e-mail: shlomo@shlomosdrash.com

Absolute Beginner Prayer Book Hebrew:

Stuff You Know by Heart - A Self Study Course

This self learning class is to help those with little or no Hebrew experience to read and pronounce the prayers found in the Erev Shabbat Siddur. Using chants and one-line prayers most people who have regularly attended services know by heart, students will learn the Hebrew letters and the pronunciation of Hebrew words. Even if you haven't heard this liturgy before, there is transliteration to help you learn how to read Hebrew and feel comfortable with the prayers.


The more practice the better! One suggestion for those with little time is to give yourself fifteen to thirty minutes in length to do the lesson. The audio is running about ten to fifteen minutes at this point, so use that as a guide.

Course Content:

Students will learn to read the commonly used liturgical phrases, with the goal of independently reading any Hebrew text. Click on the title of the unit to go to that unit in Adobe Acrobat format. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader, click here to go to the acrobat reader web page. We suggest you do them in sequence, and learn one very well before going on to the next one. Each unit consists of a passage from the Siddur, the new letters and vowels, and any notes about reading this passage in Hebrew correctly. We'll end with a few notes about this piece of liturgy.

The newest addition to the course is audio lessons as well.  Click the word Audio to access the audio. You can also download the audio by right clicking the word  and selecting "Save target as"

I will add a new session periodically to the course. cirrently all letters are covered. If there is any other prayers you want to add to the list e-mail me with the suggestion.

Aleph-Bet Summary Sheet Complete listing of Consonants and letters
Calligraphy How to write the letters in the square script, just like the Torah
1. El na   Audio Letters,1 and 2 syllables
2. Shema  Audio 3 and 4 syllables,tetragrammaton, plene vowels
3. Baruch Shem Sofit and Dageshed letters
4.Ufros Alenu Sofit and Dageshed letters
5.Mi Chamocha Longer phrases
6. Barchu Longer phrases, holem
7. Selections Ps. 150 Phei Sofit, Longer phrase
8. Hamotzi
Pri Hagaphen
Blessing formula
9. Candle Lighting
Longer blessing formula, confusing vav's
10. S'he-che-yanu Blessings, Conclusion of Aleph-bet

Materials Needed:

None, but if you are going to print these out, a loose-leaf binder or folder is suggested to keep all your handouts in. I am using the exact text of the prayers so there are God names here. Tradition says not to throw out papers with God names on them like regular garbage, but to treat them with respect.Therefore,it is best to store them in your binder both for future reference and to avoid this transgression.


Practice. These are both prayers and chants. Reading them repetitively is prayer and meditation, so you get merit for learning and for praying. Try as least twice a day.

Sing. Most people know at least one melody to these phrases. Sing and point at the words as you sing them to get visual reference. Find CD's with the melody and follow along.

Apply. Bring your stuff to synagogue, read the phrases in the Siddur or handouts during services.

Contact me

If you have any suggestions,questions or comments about this course,you can e-mail me at shlomosdrash@aol.com