Hagigah Ivrit: A Celebration of the Hebrew Language

Published: 
Spring 2016

Source: Contact - Spring, 2016

 

The second annual Hagigah Ivrit of metropolitan New York, March 6-20, 2016 concluded with a sense of a new tradition in the making. Hagigah Ivrit, “Festival of Hebrew,” is a two-week celebration of local events and activities aimed at celebrating the Hebrew language and its culture. The festival in New York was part of an annual national Hebrew language celebration that took place in March in cities throughout North America.

Hagigah Ivrit 2016 in metropolitan New York featured a broad range of events for scholars, students, culture vultures, and families that included film, food, songs, and fun. Building on its successful debut last year, the festival doubled its events and participating organizations to include 40 events in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Long Island and New Jersey. Events were for enthusiasts of all backgrounds and levels of familiarity with Hebrew, from seniors to young children and their families and from fluent speakers to those with no prior Hebrew knowledge. All offerings engaged the audience in the beauty and history of the Hebrew language and tale.

The opening event of this year’s Hagigah Ivrit in metropolitan New York honored the legendary Israeli writer, playwright, and Oscar-nominated movie director Ephraim Kishon (1924-2005) in commemoration of ten years since his passing. Another featured event was the second annual Hebrew Song Celebration, which brought together children’s choirs from nine local schools to perform Hebrew songs celebrating the early years of Israel’s history. Throughout the Hagigah, community-building events coordinated by the Israeli-American Council, such as the Friday night IAC Shishi Israeli, were available across the boroughs of Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens.

The Hagigah Ivrit festival is an important opportunity for both full-time and part-time schools to raise the profile of their commitment to Hebrew by calling attention to programs for students and teachers such as Hebrew-language choirs, Hebrew-language celebration weeks, Hebrew-language pen-pal programs, the study of Israeli literature, Hebrew-language school plays or teacher professional development. Promoting these activities allows parents and school supporters as well as other schools and students to see the importance and fun associated with the Hebrew language.

This year Hagigah Ivrit was also celebrated in Miami, Atlanta, San Diego, San Francisco and the Bay Area (Palo Alto, Los Gatos and Berkeley) as well as in Los Angeles and Chicago. Hagigah events in each of the cities were designed and produced by local leading organizations and in some places, in collaboration with members of the newly established National Association of Teachers of Hebrew, who brought Hagigah Ivrit into schools.

Read the whole article in Contact.

Updated: Jul. 19, 2016
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