While living in Jerusalem during WUJS Jerusalem Learning, I not only had the opportunity to study Hebrew every day, but also to take courses in Torah, Kaballah, Talmud, Zionism, and the Arab-Israeli conflict in a pluralistic environment. These courses included weekly interactive field trips throughout Israel, one which led us to a beautiful tucked away café outside of Jerusalem where our lesson was to order our food and drinks completely in Hebrew.
The secret jewels on the WUJS program are the teachers: an incredible mix of young and old educators, some with decades of experience to share. Incorporating their Israel-related professional and personal histories, and expertise into the lessons, they helped students understand new concepts and grasp intangible ideas. While the instructor of the Arab-Israeli conflict course spoke of his experiences as a former IDF intelligence officer, the rabbis could spout out any Torah or Talmudic verse in Hebrew and in English.
The teachers were not only mentors, but also friends. On long bus rides, I sat and spoke with my instructors about their lives and their journeys, and they answered and then asked about mine. The teachers at WUJS inspired me to become a better educator, to learn from their teaching styles and to grow in my appreciation for the State of Israel.