Not only is Chicago America's third most populous city, but according to its Jewish Federation - as of 2011 the greater metropolitan area is home to 291,800 Jews. We're pleased to add that the same survey found that half of Chicago's Jews have visited us over here. So perhaps it would be advantageous to have some conversational Hebrew under your belt for that next Israel trip. And fortunately, the options and techniques nowadays for learning Hebrew are truly better than ever. By the way, Chicago is a sister city with Petach Tikva, meaning "Opening of Hope" (about 6 1/2 miles east of Tel Aviv).

So what resources are available to learn Hebrew in the area? JCC Chicago's adult education services offer "Say It In Hebrew" classes in at least three locations, with sessions running for 20 weeks (ask the Community Foundation for Jewish Education for more info). Being able to speak Hebrew, even some beginner's familiarity, can make any Israel experience so much fuller. Is your goal more to be able to read Hebrew prayers, or with greater ease? Rohr Chabad House runs a short five-week course targeting how to read Hebrew that may be helpful. You might also enquire at the Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, maybe practice speaking Hebrew at Café Ivrit night hosted by Hillel Metro-Chicago, or check out the Hebrew course listings of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago. Additionally, some private Hebrew tutors advertise their services in the area. It's also worth checking what's currently available in Hebrew lessons and Jewish prayer studies via local congregations and Jewish day schools. Another useful information and feedback source to tap may be area youth-group leaders- like from Habonim-Dror, USY, NFTY, Bnei Akiva, Young Judaea, BBYO, Noar Hadash and NCSY.

Learn Hebrew Pod gives you some further and more flexible alternatives. Learn to speak Hebrew like we do over here- our courses are "made in Israel". Our online Hebrew programs can either augment a local Hebrew class - to increase language immersion, or can be used independently - tailored to your own speed and needs. We provide comprehensive, enjoyable courses in modern spoken Hebrew, reading skills and Hebrew prayers. You can take us along on your mobile device and study Hebrew when and where it is convenient for you. We offer budget-conscious rates and further discounts for even small groups (invite a few friends), as well as larger organizations. You are welcome to test-drive some sample Hebrew lessons and multimedia games in our Free Collection.