The Hebrew language is spoken natively in Israel and many Jewish-oriented places, including America, Canada and France, which are all home to sizeable Jewish communities. In addition to the varied geography of the Hebrew language, it’s also a fascinating language of cultural extremes.
On one hand, it’s an ancient biblical language of religious significance. On the other hand, Israel is acknowledged as a leading future forward global technology centre.
There was plenty to chat about when we caught up with our very own Hebrew language heroine Judith Romang recently for April’s ‘In the Staffroom’.
Q We know you’re absolutely infatuated with Israel, Judith. Can you sum up a little bit about why?
A To live in Israel is amazing! I’ve travelled and I lived in Argentina for many years. But whenever I return, it’s as though I’ve never left. It’s so beautiful!
I never lose my fascination for seeing how the language and customs developed in Israel itself have a ripple effect around the world. It’s a magical language, full of culture and history – a millennial language brought into modernity by everyday life.
Q So you think it’s evolved across generations, like many languages do?
A Yes. There’s a very rich slang in the streets currently, which gives the language a gorgeous sound
What I like is that the language has roots from which a lots of words “spring out”. So, there are numerous families of words. Also, there are many biblical words that have been modernised and are still used today. Hebrew is full of history, each word, each concept is charged with culture.
Q How’s your career developed over the years as a result of your expertise in the Hebrew language?
A I’ve been teaching Hebrew for more than 30 years abroad. And, since I moved to live in Israel, my proficiency in the language opened a lot of doors for me. I love the language and have taught it to children and adults alike all my life – anyone who wants to learn!
Q Your joy for the language shines through, Judith. What else gets you excited?
A At the moment, I’m using my free time to learn more about the Israeli culture in depth. I listen to music, enjoy speaking to people and being immersed in this beautiful language. It’s almost like walking in the shoes of people from centuries ago.
Q Before we let you go, do you have a fun fact for us?
A Did you know that Hebrew is written from right to left using a different alphabet? People ask me if it is hard to learn and I always answer the same: it’s never difficult when there is love.
At La Academia, we offer tuition options for learning the Hebrew language with Judith for business or pleasure. (She struggles to differentiate between work and play when it comes her beloved Hebrew language though. Can’t you tell by the way her passion for it radiates?)