Hebrew is spoken by about 5 million people in Israel and an additional 4 million people around the world. It is the only language of the Canaanite family still in use today. For over 2000 years, Hebrew was only used in religious texts and for prayer. However, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was revived as an everyday spoken language.
If you are considering learning the Hebrew language, check out our HebrewPod101 review.
HebrewPod101 Review: Summary
When you sign up for HebrewPod101, you are automatically given a free lifetime account and a free 7-day Premium subscription trial period. Your free account includes the first three lessons of each learning pathway with new lessons added each week.
The week-long Premium trial opens access to the complete video and audio lessons libraries along with:
You can upgrade your account to any of the three monthly subscription plans at any time. Each subscription offers access to five levels of expertise including Absolute Beginner, Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced. You can swap between levels as your knowledge increases.
Pros of HebrewPod101
Pro #1: Skill-Based Learning
One of the main benefits that students of HebrewPod101 love is the ability to focus on the specific language skills that you need to practice the most. Gone are the days of being forced down a strict linear syllabus, prevented from jumping ahead or moving between lessons – now you can pick and choose the lessons that are right for you. Everyone learns differently so why should everyone follow the same structure? With HebrewPod101 you have the ability to filter all the lessons in the lesson library by specific skill type, whether it be reading, listening or writing. You can easily jump between lessons or even study several lessons in parallel, keeping your learning fresh and interesting.
Pro #2: Large Collection of Learning Materials
To say the lesson library is extensive is an understatement. You will find hundreds of hours of lessons to help you master the language. New lessons are continually being added to the learning pathways which means there is always a ton of material to help you meet your goals.
Pro #3: Structured yet Flexible Courses
The learning pathway series are structured with similar courses, and you can complete each course on your own time. If you do not feel that the material has “stuck,” simply take the course again as often as you like. Podcasts can easily be listened to during your daily commute on the train, on your lunch breaks or in waiting rooms. If you need to quit mid-lesson, simply pick it back up at a later time. This flexibility allows you to easily merge learning Hebrew into your daily life.
Pro #4: Designed for all Learning Types
Whether you learn best by visual, audio or hands-on, you can find what you need on HebrewPod101. Videos and podcasts come with comprehensive lesson notes so you can go over what you just watched or heard. Interactive quizzes and flashcards allow you to get even more involved in your learning.
Pro #5: Downloadable PDFs & MP3s
Everything is available for you to download, including all the transcripts, lesson notes and MP3s. This allows you to continue learning even without an internet connection – a massive bonus!
Pro #6: Cultural Focus & Lots of Interesting Topics
So you’re studying Hebrew, you probably want to understand more of Israeli culture right? After all, why learn a language if not to immerse yourself in a juicy new perspective and way of looking at the world? HebrewPod101 doesn’t disappoint in this regard. As you’d expect, all the lessons are delivered by native speakers and there’s even the ability to filter all the lesson pathways by ‘culture’. You’ll discover such things as the top 10 Israeli foods, the biggest festivals in Israel, and even love quotes from Hebrew songs! The content is relevant and modern to daily life in Israel.
Cons of HebrewPod101
Con #1: Lack of Feedback
Unless you opt for the Premium PLUS subscription, there is very little feedback to confirm you are advancing as you should be. There is also no way to communicate with other Hebrew speakers, so you will need to seek out ways to practice speaking alongside this course.
Con #2: Most Effective for Beginner to Intermediate Speakers
Advanced Hebrew speakers looking to delve deeper into the language may be disappointed. Though content is abundant, it is mostly geared to those just starting out with Hebrew through intermediate speakers. Of course, if you are already fluent in Hebrew, an immersion course would probably be a better option.
Con #3: Too Much English
Similarly to the last point, a lot of the videos rely on too much English to explain how the language works rather than to simply immerse the learner in the language. Whilst it’s of course necessary when explaining complex grammar for example, I feel it’s a little heavy on the explaining side with not enough exposure to authentic language.
Con #4: Not Structured Enough
Unfortunately, you can’t have everything. Whilst the whole ‘pick and choose’ methodology keeps it all engaging and all, you’ll run the risk of having holes in your knowledge. The key benefit of a traditional textbook approach is the fact that it is in fact comprehensive, so you can be sure to have covered everything before building upon it and learning some more complex language structures.
No one can really say which approach is best, but unless you have the natural ability to continually assess your own learning and focus on what you need the most, then it might be best to use this platform alongside a more structured textbook or syllabus.
Features of HebrewPod101
Your dashboard is your home base of HebrewPod101. Upon login, you will be taken here where you can access your lessons, learning tools, the latest news, and additional learning pathways. Your progress including lessons completed and time spent studying will be kept in your dashboard and you can also change your level of expertise here. This is the control center of HebrewPod101.
HebrewPod101 will suggest a guided learning pathway depending on your level of expertise. This is generally the most structured course containing vocabulary, grammar, and cultural lessons. You can choose from tons of other learning pathways with titles including Holidays in Israel, Essential Hebrew for Emergencies and Hebrew Alphabet Made Easy. The different pathways can give you relevant translations quickly instead of having to complete the entire lessons first.
Podcast lessons can be listened to almost anywhere so you can truly learn Hebrew on-the-go. The instructors speak slowly in the beginning and go faster as you advance in learning. English translations are given along with any grammar or situational explanations that are required. You will also find lesson notes with the same explanations to read over after you’ve completed it.
