Chris Zalman left his home and family in New Jersey to make Aliya and to join the army. He came to Israel as part of a MASA programme whereby post-high school teenagers from America live together in shared appartments in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and volunteer in schools amongst other places. Whilst volunteering the young people also have an opportunity to explore Israel and learn to understand the Israeli culture and society. This program was just a stepping stone for Chris however, who has a strong motivation to contribute to the state of Israel and will hopefully be returning in the very near future as an Oleh hadash, (new Israeli citizen).
Wanting to learn Hebrew quickly in order to be ready to join the army as a paratrooper and to integrate more easily into the society, Chris came to Ulpan Aviv. From day one, his infectious enthusiasm and motivation ensured our commitment in helping Chris succeed in his goals. Taking full advantage of our available resources, Chris has come on in leaps and bounds since then progressing from a hesitant ‘Shalom’ and little more than basic Hebrew reading skills to holding conversations with Israelis. His two consecutive ‘Aviv’ courses developed not only his conversational skills, but also his reading and writing abilities. Looking back of the work that he has produced over the short time that he has studied with us, it is not difficult for us to be proud of his tremendous achievements. We love to hear our students chatting away in Hebrew and Chris was never short of something to chat about. Whereas some students want help translating bills or calling the bank, at Chris’ young age the help he was looking for tended to be more along the lines of knowing where to buy the cheapest T-shirts and the best places to experience Jerusalem nightlife!
Chris’ story and his strong desire to contribute to Israeli society really struck a chord with everyone here at the Ulpan and it was a pleasure to have hims study with us and to welcome him in to the ever growing Ulpan Aviv family. We wish him every success in his “Gius” (joining the army), his Hebrew studies and his future life here in Israel.