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Hebrew now an option for students

04/20/2010
By:

Caris McLaughlin

Copy Editor

Many Southern students have the misconception that in order to fulfill their language requirement, they must take Spanish, according to Elena Schmitt, department chair of the World Languages and Literatures Department.

“It is a world language requirement,” Schmitt said. “It’s not just Spanish we offer.”

Beginning next semester, Southern will offer a new language for students to take: Hebrew. The modern Hebrew courses are assembled through the Judaic studies program and the World Languages and Literatures Department.

David Levine, interim coordinator of the Judaic studies program, said bringing Hebrew to Southern was something the department has been wanting to do for a long time.

“It’s something that we think is really important for a Judaic studies program for Southern students to have the option of taking,” he said.

Schmitt said the Judaic studies program approached the World Languages Department in the beginning of the year and asked if it would be interested in starting a series of courses in Hebrew.

“Because we have the Judaic studies minor,” she said, “we think that it is very important for students who minor in Judaic studies to have language background that will help them in field work and general application of their minor to general life situations, work situations, both professional and personally.”

Both Levine and Schmitt said they think having Hebrew at Southern will entice not only students, but people from the community to take the courses as well.

“I’m hoping that by offering these courses, we might interest some people to come to Southern who might not have come to Southern otherwise,” Levine said. “It sends a message to the community at large that we’re interested in Judaic studies here on campus.”

Levine also said he hopes current students will be just as interested in enrolling in the courses.

“My great hope is that we get ordinary, regular, Southern students who want to try something different,” he said, “who want to get out of whatever rut they’re in and try something new and have a completely new
experience.”

Rick Harrison, junior secondary education and English major, said he thinks Hebrew courses will be a great addition to Southern’s course offerings.

“I personally think that Hebrew should be one of those classes that is required by an English major,” he said, “such as Literature of the New Testament; I think it would fit in that category pretty well.”

Even though Harrison will be entering his senior year in the fall and has already fulfilled his language requirement, he said he would be interested in taking Hebrew in the spring semester as an elective.

However, Schmitt said she recommends students to take a language early on in their college career so students can explore the possibilitiesof the language.

“[If they take a language early], they have an opportunity to minor and then major in language as well, if they wish,” she said. “So they give themselves time to acquire a language because it takes a long time to become fluent in a language.”

Hebrew will be taught by adjunct professor Esther Laskin who is a native speaker of Hebrew. The course will be offered in the fall on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. and the lab with the course will be offered on Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11:50 a.m.

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