Reconnecting with Hebrew

About two weeks before finals, the Hebrew Club finally held their first event of the semester. It is a small but mighty student organization, and although the meetings are few and far between, they are always heartfelt and enthusiastic. I have observed that those who choose to take Hebrew usually seem to be drawn to study the language for a specific reason, and are very committed to their learning. I myself chose to become involved in the Hebrew program at OU because I wanted to connect with a cultural aspect of my Jewish heritage. Others I talked with told me they wanted to deepen their understanding of the Bible by learning the language of the Old Testament; one of my former classmates mentioned that they were studying archaeology and felt learning an ancient language might come in handy. Regardless of the reasons that students signed up to take Hebrew, I was always amazed by how eagerly everyone embraced the language and the culture associated with it. Hebrew has always been a part of my life through my Judaism, but I never assumed that people who had not grown up with it would want to immerse themselves in it. Being able to share a culture that is so special to me and study it with people from different walks of life is something I have always loved about Hebrew at OU.

This was the first semester I was not able to fit a Hebrew class into my schedule, and attending Hebrew Club provided me the opportunity to reconnect with the langauge and my peers who had continued in the program. Hebrew is difficult to keep up outside the classroom because of how uncommon it is, especially in the middle of Oklahoma. It is not a language that one is likely to come across in daily life. While I hear Spanish quite frequently in day-to-day encounters and can utilize my Spanish-speaking skills in various situaions, the only time I have ever been able to apply my Hebrew skills to the real world was when my brother and I traveled to Israel during the winter break of my freshman year in college. I was surprised, however, by how much I remembered for not having spoken the language in quite a while. Phrases came back to me quickly, and although I probably botched a lot of the grammar, I was able to hold short conversations successfully. I hope that I have the opportunity to take more Hebrew classes while I am at OU, because reconnecting with Hebrew was invigorating; it reminded me why I chose to study this beautiful language in the first place.