Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Sometimes something happens in your life which makes you stop and think to yourself, "what the heck is going on here."

On Saturday afternoon we got word that Kitah Aleph (the lower Hebrew Class) was being closed completely. All of the people in the class were either being moved to Kitah Bet (My class) or being asked to leave the Kibbutz. Scary stuff...many of the people I'm friends with are in that class.

As the dust settled on Sunday afternoon, the truth began to come out. The class was not being closed, but people were being asked to leave the Kibbutz. The people that were asked to leave, I will not mention them by name, were asked because they either didn't go to work and/or class. Quite often it was both. I want to stress that we have literally one month left of time here on the Kibbutz.

While the Kibbutz is not summer camp in any way, I find that many of the lessons I learned as a summer camp counselor could be applied here. We used to say, in our Machon Meetings at OSRUI, that it is always easier to start off strict and become more lax as the session goes on. With only a month left in the Ulpan session, it seems that the lesson here won't be learned by anyone except those who are no longer here. To make matters worse, those who have already left seem happier to be gone....

Having lived on two Kibbutzim in the last six months, I've seen only two different styles of Ulpan/Volunteer management. Quite frankly comparing the two styles is like saying apples are better than oranges...its an opinion. Each system works for the place. Here at Revivim, the system implies more responsibility to the participant and unfortunately this time there was none.

In Other News:

On Thursday I will be taking my Hebrew test for HUC. I've timed this Ulpan very well with the test. We've been practicing for the Ulpan's final exam which is essentially a shorter version of the HUC exam. I've learned so much here and not just Hebrew. I've learned how insulated the United States is from the rest of the world. Seeing other American volunteers and ulpanists who, like me, have never had to make a serious effort to learn another language. In most of the rest of the world a second language is often a necessity. In America its often not on the radar, past the requirements for school. Even those requirements aren't stringent and very often don't mean fluency. That's why I'm so excited for my Sister's (Check out her blog!) son David. He's in a school with a bilingual English/Spanish program. Learning languages works so much better when you're young.

Anyway after the test on Thursday I'm hopping on a bus to Eilat. Its the only part of Israel I haven't explored yet and while I'm there I'm going to take a quick day trip to Petra. Something I couldn't have done before the peace with Jordan. I'm excited to check off one of the World Wonders from my to do list.

Wish me luck on my test!


Phyllis Sommer said...

um...you've been learning Hebrew since you were 8 years old. And didn't you take Spanish or something like that in high school and Hebrew in college? You have studied a language, my friend...but yes, you're right, David is lucky to learn it so young. I wish it were Hebrew....

Good luck on the test!:-)

John Sklar said...

The best way to learn is by immersion. You also should remember that you have a goal and that helps one learn.

Good Luck on the test.


Natalie said...

good luck on your exam!

you seem to be pretty knowledgeable about the kibbutz ulpan experience. I have a lot of questions about the programs. Could you shoot me an email whenever you're free? my email address is ncastillo@ucla.edu. I have sooo many questions about the kibbutz ulpan experience.

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