by Zachary Steiner (’17)


For Morah Haibi’s Ulpan classes’ final exam, the students were challenged with conversing with either Rabbi Richter, Mrs. Rosenberg or Rabbi Taubes completely in Hebrew. The topics ranged from their plans for the summer and next year, any good books they have read recently or movies they have seen, and restaurants they recommend. But the tester does not always keep to the script. For the students that went on the “Names, Not Numbers” Poland trip, a lot of their conversation with Rabbi Taubes was reflecting on the trip, extracting the most impactful aspects. For others, it was which college they are planning to attend to and what it will be like there.

The goal of having a conversation with someone other than Morah Haibi is so that the vocabulary that they were imbued with throughout the year will stay etched in their minds, allowing them to retrieve it whenever necessary. Additionally, having the conversation serves to reassure them that they are in fact capable of speaking an impressively high level of Hebrew, something they may have doubted before the test, and certainly the Ulpan class.

The students prepared to answer multiple questions for weeks before the exam, and came in with a rough idea about how the conversation would go. It instilled confidence and hope that the next time they go to Israel; they will be able to get around and be integrated into the Israeli culture. With this knowledge of Hebrew that the students have attained over the year, it will be much easier for them to spend the year studying in Israel.


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