Saturday, May 31, 2014

My New Ulpan

As y'all know, I struggle with Hebrew, yes, still.  Yes, after about 2.5 years here I still

  • Tremble in fear before speaking to an Israeli
  • Don a sheepish smile and ask if what I've said is correct
  • Hope that I haven't asked for a cow wearing a pith helmet when what I really want is lettuce
  • Avoid buying anything, doing anything, or being anywhere that involves speaking Hebrew
  • etc. etc. etc.
It still bothers me not to be able to easily express myself, with correct grammar and vocabulary befitting an adult, whenever I want to.  For example, last week I took the kids for pizza.  And realized I did not know the word for "slice" (meshulash).  I asked Ariella and she said, "Oh, it's OK, I'll just order for us."  Sigh.

I am tired of driving to an appointment and preparing my dialogue in advance, which usually is as complicated as this:

  1. I have an appointment with ______________
  2. Yes, I will wait
  3. Here is my ID card
  4. Which room is it
All in all, as I've said before, I know I will sound like an immigrant forever.  

So everyone's solution seems to be: Spend more time with Israelis. 

I agree, so I have registered for a brand new Ulpan called "Teach Bubby Hebrew."  

The instructional staff includes 5 highly trained individuals who have dedicated their lives to improving my Hebrew skills. 

And what I love about this Ulpan is that each instructor has his or her own style.

For instance, the other day Professor Rose the Middle(age 8) explained the nuances for the many ways of saying "stop" and "listen."  When I asked about how to use a particular word, he responded with, "Hmm, so I say it this way."  I love the real life scenarios.

Professor Rose the Younger ("Ani Ben Arba!") utilizes the immersion technique.  He simply speaks only Hebrew to me and so I have no choice but to learn.  What is a bit unfortunate is that he himself seems to struggle with correct grammar at times.  I am only aware of this because his Mommy told me, otherwise how would I know?  He entertains me with long explanations of everything, mostly revolving around which snack he would like and why.  In order to keep him happy, I need to figure out what he is saying.  It is a win win. Also, he speaks a unique blend of Hebrew and English, so it keeps me on my toes ("Bubby ani rotzeh a treat.")

Professor Rose the Eldest (age "almost almost almost 11) is a patient instructor, and is becoming more adept at hiding her gales of laughter when I say something incorrectly.  When she introduces me to her Israeli friends, she tells me "Say Shalom to her, she doesn't speak English."  That's not embarrassing at all.

Professor Klein the Elder (age 7) likes to challenge me.  "Bubby," he says, "let's read this Hebrew book and I'll help you with the hard words.  And it has nekudot to help you!  Come, you  really need practice."  He is kind, this one.

Professor Klein the Younger (age 5), in between doing cartwheels and jumping off the couch, is an entertaining instructor.  I have no idea if he teaches me anything but he is so funny that who cares.

I would encourage you to join me, but alas this is a single-student educational experience so nah nah nah boo boo you can't.

Oh, and this Ulpan is free (well, except for the snacks for the younger Professor Rose). I signed up for a long-term course.


  1. Hi - I would really like to get in touch with you to ask a question but i can;t find any way to contact you. Please could you email me I'd so much appreciate it, thank you!

    1. Hi, Amanda - I'm so worried about spam and viruses, so I wanted to ask me if you could tell me a little about yourself before I give you my email address! Sorry to be so suspicious but I've been burned! thanks. susan

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