Hebrew is one of the official languages of Israel, along with Arabic. In Israel, almost everyone you meet speaks English, so it isn’t necessary to speak the local lingo to get around. Our tour guide is also a fluent English speaker and will be the one that gets us around during the days in the Holy Land. But while knowing a little Hebrew isn’t a necessity, it might be fun to try some!
There is an online language program available through the McKinney Public Library that is free to library cardholders. It’s called Mango Languages, and you can access it by going to the main library page, click on “Databases” in the right-hand menu, and then choose “Mango Languages” from the list. If you have an account with the McKinney Library, you will be able to create a login and choose from the many available languages for study, including both Hebrew and Arabic.
I have begun the Hebrew tutorial, and it’s fun for learning some conversational basics. The program includes the audio of the words and phrases it teaches you, as well as the way it is written in Hebrew and a phonetic-type transliteration (into our alphabet, since the Hebrew alphabet is different from ours). It does not teach the Hebrew alphabet itself, however, leaving us to figure it out as we go. This can be done more or less quickly, depending on your learning style.
If you give it a try and find you like it, but need a little help with learning the consonants and vowels, let me know and I’ll try to assist. Or if enough are interested, we can maybe work it into one of our group learning sessions. Shalom!