Shalom Life | April 23, 2014

ConnecTLV is the Newest Way to make Aliyah

Program pairs up new olim in Tel Aviv with Israelis to help expand their linguistic skills.

By: David Shear

Published: May 8th, 2012 in News » Israel

ConnecTLV is the Newest Way to make Aliyah

Can learning a new language be social…and free? You betcha.

Bartering is the new black, and ConnecTLV, the hottest way to make Aliyah, has worked out a way to teach, learn, meet new people, and save cash. New olim living in Tel Aviv come together once a week to teach their native languages to Israelis wishing to expand their linguistic horizons. In return, the olim learn Hebrew...and get tips on making life work in their new homeland. Everybody wins, and nobody pays.

Melissa Fishler (24) came to the Project as an intern as part of her Masa Israel Experience from Antwerp, Belgium. She participates in the Masa Oranim program and is working with the ConnecTLV program as part of her internship. “The project is like ulpan but much more fun…even couples have met here,” she says.

She studied tourism in Belgium and came to Israel with an ability to speak Hebrew at an intermediate level.

“Before I came to Israel, I saw details about ConnecTLV. In an interview with Masa, they asked me where I’d like to work, and since I know a little Hebrew and English, I proposed to intern at the Project. I love it here. I have decided to make Aliyah to Israel.”

Melissa came to Israel alone. She does, however, have a brother who is a lone soldier in the Paratroopers Brigade. “The Chief of the General Staff formally recognized him as an Outstanding Soldier. He received a flight home to Belgium and is there for a month,” she says proudly.

Those who come to the Language Exchange Project in Tel Aviv say that it is like the Tower of Babel.

Every Tuesday, the Language Exchange Project is attended by more than 100 new olim, youth on the Masa Israel Experience Program, and young Israelis – and the waiting list is in the 3 digits.

“My Hebrew is good, but not at a high enough level, so I teach French and learn Hebrew,” says Melissa. In each group there are four to five participants who learn from one another. Among the languages spoken and learnt are: Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, and German. Whoever wants to learn a language and wants to teach a language can come.

It’s all about making connections.

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