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September 15, 1989 - Image 75

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-09-15

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

PRESENTING

A
SPECIAL FALL PREVIEW

OF

their endeavors to become
Israeli citizens, it was also
necessary to make it possible
for them to understand in
their mother-tongue, that
which was happening on the
national, political and
economic scene. Thus
newspapers appeared in a
variety of languages to meet
this need. While this con-
stituted a certain danger of
delaying the infusion of the
main ingredient of the
melting-pot — the Hebrew
language — it added a new
dimension of cultural and
ethnic flavor of the country.
With the great waves of
aliya in the latter part of
1948, after the declaration of
Israel's independence,
newcomers arrived in the
thousands and were accom-
modated in tents and bar-
racks left over from the
British army during the
Mandate.
Many a row began because
of lack of communication.
Shrill voices, strange facial
expressions and unfamiliar
gestures were misunderstood
and erroneously interpreted
as curses or insults. Sociol-
inguists, psycholinguists and
students of Semitics would
have found a wealth of
material there for their
scholarly research. For in-
stance, how does one give an
answer in the affirmative?
How do you say "yes" or show
agreement without uttering
sounds that have no meaning
to those that do not unders-
tand your language? In the
U.S., Britain and most Euro-
pean countries one nods his
head up and down. Not so in
Bulgaria, where to indicate
"yes" one shakes the head
from right to left. One can im-
agine the comic and some-
times frustrating conse-
quences such differences can
bring about. The authorities
set themselves to seeking a
fast remedy to the situation.
Children were enrolled in
special schools where some of
the teachers understood their
particular languages.
Although most of these
teachers wre unqualified, un-
prepared and untrained, their
missionary zeal and dedica-
tion helped them attain
results. At the same time, the
adults were offered intensive
day and evening courses.
Some classes were crowded
with up to 45 students per
class.
The breakthrough came
with the founding of the first
ulpan in 1949 as the result of
intensive deliberations by
senior officials of the Jewish

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-

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

75

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