Monday, September 15, 2008

Learning Hebrew: Take 4

I have recently started trying to learn Hebrew for the fourth time. The first time was from the 3rd to 7th grade where I was educated at the fine Minneapolis institution known as Talmud Torah (aka Talmud Torture). The second time was my freshman year of college when I suffered through a painful semester with Zvi who would constantly taunt me "Fo-coos Day-bee, Fo-coos!" The third time was last November in Ulpan where the demanding 25-hours a week of classes did not mesh with my starting/running a business. So, this time, I decided try something different. Instead of going the class route, I am working one-on-one with a tutor. I realized that one of the reasons I did not learn as much as I should have in my other attempts is because the classroom format allows me to zone out and not ask the questions I may have. I figured that when it is just me and the teacher, I cannot zone out and I cannot avoid asking my questions... and boy, do I have questions! Fortunately, I am always pleasantly surprised when my tutor has thorough answers to all of them!

My tutor is an American who moved to Israel 5 years ago and is just finishing her Master's degree in Hebrew. We meet three times a week for an hour each time, and even after just four classes, I already feel like I am understanding more of what I hear around me and I have become more comfortable trying to speak. She is so incredibly enthusiastic about how wonderful Hebrew is, that it has given me a renewed interest in learning the language. At every class, she will tell me one thing that she loves about Hebrew- for example, she loves that in Hebrew, we use the same word to mean "setting up two people" as we use for "stapler", the connection being that both the action of setting up two people and stapling things is the intention to "attach" one thing (person or paper) to another thing (person or paper). Cute, yes?

In other news, there is some new excitement on the professional front. Oren was just recently asked to manage the campaign for a woman who is running to be the mayor of a nearby city. This is something that he has always been interested in and studied while he was at Harvard, so having this opportunity is just fantastic. Unlike in the states, the campaigns here do not begin insanely far in advance, so he just signed on to the campaign today, and the election is in about 8 weeks. We are anticipating a crazy 8 weeks where he will be managing this campaign and still working with Avi on their business clients, but we are prepared and excited to make it all work. On top of this, the primary elections that will decide the next Prime Minister of Israel are on Wednesday, so between that and the campaign, I am looking forward to a lot of new political experiences in the coming days and weeks. Stay tuned...

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