Last night was my last session learning basic Israeli Hebrew sign language taught by an organization called Pay It Forward . This organization was created to introduce hearing people into the world of Sign Language and learn how to communicate with the Deaf here in Israel.
I loved/hated this course. I loved it because it brought back so many wonderful memories of my years studying American Sign Language. But I hated it because I was a beginner again and I felt so frustrated by it. The class brought me back to my memories of learning ASL with Professor Alec Naiman and the enthusiasm of my classmates. It was fun/frustrating to observe my classmates in these six classes and I had to keep telling myself to keep my mouth shut. Just because I studied American Sign Language and Deaf Culture does not mean I have any authority on the Deaf community here in Israel.
Part of the reason why I never took Israeli sign language classes was because I knew that I would have to be proficient in Hebrew in order to understand how to sign. I might be conversationally proficient in Hebrew but not on a linguistic level. I do not understand the grammar and syntax of a sentence, I can just mimic what I hear/read and repeat. This is a huge obstacle when learning a new language – especially when you already have a deep understand how the syntax changes from spoken English to American Sign Language.
And so it is time.. for me to find a serious course that will teach me the linguistics of Israeli Sign Language. I know that Bar Ilan University offers these courses now it is a matter of time and money.
Last night .. one of my classmates made a cake for our goodbye party.
This is the logo for Pay It Forward.
Here is the back story to how I found out about Pay It forward: Reigniting My Passion