Hebrew as Heritage: The Work of Language in Religious and Communal Continuity

By Sharon Avni


While Hebrew education maintains a dominant position in Jewish educational contexts, little research has looked at what the practice of Hebrew language education looks like on a daily basis. Drawing from an 18-month ethnography of junior high school students attending a private non-Orthodox all day school, this article critically examines the ways in which Hebrew was thought about and used in the classroom and during a two-week school-sponsored trip to Israel. Specifically, the article examines the multiple meanings that students and faculty infused into their use of Hebrew through their ideologies, words, and actions. It shows that the students and teachers draw upon Hebrew language ideologies in their daily practices, invariably appropriating them in complex and unexpected ways. This article concludes with a discussion on the relationship between heritage language learning and communal efforts to ensure continuity.

This is an author's draft, a later version of which was published in the journal Linguistics and Education, vol. 23. no. 3, pages 323-333, September 2012.

Topic: Continuity, Language, Pedagogy, Day Schools, Hebrew, Israel Experience, Religious Schools, Jewish Continuity

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Genre: Article

Language: English

Copyright Holder: Author

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Bibliographic Information:
Avni, Sharon. Hebrew as Heritage: The Work of Language in Religious and Communal Continuity. 2012: http://www.bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=14269


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