The engaged couple together with friends from Ulpan Etzion.
(photo credit: JEWISH AGENCY)
When 32 olim arrived at the Jewish Agency’s Young Adult Center/Ulpan Etzion in Jerusalem five months ago, they came to learn Hebrew and forge their future in Israel.
It turns out, however, that the new immigrants are finishing the Hebrew immersion language course as 16 couples, all of whom struck up relationships while memorizing verb conjugations and learning the difference between feminine and masculine numerals.
These couples are part of a group of 216 new arrivals from 40 countries that graduated last week from the Jewish Agency’s flagship ulpan program for university graduates.
As they take their first steps toward becoming part of the Jewish state, many have already found jobs as doctors, engineers, educators, pharmacists, pastry chefs and computer programmers.
For Dana Wrubel, a social worker from New Jersey, and Ethan Amzallag, a lawyer from Paris, those first steps also involve planning a wedding and a life together.
Nine weeks after meeting at Ulpan Etzion, they became engaged. “I’m delighted to hear of the beautiful connections made at Ulpan Etzion, and wish everyone a heartfelt Mazal Tov!” Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog said. “Learning Hebrew opens the door to becoming part of the people of Israel – from our timeless texts to catchy Hebrew pop tunes.”
The other cross-continental couples include a Scottish microbiologist and an Argentinian marketing executive; an Argentinian economist and a British psychologist; an American public health expert and an Argentinian pastry chef; and an American painter and a French psychologist.
Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Jewish Agency has managed a network of 86 ulpan language programs that give new immigrants a start in Hebrew. The intensive course lasts for five months and includes field trips and units on Israeli culture.
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