I grew up going to day school, where I learned Hebrew every day. But I didn’t realize until recently, on a family trip to Israel, how much I still had to learn.
I could open up the siddur and sit through a class or service, but given the challenge to order something off a menu, I was at a complete loss for the vocabulary and confidence to speak in modern Hebrew. That bothered me. It made me feel like I was less connected to Israel, less connected to Israeli culture. And I knew I needed to find a way to start learning Hebrew again.
At first I started meeting with an Israeli friend and teacher who taught at Hebrew College. Every week, we practiced conversational Hebrew by discussing books and current events. By the end of the year, she recommended I take an ulpan class (intensive Hebrew) at Hebrew College. She told me there would be other students to learn with and learn from, that the teachers would be engaging and that I would be exposed to high-level learning through books, music and media—television shows, radio series and Israeli music.
I started ulpan this past September and my experience has been wonderful. My classmates are intelligent and insightful, and our teacher, Aliza Brosh, is outstanding. Aliza is a skilled educator with a magnetic personality who engages each of us to participate in all aspects of reading, writing and, most importantly, discussion. Aliza teaches us by building on the basics of what we know and then adding depth and context to our knowledge. Our class meets for three hours every Friday morning and it’s a highlight of my week. As an adult, it’s not always easy to learn a new skill, but in our Hebrew class we are always making progress in our Hebrew language goals.
I recommend Hebrew College’s Ulpan for anyone who has a desire to learn Hebrew and is ready to take their learning to the next level. Hebrew College’s Ulpan program is a perfect example of the growth mindset model. It’s never too late to become a student and never too late to make room for learning.
Find more information about Hebrew College Ulpan here.
Chana Kutin grew up in Montreal, where she attended Hebrew Academy. She moved to Boston in 2003 and lives in Newton with her husband and three children, who are 16, 15 and 11.
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