Hebrew Language Initiative

The Five College Hebrew Language Initiative enables students on all five campuses to study the Hebrew language at all levels. Courses are offered through Smith and UMass Amherst and open to all five college students.

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Justin Cammy is a literary and cultural historian who specializes in Yiddish. He is chair of both the Program in World Literatures and the Program in Jewish Studies, and also holds appointments in Russian and East European Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, and Translation Studies.  
Cammy's publications range from essays on Yiddish literary history to scholarly translations of foundational texts to introductions to new editions of works by Yiddish writers and memoirists that open them up to a broad readership. 
He is a Professor of World Literatures and Jewish Studies at Smith College, and is a recipient Smith College’s Sherrerd Prize for Distinguished Teaching.

Joanna Caravita's research focuses on native and non-native teachers of Hebrew and Arabic.

Caravita is fascinated by the many reasons her students come to study Hebrew, the perspectives they bring with them and the myriad of ways in which they approach studying the language. She is interested in the historical and linguistic development of Hebrew, from its roots in the ancient world through to its emergence as the basis of a modern culture in Israel and beyond. Prior to coming to the Five Colleges, she taught Hebrew at the University of Texas at Austin according to an intensive, proficiency-based model of foreign language instruction. Aside from Hebrew, Caravita has studied French, Latin, Spanish, German and Arabic (and is currently dabbling in Portuguese).

She is a Five College Lecturer in Modern Hebrew Language based at Smith College, and teaches courses at both Smith and UMass Amherst. 

Professor Mednicoff's research deals with broad connections between legal and political ideas and institutions at the national and transnational levels, particularly as these relate to current issues in the Middle East. His articles and book chapters analyze the rule of law, human rights issues, Western legal aid, US policy, migrant worker law and policy, political liberalization and constitutionalism in the Middle East, especially Morocco, Qatar, Tunisia and the UAE. He is currently completing a book manuscript on the meanings and politics of the rule of law in five Arab societies.

He is the Chair of the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies and an Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies and Public Policy at UMass Amherst. 

Dr. Zussman specializes in various aspects of Hebrew linguistics, including pragmatics; grammaticization; concession; and discourse particles; and Hebrew as a Second Language.

He is a Lecturer in Hebrew at UMass Amherst. 


Note that if you don't see classes from all campuses currently listed, they will appear as the campuses release their course schedules for the semester. The five campuses release their schedules on different dates. Visit this page for specific dates.

Fall 2024 Hebrew Language Courses

Subject Course # Sect # Course Title Instructor(s) Institution Meeting Times
JUD 101 01 Elementary Modern Hebrew I Joanna Caravita Smith College M W F 9:25 AM - 10:40 AM
HEBREW 110 01 Elem Modern Hebrew I Joanna Caravita UMass Amherst M W F 12:20PM 1:10PM
HEBREW 111 01 Elementary Biblical Hebrew I Ofir Zussman UMass Amherst M W F 11:15AM 12:05PM
HEBREW 120 01 Elem Modern Hebrew II Ofir Zussman UMass Amherst M W F 12:20PM 1:10PM
HEBREW 230 01 Intermediate Modern Hebrew I Joanna Caravita UMass Amherst TU TH 1:00PM 2:15PM

Contact Us

Program Contacts:

Joanna Caravita, Lecturer in Jewish Studies, Smith College, and Five College Lecturer in Modern Hebrew Language

David Mednicoff, Department Chair & Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies and Public Policy, UMass Amherst

Five College Staff Liasion:

April Shandor, Academic Programs Coordinator