The Lessons of Language Immersion Extend Beyond Words

by Rebecca Bloom, Chalutzim 2013

I spent seven weeks this summer speaking rak ivrit, only Hebrew, in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. The small town between Madison and Milwaukee may seem like a strange place to find a Hebrew immersion program, but along the shores of Lake Lac La Belle is a Reform Jewish summer camp that has been my home-away-from-home for seven years.

Rebecca Bloom (second from left) with her Israeli counselors.

Rebecca Bloom (second from left) with her Israeli counselors.

Though I have an interest in the language of my heritage, learning Hebrew wasn’t the primary reason I applied to be in Chalutzim, the immersion program for entering sophomores at Camp Olin Sang Ruby Union Institute (OSRUI). This unit happened to be the next unit at the camp, and not attending would mean a summer away from many of my closest friends.

The experience turned out to be life changing, and not just because my Hebrew competency improved dramatically. Living my life in Hebrew and with Israeli counselors helped me develop a new appreciation for another culture, for diversity and for the smallness of our world.

Continue reading this article from the The Globe, the online newsletter of Clayton High School in Clayton, Missouri.