Every week this summer, students from Temple Shaari Emeth in Manalapan New Jersey, met to play games and socialize.

The fun and relaxed environment also created an easy space for children in grades 3-6 to practice their Hebrew skills.

They used Hooked on Hebrew playing cards to play "tons" of games, such as Bingo, Crazy 8's, Go Fish, and Memory, at the synagogue's Summer Hebrew Enrichment program. "We used the decks every single week because the students loved them so much," said Melissa Pescatore, director of religious education. 

Hooked on Hebrew is a new series of card games for practicing Hebrew letters and prayers. There are up to 15 different games that can be played with each deck. Cards are available in three different packs.

Pescatore purchased a deck of cards for each student in her school - grade K-6 - last spring and gave them out as take-home gifts on the last day of school in the spring.

She wanted to give the students a fun giveaway to end the year and knew the card decks would be a great way for students to practice their Hebrew at home over the summer. She also sent all the families a link to a downloadable family guide so the students could play at home. 

"We started with the Alphabet 1 with Hints deck and the students really liked the pictures and hints and we've worked up to some of the harder decks with two-syllable words," Pescatore said. "We've really seen reading improvement from the students. it's fun, and we know the more they practice at home, the better their skills become."

The decks will be available for the teachers once the school year gets underway. Here are some ideas for using Hooked on Hebrew playing cards:

  • Break the students into small groups so they can play games to review the letters (this would be great coming back to school to refresh the students' memories and ramp up their skills or a good review anytime during the year as a beginning of class activity)
  • Make the card game(s) one of the stations in station-based learning (Memory or Bingo would be good for that)
  • For students learning to decode, pick out only the letters that they've learned and play pared-down games with just those cards.  As the year goes on, you can add more cards to the games.  Also, these games would be great for a review week at some point during the year.
  • Prepare students to read multisyllabic words that appear in universal prayers such as Sh’ma/V’ahavta, Aleinu and Mi Chamocha.

Click each image to learn more or to purchase.

Hooked On Hebrew: Hebrew Alphabet 1 

A single beginner deck.

This card deck is also available on Amazon



Hooked on Hebrew Phonics Pack

This pack contains four different decks: 

  • Hebrew Alphabet 1 (with hints)
  • Hebrew Alphabet 2 (no hints)
  • Hebrew Vowels 1
  • Hebrew Vowels 2

Hooked on Hebrew Prayer Pack

This pack contains three decks:

  • Sh'ma and V'ahavta
  • Aleinu
  • Mi Chamocha



Hooked on Hebrew was previously published as Hebrew School Fun, and created by educators Dr. Linda Silbert, Dr. Al Silbert, Marilyn Arsham, and Ron Arsham. 



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