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Idea of the Day: Hebrew immersion programs

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JTA is soliciting readers’ ideas for reversing the tide of Jewish assimilation in America. Here’s today’s featured idea:

Create a series of Hebrew immersion programs for the American Jewish community.  Language is a key to preserving identity, as can be seen in the ability of small minorities such as the Catalans, Quebecois, and Welsh to maintain and revive their identity for many centuries.

Imagine if we made Hebrew such a priority. We could start young, as they do with native Maori and Hawaiian communities, with immersion nursery schools. We could then turn synagogue Hebrew schools into more than just factories for memorizing prayers, and actually teach the classes in modern Hebrew.

This would strengthen our youths’ connection to Israel, it would allow them to read and understand sacred Jewish texts and prayers, and it would give them a way to bond with Jews here and around the globe.

Im tirtzu, eyn zo agadah.  If you will it, it is no dream.

Matt Adler
Washington

Read more ideas for stemming the tide of American Jewish disengagement here.

To share  your idea, send an email describing one concrete idea in 200 words or less to jewishfuture@jta.org (include your full name, city, and state or country). Our favorites will be featured online.

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