In 2011, a friend of mine told me he was learning to read Hebrew as part of converting to Judaism. I was enthralled: “Do they teach that to non-Jews?”
It just so happened that Congregation Beth Shalom was next door to my church. I took it as a sign. Over the next year I progressed through the elementary grammar and began to work on Ruth before the rabbi and I both had to move away.
When I came to Santa Clara University, I restarted Hebrew through independent studies in Ruth and Jonah with my New Testament professor Catherine Murphy. It went so well that I was able to take Advanced Hebrew at the Graduate Theological Union. Having never taken a formal course in Hebrew, I felt both intimidated and honored to be able to study Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Psalms (in Qumranic and Masoretic variants) with doctoral students. Since fall 2012, I also been taking Jehon Grist‘s Advanced Hebrew courses through Jewish adult education network Lehrhaus Judaica.
My feelings on Hebrew have changed over time. At first its sparseness scared me. But during my first year of Greek, I grew to appreciate Hebrew’s lack of complicated declensions and particles. Now I love its compactness and sound.