A Joyous Hebrew for the Nations Graduation in the midst of Corona

A joyous celebration of fifteen graduates of Hebrew for the Nations recently took place in the heart of Jerusalem at the Jerusalem Seminary.  Even while limited by the Covid19 cap of 50 people, the graduation ceremony proved to be a truly jubilant time with spontaneous worship breaking out after the ceremony finished.  This little burst of energy represents the graduating class of 2020, many of which are ready to be sent out to the nations to train Bible translators and seminarians with their newfound knowledge of Biblical Hebrew.

“Of the approximately 7000 languages in the world, nearly 700 have the Tanakh (Old Testament) translated into their own language. But most of these translations have been done from European languages and not from the original Hebrew.”  Dr Yochanan Ronen of the Jerusalem Center for Bible Translators (JCBT) emphasized this striking fact during the graduation ceremony of Ivrit L’Amim (Hebrew for the Nations).

“Israeli Hebrew speakers–being trained in Biblical Hebrew Teaching, in order to aid and assist Bible translators throughout the world, are able to deliver the impact of Biblical Hebrew”, he continued.  JCBT has been bringing Bible translators to Israel for 25 years to learn Hebrew in order to more effectively translate the Tanakh into dozens of languages directly from the original Hebrew and, for the last 3 years, has been collaborating with Jerusalem Seminary’s Hebrew for the Nations program in order to help achieve this goal.

These 15 Israeli students were trained for six months in Biblical Hebrew and how to teach Biblical Hebrew in a communicative and immersive manner. They have been prepared to help train and assist Bible translators, active in translating the whole Bible into local languages around the world.  Congregational leader Avraham Ben Hod gave an encouraging message to the graduation class and Lech L’cha leader Shmuel Salway prayed for the graduating class and those being sent out in the coming months.

A month-long immersive Biblical Hebrew course for local Bible translators and consultants in Togo, involving two of these latest H4N graduates, is being planned for September.  Further intensive courses for Bible translators, consultants and seminarians are planned for Nigeria, Mexico and Myanmar in 2021.

The first Ivrit L’Amim course was conducted in 2018 with 12 young Israelis graduating. Of these two were sent out to Nigeria and to Mongolia to conduct Biblical Hebrew courses with local Bible translators. In 2019 two of the H4N staff studied and added professional qualifications as Ulpan (Hebrew language school) teachers to their experience and four of these H4N graduates helped via online tutorials to prepare Bible translators to pass a Biblical Hebrew entrance exam in order to come and study in Jerusalem.

Hebrew for the Nations is directed by Jochanan Löwenstein and is a program of the Jerusalem Seminary, in cooperation with Lech L’cha – a discipleship training ministry in Israel and the Jerusalem Center for Bible Translators.

Praise the Lord that Micah 4:2 is being realized more and more!  “Instruction will go out of Zion, the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem.”  This is good news indeed.

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