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Dov Newmark, UK Project Manager for the Aliyah charity Nefesh B’Nefesh, and an Oleh Chadash from Summer 2008, shares his insights on the relationship between learning Hebrew and Aliyah success.
Why break your teeth trying to learn Ivrit?

As UK Project Manager for Nefesh B'Nefesh I meet potential Olim on a daily basis and help them prepare properly for their forthcoming Aliyah. As we all know English is an International language and spoken throughout the world so why break our teeth trying to learn Ivrit?

I met a young lady who decided she wanted to teach English as a foreign language, to get around the problem of learning Ivrit once she made Aliyah. Although in principle this sounded a good idea, she failed to realize she would still need to communicate with the parents, her colleagues and of course her employer!

A well-known fact is that when someone makes Aliyah you are entitled to 5 months free Ulpan which equates to about 500 hours. This sounds like a lot but unfortunately it really isn't enough to learn a new language. As part of one’s planning for Aliyah, I strongly advice people to utilize their time wisely in the UK, to either attend an Ulpan or to build on their Hebrew vocabulary.

This can be done in a number of different ways. For example, if you are trying to teach your children, pick a subject, say the kitchen, and then make flash cards with them. They can colour them in and then you can place them on as many different items as possible. Over the week every time you open a cupboard you see the word 'ARON' or the fridge 'MEKARER' and so on, before you know it, inadvertently you are familiarising yourself with everyday words. Far better that than taking a regular dictionary to bed every night.

Or there are many online courses as well as private Ulpanim (visit the Nefesh B'Nefesh website www.nbn.org.il for a complete list).

Israel is a country of networking, whether it is social or professional. Without Ivrit you are limiting your opportunities and it will therefore take longer for you to reach your full potential of truly fulfilling your dream of living in Israel.

Dov Newmark

UK Project Manager, Nefesh B'Nefesh

UK: 020 8150 6690
Israel: (02) 659-5819
email: dov@nbn.org.il
Web: www.nbn.org.il

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