Don't Forget Your Hebrew When Planning Aliyah

Whether you went to Jewish Day School or have never spoken even a single word of Hebrew beyond Pesach Seder, you will find that having some modern Hebrew before you arrive in Israel can help make your aliyah process quite a bit smoother. There are many government offices that you will need to visit and often Israelis have mixed feelings about “ignorant olim” who arrive in Medinat Yisrael without any Hebrew vocabulary. “How long have you been here?” they might ask. When an unsuspecting Olah answers in reply, regardless of the length of time, the Israeli will say, “and you don’t know Hebrew yet?” Some Israelis, who have better English than patience, will use this as an uninvited opportunity to practice their own English.


Regardless of how an Israeli might handle your lack of understanding, the truth is, you will feel far more confident handling everything from renting an apartment to going to the grocery store if you have had some Hebrew in advance of your aliyah. Proper Hebrew lessons pick up where Jewish Day School or a crash course in Aleph Bet at the local Synagogue left off. A synagogue weekend class might enable you to read a siddur, but won’t otherwise give you the tools you need to navigate daily life in Israel.


Upon arriving, free government ulpan (Israeli Hebrew Courses) is available to new immigrants. While state provided Hebrew classes can be very beneficial, there are some obstacles to overcome. The three key challenges most people face are time, location and of course the ability to learn. For many individuals ulpan is a wonderful opportunity to not only learn Hebrew, but to also learn how to integrate into society and share experiences with other new olim from around the world. However, for individuals who are concerned with not being able to participate in this traditional setting, taking pre-aliyah language classes would be much more beneficial.


In order to get a head start, Hebrew course such as Ulpan Or will provide professional one-on-one lessons that move up to progressively more challenging levels, based on the students’ personal advancement. In addition to learning Hebrew Ulpan Or will also help clients learn about Israel in a comfortable and informative way so they are a little more prepared before landing. By working individually with students, Ulpan Or has helped numerous olim to gain the confidence they need to navigate Israel like a pro, or at least have the skills to ask for directions without having to stand helplessly alone!


Taking courses through Ulpan Or will also provide you with options once you arrive in Israel either to continue private or group courses through their Israeli language program, or it will allow you to begin Ulpan courses at a higher level in the Israeli education system. Either way, learning Hebrew as part of your aliyah plan is an excellent way to help you overcome the challenges of aliyah more quickly and fluidly so you can start to feel at home right away.


Recommended by Aliyah Magazine

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USA: 1-516-252-4914








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