Can I Really Learn Hebrew?

Congrats to Beth G,  winner of night seven of our Hanukkah Surprise Packs!

She gets a pack of Hanukkah napkins that instantly shout “celebrate!” Just put these on the table at dinner and voila! It’s a party. (Available in Hanukkah in a Box.) One night left to enter; just sign up at


 Yes, you can learn the Hebrew blessings

My father, z”l, spoke eight languages. When I was a young child, I heard him practicing reading out loud. Maybe that’s when I learned to love the variations in hard and soft sounds of different tongues.

He taught me Hebrew, in 15-minute evening lessons. We read prayers, short stories, and poetry.

Who knows, but maybe that’s why I became a language major, studying French, Spanish,  and Russian in college. Later, I studied just a little (not nearly enough!) Yiddish and Italian.

One thing I learned from my father is that you have to practice by reading out loud. Reading silently just doesn’t work. Belatedly: to my college classmates who saw me sitting outside my dorm room reading Russian out loud, so I wouldn’t disturb my roommate, there was a method to what seemed like madness.

It is this understanding of the need to practice out loud that I built into our Hanukkah CD Tutorial.

The tutorial is composed of four tracks: terminology, blessings overview, blessings practice, and melodies.

In the terminology section, we make sure you understand what the key words are and how to pronounce them.  In the blessings overview, we explain the meaning and pronunciation of the three Hanukkah blessings, so when you’re saying them, they resonate for you. We also talk about how Jewish blessings are often constructed. You can follow along with laminated quick reference cards, as you’re learning.

Then, in the blessings practice section, we take you through the blessings, word by word, and phrase by phrase, until you are comfortable saying them. It is this part that is the magic sauce. We use a specific technique that helped me learn — and that I think will help you, as well.

Finally, we share the melodies with you. Thanks to singer Carolyn Flax, the sounds are pure and clear and lovely.

When this Hanukkah is over, just tuck your CD and reference cards (blessings, candle-lighting tips, and songs) away for next year.

Want to listen to a snippet from this CD to see if it’s right for you? Look in the right column of our website and click on “Listen to an excerpt now.”


Our Tent Keeps Expanding

 One benefit of building the Jewish Holidays in a Box community is connecting with people and media outlets that we’d probably never have discovered otherwise.

We are grateful to:

  •  Boulder Jewish News for sharing our article called “Getting Ready for Hanukkah” on October 29, 2012
  •  Behavioral Child  for their review “Hanukkah games for children” on November 16, 2012
  • Planet Weidknecht  for their article “Celebrate Hanukkah with New Holiday Boxes,”on November 7, 2012

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