In the featured image above: Corona Year: 13 Graduates from 9 countries with the directors and Hebrew instructors. (Several faces blurred for security reasons.)

Dear friends
” This is the day the Lord has made – let us exult and rejoice in it”. Ps. 118:24 
Indeed,  this is the group that came out victorious from a semester during which three out of the five months were conducted under mild to severe confinement to the dormitories in Yad Hashmona. Zoom teaching, which required extra concentration and focus by lecturers and students, enabled the three main text courses to be beamed successfully from Jerusalem, South Korea, and England to the dormitory in Yad Hashmonah outside of Jerusalem. Yet, one Israeli teacher of Living Biblical Hebrew insisted on coming and teaching in person because “the peace at the log home and the connection with these students are inspiring and motivating.” He even asked to have some Shabbat meals at the log home with them. One has to add to the story of this semester the character of our amazing student group who took over the practical running of the home – apart from the provision of just one big meal a day by outside cooks. 
Following a letup in corona restrictions in early June, we were able to reinstate some of the study tours that had been missed during the confinement. Accordingly, there was a three-day trip to Galilee which included important NT site locations, but not always enter into the churches and museums of the area. The subsequent two-day trip to the Negev included visits to Lachish, Beers Sheba, Arad, and the Herodian national parks that had reopened; It also included an overnight stay in a Bedouin camp. A full day was spent in Samaria: It included visits to Bethel, Shiloh and Mt. Gerizim of the Samaritans. These tours were led by our new JCBT assistant and tour guide, Adam Focht. Brian Kvasnica, Short Term Director, is busy writing his Ph.D.

Overnight at a desert oasis in the Negev.
Full scale model of Shiloh tabernacle 

As the June days progressed in the intensive study of Biblical Hebrew poetry, we became concerned about the graduation event. Could it be held at the university as it had been for the last 23 years? What about the new Corona restrictions? But just then, near the end of June, the restrictions eased yet further to allow up to 50 people in a confined indoor space. This meant that we could plan this unusual Corona-affected graduation at the Rothberg School, with strict conditions of masked participants who could sit only in every other row and two seats apart.
The graduation ceremony ACTUALLY HAPPENED on June 30 at the
Rothberg International School for Overseas Students of the Hebrew University.

It was a lovely occasion conducted by Halvor, with the Vice Provost of Rothberg School and the Director of the Special Programs present. Halvor started by talking about the vision and the WHY of the program; Mirja, the academic director, presented the WHAT, i.e., the study program itself with the focus on translation from the source TEXT to the target language. The TEXT was supplemented by a thorough course on the land as the CONTEXT of the text.
After some student presentations and singing from texts in the Hebrew Bible, the Hebrew University officials proceeded to give the graduates their certificates one by one, with elbow greetings as a safety feature.  (See attached video below.)

This student group included nine consultants who will be serving in 21 different language projects. What a blessing and indeed a privilege to consider the great impact in which they, together with us the workers and you the supporters, are involved.
CLICK  HERE for a five-minute video taste of the Corona adapted graduation ceremony. The complete video of the seventy-two-minute event has been divided into 7 sections soon to be posted separately on YouTube.

WHAT NEXT: Looking forward to 2021

JCBT is hereby launching the 2021 study program for consultants and Consultants-in-training of the Hebrew Bible.

Note: This program was planned in cooperation with the advice of the director of Nida Insitute of the American Bible Society and approved by the academic director of the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University. It is specially designed to fill a great lack. There is an immense need for training consultants in Biblical Hebrew for the many hundreds of OT translation projects in the world. 

The Corona factor is causing JCBT to offer two options for 2021:  

  1. Five-month study program in Israel like the one in 2020.
  2. Three months of study of the courses by Zoom in Feb, March, April and two months of required presence in Israel for the one-month Land of Bible course in May and the intensive Hebrew Poetry course in June 2021.  

The university/JCBT prerequisites are the same for both alternatives. 

CLICK HERE for details of the 2021 study program options.

Please pray for this new focus of JCBT as we serve the biggest need now in the Bible translation world: to provide high level Biblical Hebrew studies along with contextual studies for OT consultants

” …The darkness shall cover the earth and thick darkness the peoples, but the Lord will arise upon you…and nations will come to your light..” Is. 60:2-3

In common service with all of you!

Halvor and Mirja Ronning and staff

Help JCBT  

Donations are USA tax-deductible and appreciated from around the world. Your donations go directly to aiding in the translation of the scriptures into more languages from around the world.

Secure Online Giving
We accept three methods of donations. You can either make a one-time gift or a monthly recurring donation. Make your donation today using one of the following methods:

1. Electronic USA check (or savings) account. This method is the most effective for JCBT and you.  It has the least cost and can be scheduled flexibly.
2. A worldwide Credit (or Debit) Charge Card:  either Visa, Master, or Discover.
3. Via PayPal.

You can contact JCBT Finances for more information:

Leave a Comment