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There are many textbooks out there that promise you will learn Hebrew quickly. But where to start? With so many resources available, it can be hard to choose the right ones for you. This guide puts together the best nine books for learning Hebrew and the features that set them apart. No matter your level or reason for learning Hebrew, you’ll find a book fits your learning goals.
Best Books to Learn Hebrew
When people hear the word Hebrew, they might think of the Torah or Israel. Some might ask themselves, “Isn’t that a dead language?” Unlike Latin, Hebrew has evolved to fit modern times (Modern Hebrew). Approximately 9 million people speak Hebrew, with around 5 million being native speakers. That means that 4 million people chose to learn the language and that Hebrew learners are sprawled around the globe.
How Long Will It Take You To Learn Hebrew?
What is your current level?
What level do you want to reach?
How many hours will you study each day?
The Hebrew language is one of the oldest languages still in use. With 3000 years of history, it has immense cultural and historical value. One of the best reasons to learn a new language is to gain access to texts written in the original language. While some might argue about the original language of the Bible, being able to experience it in an ancient language like Hebrew is certainly enough motivation for theology enthusiasts and avid students.
Or if you are planning a trip to Israel, familiarizing yourself with the vocabulary and sounds you will hear once the plane lands is a good idea. Knowing some of the language is helpful when communicating with locals, navigating the city, ordering food, and more.
What Are The Best Books To Learn Hebrew?
To choose the books on this list, I looked up the best Hebrew books and researched the most popular options. Then, I studied their features and area of expertise (grammar, readin, vocabulary, etc.). Finally, I read several reviews to understand how they were helping students to learn Hebrew.
Scroll down to discover the 9 best Hebrew learning textbooks and what they are best for.
|Best Overall Hebrew Book||The Routledge Introductory Course in Modern Hebrew|
|Best for Beginners||Hebrew for Beginners|
|Best for Learning the Alphabet||Hebrew Workbook for Beginners|
|Best for Learning Hebrew Quickly||Learn to Read Hebrew in 6 Weeks|
|Best for Self Study||The First Hebrew Primer|
|Best for Biblical Hebrew||These Are The Words: Essential Biblical Hebrew Vocabularies|
|Best for Dual Language Methodology||1000 Hebrew Sentences: Dual Language Hebrew-English, Interlinear & Parallel Text|
|Best for Grammar||Modern Hebrew Verbs Step By Step|
|Best for Children||My First 100 Hebrew Words|
The Routledge Introductory Course in Modern Hebrew
Best Overall Hebrew Book
The Routledge Introductory Course in Modern Hebrew has 90 lessons with tools relevant to language learning. You will find substantial grammar explanations, texts covering relevant topics, and even dialogues to help you understand real-life interactions. It has lots of audiovisual material, like music, videos, a verb dictionary, etc. You will also find a glossary at the end of each unit and texts about life and society in Israel.
This book covers plenty of grammatical rules and has good-quality audiovisual material for learners of all levels. The Routledge Introductory Course in Modern Hebrew was designed for Hebrew students in a classroom setting, so if you plan to use it for self-study, you may need the assistance of a teacher. While the grammatical explanations and practice exercises were written to be accessible to Hebrew learners, they could be a little overwhelming for those starting their learning journey. Read more about the book here.
- In-depth grammar explanations
- Cultural reading notes about Israeli society
- Audiovisual material including verb dictionary, language charts, music, and videos
Hebrew for Beginners
Best for Beginners
Hebrew for Beginners is the best book if you want to learn basic Hebrew fast and effectively. The goal of Hebrew for Beginners is to take students new to the Hebrew language up to the intermediate level in 10 weeks. It covers the language foundations in 10 chapters and helps develop your oral comprehension. The lessons provide transliteration and translations, so you will always be sure to understand.
With this book, you will learn the basics of the Hebrew language and get comfortable applying it in the real world. You could do one lesson a week, and you will still find that the knowledge sticks to your memory thanks to its helpful exercises and clear explanations. Once you have finished this book, you will be delighted with how much your level of Hebrew has improved. See what you think about the book here.
