Sunday, November 06, 2005

Nice to Meet You

Today was my first day of kitah (class) Dalet in ulpan. As a refresher, ulpan is intensive Hebrew school. The goal is to teach Hebrew and Israeli culture at the same time. We read Israeli authors and talk about the immigrant experience. The classes are leveled. You begin with Aleph, then the work gets more complicated in Bet, Gimel, and now Dalet. Everything is in Hebrew from day one. It forces you to learn the language. Aleph through Gimel met four days a week. Dalet is meeting twice a week.

Anyway, we spent the first part of the class today listening to the teacher describe the course and then we introduced ourselves. The class is a mixed bunch. There are some people from the U.S. that moved to Israel recently (within the past two years or so). Two women are from South Korea. One student is from South Africa and another is from Japan. I already know many of the students from my previous classes which will make it more fun. The teacher is the same one from kitah Gimel. So she knows exactly where we left off - and my weaknesses in Hebrew.

The teacher wants us to read an article from the newspaper each week and bring it to the class to share with a partner. She thinks that this is a good way for us to develop our own vocabulary and not just the words we learn from the textbook. I agree that it's more fun to learn about subjects that you're interested in. After describing the assignment she went around the class to show the diversity of interests and half-told/half-asked each student what they might share. It was fascinating to me that from the 30 second introduction each person gave that she felt reasonably comfortable pegging them with a particular interest. The guy from South Carolina got sports. The girl from Texas picked food and the religious woman that lives in a settlement got politics. The girl from Japan picked fashion. I got archaeology.

It's amazing how powerful first impressions can be. I guess that's the scary part of meeting people for the first time - the power of the first impression. I think that all of the people in my class have interesting stories to share. I hope that with open minds and through our developing Hebrew we will be able to move past our first impressions.


At 11/07/2005 4:06 PM, Blogger Sam said...

Sounds like a wonderful way to learn. I must admit, I'm a bit envious of you and CB. I'm still hanging out where I grew up. Still, the two of you have planted a seed...

Take care,

At 11/10/2005 10:01 PM, Blogger John said...

Sam: Plan a trip to Israel. It's safe, fun, and there's a lot to see! I'll even teach you some Hebrew!

At 11/10/2005 10:29 PM, Blogger Sam said...

It could happen... :)


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