Much like podcast lessons, video lesson instructors speak slowly and offer explanations in English. As you advance in expertise, less English and more Hebrew is used. The instructors are engaging and entertaining and keep the content relevant to real-life situations. You will also find lesson notes following the videos for further review.
Other Learning Tools
- Flashcards are a fun learning tool in which the Hebrew word is spoken and you try to guess the English equivalent. You are able to keep track of how many you got correct, so you can go back and review. (If you’re familiar with Anki or Quizlet then you’ll feel right at home, since all the same features are incorporated into HebrewPod101)
- Quizzes help you assess how well you are progressing in your studies.
- Pronunciation Review allows you to record your voice and compare it to the instructors. You can make sure your emphasis and accents are correct.
- Lesson Transcripts are available at the end of every lesson. You can print them out for additional review at a later time.
- Hebrew Core 2000 Word List – gives you a comprehensive list of the 2537 most commonly used words in Hebrew. You can browse around, sort by category or number (the 100 most common, 200 most common etc.) and add a word to your wordbank or personalized flashcard deck to revise at a later date. Each word comes with at least one example sentence to clarify the context as well as pronunciation audio guides and corresponding image.
- Vocabulary Lists are a great way to build up your vocab base. You’ll certainly find something that tickles your fancy with trending topics that range from pick-up lines and ordering food to star wars day and dental care. Simply hit the microphone icon and you’ll have the entire list read out to you with translations, or go into the list to record your own voice alongside a native speaker and add your favorite words/sentences to your wordbank.
- Hebrew Dictionary – exactly what it says on the tin.
- Word Bank – here you can see all the related lessons that include each vocab item, add labels, sync to flashcards, or export your entire wordbank.
Some Sample Pathways & Lesson Topics
To give you an idea of what to expect in the lessons, we’ve highlighted a few different pathways for 3 different levels – beginner, intermediate and upper intermediate. Note that these are just some examples, in reality there are dozens of different pathways that you can choose from and add to your dashboard.
Pathway: Absolute Beginner Hebrew for Every Day (64 lessons, 5hrs 36min of video content)
Content: Starting with the most common verbs, nouns and adjectives, this pathway provides the basic building blocks for must-know Hebrew phrases. Once the more nitty-gritty stuff is out the way, lessons cover many varied topics such as introducing yourself, tongue-twisters, popular Israeli bands and gift ideas. The videos have several different presenters and are highly engaging.
Who Should Buy HebrewPod101?
People who will benefit most from HebrewPod101 include those who:
Who Shouldn’t Buy HebrewPod101?
People who might not reap all the benefits of HebrewPod101 include those who:
HebrewPod101 vs. Alternatives
You can find a handful of both free and paid language learning apps that claim to teach you to speak Hebrew. Some are simply sites to enhance your vocabulary with flashcards and other learning games. Others offer comprehensive instruction into the language, grammar and culture similarly to HebrewPod101. Read on to see how some of these programs stack up.
HebrewPod101 vs. Learn Hebrew Easily
Learn Hebrew Easily is essentially a blog dedicated to teaching the Hebrew Language. You can choose between intensive or normal schedules. The intensive schedule lasts four weeks and consists of seven lessons including grammar notes, vocabulary and exercises. It is free to use and claims to have you speaking Hebrew at a “decent” level after the course.
Though there are some interactive aspects to Learn Hebrew Easily, most of the course consists of reading the materials. You can have your questions answered via email, but it is not clear if you are speaking with a native Hebrew speaker or not. Overall, you cannot beat free, and this course is best used in conjunction with a more comprehensive course.
HebrewPod101 vs. LinguaLift
LinguaLift is a subscription-based language learning program like HebrewPod101. It claims to immerse you in Hebrew without overwhelming you. Initially, you are sent a questionnaire to best determine your goals, study habits and motivation levels to customize a learning plan that fits your schedule.
You will receive the book Language Learning Secrets as well as a personalized Road Map to Fluency with your paid subscription. Lessons are quick and can easily fit into your everyday life. Tutors are available to answer your questions via email. The monthly cost is $29, but if you pay for 12 months in advance, it drops to $17/month.
There are three paid monthly subscription levels of HebrewPod101 in addition to your free lifetime account. Here, we will break down the cost and what is included with each.
Basic Subscription $8/Month $2.80/month (using our coupon link)
- 100 core words and phrases
- New lessons added weekly
- Access to the entire lesson library
- Comprehensive lesson notes and transcripts
Premium Subscription $25/month $7/month (using our coupon link)
The Premium Subscription includes all the Basic Subscription features plus:
- 2,000 core words and phrases
- Season vocabulary
- Custom word lists
- Interactive quizzes
- Voice recording feature
- Vocabulary slideshows
- Audio dictionary
Premium PLUS Subscription $47/month $16/month (using our coupon link)
The Premium PLUS Subscription includes all the Basic and Premium Subscription features plus:
- One-on-one instruction from a native Hebrew speaking teacher
- Continuing assessments
- Personalized learning plans
Or, check this page for the biggest and most up-to-date discounts on HebrewPod101.
HebrewPod101 Review: Conclusion
All in all, HebrewPod101 is a comprehensive and effective program for learning to speak Hebrew. The content is relevant to everyday life and its delivery is certain to keep the learner engaged and on track to fluency. For those who are serious about learning the Hebrew language, HebrewPod101 is an impressive platform to use.
You can try HebrewPod101 Premium for one week — for free.
Here’s the link:
Michael has been an avid language learner and traveler for many years. His goal with LanguageTsar is to discover the most fun and effective ways to learn a language. He is currently learning Japanese, French and Indonesian.