Bolstering Students’ Language Skills


Maayan Bamidbar (trans. a wellspring in the desert) builds bridges between Arab and Jewish students, helping Arabic-speakers succeed in their studies, while introducing Jewish students to Arabic language and culture.

Maayan Bamidbar is a reciprocal tutoring program that was founded upon the belief that despite the University’s potential to bring together Arab and Jewish students, more often than not language barriers and prejudice stand in the way. This program fosters encounters between students – who may sit next to each other in class but never actually talk – enabling them to become acquainted with each other’s culture.

The program is rooted in the idea that both Jewish and Arab students need help, and both have something to offer – all while building a friendship outside of one’s ordinary social circle.

Paired students meet for 2-3 hours each week. The first half of the session is dedicated to helping the Arab student with Hebrew, academic writing, and often math and English. The latter half of the session is led by the Arab student, and focuses on learning spoken Arabic. Jewish students receive a small stipend for their tutoring.

The program has been operating at the Hebrew University since 2018, and its impact is evident. Increasingly, Jewish and Arab students hang out on campus together – studying, eating, and schmoozing between classes.

The Maayan Bamidbar Facebook page can be found here.

 

March 2020


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