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History

Hebrew at the Center, Inc. (HATC) was established in 2007 with the mission to revolutionize the effectiveness of teaching and learning Hebrew in all educational settings. The initiative to establish a center to advance Hebrew teaching and learning was given its first real boost in 2002, when The Covenant Foundation and the Winshall family provided JDCS, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School with a grant to systematically pilot a proficiency and assessment-based approach to Hebrew teaching and learning. Inspired by the results and by additional work with educators from an expanding number of schools across the country, HATC began its formal work to develop an educational leadership team with the expertise to provide in-service professional development programs focused on Hebrew language educators in both formal and informal settings. Our goals are to professionalize the field, develop tools that enable educators to empower students, set goals, and assess programs, educate institutional leadership, and support Hebrew language advocacy. The outcome of this work aims to demonstrate what is possible, raise expectations, and to bring increased effectiveness, joy, and excitement to Hebrew teaching and learning. Since HATC’s inception and through its influence, the field of Hebrew language education has experienced increased professionalization and the addition of new players, including MA and PhD degree granting programs at Middlebury College, development of Avant STAMP ™ online assessment tool, the launch of Hebrew Public, the Kayitz Kef day camp initiative, entrée of new curriculum initiatives, and the establishment of the Council for Hebrew Language and Culture in North America. In addition to these efforts, HATC is currently in active collaborations with Prizmah, TalentEducators, CASJE, Hebrew College, Jewish Interactive, and peer organizations through DEEP. HATC remains in dialogue with the major foundations supporting Jewish education in order to continue to guide further Hebrew engagement.

Founders

ARNEE WINSHALL
CO-FOUNDER & PRESIDENT
SHARONA GIVOL

CO-FOUNDER

VARDIT RINGVALD
CO-FOUNDER

Join Hebrew teachers, Hebrew leaders, and other school leaders for an intensive, virtual conference on Sunday, April 3, 11:30 – 3:30 EDT. 

Click here for more information and to register

SHARONA GIVOL
CO-FOUNDER
Sharona, in her capacity as the Director of the Hebrew Language Program at JCDS, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School, served as the JCDS Project Manager for the Covenant Foundation Grant which helped to underwrite the pilot phase that led to the launch of HATC. After joining JCDS Boston in 2002, she began working with Dr. Ringvald to develop and refine the Hebrew language acquisition tools, teacher workshops, and mentoring programs that are now being shared with Hebrew language and Jewish educators around the world. While teaching grades 5-9 in Israel, Sharona was responsible for helping foster children adapt to their new families and communities. She managed a center for children with learning disabilities, working with dyslexic Middle School students. Later she co-founded the Community Day School of the Northern Golan Heights. From 1986 to 1997 Sharona worked for the “Logal” educational software company in Israel, as Director of Reading Comprehension and Language Arts.
VARDIT RINGVALD
CO-FOUNDER
Vardit Ringvald, Ph.D., is a CV Starr Research Professor of Languages and Linguistics. She is the founding Director of the Brandeis-Middlebury School of Hebrew, established in 2007. Prof. Ringvald recently concluded nearly three decades at Brandeis University, most recently as the Director of the Hebrew Language Department. Along with her colleagues, she published Brandeis Modern Hebrew, Vol. 1, which has become North America’s most popular college Hebrew language textbook. Vol. 2 was published in June, 2013. She is an expert in the application of the proficiency approach to foreign language instruction and the development of competency-based curriculum for teaching Modern Hebrew in all educational settings at all levels, implementing authentic materials and methods for integrating Hebrew culture into the classroom. She is a founding member of the Hebrew Language Council (HLC) of North America and in 2013, she was appointed to the Committee for Teacher Certification Examinations of NYSED (The New York State Education Department). She led the Hebrew language initiative of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and served as the chairperson of the SAT II for Hebrew. She is a founding board member of JCDS, Boston’s Jewish Community Day School.