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My Hebrew Story by Sammy Schwartz

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Hebrew Word

My Hebrew and formal education began simultaneously. My parents chose to send me to JCC for preschool where I embarked on a journey that has been everlasting. From the JCC I went on to Solomon Schechter Day School which furthered my love for Hebrew. Hebrew became as integral to my education as Common Core subjects such as math, science, and English. Following eighth-grade, I went to my local public high school, Niles North. Thankfully, I’ve been able to continue learning Hebrew under District 219’s Hebrew program. 

The ability to learn Hebrew at a public institution is a blessing that I’m extremely thankful for. Not only have I been afforded the opportunity to study a language directly tied to my culture, I’ve been able to share it with others. When I first began at Niles North, the Hebrew program was only Jewish students. While expected, I sought to change this narrative. My sophomore year, I started to recruit friends of mine to join the program. Unfortunately, the number of students signed up for Hebrew the following year couldn’t sustain the typical five classes of Hebrew. This pushed me towards a large recruitment goal. During my Junior year, I was elected Head of Recruitment for D219’s Hebrew Honor Society. Driven with passion for Hebrew I, alongside my fellow HHS members, were able to recruit over 20 students. Now, D219 has TWO Hebrew 1 courses in addition to the standard 4-5 courses.

I believe that studying Hebrew provides a unique opportunity to learn a language that has lasted centuries. Archaeological evidence, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, can tie the language to the Biblical Era. Furthermore, with a growing global economy Hebrew will become increasingly more advantageous to know alternative languages, especially Hebrew, which holds the basis to many other modern languages.