From its humble beginning running small courses through the Jewish Agency, to becoming the biggest online Hebrew school in the world, teaching Hebrew in over 150 countries, the Rosen School, powered by eTeacherGroup is a pioneer in Hebrew education.
Most online Hebrew learning programs use self-learning models, employing movies on YouTube or apps. The Rosen School is the only online platform where a knowledgeable teacher leads a group lesson in real-time. This raises students’ motivation and engagement in the material. Studying Hebrew is not just a class, it becomes an experience; students encourage each other, exchange ideas and practice speaking together.
A laboratory for online teaching
In the early days of the Internet (2002), Israel’s Foreign Ministry’s Office posted a bid request for the creation of an online learning program for the children of emissaries for the Jewish Agency. Parents were concerned that while abroad their children’s Hebrew skills would wane and the Ministry’s hope was that by using the power of the internet, children could interface with native-speaking Israeli teachers to keep up their level of Hebrew. Young entrepreneurs, Yariv Binnun and his brother Boaz submitted their application, hoping for maybe a one-year commitment. Their vision was of virtual classes where students and teachers could meet online. Unbeknownst to them, they won and signed up for a four-year tender, realizing they were taking on a challenging project.
Learn Hebrew Online
Within a few months, they were teaching 300 children in 50 countries, from kindergarten through sixth grade, to read and write Hebrew. Within the year, kids who were attending the classes once a week were reading and writing at essentially the same level as their peers in Israel. Parents were thrilled and were willing to pay up to $1000 per course, for native Israeli teachers to instruct their children. Realizing the potential for their business, the Binnun brothers asked the Jewish Agency for permission to sell the service internationally, to any student interested in learning Hebrew.
Their challenging project, in time became a perfect laboratory for developing their online learning platform. They realized they had discovered a winning recipe for learning. The next step was to develop a program geared not only for kids but for adults everywhere who wanted to learn Hebrew. They emailed their contacts to gauge interest and were quickly inundated with requests.
Since 2004, the Rosen School has become the largest online Hebrew learning program in the world, instructing more students than the Jewish Agency itself. Guided by experienced teachers using proven pedagogical methodologies, now anyone can learn Hebrew online.
From Aleph to Taf
Pioneering Hebrew education runs in the Binnun family. Aharon Rosen, the grandfather of the Binnun brothers, was a pioneer in Hebrew language education during the first decades of the modern state of Israel and was instrumental in teaching generations of new immigrants. In the 1950s, he wrote the definitive textbook for new olim and foreign students entitled ‘1000 Words’. He also was one of the first to use the power of the radio and television to broadcast his popular educational shows. His grandsons named their school, the Rosen School, inspired by his memory, pioneering Hebrew instruction online in the era of technological advancement.
At the Rosen School, students can learn Hebrew at their own pace. With a platform that combines classroom time, live practice and a forum, each student can find what they need to improve all aspects of their Hebrew. The teaching method is Hebrew-in-Hebrew, which is the same method used in Ulpan for new immigrants to Israel. This immersion method gives students the motivation and confidence to focus on conversational skills, from which it is also easy to build vocabulary and grammar. Their typical audience ranges from young adults, to pensioners and hail from all around the world.
Throughout the program, students enjoy learning a variety of topics, beginning with the alphabet and basic language skills continuing to Israeli slang, exploration of Hebrew texts, literature, journalism and politics. Each course is nine months long with weekly participatory group exercises and classes for students to join live, or view later for those who missed the class. Other resources are also available, including 24/7 forums and open online sessions for students to engage with their peers. In addition to modern Hebrew, eTeacherGroup offers courses in Yiddish and Biblical Hebrew. The comprehensive online programs are available in six languages: Russian, German, French, English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Further developing their program, the Rosen School has partnered with the Rothberg International School at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which certified their Hebrew program. Students can receive academic credits, which are transferable to most academic institutes of higher learning in the world.
Today, the Rosen School employs over 100 teachers in the program, some of them with dozens of years of experience. Over 8,000 students are enrolled each year. Classes are available throughout the day and night, scheduled according to student’s preferences, based on their location (US east or west coasts, Australia, and Asia).
With the Rosen School, Israel’s best teachers are ready to teach any student – from beginners to advanced – Hebrew online.