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Elisa & Ella Keller 1986/2019

Elisa and Ella Keller:

When deciding which University Gap Year Program to attend, it was only natural for Ella to study at the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University. She grew up hearing her mother, Elisa, talk about her own amazing experiences from when she was a student at HebrewU.

Elisa participated in the Freshman Year Abroad Program at HebrewU in 1986: “It was very different from what I experienced later on in University in the States. I wanted to study at a university, I wanted to came to Israel and I wanted to be in Jerusalem. HebrewU had the best program that integrated university studies, with learning the language and understanding the culture of Israel”.

Elisa participated in the 9-week summer Ulpan and described it as an unforgettable experience: “I was determined to learn the language and speak it – not like an American but as an Israeli – and I found that the Ulpan was excellent. The teachers taught us how to read a newspaper, watch tv and listen to the radio. Sometimes we studied outside which made it very interesting and different from learning in a conventional classroom. Overall, the program was excellent and exactly what I was looking for. There were trips (I regretted not going to all of them!), where I met a lot of people and got connected to the country and its history”.

Elisa goes on to say that: “The year I spent in Israel had a huge impact on my life”. Not only does she cherish her memories of her time at HebrewU, but it was on this program that she would meet her future husband! “I met Meir, at the laundromat on French Hill near the University where most of the students from abroad did their laundry! Meir was working to make some money before being drafted into the army, and I needed some clean clothes, so, if it weren’t for the Rothberg program, we wouldn’t have met and Ella wouldn’t be here today!

A few years after they met, Elisa and Meir would move to Los Angeles, get married and go on to have three children.

Last month, their daughter, Ella, started her freshman year program at Rothberg, as well. She says: “My mother did the freshman year abroad program and always said it was the best year of her life. This program and the Rothberg School have always been very special to my family because my mother met my father while she was a student on this program”.

As a daughter of a Rothberg alum and as a U.S citizen, Ella was eligible to receive the legacy scholarship of the Rothberg International school: “It is such an honor to receive this scholarship! I am excited for the year to start and can’t wait for all the amazing courses and opportunities that lie ahead!”

As for Elisa, she is glad that Ella decided to make Hebrew University a family tradition: “I am excited that she is about to study here so she can have her own wonderful experiences. I know it’s a great program and, as her mother, I am really happy for Ella!”.

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Pre-Semester Program: “Encountering Jerusalem” 2022-23
Practical Hebrew Beginners 4 credits
One course on various aspects of Jerusalem The Bible and the City3 credits