CU Hebrew club launches Wednesday

Music, interactivity and fun are key parts of Hebrew classes at CU, so instructors decided to extend the learning process into a club. The Hebrew club launches today with live music, Israeli dancing and Middle Eastern food.

Eyal Rivlin, event coordinator and CU Hebrew instructor, says he first got the idea for the club by talking to his students.

“We realized we wanted to create a community and continue learning beyond the classroom,” Rivlin said.

With the club, Rivlin hopes to draw attention to Hebrew language courses and create a group where students can get together and practice speaking and role-playing in Hebrew and enjoy activities like watching movies and listening to songs.

Rivlin said each of his classes average around 15 students and vary from people who have experience with the language from bar and bat mitzvahs to people who are completely new to Hebrew.

Rivlin, who was born and raised in Israel, uses personal stories and online videos and blogs to help students get a feel for how things are in Israel right now. He said his goal is to teach “Modern Hebrew,” and having advanced students who have studied abroad helps expand this idea.

“Anything that’s beyond the classroom that builds community is a bonus,” Rivlin said. “It’s another opportunity to stay up to date on popular culture.”

Rivlin and Dr. Zilla Goodman, instructor and the head of the CU Hebrew department, want the club to expand awareness of the department and build a larger community within Boulder.

“I hope that the Hebrew Club will be a great venue for students at the University of Colorado, and for the residents of Boulder at large, to come and experience Hebrew culture through film, dance and music, and by speaking and hearing Hebrew,” Goodman said.

Rivlin feels the event will be interesting for everyone, including people who are unfamiliar with the language.

Rivlin is also a guitarist and singer, and is part of a Klezmer band, which he describes as a “celebratory type of instrumental Jewish music,” with Joe Lukasik, who plays saxophone and clarinet. Clarence “Skip” Ellis will also be at the event, leading the club in participatory Israeli dance.

“It’s fun,” Rivlin said. “It’s lively. It’s experiential.”

By Marlee Horn for the Colorado Daily