Jerusalem’s top school for teaching Hebrew to immigrants announced perhaps its greatest accomplishment: the creation of 16 couples from its latest graduating class!
By Tsivya Fox, United With Israel
New immigrants to Israel receive a grant to study Hebrew at a government funded “ulpan” learning center.
Ulpan Etzion, located in Jerusalem, is considered the Rolls-Royce for Hebrew studies due to its long history of outstanding teachers. In addition, only those under the age of 35, who hold academic degrees, may attend. This helps make Ulpan Etzion a perfect breeding ground for matchmaking.
Last week, as another semester came to an end, it was announced that this five-month course succeeded in not only advancing the Hebrew knowledge of its 216 immigrants from 40 different countries, but also created 16 new couples hoping to begin their lives together in Israel.
The absorption center at Ulpan Etzion subtly sets the tone for young people to find their soulmates.
Here’s the formula: take a group of educated men and women of marriageable age who recently arrived to a foreign land and seek friendships, put them into joint classes, provide tours of the country as part of the curriculum as well as activities to get familiar with Israeli culture and society, and offer preparation for integration into Israel’s work force.
Through this process, participants get to know each other quickly, deeply and, apparently in plenty of cases, lovingly.
Ynet news interviewed Dana Rubel, originally a social worker from the U.S., who met and is now engaged to Eitan Amzalag, a lawyer from France.
“It was worth coming to Israel to find love here,” Rubel told Ynet. “It was love at first sight. We both love each other very much, love Jerusalem, where we met, and love Israel.”
Dana and Eitan became engaged three weeks after meeting each other at Ulpan Etzion and are currently planning their wedding to take place in October in Jerusalem.
Here, Dana tells her story in beginners Hebrew and English:
Ynet also shared another match, between Argentinian economist Yechezkel and English psychologist Laura.
“We met in the first week of school and we’ve been together since,” they said. “Now that we finished our studies in the ulpan, we’re moving to the same neighborhood in Tel Aviv, where we’ll continue to be a couple.”
Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog commented on the phenomenon, remarking, “It is good that romance connects Jews from all over the world and Israel. The young people of Ulpan Etzion begin a new chapter in their lives, in preparation for building their family and professional future together with us in Israel. Over the years, thousands of young immigrants and immigrants from all over the world, who have established their home and family in Israel, have been absorbed through Ulpan Etzion. They have integrated into medicine, the education system, high-tech, culture, sports and more, and strengthened Israeli society in all areas of life.”
The director of Ulpan Etzion, Ziva Avrahami, told Ynet that not only is it a great privilege to run an absorption center where every morning she feels a sense of purpose and engages in meaningful work, she also sometimes feels like a matchmaker.
Now, that’s an engaging thought!
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