College enrollment in Hebrew courses is dropping sharply, and this downward spiral may soon have profound effects on the American Jewish community.
Modern Hebrew enrollment fell 17.6 percent between 2013 and 2016, according to a report from the Modern Languages Association, while Biblical Hebrew suffered a 23.9% decline.
The number of Hebrew students has been falling for a decade, with little discussion in the Jewish community. In 2006, a total of 9,620 college students were enrolled in a modern Hebrew course. That number fell to 6,698 in 2013, and dropped again to 5,521 in 2016. Biblical Hebrew has gone from over 14,000 students in 2006 to just 9587 in 2016.