These Jewish day schools are breaking the mold to teach fluent Hebrew

April 26, 2018 | News

This story is sponsored by the Avi Chai Foundation.

By Ben Harris

Teaching students Hebrew is a top priority for the Chicago-area day school Hillel Torah. So to ensure it has a ready supply of native Hebrew speakers on its faculty, the school goes straight to the source.

It recruits two couples from Israel for multiyear teaching gigs, flies them to Chicago and puts them up in rented homes. A parent committee makes sure the houses are appropriately furnished and the refrigerators fully stocked. Volunteers take the couples to open bank accounts and offer tours of Chicago. A schedule is created to ensure they are never without a Shabbat meal invitation.

And after they finish their stint at the school — in as little as two years, but never more than four — the process begins again.