This week marked my return to school.
To Hebrew School, that is.
For awhile now, I’ve wanted to rebuild–and, with luck, perhaps surpass–the limited ability I once possessed to read, write, and speak Hebrew. But now that I’m a “grown-up,” I’m not all that confident in my ability to learn languages. Not to mention, now that I’m a grown-up, I don’t have a whole lot of time to spare for “hobbies.”
But you know what they say: Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
The way, for me, is to begin slowly. And to do some research. After finding a variety of possible programs to try, I chose a “Hebrew Crash Course” offered locally. As far as I’m concerned, the program I chose offers two big advantages over its competitors:
1) It’s free
2) It’s a six-week course, with one 90-minute evening session per week. (I’d love to take an intensive “Ulpan” model here in NYC, or, even better, go spend an extended spell in Israel, but for a variety of reasons, neither of those options is possible at the moment.)
And summer, with longer days and that air of possibility, seemed like the perfect time to finally dive in to this project.
I’ll admit that even after the first session, I’m still not certain what, exactly, I’ll get from this class (much less, what my writing practice will get from it). But that’s part of the fun–it’s a change to my routine. It’s not entirely predictable.
Plus, this return to “Hebrew school” evokes my childhood and a whole slew of associations and memories of my first rounds of Hebrew lessons. By starting (again) from scratch, I’m (re)learning an alphabet, letter by letter. I’m being prompted to think carefully about consonants and vowels, nouns and verbs. I’m absorbing new words and constructing sentences with added effort. My brain is flexing muscles it hasn’t used in a long time.
Of course, it’s possible that at some point, I will write an essay or a poem about studying Hebrew. Or something I observe in the class (or on my commute to and from class) will inspire a short story.
But maybe the influence will be much more subtle than that. Maybe I won’t see “results” in my writing practice for months. Or years.
Doesn’t matter. Call it curiosity. Call it a yearning. Call it a calling. Whatever has brought me back to the classroom is powerful. There’s no way it won’t show up in my writing. Someday.