More than 650 students at seven suburban high schools - Deerfield, Niles North, Evanston Township, New Trier, Highland Park, Glenbrook and Stevenson - and two middle schools in Deerfield - Caruso and Shepard - study Hebrew as a world language.
Enrollment for 2019-2020 classes is taking place now.
Students learn both the language and culture of Israel, and typically have an edge in applying for college by differentiating themselves from the vast majority of students who study other languages. Several shared their thoughts.
"Hebrew, specifically at my high school, is a community that I wouldn't necessarily get in a different language. In a big public school, it is nice to have a place where I can find that Jewish community." 0-Gillian Rosenberg, Evanston Township High School
"Hebrew is a class that I always look forward to attending because of the connection I have with my classmates. The Hebrew language has brought a sense of community to my classroom that is lacking in other classes." -Caroline Cotler, Glenbrook North High School
"Right off the bat, I devoted my extra time to help promote the Hebrew program, and worked closely with our amazing teacher, Anna Gorbikoff, to make sure our status as a program was known in our community." -Abby Lapins, Stevenson High School
"After traveling to Israel in eighth grade with Ta'am Yisrael, I realized how modern and fast-paced Israel truly is. This made me forge an even deeper connection with the Hebrew language. It is not only the language of the Torah, but it is vibrant, modern and cool!" -Stephanie Kallish, Highland Park High School
"Hopefully, through Hebrew in the High, more people can foster the same love I have for Israel and the same desire to share it with others." -Noam Zetouni; Deerfield High School
"Choosing to take Hebrew has impacted my high school experience immensely and has helped me become more involved in my school and outside community. Looking back, I cannot imagine how different my high school experience would be, had I not chosen to take Hebrew." -Mia Strubel Iram; Niles North High School
The Jewish Federation promotes Hebrew in public schools through the SAFA (Hebrew word for language) Foundation, which it established for this purpose. If you have questions, email SAFA@juf.org .