We’ve opened a mentorship program through our Facebook group. This page is to tell you what we expect from mentors and how you can become one.
To sign up as a mentor, you will need to fill out the mentorship application. There are only two parts to the application:
- About Me. In this section, be as specific as you can (in under 500 words) about your background and skills. Do you speak modern Hebrew? Are you Israeli? Did you study biblical Hebrew in a formal setting? For how long? Have you ever taught Hebrew before? Are you looking to help someone with modern Hebrew or with biblical Hebrew? In other words, let us know what you know, how you know it (how you’re qualified), and what you would like share with a mentee.
- Topics. In this section, you will need to provide a topic, since none of the pre-programmed topics apply to our educational goals. This can be really simple. I would recommend that you write: “basic biblical Hebrew,” “advanced biblical Hebrew,” “modern Hebrew,” “conversational Hebrew,” etc. Simple tags that will help people find you as a mentor.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: What is the mentorship program for?
A: The mentorship program aims to join those who know Hebrew with those who want to know Hebrew. The goal is to pair people together who want, on a volunteer basis, to move the goal of dissemination of the Hebrew language forward. There are plenty of people out there who know Hebrew and have trouble founding those who want to learn. This will serve as a sort of notification board on which people can let others know that they’re interested in one side or the other of the program. Once a relationship is established, the goal is not to give one-on-one lessons. This may be done, if it is decided by the mentor and mentee, but it is not the goal of the program. Our purpose is for those who already know Hebrew to be able to answer questions for those who want to learn. These might be grammar or usage questions. They might be questions about finding comprehensible input material (YouTube channels, podcasts, books, cartoons, etc.). They might be about how to express yourself a certain way to get a message across. The mentor may also suggest expressions, ideas, information. The sky is really the limit, but the mentor (as a volunteer) should not feel obligated for the full learning program of the mentee. You are ultimately there to guide, not to teach.
- Q: What is a mentor?
A: A mentor is generally someone who takes another person under his/her wing to show them the ropes, to help them get direction, to point them toward a path of better learning. A mentor is not a paid teacher. A mentor is not responsible for all the details of another person’s learning. They are there to offer advice and to help the person grow and to provide motivation and correction.
- Q: What is a mentee?
A: A mentee is someone who is being led, guided, or advised by a mentor. In our case, it is someone who wants to learn Hebrew for whatever purpose they have set for themselves. The mentor-mentee relationship should be about providing and receiving guidance.
- Q: Should my mentor ask me for money?
A: Absolutely not. This program is freely provided, and no one should be asked to pay for any interactions. Mentors with the Hebrew Café may not ask for money in exchange for their assistance. If they have a Hebrew lessons program that they charge for, they may let people know about it, but non-payment will not be allowed as a condition for discontinuance. If such behavior is reported, it will be investigated—and the mentor will lose their privileges with the group.
- Q: How do I get signed up?
A: Simply go to the mentorship tab in the Facebook group and click “sign up” under Find a Mentor. Fill in some information about you and your goals (under 500 words). Then choose a tag. If you’re looking for biblical Hebrew, add that tag. “Basic biblical Hebrew,” “intermediate spoken Hebrew,” etc. Once that is filled out, submit your request and you will be added to the notifications for mentorship. The same process is relevant to a perspective mentor. Simple as that!
- Q: What is the mentorship program for?
Expectations of Mentors
Mentors are not expected to be available 24-7 for their mentees. You are not committing to a full-time teaching position. This should be made clear from the outset. Mentors are volunteering their time, and (as such) their commitment to the program must come after their more pressing personal priorities (such as family, community, and work). We do ask that you take your position seriously, but we do not expect you to stop what you’re doing at your job to tend to a question from your mentee. That is unreasonable, and mentees must understand that everyone has the framework in which they live, and that mentoring will find its place within that framework.
That said, we do expect you to commit at least one hour a week to meet with your mentee through some kind of messenger service, whether through typed chat or through audio-video communication (Skype, Messenger, Zoom, Duo, etc.). Schedule a weekly (at least) one-hour session in which to sit and meet with your mentee and to go over their questions or give them some leadership.
Respect each other’s privacy. If someone feels uncomfortable giving personal information, do not demand it. Everyone should feel free to use whatever name they choose and to refuse to give out their private information (including telephone number and address). It is acceptable to set up new accounts on the communications platforms for the purpose of study (which are separate from your personal accounts). At the Hebrew Café, we do not discriminate on the basis of any of the classifications protected by law. Anyone who makes slurs or insults based on gender, national origin, race, sexual orientation, age, religious affiliation, etc., will be removed from the mentorship program and may have their membership in the group cancelled. Showing respect for other people (שְׁמִירָה עַל־כְּבוֹד הַזּוּלַת) is of prime importance to our objectives.
It is extremely important that those who cannot read the Hebrew Bible and explain its grammar OR speak modern Hebrew do not offer themselves as mentors. It is not enough for a mentor to know the alphabet or to have an idiosyncratic theory about where the language came from or how one should pronounce the Sacred Name (the Tetragrammaton). We need mentors who are competent in their knowledge of the Hebrew language for the purpose that they wish to help other people—either for speaking the language or for reading the Bible. If you are not equipped for either of these goals, you may still use the mentorship program, but please do so as a mentee rather than as a mentor. We appreciate your understanding in this matter.
Sometimes personalities do not mesh. If you feel that you and your mentee are not a good fit, do not force yourself. Respectfully, let the other person know that you don’t feel a great connection, and then offer to help them find another mentor. Do what you can to prevent offense, but don’t feel forced to be in any relationship or situation that makes you uncomfortable. This is a volunteer program, and you must be willing to participate—on both sides. Contact the admins with any problems that might arise.
Expectations of Mentees
Mentees should be eager to learn the Hebrew language. This requires some humility, and you must be able to accept advice from a mentor. Sometimes that means unlearning bad habits; and other times, you should rely on your background knowledge by weighing what someone tells you. At any point, if you are unsure that what you’re being told is accurate, you have the group to ask questions of. Think of your mentor as someone to rely upon, someone to get new information and challenges from, someone who has “been there, done that” and now they want to pass on what they know.
A mentor will not necessarily be from your religious community. They will not be required to agree with your theology or to support your religious opinions. Their only goal is to help you with the Hebrew language. Your goal should be to grow your vocabulary, increase your reading accuracy and speed, improve your listening skills, learn to write and speak. Whatever it is that you set with your mentor, work on it and commit yourself to improving your skills generally in the language. Try not to let personal religious or political opinions block you from receiving what the other person is trying to give you, and the mentor should obviously respect that everyone has their own background and way of thinking.
Insults and slurs are not allowed—of any kind. Such behavior will result in removal from the program and could get you blocked from the group. We believe in the principles of freedom of thought and respect for other people. This will be instituted in everything that we do. People of every background and opinion are welcome, so long as they are committed to our goal of furthering knowledge of the Hebrew language.
If, at any point, you feel that the mentorship program is not being used properly, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will hear your problem and intervene as necessary. This email address will put you into direct contact with both site admins.