Community Blog Connecting to Grandchildren through Hebrew College’s Ulpan

By Sydney Gross
family posing for a picture by a rock wall

Every Monday and Wednesday morning, Lori Kahn and her husband, Arnold Freedman, log onto Zoom from different rooms in their house—Lori is in the kitchen, Arnie is in the den—to join their Hebrew College Ulpan class. 

They read and write, share stories and photographs with their classmates, and practice Hebrew conversational skills so they can better communicate with their grandchildren in Israel. 

“We are very very close with the children and in touch with them any way possible, WhatsApp, Facetime,” said Kahn, who recently retired after 29 years as the librarian at Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston. “We are trying more and more to put Hebrew words into our conversations, to say a few sentences, and to practice what we learn. We try them out during our phone calls with the five grandchildren. They are patient with us, but think it’s funny!”

Kahn said she and her husband, Arnie, an oncologist and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, have started Hebrew classes numerous times, both in-person and online, but they didn’t have the motivation to continue until their son and grandchildren, ages 2 to 12, moved to Israel—then they found Hebrew College Ulpan

“We were a little leary, but we bit the bullet, and we couldn’t be happier,” Kahn said. “I love it. I love the structure. I love the fact that there’s reading practice, writing practice. Maya Dalzell is our teacher. She’s bubbly, she’s excited, she loves teaching Hebrew, and she makes it easy for us to be engaged. It’s a sharp learning curve, but it’s exciting, it’s interesting, and we’re really doing it.” 

Kahn said it’s fun doing the program with her husband. She has a bit more vocabulary than he does due to her years at Schechter, and helps him with his homework. She said her classmates sometimes giggle when she has to run to his zoom screen to share a workbook or when she rolls her eyes when he mispronounces a word. 

Kahn says her only regret is not enrolling in Hebrew College’s Ulpan sooner. She and her classmates have been so enthralled they decided to enroll in a special four weeks intersession class in January—they didn’t want to lose any vocabulary during the break.

“I love the program at Hebrew College Ulpan. Arnie and I look forward to Monday and Wednesday mornings when we can go online and go into the class,” she said. “Maya is doing a great job. I’m excited to continue learning with her!” 

Winter Hebrew College Ulpan classes are now enrolling. Learn more and register now.


hebrew college logoWe are able to post stories like these because of you. To see more stories and/or support Hebrew College’s Ulpan program, please consider making a gift to Hebrew College.

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