Dror Israel helps olim integrate into Israeli society and learn Hebrew!
Despite the fact that the Israeli government sponsors Hebrew-learning classes (ulpanim) for all new olim (immigrants), many olim don’t manage to learn useful Hebrew for many years for various reasons – maybe they were too busy working or raising families to either attend to pay attention in class; maybe they have learning difficulties and the formal classes didn’t suit them; maybe they progressed while studying but then lived in a “bubble” of Russian-speakers and their progress stymied without opportunities to practice their Hebrew; or maybe they just needed more time and more studies than the government sponsored.
After realizing that many olim – especially Russian-speakers – in the communities where our educators’ kibbutzim are located do not speak adequate Hebrew and fervently wanted ways to continue learning, Dror Israel established a small network of Ulpanei Dror – informal Hebrew-study groups, meeting once a week, led by Dror educators, with the secondary goals of providing a fun social atmosphere and alsoimmersing the group in Israeli culture and society.
In recent years, Dror has operated such ulpan courses in Akko, Sderot, Beer Sheva, Jerusalem, Haifa, Petach Tikva, Rishon LeTzion, Ashkelon and Mitzpe Ramon.
Former Dror Ulpan teacher Phia tells us, “Three years ago, I had the pleasure of running a Dror Ulpan course for a group of olim from the former USSR in Jerusalem. In their old countries, they were all professors, musicians and engineers, but since moving to Israel are now cleaners, janitors and cafeteria workers.They were really discouraged by their challenging experiences learning Hebrew and struggled to feel like a part of Israeli society. I am an olah myself, and I had been in the country less time than all of them and spoke better Hebrew than all of them. It was so meaningful to share our Aliyah stories and talk about shared experiences moving to Israel. It helped me process my own Aliyah by hearing about theirs and I felt like I was doing my part to help other olim on their journey to become Israelis.”