In the late 1960s, many American synagogues switched from the Ashkenazi pronunciation of Hebrew to the Israeli. There was, however, one exception: in all cases that I know of, the Ashkenazi pronunciation of the tsere was retained. In such congregations, it is pronounced like a long "a" in American English. In Israel, it's pronounced identically with the segol. Two questions:
1. Does anyone know why this happened?
2. For those of you who teach Hebrew, how do you teach students to pronounce the tsere? Do you teach the American pronunciation, which is the pronunciation of the communities that most American Jews will interact with? Or the Israeli pronunciation, which is the pronunciation of native speakers?
University of Arkansas