In the Program in Jewish Studies at CU Boulder, we have an innovative Hebrew program that incorporates music and Israeli songs into our curriculum. This culminates in an annual music festival where students, faculty, and engaged community members celebrate their love of Israeli music. Affectionately called “Schmooze-A-Palooza,” the event is one of our most highly attended student offerings and is followed by a falafel meal where all Hebrew students and the larger community have the opportunity to connect outside the classroom. Students often cite it as one of the highlights of their academic journey at CU—as a “rite of passage” of sorts. Over the years, students have come up with creative performances of classic Israeli folk songs, modern Hebrew hip hop, cover versions of traditional American songs (from “Rocky Mountain Chai” to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” to “What a Wonderful World,” all sung in Hebrew come to mind), as well as the greatest hits of today’s Israeli pop songs.
This year, due to Covid-19, the event went virtual, and our three Hebrew classes, along with faculty and alumni, collaborated in creating a virtual choir performing the iconic Arik Einstein song “Ohev Lihiyot Babayit” (translated as “I Love to Be at Home”). Participants learned the lyrics and tune and filmed themselves rocking out in their homes, adding their personal touches. In a time of isolation, this was a way to let loose and connect in a nontraditional way, sharing aspects of themselves they wouldn’t otherwise be able to bring to an online class environment. Through the video, they were also able to share a glimpse of their Hebrew journey with their families and extended communities.
To learn more about our Hebrew program and to explore taking classes with us, please visit our website.