Learning Arabic at a Jewish school

April 13, 2011 2:34:49 PM PDT
Some people might not expect Arabic to be taught at an orthodox Jewish school. Arabic is not the most common foreign language course, but, Egyptian native, Mohamed Badr, was handpicked for the job.

"We need to increase the number of people that know Arabic so they can see the culture from their own eyes," said Badr.

This is the first year for Arab language instruction at the Samuel H. Wang Yeshiva Academy for Young Women.

"He's really an amazing, awesome teacher. He makes the class really funny. It's interactive. We ask each other 'What color clothing you're wearing? What color shirt? What color is your hair?' and it's fun," said student Jennifer Van Amerongen.

"It's an academic skill, in the sense that they may not actually go out and use it, but it's an exposure to a culture and a people and a sense of recognizing that language is a vehicle for building bridges," said Chaya Batya Neugroschl, head of the school.

"I may go into something political for the Middle East, so then I think it's important to speak the same language as our peace partners," said Rivka Cohen, who plans to live in Israel as an adult.

"When we communicate, that means better understanding, and when there is better understanding, this brings peace," said Badr,

Starting the next school year, the Arabic language course will be offered to all incoming freshmen here as a choice in fulfilling their two year language requirement. Advanced courses will also be offered.

For more information of the academy, please visit:http://www.yuhsg.org/index.cfm