If you would like to learn either Modern Hebrew or Ancient Hebrew from scratch, but for whatever reason a course isn’t an option, then there are plenty of Hebrew books for beginners that can help you get there. The great thing about learning Hebrew from a book is that it’s much easier on your wallet, not to mention you can learn at your own pace without worrying about an Internet connection.
Not all of these texts are created equal, however. Of course, you want a book that’s easy to learn from and accurate. But you should also consider whether or not the text and its supporting material takes a modern approach to language instruction- one that takes into account recent research about language acquisition as well as the changes to the way people today learn and consume information.
Hebrew Books for Beginners
That said, here is my short list of the best, most useful Hebrew books for beginners (In my opinion). I’ve included my favorite picks for Biblical Hebrew, too. The links provided will take you to their pages on Amazon where you can learn more about them. *
If you want to learn to speak and read modern Hebrew, then the Living Language Hebrew program is my top recommendation. For a little over $20 USD, you get 3 coursebooks, 9 audio CDs, and free online learning via their website. This course will give you the most bang for your buck, while providing you with a comprehensive, multimedia learning experience.
This book is an easy-to-follow guide that will help you to pronounce the Hebrew letters and vowels. It’s specifically designed for those who want to be able read a Jewish prayer book and portions of the Torah (Hebrew Bible) as well as recite Hebrew blessings. There are two features of the book that really make it stand out from others like it:
- The step-by-step learning process is amazingly clear and well thought out.
- There is also an audio version of the book which you can use to compliment the written version.
A welcomed addition to the “Dummies” series of books, Hebrew for Dummies is designed to give you a fundamental base with which to begin learning the Hebrew language. Each chapter of Hebrew For Dummies is organized around certain activities and situations, like going to the store or asking for directions and it comes with a audio CD that you can use to follow along with the text. This book is great for learning about Jewish and Israeli culture, too. It also may make learning the Hebrew language much more approachable for some since it avoids the Aleph-Bet and relies totally on English transliterations.
4. Teach Yourself to Read Hebrew
As the name implies, Teach Yourself to Read Hebrew, will help you learn how to read any Hebrew word. What makes this book stand out is the way in which the material builds on itself as well as the amount of practice material it contains. If you purchase this book, then you should also get the accompanying audio book version as well.
5. Learn to Read Hebrew in 6 Weeks
Like the two previous books mentioned above, Learn to Read Hebrew in 6 Weeks will help to you read any Hebrew word in the Hebrew Bible, prayer book, or modern text. What sets this book apart, however, is that it uses a witty collection of pictures and memory tricks to help the reader learn how to recognize and pronounce the Hebrew letters.
6. The First Hebrew Primer: The Adult Beginner’s Path to Biblical Hebrew
The First Hebrew Primer is hands down the best Biblical Hebrew textbook on the market. So, if you want a thorough and detailed guide on Hebrew grammar rules in textbook style, then this is the text for you. Just keep in mind though, if you are an absolute beginner you should start with one of the other books mentioned in this list.
Know of any other good Hebrew books for beginners that I may have missed? Let me know in the comment section below.
* Disclaimer: I’m an Amazon affiliate. I will receive a small compensation for any of the purchases made via these links.
I thank you for your list but unless Hebrew for Dummies has been revised the editing and proof-reading needs work; spelling mistakes and others abound, so one needs to be alert when reading it. But aside from this it is an interesting book.
I looked through their most recent version and didn’t see any major grammatical issues. But, thanks for the heads up; it could be that the older versions needed some editing.