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Hebrew is unique. After 2000 years, when nobody spoke it as their mother tongue, it was revived into a full and vigorous language. Today over 7 million people speak it.

The Hebrew letters existed before the creation of the world.
(From the Aggadah)

Hebrew and Arabic writing go from east to west
Latin writing from west to east
Languages are like cats:
You must not stroke their hair the wrong way.

(From "Temporary Poem of my Time" by Yehuda Amichai)

Hebrew is a Semitic language that developed in the 12th century BCE; it is the language of David's psalms, the prophets' call for justice, and contemporary Israeli soccer stadiums. Written from right to left, it includes a wealth of expressions, poetry, literature, and prayers and is one of the official languages of the state of Israel.

Intermediate Hebrew in UC Davis (HEB 21, 22, 23), includes Modern Hebrew - speaking, listening, reading and writing, as well as, Biblical Hebrew - vocabulary and grammar of the Biblical text.

Join this fun class to acquire knowledge and speaking experience in a renewed, growing and fascinating language. Qualified students who join the second year Hebrew can fulfill their language requirement, while adding four units of modern Hebrew and one unit of Biblical Hebrew to their curriculum.

If you are interested in courses related to Jewish or Israeli history and culture, please visit the Jewish Studies Program website. Would you like to find out more about Israeli culture and society while enjoying a good book? Click here for a list of major modern writers, whose Hebrew-language fiction is available in English translation.

hebrew scroll

Language Placement/ Proficiency Exam

Students who have taken Hebrew in high school for two years or from other institutions are encouraged to take the language placement exam to determine what level of Hebrew (elementary, intermediate, or advanced) to enroll in. To schedule and learn more information about the placement exam, contact Galia Franco at

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Following the campus guidelines for Coronavirus all UC Davis classes, lectures, seminars, labs and discussion sections will move to virtual instruction and remain virtual through the end of spring quarter 2020, including final exams. Given this, the department’s administrative functions have moved to remote work conditions. To contact staff members of the department via e-mail or phone, please go to our administrative staff contact page.

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