Crazy Herb's Hebrew Words : Memory Systems for Learning Jewish Culture and Modern Hebrew
Overview - One evening while waiting for our wives to say goodnight to each other after a meeting, I mentioned to Herb Fried that I had never learned the order of the Minor Prophets by heart. By the time our wives were ready to get into the cars (OK, so that might not have been all that short a time), I had them memorized. Read more...
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More About Crazy Herb's Hebrew Words by Herb Fried
One evening while waiting for our wives to say goodnight to each other after a meeting, I mentioned to Herb Fried that I had never learned the order of the Minor Prophets by heart. By the time our wives were ready to get into the cars (OK, so that might not have been all that short a time), I had them memorized. To this day, if you ask me what book is the third one of the twelve Minor Prophets, I will immediately picture the legs of a three-legged stool saying, "Aim us Aim us " The answer, of course, is the prophet Amos. Why had I mentioned to Herb that after earning a BA in Jewish Studies and rabbinic ordination after six years in rabbinical school, I had never memorized the names of those books in order? Very simple: I knew that Herb would be successful in getting me to memorize them, and that we would have great fun in the process. I knew that from watching Herb teach in the religious school in our synagogue. More accurately, I knew it from watching his students. When he was a regular teacher, everybody loved his classes, and when he was substituting, every child who saw him hoped it was his or her class that Herb had come to teach. You see, no one had to work in Mr. Fried's classes. His classes were playtime, an hour of fun and games. We never would have allowed him to do such a thing in our school, of course, if not for the fact that after an hour of Herb's fun and games, the kids learned more than in a month of regular classes. They may have done no work that day, for example, but every kid in his class could tell you the months of the Hebrew calendar, in order, and name the holidays that fall in that month. But that's not all. Name a month, and they'll tell you what number itis. Name a number, and they'll tell you what month correlates with that number. Not a bad result for any teacher, but when you consider the fact that the kids viewed this method of learning as play, not work, you begin to appreciate the magnitude of what Herb was able to accomplis