Since my first semester at university there is one question asked the most:
Why are you studying Hebrew?
I like to answer: Because it was possible.
Of course that is not even close to a ‚nice’ answer. I mean, I wouldn’t like getting that answer at all if I were the one asking. But it gives a nice hint to what my motivation was.
In the very beginning I wasn’t like: Wow, I love the middle east!
Or even: I like the forms of theatre they have in Israel – so let’s learn Hebrew to understand them!
I was more like: Well, they have nice a nice alphabet. Let’s try that!
To be honest I bought one of these study-by-yourself books for Hebrew and I taught myself some (VERY little) when I was about 16, but I basically forgot everything before I started learning Hebrew at university.
My university offers a very small minor-programme for Hebrew language only (which otherwise is a part oft he Judaism-major-programme) and a friend of mine (whom I got to know in a Hebrew intensive after my third semester) and myself we are – as far as I know – the only ones who started that programme and are still doing it.
So I enrolled in that programme because it seemed appealing.
In the first two semester I had Hebrew class three times a week. In the early mornings, in the 8 to 10 am slot – after I spend a year working in theatres and slowly teaching my brain not to work before 10 am. Yay. But somehow I did well. First semester modern Hebrew (Ivrit) and I so loved. I fell in love with that language like right from the start! (after I kind of checked how to read that – without the vowels and stuff….)
Second semester biblical Hebrew. That was even better in some parts because – hey, the stories are much better, weirder, funnier. J
From the third semester on I had a different teacher and only one class a week. (which was – actually good, because I kind of didn’t like that teacher…), modern Hebrew again.
After my third semester I took a Hebrew intensive class for three weeks, five days a week for hours a day taught by two Israelis, one constantly living in Berlin, the other one living in Haifa and coming over fot teaching….In that intensive I kind of first started speaking Hebrew (because I tend to not speak a foreign language until I know I can speak like five proper sentences unless someone makes my speaking). That was last spring. Two and a half months later I travelled to Israel for the first time with a German-Israeli youth exchange (yes, for them I’m still „youth“….well….) and I had plans to spend August completely in Israel.
I really wanted to enroll in the August intensive programme Hebrew at University of Haifa. But before I did so I applied for a scholarship programme provided by my hometown university and the DAAD. I got the scholarship – the money they gave me covered basically the tuition and housing fee at Haifa – and so I was able to spend a month in Israel, three and a half weeks at Haifa University in a lovely class in Rama ה with the best class mates. We were the only class in that programm consisting of girls only with the only male teacher in the programme. I guess especially during the last week or so our Doron had a hard time with us, but we had fun. And I learned a lot.
But now I’m like: Have I ever been able to speak Hebrew? Did I ever know that language?(because I don’t have to take Hebrew anymore at my university, I could my Haifa class get count)
To conclude and write something suiting the headline: I still don’t know why I had the feeling of needing to study Hebrew, but here I am and I love it. (not the My-Hebrew-is-bad-stuff, but the I-know-Hebrew-stuff….)😉