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Revolutionizing Hebrew School Pedagogy

What do you remember of your years in Hebrew school? For many of us, it was sitting at our desks, learning to decode the Alef-Bet line-by-line. Learning to read Hebrew connected us to our culture and identity. However, most Hebrew school pedagogy continues to be tedious.

Not much has changed in our approach to teaching, and it may not be surprising to learn that Hebrew school enrollment has plunged dramatically. A newly released census of Jewish religious schools found that enrollment plunged by nearly 45% over the past decade and a half.

An Overwhelming Need

During my 15+ years of Hebrew school experience, I witnessed a growing restlessness among our students. With so much happening in the world and with student mental health in decline, decoding Hebrew words from a textbook will not engage them. It’s no secret that Hebrew school teachers are always searching for more interesting and engaging activities for their students. However, many also have full-time jobs and do not have time to create games and activities.

The Launch of Alef Bet Games

Hebrew School Curriculum

This is where Alef Bet Games comes in. I was motivated to revolutionize the learning experience to keep students interested and engaged with the content. By creating resources that teachers could download, print, and have instant access to, I was able to provide fun and engaging activities for Hebrew school students.

Game-Based Learning

One of the first games I created was Hebrew 4-in-a-Row, and it was an instant hit. With just one photocopy and two different colored pencils, students socialized and had fun while practicing their Hebrew literacy skills!

Whether used virtually or in person, technology can also be a powerful tool for engaging students with Hebrew literacy. For example, Shofars and Ladders, modeled after the beloved game Chutes and Ladders, is designed to strengthen Hebrew reading skills while players compete to be the first to make it to the Land of Israel.

The Impact of Alef Bet Games

Since launching Alef Bet Games, I have received countless messages from teachers and parents who have seen a significant change in their students' attitudes towards Hebrew school. Here are some examples of the impact that Alef Bet Games has had:

  • Increased Engagement: Teachers have reported that students love the games and activities, and parents are thrilled to see their children excited about learning Hebrew. Students who were previously disengaged in Hebrew school are now excited to attend and participate in activities.

  • Improved Retention: Students are retaining more of what they learn because they are actively involved in the learning process.

  • Accessible Resources: Teachers who previously struggled to find engaging activities now have access to a wide variety of games and activities that they can easily download and print.

  • Global Reach: Alef Bet Games has been used by teachers in countries all over the world, including the United States, Canada, Israel, Ukraine, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

I am proud to have played a role in revolutionizing Hebrew school pedagogy, and I look forward to continuing to create resources that inspire and motivate students.

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1 Comment

Beth Schwartz
Beth Schwartz
Sep 13, 2022

Interesting story behind your Alef Bet Games!

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