- Helps reach the intermediate level in 10 weeks
- Hebrew exercises include English translations and transliterations
- Learn vocabulary that is useful for social interactions
Hebrew Workbook for Beginners
Best for Learning the Alphabet
The Hebrew Workbook for Beginners is the best book for beginners of all ages. This textbook teaches students to write the Hebrew alphabet with an easy-to-follow methodology and exercises. It doesn´t require Hebrew learners to have any previous knowledge, as its lessons touch on the basics of the language.
The book also includes fun, colorful infographics and images that make using this workbook more entertaining than reading plain text. It teaches the first 26 Hebrew words most needed to be able to read beginner-level texts. By the end, students will have incorporated 26 new words into their vocabulary and long-term memory. See if this book is right for you here.
- Teaches students to write the Hebrew alphabet
- Includes 26 Hebrew words
- Has infographics and illustrations
Learn to Read Hebrew in 6 Weeks
Best for Learning Hebrew Quickly
Learn to Read Hebrew in 6 Weeks promises that you will be able to read the Hebrew Bible, psalms, or the Siddur at the end of 6 weeks. The book focuses on learning fun memory tricks to help you remember the Hebrew letters and their phonetics. The book is written in a friendly, simple way so that anyone can understand the text explanations.
Each chapter covers different interaction scenarios that help Hebrew learners acquire the social language skills needed to interact with native speakers. It also provides colorful illustrations that help keep students focused and motivated in their study sessions. This book is good for beginner and low intermediate-level students. Reviewers thought the book was easy to follow and that anyone could use it. See what you think about the book here.
- Teaches you to read the Hebrew alphabet in 6 weeks or less
- Fun memory tricks to remember phonetic sounds and pronunciation.
The First Hebrew Primer
Best for Self Study
The First Hebrew Primer teaches Hebrew in a straightforward style. This book has 402 pages with in-depth explanations about verb use, grammar, and vocabulary. It touches on all the topics any student could need to learn Hebrew at home.
Self-study isn’t easy, as you will need to be on the look for new material to cover the different skills necessary to learn a language. However, The First Hebrew Primer features comprehensive practice exercises to help you polish your Hebrew skills. It also comes with a flashcard app and a separate answer booklet. This is a good book for adult beginners and intermediate-level students.
- 402 pages that teach Biblical Hebrew
- Includes separate answer book
- Reading material includes stories and biblical quotes
These Are The Words: Essential Biblical Hebrew Vocabularies
Best for Biblical Hebrew
These Are The Words: Essential Biblical Hebrew Vocabularies was designed to help Hebrew students learn to read the Hebrew bible. Like in a dictionary, you will find entries listed in frequency order accompanied by their respective definitions. However, These Are The Words’ special feature is that it also includes the correct prefixes, corresponding pronouns, and tense particles for each word.
Once you finish using this book, you will have learned enough vocabulary to start reading the Bible with no problem. It’s a valuable resource you can reference when needed. This book is compact and lightweight, so you can easily fit it in your bag and take it with you on tours or trips to the museum. Students of all levels can use this book. See if it’s right for you here.
- Words listed in frequency order
- Great for building vocabulary that will allow you to read the Bible
- Small and easy to carry around
1000 Hebrew Sentences: Dual Language Hebrew-English, Interlinear & Parallel Text
Best for Dual Language Methodology
As the title says, 1000 Hebrew Sentences teaches you 1000 sentences written in Hebrew and English. At first, this might seem like a strange way to learn the language, but having parallel English translations available can be helpful to beginner and intermediate-level Hebrew learners. The book also teaches the letters of the Hebrew alphabet and its phonetics.
This book is a helpful resource to accompany other learning tools. It is useful for exploring and learning sentence structure, but since it doesn’t cover basic Hebrew lessons, it would be better suited for students with previous knowledge. Reviewers said that they find that the interlinear and parallel English text makes the experience of learning how to form sentences in Hebrew less intimidating.
