“Our aim is to lead a movement of Hebrew-speakers and Hebrew-lovers in the United States and Canada, a movement that will connect people to the Jewish culture, religion and language,” says Dr. Simcha Leibovich, the WZO Executive’s representative in North America and founding member of HLC.
The council will be launched next week at HLC's inaugural conference in Newark, New Jersey, held November 18 to 19. The conference will be attended by official figures as well as academics and teachers from various institutions.
In forming the new council WZO teamed up with the Israeli Ministry of Education, the Academy of the Hebrew Language in Jerusalem, Hebrew at the Center (HATC) in Massachusetts, the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life and the Middlebury-HATC Institute for the Advancement of Hebrew in Vermont.
The council has four main initiatives including an annual three-day language and culture conference, the formation of the first professional organization for Hebrew teachers in North America, a database and website to connect all those who are interested, and the creation of a non-profit organization to raise funds for the initiative.
The HLC's first chairman will be Lawrence Kobrin, an attorney and a graduate of Camp Massad in Canada, the first Hebrew immersion summer camp in North America.
WZO's announcement of its new initiative comes right as a new batch of olim (new immigrants) arrived in Israel on a Nefesh B'Nefesh charter flight this Tuesday.
Lawrence Kobrin, first chairman of the Hebrew Language Council Darryl Egnal