December 2, 2010
Q & A with Chana Bat Shahar
Virtually creative writing
By Michael Orbach
This year, seven students from Yeshiva University High Schools will be participating in a new independent study Hebrew literature course where they will be mentored by a renowned Israeli author with the goal of developing their Hebrew-language creative writing skills. Entitled “Meet the Israeli Author,” the workshop is the first of its kind in a North American Jewish high school. Chana Bat Shahar, an alumna of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the author of nine Hebrew titles and a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Prize (1994), was chosen as this year’s mentor. The Jewish Star spoke with Chana about her goals for the workshop.
Michael Orbach: What it like to teach your students virtually?
Chana Bat Shahar: It is impossible to call these lessons a “virtual workshop.” Even in a regular workshop I meet students without knowing them and become acquainted with them through their writing and the conversations that we have. The workshop, which I am leading with the students from Yeshiva University High Schools, are meetings that are “face to face” through Skype. I see and hear the students and they see and hear me. I hope to become acquainted with them through their writing and to afford them to learn from my expertise in creative writing.
MO: What are the goals of the workshop?
CS: The goal of the course is twofold: learning Hebrew and learning creative writing. The project is in the framework of the Hebrew Language courses in the high schools.
Tova Rosenberg, Director of Hebrew Language in the high schools, suggested this idea, and the Hebrew teachers, Liora Haibi and Elite Shaier are implementing this.
The main goal is the study of Hebrew Language. My role is to challenge the students in creative writing. So the language study is integrated into the creative writing.
The art of creative writing motivates the language learning, and the meeting with the author affords the students and additional bonus: training and suggestions in creative writing.
MO: Is there a culture gap between Israeli and American students?