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Book Review

Book Review: Hilarious Hebrew-the Fun and Fast Way to Learn the Language

Hilarious Hebrew

Hilarious Hebrew, by Yael Breuer and Eyal Shavit

For anyone who has cried their way through learning a new language, Hilarious Hebrew is the antidote! Written by the Israeli-born team who presently live in England, Yael Breuer and Eyal Shavit, Hilarious Hebrew compels the reader to want to build a Hebrew vocabulary.

This book, with its whimsical cover, inspires even the most resistant language learners to open it up. Once inside, it becomes a real page-turner. Each page has a humorous sentence in English which has a play on words for a Hebrew term — for example, “It’s cold in my CAR,” — and then an explanation: “The Hebrew word for cold is Kar.” The Hebrew word is both transliterated and written in Hebrew letters.

Adding to the fun are creative sketches illustrating each of the sentences. Additionally, such personalities as President Barack Obama, actor Ben Stiller, singer-songwriter Mick Jagger and actor Tom Selleck make appearances.

President Obama might be curious to know that Barack in Hebrew means lightening. So, Hilarious Hebrew shares, “The fastest car in the world belongs to BARACK Obama. It goes like LIGHTNING. The Hebrew word for lightning is bah’rak.” This encourages learners of all ages to create associations with the funny sentences and comical pictures.

 

Through enjoying this pocket sized tome (and you will!), the reader will learn 235 Hebrew words, a great start to building Hebrew vocabulary. The silly sentences and pictures work like magic to help the reader remember words. As Shavit notes,  “All you need to do is read the sentences, enjoy the illustrations or simply imagine the situations described in the sentences – you will be amazed at your ability to remember the new words!”

Hilarious Hebrew was born when Breuer shared some of her funny sentences with Shavit. He got such a kick out of the concept that he started to come up with some of his own ideas. This led to a long series of back-and-forth exchanges until they realized that this would make a great book.

Hilarious Hebrew crosses all religious and cultural barriers. In fact, Breuer points out that their illustrator is not Jewish. Yet, through reading the sentences in order to create the pictures, he learned Hebrew.

Additionally helpful to studying the language is that the book is divided into topic sections such as holidays, home, cooking terms, family, and more, demonstrating the extensive care put in. “We thought of each and every sentence for hours to ensure that it was not only entertaining but sounded right, too,” Breuer says.

The use of mnemonic devices to learn a language or remember facts is not new. Breuer, who has been teaching Hebrew for over twenty years, notes that she has been using this system for at least as long.

Hillarious Hebrew has been so successful that Breuer was contacted by a French woman who plans to use the same concept to create the book in French for people to learn Hebrew words.

Hilarious Hebrew might just be the most fun and fastest way to build Hebrew vocabulary around.  One of Breuer’s students said that she still remembers Hebrew words she learned in this fashion from decades ago because it was so much fun and there was no tedious repetition or memorization. This book will not only keep a smile on your face, but will also keep Hebrew words in your mind.

To order your copy of Hilarious Hebrew, click here.

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