No one has posted to this in a few months, but I just read through the posts today for the first time as a new member. I have been a Hebrew student for several years, first modern Hebrew and then Biblical. However ALL of my teachers have been Israeli's and I have never taken a seminary course in Hebrew. I have learned what I know (I am still very much a student!) from "The People of the Book". I would like to pass on some general adivce to those who really want to learn to SPEAK or READ the T'nakh (or Modern Hebrew). I write from many years of personal experience and much blood, sweat and tears:
1) I would NEVER recommend any student to use transliteration in any form or fashion. I used it in the beginning and it GREATLY DELAYED my ability to learn to read the actual Hebrew letters. An English speaker will automatically look to the letters that your mind knows (ie, the transliteration) instead of the Hebrew. It becomes a huge "crutch". Transliteration is hardly ever correct! If you say the Hebrew word the way it is transliterated with Latin letters, you will be saying it incorrectly 90% of the time. If you truly want to learn Hebrew, then stick with Hebrew letters from the start. This is how Hebrew is taught in the Ulpan in Israel. No transliteration there.
2) For the reading of the Hebrew T'nakh, there is none better than Shlomo Bertonov. He is Israeli and his voice is the "voice of the T'nakh" like Alexander Scourby is the voice of the KJV.
3) The http://www.mechon-ma...rg/p/pt/pt0.htm website is also good to hear (and free). However the Hebrew text itself has lots of errors in it. It is not the Masoretic text. It has lots of added punctuation marks that make no sense. We use it in Hebrew class and my teacher constantly complains about the weird punctuation.
4) Yes, use any method to try to HEAR Hebrew. Watch Hebrew movies with subtitles, listen to songs!! That is how we learn our 'mother tongue' as a child - by hearing our parents and others. We don't learn English grammer at age 1 and 2, etc. but most kids begin to speak by age 2. It is better to immerse and learn Hebrew and then latter you can learn the grammar rules.
5) Another great source is two newspapers printed bi-weekly in Israel. One called "Bereshit" - is the 'Easy Hebrew newspaper for beginners'. The website is www.hebrewtoday.com. You have to subscribe and you can receive your newspaper online, or in printed form. Also, you can pay extra and get a CD with all the articles read out loud by Israeli's - native Hebrew speakers. You must hear Israeli's speaking Hebrew - not Americans. I am not affiliated with this newspaper, but I do subscribe to it and use it. You also learn about culture and current events from Israel - which is also part of truly learning Hebrew. You cannot learn any language without also learning the culture of the people who speak it.
6) I can't emphasize how important it is to HEAR the Hebrew. Remember modern Hebrew speakers do not use vowels at all. They just know how the word is said - from hearing it. Think of all the English words whose pronounciation completely breaks the English phonetic rules. You basically need to hear someone saying the words to know how to pronounce them. The Torah scroll has no vowels and no punctuation marks, but the correct reading is known from hearing it down through the years. Of course the printed Masoretic text had the vowels added.
7) I learned Modern Hebrew in live classes with Israeli teachers. I now take Biblical Hebrew online through eTeacher.com. The teachers are also Israeli. The focus of eTeacher is to teach the Hebrew and not necessarily the Bible. I have had a very good expereince with it for the past three years and highly recommend it as a student - I am a student and take both Hebrew and Aramaic. eTeacher also provides FREE weekly online webinars in both Modern and Biblical Hebrew every Thursday night. Modern at 7pm and Biblical at 8pm Eastern time. These webinars are both taught by Israeli's and you will spead two hours each week HEARING Hebrew. These are completely free. Read about it here: http://eteacherbiblical.com/webinar You will learn so much and I really recommend these.
Hebrew is the most beautiful language in the world and all the hard work to learn it is well worth it!