Hebrew Alphabet: A Practice Page to Learn Hebrew, Baghdad, 1920
This is a Hebrew-language exercise page with the Hebrew alphabet, probably originating in Baghdad in 1920. On the page, which appears to have been torn from a book or primer for learning Hebrew, are printed lines of different letter combinations. Each line on the practice page is teaching something a different skill.
Baghdad was the largest Jewish community in Iraq. The Jews of Iraq maintained their Jewish practice of studying the Bible and learning Hebrew, while integrating fully into Muslim society. Despite their centuries-long integration, after the establishment of the State of Israel, the Jews were forced to leave Iraq and many thousands immigrated to Israel.
This page of Hebrew reading practice can be used in Hebrew lessons to practise reading Hebrew today just as it was practiced almost 100 years ago.
This page can also be used in Jewish History lessons to explore the long history of the Iraqi Jewish community and to discuss Operation Ezra and Nehemiah in 1950-1951, which brought almost the entire Baghdad Jewish community to Israel.
Jewish Studies teachers could use this resource in a discussion about the significance of Jewish education and the Hebrew language in the Diaspora.
A Literature class could read the book “The Dove Flyer" by Eli Amir, which deals with the story of the last days of the Jewish community in Baghdad, as well as its first steps in Israel.
What do you see on this page?
What was the purpose of this page?
Who would have used this page?
In what year was this page created?
Reading Between the Lines
Why is the study of Hebrew so important to Jewish communities around the world?
Why are there no instructions for using this page?
Use the internet to find out information about the Jewish community in Baghdad during the 1920s.
Find out about Jewish-Muslim relations in Iraq before World War II. Were they good relations?
Read about Operation Ezra and Nechemia and explain what it was.
Do you remember learning to read and write Hebrew?
Did you ever use pages like this? What other types of materials did you use?
Was your learning process similar to or different from this page?
Are you learning Hebrew now?
Why do you (or your parents or teachers) think that it is important for you to learn Hebrew?
The book The Dove Flyer by the famous Iraqi-born Israeli author Eli Amir was recently made into a movie and tells the story of an Iraqi boy who immigrates to Israel. It describes the last days of the Jewish community in Baghdad and their dreams for their future in the new State of Israel. Read about the story, and write a journal entry from the point of view of the main character, Kabi.