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WASHINGTON (RNS) A new Hebrew language public charter school in Washington raises the same questions facing other such schools around the country: How do you teach Hebrew without teaching Judaism?


  1. Latin is the official language of the Holy See. When a school offers Latin, does Ms Markoe ask pointed questions about whether the curricula is legitimate?

    PS: the population of Israel is 20% non-Jewish. That’s over one million non-Jewish Hebrew-speaking people. On any given Sunday, there are more Roman Catholics in the world taking Mass in Modern Israeli Hebrew…. than in Latin.

    reference: the Saint James Vicariate for Hebrew Speaking Catholics

  2. Lauren Markoe

    Lauren Markoe

    Article author

    Thanks, Karl. I think Sela’s curriculum is impressive. But who cares what I think? I noticed other people asking questions about the school. I described their concerns, and then I gave the staff and the school’s backers plenty of space to answer the skeptics.

    Latin is taught primarily because it is the trunk of a tree that has branched into many languages spoken by hundreds of millions of people. People do not necessarily think “Latin” and “Catholic” in the same thought. They often think “ancient Rome” or “Virgil” or “this would be a good language to know if I go to med school.” “Hebrew” and “Jewish,” have a more exclusive — though not completely exclusive, as you point out — relationship.