Celebrating Hebrew at the University of Washington

Hebrew students play HaMelekh Omer (“Simon Says”)

With the smell of Bamba and hummus wafting from a nearby table, 35 students laughed as they did the Hokey Pokey in Hebrew, led by second-year UW Modern Hebrew instructor Tovi Romano.

At this year-end celebration of Modern Hebrew, cosponsored by the Department of Near Eastern Language and Civilization (NELC) and the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies, beginning-to-advanced Hebrew students also learned how to le’nagev hummus (literally: to use pita to wipe a bowl containing hummus dry like the Negev desert in Israel) and played a surprisingly competitive game of HaMelekh Omer (“Simon Says”), led by lecturer Hadar Khazzam-Horovitz.

Students were also invited to join the newly formed UW Hebrew Club, which will meet monthly next fall. (E-mail the club’s student leadership for more information.)

Prof. Naomi Sokoloff announced the winners of NELC’s inaugural Hebrew contest, “Hebrew is like.…” The contest was inspired by Aharon Appelfeld’s observation that learning to read Hebrew was “like a sheer mountain wall, and climbing it was far beyond my capabilities,” only to go on to become one of the most prolific, widely loved, and celebrated Hebrew authors of the 20th century.

The first place prize for the contest went to Alex Peterson, who created an amusing video about learning Hebrew.

The second place winner, Pablo Jairo Tutillo Maldonado, offered a reflection in three languages (Hebrew, Spanish and English):

“העיר הכי אהובה עלי  בכל העולם, היא אני, אני העיר הכי אהובה עלי, בגלל שאנו חיים בעולם של תנועת רעיונות מתמדת, אשר מתנגשים עם מחשבותינו ועם לבבותינו. אך בעירי הללבות משגשגים והמחשבות מתרחבות. הכל תמיד בבנייה. בעירי, רעיונות הם כגורדי חקים, והתקוות גבוהות מההרים שאמא אדמה שלנו יצרה”

איסטנבול, 2015 –

“Mi ciudad favorita en el mundo soy yo. Soy mi ciudad favorita porque vivimos en un mundo de tráfico constante de ideas que chocan con nuestras mentes y con nuestros corazones. Pero en mi ciudad, los corazones florecen y las mentes crecen. Todo está en construcción. En mi ciudad, las ideas son como rascacielos y las esperanzas son más altas que las montañas que creó nuestra Madre Tierra “.

~ Estambul, 8 de marzo de 2015

“My favorite city in the world is me. I am my favorite city because we live in a world of constant traffic of ideas that clash with our minds and with our hearts. But in my city, the hearts flourish and the minds grow. Everything is under construction. In my city, ideas are like skyscrapers and hopes are higher than the mountains our Mother Earth created.” ~ Istanbul, March 8th, 2015

The third place winner was Corinna Nichols, who wrote:

Learning Hebrew is like: הסנה בער ולא אוכל – “The bush burned and was not consumed”

Speaking Hebrew is like: דבש על חכי – “Honey on my palate”

Mazal tov (congratulations) to all!

Engage further with Modern Hebrew at the UW:

By | 2018-06-11T13:39:50+00:00 June 8th, 2018|Categories: News|Tags: , , |1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Shirin Lotfi 6/10/2018 at 9:48 am - Reply

    Hadar and Tovi are honestly the best Hebrew teachers one can ever hope for. I truly miss my time at the UW and highly encourage everyone to take Jewish studies courses at the UW. They’re very fun and interactive.

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