Hebrew Literature and Language

As the language of the Jewish people, Hebrew has had a rich history and a profound influence on modern civilization. Degree programs explore not only the Hebrew language and literature, but Jewish culture and history as well. Keep reading to learn about education options, what careers might pique your interest, and related employment outlooks.

Is Hebrew Literature and Language for Me?

Career Options

If you studied Hebrew literature and language, you'd gain an understanding of the ancient and modern language, history and culture of the Jews. With this knowledge, plus the critical thinking and writing skills emphasized in literature and language programs, you'd have the basis for a variety of careers, such as teaching, museology, human rights, scholarly research and clergy.

Teaching options include high school through college levels in subjects like language, history or literature. If you're interested in preserving the history or culture for posterity, you could consider work in a museum. Archivists usually work with records, technicians preserve and care for collections, and curators oversee museums. If you want to focus on religious and spiritual concerns, be aware that only Jewish men may become rabbis.

Employment Outlook

Depending on the direction you want to take your career, there are a variety of employment projections and earnings potential. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that from 2012-2022, employment of high school teachers is expected to increase by about 6%, with postsecondary teaching jobs increasing by 19% (www.bls.gov). The BLS also noted that in May 2013, high school teachers earned a median annual wage of $55,360. Foreign language and literature professors - including those who teach Hebrew literature and language - earned median pay of $58,620 during the same year.

Archivists and curators are projected by the BLS to experience better-than-average job growth during the 2012-2022 decade, with archivists at 17% and curators at 13%; museum technician jobs are expected to increase 7%. In May 2013, archivists earned a median salary of $49,110, while curators earned $50,550, and museum technicians earned $40,020.

Members of the clergy, including rabbis, took home median pay of $43,800 in May 2013, with opportunities for clergy jobs in general expected to grow about as fast as average for all occupations from 2012-2022, at a rate of 10%.

How Can I Work in Hebrew Literature and Language?


Studies in Hebrew literature and language are available through degree programs at all levels. In a bachelor's degree program, courses in Jewish history, early Judaism, Jewish culture and Jewish literature may be offered. Other options might be Biblical Hebrew, Biblical literature, post-Biblical literature and modern Hebrew. This training could be a foundation for a career as a high school teacher, interpreter, translator or museum technician.

At the master's degree level, you'll take on a deeper exploration of undergraduate topics, with options for selecting a concentration, such as language studies in Rabbinic, Medieval or modern Hebrew. Another concentration might be Jewish culture and philosophy. A master's degree could help qualify you for a career as a museum archivist, rabbi or a community college teacher.

At the doctoral level, you're likely to complete advanced studies in the Hebrew language. Depending on your area of specialization, research is a possibility. For example, you may work on translating Biblical texts or investigating Jewish mysticism. Upon graduation, you might decide to teach at a university or work as a museum curator. You could also work in politics or international business.

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