- Interlinear and parallel Hebrew to English sentences
- 1000 sentences to teach you how to use words in different contexts
- Teaches you the alphabet and how to pronounce the letters
Modern Hebrew Verbs Step By Step
Best for Grammar
Modern Hebrew Verbs teaches the logic behind verb structure so you will never have to stress about it again. This book gives clear examples for every verb and shows Hebrew learners how to use them in the right context. In addition, it also gives the infinitives, past and future forms of the verbs.
With this book, Hebrew learners won’t struggle to memorize long lists of words. This is the perfect book for self-study since learners will dispel their doubts about binyanim (Hebrew verb structure) without having to pay for the help of a teacher. All levels of Hebrew language learners can use this book, it is most helpful for beginners. Reviewers said that it is a great reference book and helpful for understanding binyanim. See what you think about the book here.
- Teaches the logic behind verb structure
- No need for memorization
- Has examples for every verb and their infinitives, present and past tenses
My First 100 Hebrew Words
Best for Kids
My First 100 Hebrew Words is the best book to help your kids learn Hebrew. This is a fun book designed to teach absolute beginners basic Hebrew vocabulary. It is very child-friendly as it includes colorful pictures with clear-sized letters. The book also features phonetic pronunciations and English translations for every word.
All words are under familiar topic groups like shapes, food, animals, toys, etc. With this book, children can start their Hebrew learning journey at home, as it is easy to understand and fun to flip through. Age aside, this is a book every beginner-level student can use, even if just to brush up on Hebrew vocabulary.
- Perfect for kids
- No previous knowledge is required
- Contains colorful pictures with their meaning in Hebrew, as well as an English translation and phonetic pronunciations
Why You Should Use Books To Learn the Hebrew Language
Using books to learn Hebrew as a second language is a good way to practice your vocabulary, writing, and reading skills. Once you understand the alphabet, grammar rules, and vocabulary, you will only have to worry about perfecting your speaking and listening comprehension, which you can do with a Hebrew language app or online course. You can also choose books on specific topics, such as a biblical hebrew textbook or literary works to compliment your study.
If you already know some Hebrew, a language textbook can come in handy when you want to refresh your language knowledge. Having books available might also be a requirement to practice skills like writing and reading. With Hebrew, for example, a textbook that teaches how to write and pronounce the alphabet letters is a must-have.
How To Use Books To Learn Hebrew
To learn Hebrew using books, you need to create a study plan. Firsty, you should examine your language goals and decide how you want to start. Learning the Hebrew alphabet and its phonetics is a good place for beginner students.
Next, you will have to follow your study routine, since the only way you will learn Hebrew is with constant practice. You can use different books specialized in specific language learning areas to help you reach the intermediate and advanced levels. And you can always find books that provide practice material or audiovisual resources to ensure you are practicing all language skills.
Best Books To Learn Hebrew: Final Thoughts
The books in this list will help Hebrew students improve their knowledge of the language. There are comprehensive textbooks that cover everything needed to learn Hebrew. You can also find books that focus on a specific area of language such as learning vocabulary or how to write and read the Hebrew alphabet. There is an option available for everybody’s learning style.
Best Books To Learn Hebrew: FAQ
There are many reasons to learn Hebrew. It has a unique history and cultural value. It is one of the most ancient languages in the world and, unlike Latin, it has been modernized to adapt to current times. It’s also the primary language spoken in Israel, a country of increasing worldwide importance.
It is not easy to learn Hebrew fluently. The U.S. Department of State classifies Hebrew as a hard language for English speakers to learn because of significant differences between the two languages. For example, Hebrew uses a completely different script and is written from right to left. There are also different grammar rules and certain pronunciations that don’t exist in English. But don’t let these differences deter you. With hard work and lots of practice, you’ll see steady progress.
According to the US State Department, it takes 1,100 hours to learn Hebrew. However, this number is an estimate and depends on different factors such as your natural ability to acquire languages and if you already know a language that’s similar to Hebrew.
Check out the fluency calculator to see how long it will take you to learn Hebrew.
It is possible to learn Hebrew at home. There are many online resources available, such as apps, courses, and online lessons that can help you study. Learning any language takes time and effort, and it helps to create a study plan to stay on track and see continual progress.