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New program lets Temple Emanu-El students read Hebrew to dogs

Temple Emanu-El students Nora and Sawyer Sevy practice Hebrew reading skills with Yofi, a certified therapy dog. (Courtesy Marjorie Hochberg)

Yofi has her credentials and began teaching this month at the Kurn Religious School of Temple Emanu-El. No matter that Yofi is a floppy-eared golden doodle. She’s available to listen to children as they read aloud, practicing their Hebrew reading skills.

Research shows that reading to dogs helps children improve reading, social and emotional skills.  “Reading to an uncritical audience helps children relax and focus, and caring for dogs helps them develop loving and caring attributes,” says Rabbi Batsheva Appel, who suggests readingtodogs.weebly.com/researchfor more information.

Along with Temple Emanu-El’s Hebrew@ Home blended distance learning program, “Likro l’Klavim: Hebrew Reading to Dogs” should make Hebrew competency “more accessible and enjoyable than ever before,” says Appel.

Yofi was trained by Jeremy Brown of The Complete Canine and is  certified and insured by the Alliance of Therapy Dogs. She is the pet of Judy Shepard Gomez and Temple Emanu-El’s Cantorial Soloist Marjorie Hochberg.

For more information, contact Appel at 327-4501.

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