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New program brings Hebrew and “Israeliness” to Connecticut children

WESTPORT – A new initiative will bring an opportunity for Hebrew-speaking children in Connecticut to learn and solidify Hebrew-language skills and connect to their Israeli heritage and culture.

The Hebrew-language program is offered by Westport-based Israelis-in-CT for second-generation Israelis and other children who speak and/or understand Hebrew. Using a curriculum approved by the Israeli Center for Educational Technology, and modeled after a similar program in New Jersey, the weekly class will focus on reading, writing, grammar, and modern Hebrew conversation, as well as Israeli history, geography, and culture.

“Second-generation Israelis often only have basic knowledge of the language,” says Hillit Rozenberg, Israelis-in-CT coordinator of children’s programs. “Speaking, reading, and writing in Hebrew foster closer affinity to Israel and its culture and can open many doors.”

While children of Israelis hear Hebrew at home and may even speak the language, they have limited occasion to use the language outside the home, according to Rozenberg. Their day-to-day lives include few opportunities to make friends with fellow Hebrew-speakers and they often lack formal education in Hebrew reading, writing, and grammar.

Israelis-in-CT hopes to fill this void. While the impetus for the program was an identified need within the Connecticut Israeli community to convey language skills to their children, the program is open to all Hebrew-speaking children. It is the first program of its kind in the state, according to Israelis-in-CT president Relly Coleman, and complements a five-year-old adult Hebrew-conversation group in Westport.

Israelis-in-CT is currently seeking certified and experienced teachers for the new program, and applications from parents interested in the children’s Hebrew-language program. For more information, contact Relly Coleman: (203) 226-8739 / israelisinct@hotmail.com.

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