Moscow residents interested in studying Hebrew now have a chance to do so for free and in a popular city location. Earlier this summer, the largest Jewish student organization in Russia, Hillel Russia, in partnership with Moscow’s Department of Parks, launched a first-time program offering Hebrew language classes for beginners.

The free seven-lesson course convenes on Saturdays this summer in one of the biggest open education centers of Moscow, the “Muzeon” park of arts. The classes cover basic conversational Hebrew.

Both Jews and non-Jews are participating in the new project. While 60 people were expected for the first lesson on July 16, more than twice as many, 140, attended.

Said instructor Ilia Yuzefovich, “It’s great that anyone willing to get acquainted with Hebrew and the Jewish culture now has the chance to do so for free in such a comfortable space. Judging by the number of participants (which increases from lesson to lesson), and the diversity of the audience, including children, young adults, the elderly (and even a dog!), this project has been widely well-received.”

Participants shared added benefits come from the way instructors teach the language through Israeli history and anecdotes about life in Israel.

Between classes, instructors and students come together over social media to discuss the lessons and homework, share additional materials, and talk about other linguistics and language-related topics.

Hillel Russia is an affiliate of Hillel International and is supported by Genesis Philanthropy Group, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and other generous funders.