World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0003709610
Reproduction Date:

Title: Ulpan  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Hebrew language, Swig Program in Jewish Studies and Social Justice, Language immersion, Ein HaShofet, Ùlpan
Collection: Hebrew Language, Hebrew Words and Phrases, Language Schools
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Ulpan in Dimona, 1955

An ulpan is an institute or school for the intensive study of Hebrew. Ulpan (אולפן, plural ulpanim - 'אולפנים) is a Hebrew word meaning "studio", "teaching", or "instruction".

The ulpan is designed to teach adult immigrants to Israel the basic language skills of conversation, writing and comprehension. Most ulpanim also provide instruction in the fundamentals of Israeli culture, history, and geography. The primary purpose of the ulpan is to help new citizens to be integrated as quickly and as easily as possible into the social, cultural and economic life of their new country.


  • History 1
  • Kibbutz ulpan 2
  • Criticism of ulpan method 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The concept of the ulpan was initiated soon after the creation of Israel in 1948. The new country was faced with a massive influx of new immigrants, refugees from war-torn Europe, oppressed and disadvantaged communities from Africa and the Middle East, and others from all parts of the world. Their language and culture varied widely. The ulpan was created to help them learn the Hebrew language and assimilate into the culture.

Ulpan Etzion in Jerusalem's Baka neighborhood was established in 1949 by Mordechai Kamerat as a model for Hebrew language education used across Israel. It was a residential facility for single olim between the ages 21 and 35 holding a bachelor's degree. Staff and students said that the atmosphere of the campus, its central location and the high quality of teaching, made it a sought-after destination.[1] One of Ulpan Etzion's notable alumni was Israeli satirist Ephraim Kishon. News anchor Haim Yavin taught there.[2]

The institution of the ulpan continues to serve immigrants today. There are numerous private facilities but the majority are run by the Jewish Agency, municipalities, kibbutzim, and the universities. Ulpanim used to be free to new immigrants (olim) to Israel. Nowadays the cost can vary depending on the type and length of the course. Since the establishment of the first ulpan in Jerusalem in 1949, more than 1.3 million new immigrants have graduated from ulpanim.

Ulpan for Vietnamese refugees in Afula, 1979

The ulpan framework has been adopted by other nations attempting to revive their own declining or lost languages. Wales, Scotland, and Norway have used the ulpan model for native language instruction. Certain language courses in Wales and Scotland have even retained the name "ulpan" (spelled "Wlpan" in Welsh and Ùlpan in Scottish Gaelic).[3][4] The Sami people of Norway sent a delegation to Israel in 2012 in order to experience Israel's ulpan program and apply its methods toward the preservation of its own threatened linguistic heritage.[5]

Kibbutz ulpan

A number of kibbutzim across Israel also offer ulpan courses. The course typically lasts 5 months and the Ulpanists will usually work part-time on the kibbutz (either 4 hours a day or 8 hours every other day, depending on the kibbutz) in addition to their studies.

Participants have the option of choosing kibbutz ulpan programs either on religious kibbutzim in the Religious Kibbutz Movement (HaKibbutz HaDati), or on secular kibbutzim.

Criticism of ulpan method

A government study in 2007 has shown that even after five months of intensive Hebrew study at ulpan, sixty percent of new immigrants over the age of thirty cannot read, write or speak Hebrew at a minimum level. The situation amongst the Russian immigrant population is even more dire with seventy percent of immigrants not being able to understand the Hebrew television news.[6]

As a result of this study, the Knesset has set up an inter-ministerial committee to study the situation and make recommendations to improve and change the ulpan system. Several alternative teaching systems are being considered for use in the ulpan framework.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Closure of Baka's Ulpan Etzion's spells end of an era
  2. ^ Absorbing culture
  3. ^ Wlpan Welsh course at Bangor University
  4. ^ Ulpan in Gaelic
  5. ^ Cheslow, Daniella (12 March 2012). "Nordic people see hope of preserving culture, language in Hebrew revival".  
  6. ^ - Most ulpan graduates over 30 are unable to read or write Hebrew fluently
  7. ^ Inter-ministerial committee discusses the crisis in the ulpan system (in Hebrew)

External links

  • General Ulpan Information, Homestay program in Israel
  • General Ulpan Information, Ulpans in Jerusalem
  • A List of Ulpans in Israel for Adults and Students
  • Kibbutz Ulpan Information, Ulpan in Kibbutz Maagan Michael
  • The Hebrew Language and Ulpanim
  • General Ulpan Information, Ulpan Bayit in Tel Aviv
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.