Hebrew Immersion at Camp Ramah in New England: The JTS Early Childhood Hebrew Language Immersion Initiative

Publication Date: January 1998

Publisher: Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education

Author(s): Frieda D. Robins; Lisa D. Grant

Research Area: Culture and religion; Education

Keywords: Pre-schools; Culture; Hebrew language instruction; Camp

Type: Report

Coverage: United States


The authors discuss a pilot Hebrew immersion program conducted at a Camp Ramah's staff preschool. The program was designed to test the efficacy of this method and discover possible obstacles to its success. The authors report substantial success with the method, and identify several challenges: 1) a wide developmental range of children causes difficulties; 2) even if teachers speak only Hebrew to children, if support staff do not do likewise, the atmosphere will not be one of complete immersion; 3) a preschool within a summer camp has unique challenges related to scheduling; and 4) non-native speakers of Hebrew, even if highly skilled, are not as desirable as native or near-native speakers.

In Jewish Education News, Fall 1998.