Hebrew Capacity Evaluation

Instructions and FAQ for applicants to the Rabbinic School, the Debbie Friedman School of Sacred Music and the Master of Arts in Jewish Learning in the MEdL program of the Rhea Hirsch School of Education.

Getting Started

When you begin your application with us, you will receive a separate email from the HUC Canvas System inviting you to the Online Hebrew Evaluation Course. After you click “get started” you will be prompted to register for a Canvas account by creating a password. NOTE: You must use this link and account creation to access our evaluation. Another Canvas account created before or independent of our link will not grant you access.

Below, you’ll find your instructions on taking the evaluation and a few frequently asked questions answered. If you have other questions, please do not hesitate to ask them by reaching out to our Hebrew Learning Support Coordinator.


If you haven’t already had a pre-evaluation consultation with our Hebrew Learning Support Coordinator, Lisa Ansell, please schedule one here. This is to help contextualize the learning you’ve done before your evaluation is reviewed. Lisa will also be the person who reviews your evaluation assessment with you afterward.

  1. The evaluation should take between two and three hours to complete, but you may take as much time as you need. However, the evaluation must be completed in the same day it is started as the system will not hold your place after 24 hours. Do not log out once you begin and do not close your browser before you submit to avoid issues or having to start over.
  2. Complete as much as you can in each section. You will find the questions or exercises increase in difficulty as you make your way through it. Do your best on as many questions as you can and when it has become too difficult to complete, leave the rest of the section blank and move on to the next section.
  3. While taking the evaluation — including during any breaks — you are not to consult any dictionaries, verb charts, translation tools or any other learning aid in order to complete the evaluation. Using those tools will not help us accurately assess you, which could cause greater challenges down the line.
  4. This evaluation, unlike our practice exams, asks you to make a few short recordings of yourself and to write in Hebrew. The recording instructions are embedded within the questions. Written questions require an upload of photo or PDF of a handwritten response. When writing, please use Hebrew script and not block letters.
  5. When you’ve finished the evaluation, please review it one last time before submitting to make sure you’ve answered as many questions as you are able.
  6. Please complete the evaluation no later than one week after your admissions interview.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Hebrew Capacity Evaluation (2021) includes the following evaluations over the course of 86 questions/exercises:

  1. Verbs (1-21) — Identify roots, correct verb conjugations based on context, identify the tense, and binyan (form).
  2. Prepositions (22-31) — Choose the correct preposition, the correct noun form (for smichut–compound words/phrases), the matching (gendered) word (e.g. f. adjective with a f. noun)
  3. Vocabulary (32-55) — Choose the best answer from the words listed (sometimes verbs, adjectives, nouns, prepositions) — I think this is the hardest section because vocabulary depends a lot on what materials one uses to learn from.
  4. Reading Comprehension (56-77) — Has them reading a little of everything — a couple of ads, a synagogue announcement, a wedding invitation, a few news briefings and two longer divisions of one article about preserving the customs of the Ethiopian Jewish community who immigrated to Israel in the 1980s and 1990s. They can all be figured out by context, though the last article will certainly be challenging for many of our applicants.
  5. Written Assignments (78-79) — 78. Novice to Intermediate, 79. Intermediate to Advanced OR Advanced to Superior Level
  6. Reading and Speaking Samples (80) — Record yourself reading one of the previous reading comprehension texts and record yourself spontaneously responding to one of two prompts–both expect short answers–and reading two vocalized Jewish texts (one biblical, one liturgical)
  7. Listening Comprehension (81-86) — Watch and listen to three video clips and answer questions about them.

There is! You can find it here, take it as many times as you like and use it to focus on the skills listed above. The practice evaluation will explain both correct and incorrect answers, so you learn as you go. If you have questions, contact Hebrew Learning Support Coordinator, Lisa Ansell, (lansell@huc.edu).

Review of your HCE will be within seven business days of submitting it. You will be notified of your assessment shortly thereafter via email by our Hebrew Learning Support Coordinator, Lisa Ansell (lansell@huc.edu). There, you will also be invited to schedule a follow-up meeting to help you understand what to be studying next.

It does! But keep studying. Our Hebrew Learning Support Coordinator will give you ideas about where to grow next.

You make retake the evaluation at any time that you feel you are ready. However, you must demonstrate the minimum Hebrew capacity before the final enroll by date.

There are a few important ways for us to help you improve your Hebrew at this time, whether you are still trying to reach our minimum Hebrew capacity or have surpassed the minimum standard and want to keep developing your Hebrew.

First, you may consider joining our new Zale Hebrew Program – which is free for all current applicants. Speak with our Hebrew Learning Support Coordinator to learn how to enroll.

If you were able to pass your evaluation without concern and still wish to have some guidance in your Hebrew, please speak with our Hebrew Learning Support Coordinator to help you chart a course for continued study and to receive suggestions for study partners from amongst your new classmates.

Finally, many applicants use a range of supplementary tools to create a curriculum that suits their learning style and needs. Check the Hebrew resources page on our website for more ideas.