Hebrew Academy students write pen pals in Kiryat Yam

May 20, 2016

Other News

Ofek Newman and Shalom Brashevitzky, HAT fifth graders, after reading letters from their pen pals from Amirim School in Kiryat Yam.

Ofek Newman and Shalom Brashevitzky, HAT fifth graders, after reading letters from their pen pals from Amirim School in Kiryat Yam.

Snail mail. Almost a lost art form, yes? Not for Hebrew Academy of Tidewater students.

The sending and receiving of hand-written letters with new Israeli pen pals has become a fun way to broaden world perspectives, develop their cognitive and creative abilities and hone skills in the Hebrew language. All letters are written mostly or completely in Hebrew to students at Amirim School, in Tidewater’s sister city of Kiryat Yam, in the Haifa Bay district.

“At Hebrew Academy,” says Rabbi Menda, Judaic studies director, “students learn Hebrew language starting right from preschool. By the time they reach 4th and 5th grade, they are able to carry on simple conversations. The pen pal program has been a great opportunity for them to deepen their knowledge and understanding of written Hebrew.”

So far, two batches of letters have been sent from HAT students and one batch has been received from the Israeli students. These eager pen pals have discussed many different topics, including favorite hobbies, sports and animals, favorite subjects in school and favorite books. They’ve also learned about their likes and dislikes when it comes to video games and other toys.

“Children write by hand and draw pictures to illustrate concepts and ideas,” says Menda. “Many have expressed their desire to stay in touch for a long time and eventually travel to meet in person.”

Emily Leon, HAT third grader, says about getting a new pen pal, “I’m very excited. I like meeting new people from different places and I like to write letters.”

Ellie Debb, HAT fifth grader, is also excited about making a new friend. “You never know who you are going to meet— but after writing a letter and getting one back, we become friends.”

While e-mail communication makes the world faster, a good “snail mail” letter from a special pen pal is always a treasure. For now, HAT students excitedly await their next batch of letters.

by Dee Dee Becker

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