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A Hebrew Lesson (Ha’Ulpan)
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Synopsis:

A Film by David Ofek, Elinor Kowarsky and Ron Rotem

”Learning Hebrew has been central to establishing one‘s personal identity and sense of collective belonging. Language transcends political, religious and ideological divisions; it is what unites and coalesces the different parts of society.” (The Jewish Agency pamphlet for Hebrew Ulpan teachers.)

Chin left her daughter in China and came to Israel to make a living. She cleaned Ehud‘s house, and they fell in love. Sasha never considered immigrating to Israel. But four years after his woman left Russia with their daughter, he understood that life without his child is worthless. He left a thriving business behind only to find himself in Tel Aviv‘s worst neighborhood. Marisol grew up as a Jewish Princess in Lime Peru, and came to Israel to learn something about life. An unexpected pregnancy alters her plans.

These and other characters meet in a Hebrew language Ulpan where their personal stories meld with the complexities of Israeli reality. The immense effort of learning a new language is revealed through their encounter with a strange culture and an unfamiliar environment. Israeli society is revealed through the foreigner‘s eyes. This gaze, at times funny, at times sad, paints our daily reality with irony. But beyond the obvious differences, the human common denominator of longing and love, triumphs time and again.

Technical:

123 minutes (also available: five 30-minutes episodes TV-series), Israel 2006, Hebrew/English/Chinese/German/Russian/Spanish

Director: David Ofek & Ron Rotem (A Film by David Ofek, Elinor Kowarsky and Ron Rotem)
Cinematographer: Ron Rotem
Screenwriter: David Ofek, Sari Ezouz
Editor: Sari Ezouz
Producers: Edna Kowarsky, Elinor Kowarsky – Eden Productions
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David Ofek
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