficult group of languages to learn (it’s equally as challenging as Turkish and Russian, more complicated than German and Spanish, and less challenging than Chinese and Arabic), according to the ACTFL. For adult learners, Hebrew presents an exciting intellectual challenge.
Leading with Hebrew: Career Opportunities For Hebrew Speakers
Learning Hebrew as a second language not only provides an exciting challenge for students but can also open up numerous avenues in terms of career opportunities and professional ventures.
Business & Technology
In the world of international business, Hebrew’s relevancy has increased drastically in recent years. And as the influence of Israel in the world market continues to grow, having strong Hebrew language skills can be highly beneficial. Israel currently has the 3rd largest number of companies listed on the NASDAQ exchange (after the United States and China). It is known worldwide as a global startup hub and leading developer of cutting-edge technologies for the future. When it comes to innovation, the country is a giant. It’s one of the world’s leading nations in terms of VC investment and R&D spending and houses the global R&D centers for the likes of IBM, Apple, and Google.
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Considering Israel’s expanding prominence and influence, strong Hebrew language skills and knowledge of the modern secular culture of Israel can have pragmatic benefits for professionals and students alike. It carves a niche for you, allowing you to specialize in the market of Israel. For instance, if you’re working for an enterprise that has customers/clients in Israel, and your role involves coming into direct contact with international customers (law, sales, real estate), knowing the language will be beneficial
Learning Hebrew also benefits those seeking a career in the government—specifically areas such as the military, intelligence, and diplomacy. Hebrew is considered as an important language by numerous agencies and departments of the United States. Many of them even offer grants and scholarships to students learning Hebrew and other non-Western languages that are regarded crucial to United States security.
When you achieve a certain level of mastery in Hebrew, you can also become a language teacher. Hebrew is still considered to be a niche language, with not many experienced teachers available. There’s a lot of demand for Hebrew teachers at Jewish schools outside of Israel, as many Jewish people living abroad want to keep in touch with their culture and heritage.
If you don’t have the qualifications to become a professional Hebrew teacher, you can make some extra money on the side by offering Hebrew lessons or tutoring online.
For Working In Israel
Although the popularity of English has increased exponentially across the globe, and it has become the lingua Franca for most global corporations, many Israelis are not fluent in it. So if you get a job opportunity in Israel, knowing the local language will make things a lot easier for you. You can also become your company’s go-to person for liaising with the English-speaking world. Furthermore, you can also teach English to Israelis
About The Author
This article was brought to you by William B. Goldberg, a certified Hebrew tutor who works for Ulpan-Or. A leading Hebrew instruction institution, Ulpan-Or offers beginner, intermediate and advanced Hebrew courses to students all across the globe. The company has been in business since 1995, and is the official provider of Hebrew programs to the American embassy in Israel, and provides Hebrew courses to participants of Masa programs, Onward Israel, and Magen David Adom.