Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ulpan: First Thoughts

Yes, you read the title correctly: I'm in Ulpan.

Traditionally, Ulpan is conducted over a long period of time, except for crazy fanatical students like me, who have no time in their lives to begin with, so they embark on the sadistic torture called Ulpan Kayitz (Summer Ulpan), which is 2 months of intensive Hebrew learning atmosphere, with some fun electives and activities thrown into the mix.

When I first walked into the Ulpan (3 days late: Israel bureaucracy at its best), I immediately was thrust into a conversation amidst the mostly irreligious- (or chiloni, as they call themselves- no derogatory meaning implied) members of the class, regarding a certain text passage that they had read. It seems that one of the members of the class interpreted the passage to mean that Jerusalem- ie Yerushalayim- is a holy city, and therefore, should be occupied by the religious (ie, charedi or dati- depending on which group you are referring to.)

And, in midst of the screaming of the 'zealot charedi movement that wants to take over a city that should be free for all'- I slunk into a chair in the back, my cheeks burning brighter than the colorful headscarf I had on my head that declared to all that I was a 'da'atiyah'.

I thought that I would have to leave Ulpan then and there. My professor, very knowledgable about the religious public and Tanach in general (he grew up in a religious household and cast it away), singled out me as the likely person to explain why women can't sing in front of men who don't care about hearing women sing.

I picked the least inflammatory elective- History of the Hebrew Language, as opposed to Biblical Criticism, and am enjoying it immensely- especially as to most of the class, I seem to be a scholar of Biblical Hebrew (ie: I can translate and read Tanach.)

I must say, Ulpan is a truly interesting experience. All comments and ideas are welcome.


Devorah said...

Wow, that sounds like quite an experience!

How did you answer all those questions?!

Did you know a little bit of what it would be like before you actually went?

And oh, how could I forget? Welcome Back! It's good to read from you again!

nmf #7 said...

Devorah- It's good to be back!! Sheesh, I have been neglectful, haven't I! But I'm working on it.

It is an experience.
And no, I'm not going to answer immediately how I did answer these...I want to hear from you, the readers.

I had some what of an idea...but thinking about stereotypes is never good.