Anna G.Sherman

Although her own and her family’s health problems prevented Anna G. Sherman from living in Palestine, she became one of its great unsung heroes as a masterful teacher of Hebrew to would-be settlers. Born Hanna Grossman, she was raised in Palestine, speaking Hebrew, until her family’s poor health forced a move to America in 1905 or 1906. She began teaching Hebrew to support the family in high school. She studied the teaching methods of Ahad ha-Am and Mordecai Kaplan at the Jewish Theological Seminary’s Teachers Institute, from which she graduated in 1916, then crafted her own approach, returning to the Teacher’s Institute as an instructor in 1923. In 1931, after traveling to Jerusalem, she met and married Dr. Earl Mayo Sherman and gave birth to three children in the next three years. But, suffering the double toll of childbirth and kidney disease, she returned to the US in 1936 and resumed teaching at the Women’s Institute at JTS. Fiercely believing that Hebrew was the key to Jewish identity and survival, she experimented with multiple teaching methods including songs, art, and classroom skits to reach different types of students, finally retiring in the early 1960s but remaining involved with Zionist and interfaith groups until her death.

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One of the unsung heroes of the Hebraist movement in the United States, Anna Sherman taught Hebrew—and used language instruction to inculcate Jewish identity—at the extension schools of the Jewish Theological Seminary Teachers Institute.

Courtesy of the Sherman family

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Anna G. Sherman." (Viewed on January 27, 2020) <>.


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