About Ha-Ulpan

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Welcome to Ha-Ulpan

Established in January 2002, Ha-Ulpan teaches modern conversational Hebrew to adult students.

Our students learn all Hebrew language skills — speech, comprehension, reading, and writing — using the successful ulpan method. We use Israeli teaching materials, including books and audiovisual learning aids, which have been carefully selected for the enrichment of the American student. Students are totally immersed in an interactive Hebrew-speaking environment in small classes. Our instructors are certified, experienced native teachers.

Mission Statement

  • To teach and strengthen the knowledge of the Hebrew language by providing resources and developing skills that will create, enliven, and fuse ancient with modern.
  • To preserve and spread, through Hebrew, the cultural traditions of the Jewish people.

Meet Our Instructors

Ahuva Tal Hollander
Founder & Director

Ahuva Tal Hollander, Ha-Ulpan's founder and director, was born in Israel and educated in Israel and the United States. She has served as director of the ulpan at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan and has taught at the ulpan of the Jewish Agency for Israel in New York City and in Israel. She has also authored several texts for students of Hebrew and is the recipient of awards for excellence, Master Teacher, and her dedicated service as a Jewish educator.

Eran Barzilai

Eran Barzilai grew up in Israel and received his BA in psychology from Bar-Ilan University, where he also completed a teaching certificate and teaching internship in special education. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology at the New School for Social Research. Eran is also a certified personal trainer and has been helping clients of all ages meet their fitness goals for the past eight years. In his free time, he likes to cook, run, and play soccer.

Sivan Cohen

Sivan Cohen was born in the United States and grew up in Israel. She studied at Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts in Tel Aviv and served in the army as a social worker in a tank commander unit and as a head officer in basic training. Before moving to New York, she taught at Dor High School in Herzliya. In addition to her work at Ha-Ulpan, Sivan has taught Hebrew at Hebrew Language Academy in Brooklyn and for Birthright Israel. She believes the Hebrew language is best taught within the context of Israeli culture.

Illan Gonen

Illan Gonen, a transplant from Israel, has been a Hebrew lecturer at Columbia University for the past five years, after teaching at Ulpan Bayit in Tel Aviv for two years. With an MA in Hebrew grammar (and continuous adoration for verbs and roots) from Tel Aviv University, he went on to a PhD in Semitic languages at the University of Cambridge, where he is currently working on his dissertation (another grammatical endeavor). Learning and teaching are his biggest passions in life, especially languages and, well, grammars. Currently, he is learning Swedish and the cello.

Shoshana Hirsch

Shoshana Hirsch has been teaching for over forty years. She is a graduate of Queens College CUNY and the teacher's seminary at Givat Washington in Israel. In addition to teaching Hebrew at Ha-Ulpan, Shoshana is a teacher at Hebrew Academy of Nassau County.

Erellah Katz

Erellah Katz was born and raised in Israel. She graduated from the Israeli Music Academy and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem before coming to New York with her husband. She worked many years for the Board of Jewish Education, both as a teacher in Hebrew day schools, and a master teacher/supervisor across many Long Island Jewish educational institutions. After earning an MBA and working in corporate America as a human resources managament consultant, she decided to return to her roots and follow her passion for the Hebrew language. For the last several years, she has been happily teaching adults, within the framework of the ulpan, in Manhattan and Long Island.

Ganit Mayer

Ganit grew up in Rehovot, Israel and graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem with a degree in law and history. After working as an environmental lawyer, she decided to pursue her passion for people’s narratives and their use of language. She is now head of the fiction evaluation department at Am-Oved, an Israeli publishing house. Ganit has taught Hebrew at Middlebury College and in Israeli ulpanim, and is currently completing a master's in social psychology at Tel Aviv University. She believes language is best learned hands on, with great cultural exposure.

Miriam Meir

Miriam Meir was born in Belgium and made aliyah with her family when she was nine years old. She still remembers vividly what it was like to learn to read, speak, play, think, write and live in Hebrew. After serving in the IDF intelligence service, Miriam got a BA degree in philosophy and biology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She also studied at the teachers' training program of the Rothberg School for International Students. She has taught Hebrew in various settings, including at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where she is also studying towards a PhD in Jewish literature. Miriam is deeply in love with Hebrew and loves teaching the language.

Ilana Sheinman

A native Israeli, Ilana Sheinman has been teaching Hebrew to students of all ages for over 25 years. She graduated cum laude from John Jay College in NYC with BS and MA degrees and holds teaching certificates from Hans Beit Teachers College in Jerusalem and the WZO's Ministry of Education and Culture. Ilana has been a Hebrew teacher at the JCC in New York and a lecturer at the University of Budapest, and has taught at the Jewish Agency, the Jewish Theological Seminary, and various synagogues. She also taught in a kibbutz in Israel, where she supervised and taught special needs youth.

Idit Shem Tov

Idit Shem Tov, an Israeli native, has spent her entire career in Jewish and Israeli education. She started as a Hebrew teacher in Hong Kong and then taught history at Rothberg High School in Ramat Hasharon, Israel. At Rothberg, she held a number of education and management positions and served as vice principal for 14 years. Idit received a BA in Jewish history and a teaching certificate from Tel Aviv University, as well as an MA in Management of Educational Systems from the Kibbutzim College.

Noam Shmueli

Originally from Haifa, Noam is a graduate of Tufts University, where he began teaching Hebrew. He is very excited to be teaching at Ha-Ulpan.

Yonatan Gutfeld

Yonatan Gutfeld was born in Jerusalem and served in the IDF as a pianist and singer for the Israeli Air Force Band. He studied music composition at the Jerusalem Music Academy and Rimon School of Jazz and Rock, as well as Hebrew literature at Tel Aviv University. He now teaches Hebrew and music at the School for Creative Judaism. Yonatan released his first album of Hebrew songs in 2011.

Hagit Halperin

Hagit has been leading tours in Hebrew at museums around New York for our students since 2006. She holds a master's degree in Jewish Art and Visual Culture from JTS, as well as a bachelor's from Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and a teaching certificate from Midrashah Le'Amanut, an Israeli college for art education. She has taught art and Hebrew for many years, currently at Rodeph Sholom School in Manhattan and JTS's Ivry Prozdor program.