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December 22, 2014 8:21 am

New Book Uses Slapstick References to Help You Learn Hebrew

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Barack = Lightning.

A new book, entitled ‘Hilarious Hebrew’ and written by Israeli ex-pats living in Brighton, England aims to bring laughter to the study of modern Hebrew.

With fun illustrations, the book’s authors Yael Breuer and Eyal Shavit use slapstick references to help readers remember words and phrases.

Breuer, a Hebrew teacher, explained how the idea for the book evolved.

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“I have taught Modern Hebrew to English speakers for many years, and have used this method very successfully,” she said. “When I told Eyal about the method about a year ago, we started making up more and more of these sentences just for our own entertainment, and when we realized that we had made up hundreds of them, we thought that it would be good to share the method, and the fun, with others, so we decided to create the book.”

OH HELL We forgot the TENT. The Hebrew word for ‘tent’ is…ohel,” reads one entry. “The man with the big EAR comes to the CITY. The Hebrew word for ‘city‘ is… eer,” reads another, in the small volume which also includes references to Barack Obama, Ben Stiller, Mick Jagger, actor Tom Selleck and the band Haim.

Selleck = Beetroot.

Famed writer Julie Burchill, who studies Hebrew with Breuer, said the concept has helped her learn the language of the Jewish state. “Even a dummy like me, who has a Hebrew reading age of 4-5 after five years of trying, can make sense of these gorgeous foolproof lessons,” Burchill gushed.

The book is divided into sections which help users identify words according to their need or interest, including vocabulary for holiday makers, shopping, eating, and a section that focuses on Jewish terms, entitled ‘It’s a Jewish Thing.’

Co-author Shavit insists that the silliness works wonders: “All you need to do is read the sentences, enjoy the illustrations or simply imagine the situations described in the sentences – you will be amazed at your ability to remember the new words!”

Breuer adds: “I recently bumped into a Hebrew student of mine from many years ago, and told her that I was working on the book. When I asked her if she remembered the words that I had taught her in this way, she exclaimed- ‘These words are so embedded in my mind, I am bound to take them to the grave!’, which was funny but also served to confirm our belief in the effectiveness of the method.”

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  • Sandy Miller-Jacobs

    This is commonly used for students with special needs. It’s a great strategy for students with strong auditory skills. “My gate, my gate has a sticky door” is the memory clue for 8 times 8 is 64. But for kids with auditory problems you need to give a visual clue. For the math example you show two gates with a screechy sound above them.

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