A joint production of Screaming Butterfly Productions and Shulhan Ivrit
SYNOPSISThe Hebrew Project chronicles the beginnings of the new Hebrew program on the campus of the University of Oklahoma, and the dedication and companionship of students and professors alike.
DESCRIPTIONUntil 1995, there were two levels (Elementary and Intermediate) of Biblical Hebrew with about a dozen students. The Judaic Program changed that to three levels of Modern Hebrew (together with some Biblical), and doubled the number of students for each of the next two years under the late Yedida Kalfon Stillman. After her death, Hebrew was taught by professors in the History Department by faculty splitting their time between Hebrew and History classes, and the numbers continued to grow.
Finally the arrival of Professor Ori Kritz in 2003 to the Department of Modern Languages gave for the first time since 1997, a fulltime Hebrew professor. Joined by Lea Reches, OU now was able to have a complete (or full fledged) Hebrew minor with two dynamic teachers fully engaged in Hebrew language instruction.
Kritz and Reches brought not only effective books and valuable teaching methods but continiously strive to improve the program. Students now enjoy lively discussions about the language and its culture, fellowship at the department-sponsored Hebrew Club, and a chance to learn the language the way it was meant to be taught.
This May, some of the first students of this program will be graduating, taking with them the last chance to tell their story. This film is meant both to record the history of the program's birth and to promote the program in the university and the Hebrew-speaking community.
SCREENINGSBare Bones Film Festival:
Be sure to catch both The Hebrew Project and the Alternative during the Documentary Fest at the Roxy Theatre in Muskogee, between 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM on Tuesday, April 18th, 2006.
‘The Hebrew Project’ has been accepted to be a part of 5th Annual SMMASH Film Festival this fall, October 21st to 27th, at the historic Dock Theater in Excelsior, Minnesota.
‘The Hebrew Project’ will be screening on the following dates and times:
Saturday, Oct. 22 @ 5:30pm - Theater 2
Sunday, Oct 23 @ 9:50pm - Theater 2
7:15 PM, 9 Nov at B'nai Emunah in Tulsa.
Our OU Campus Premiere will be November 29th, 2005 at 7 PM in the Meacham Auditorium.
Thanks to the MLLL and Judaic Studies departments for helping fund this.
Anyone wishing to broadcast, distribute, or screen this film should contact D. Lang via Screaming Butterfly Productions.
The Hebrew Project is a joint effort of the
OU Hebrew Club (Shulhan Ivrit) and Screaming Butterfly Productions.
Valuable contributions of time and resources were given by: Hebrew instructors, Dr. Ori Kritz and Lea Reches who served as linguistic advisors; Judaic Studies professor, Dr. Norman Stillman who served as historical advisor; Ryan Timpte served as D. Lang's assistant director; Daniel Perna and Shay Rabineau who allowed their performance of "Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu" to be included in the film; all the students who were willing to be filmed for this project.
Spearheading the production is D. Lang (previously credited as Diana Kettle). She has won 10 awards for her prior productions and was named PEGASYS Producer of the Year for two consecutive years (2003, 2004.) Her most successful film to date was Liquid Wind (2004) on which she served as editor. Liquid Wind premiered in Meacham Auditorium, won Best Trailer at the Bare Bones Film Festival, and was shown on OETA thrice in 2004.
MAKING THE FILMIn 2004, the students began making short instructional films to help each other learn Hebrew. Very soon the idea of making an hour long documentary did not seem like a monumental task. For those appearing in the film, aside from instructors Kritz and Reches, Hebrew is not their native tounge. Although some had limited background in the language prior to their attending the university, their use of the language solidified with the help of instructors Ori Kritz and Lea Reches.
Throughout April and May of 2005 we shot interviews with students, professors (Dr. Ori Kritz, Dr. Norman Stillman, and Lea Reches), and background footage. A rough cut was screened at the Spring 2005 end of semester party. The film is 60 minutes long, in Hebrew, with English subtitles by D. Lang and Ori Kritz.
Out of this dedication, The Hebrew Project is born, showing the companionship of students and professors, and the study of Hebrew, in an unlikely location.
STUDENTSThe students are dedicated, often scheduling time outside of class for group study, attending Hebrew Club meetings, and lectures related to Israeli and Jewish culture. Some are just year long tourists for the sake of a degree requirement, and others seriously wish to understand, use, and retain. However, students of many different backgrounds and intellectual pursuits quickly became friends with the common goal of learning Hebrew.
SODA / HEBREW CLUBSoda, Ori's dog whom one cannot help but love, has been named the official mascot of the Hebrew Club, an organization that began unofficially in 2003 with a limited number of students meeting at the Hillel to speak in Hebrew. The club grew and became officially sanctioned by the University and elected its first officers in 2004. Students now enjoy Israeli dancing, create short films, watch films in Hebrew, and a variety of other activities. Since the Spring of 2004, there has been the Hebrew end of semester party, one of many fun new traditions.
THE FUTUREThe first students of this new program graduated in May of 2005, and the future is bright for both the students and program alike.