Meet The Israeli Author, an elective course for Juniors created by Director of Hebrew Language Mrs. Tova Fish-Rosenberg, is unique to MTA and provides students with the opportunity to work directly with an award-winning Israeli author via video-conference workshops conducted entirely in Hebrew.  This one-of-a-kind experience enables students to not only develop their creative writing skills, but also to cultivate their Hebrew language skills at a higher level.  Under the mentorship of Hebrew Language Instructor Mrs. Liora Haibi, who received the Grinspoon Award for Excellence in Jewish Education for her work on this program, students craft short stories written exclusively in Hebrew and participate in monthly video-conference workshops with award-winning Israeli author Chana Bat Shahar.
This week, students were privileged to meet Chana Bat Shahar in person for the first time.  Juniors currently enrolled in the course, as well as Seniors and alumni who are past participants, and Sophomores who will take the course next year, had the opportunity to sit down with Bat Shahar as she led an interactive discussion on what it takes to become a writer.  She explored the difference between telling stories and developing literary works, including the notion of incorporating the author’s feelings rather than observations.  She discussed how truly great literary works don’t simply describe the author’s experience and surroundings, but rather, reflect how the author feels about what is happening to them and how the characters feel and interact with one another.
Bat Shahar also led a Q & A session and answered questions from students, including whether or not she tailors her books to her readers and if she writes about things she hasn’t experienced herself.  Bat Shahar shared that she does not cater to her audience when writing books.  Her goal is to help her readers better understand people and how they think, how they feel, and how they relate to others.  She further explained that she does not write about anything she hasn’t experienced herself.  When asked when she writes, Bat Shahar said she writes all the time and prefers pen and paper to using a computer because it makes her feel more connected to her writing.
Students were thrilled to meet Bat Shahar in person and hear more about her experience as a writer.  Alumni attending yeshiva in Israel this year participated via FaceTime and Seniors who were off campus attending Model UN created video messages for Bat Shahar to let her know how much they learned from her when participating in Meet The Israeli Author last year.

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