Saying 'shalom' to Prof. Guy Antebi’s new radio show
Last month, Prof. Guy Antebi (HBRW) launched a weekly WBRS radio show – “Shalom Brandeis” – with his HBRW 44b students. The Justice sat in during a live session to catch a glimpse of the new, experiential Hebrew-learning environment.
A deep and peppy-sounding “Shaaaaalom Brandeis!” floats across the airwaves. It’s time for Prof. Guy Anetebi’s radio show, which airs on WBRS 100.1 FM every Thursday at 1 p.m. With energy and chutzpah, Antebi is ready to serve and engage with students studying “intermediate high to advanced low” Hebrew.
Every week on air, Antebi and his students attempt to discuss in Hebrew expansive topics within pop-culture and current events, as well as anecdotes from their personal lives. The HBRW 44b course is called “Israeli Culture and Media” and is geared towards listening, reading, and speaking in Hebrew with an emphasis on using Israeli cultural aspects and background to guide students’ language learning.
According to WBRS staff, this is Brandeis’s only program that includes non-English dialogue and discussion, as well as the only radio show hosted by a professor.
On Nov. 17, the Justice sat in on one of Antebi’s shows. He opened the class by asking his students “Ma nishma?” — “what’s up” in Hebrew. One by one, the students gave Antebi updates on their lives in Hebrew. Anetebi then played students’ homemade jingles on the soundsystem while they jammed out in their seats. One student appeared extra excited: his parents were listening in on the show that afternoon.
The atmosphere of the radio station, in Antebi’s words, is always nothing short of “fun and hippy.”
“The way that I teach my classes is kind of like when you go to do sports — the first thing is a warmup,” Antebi said in an interview with the Justice. “In a language, you have to do a warmup for the class to be successful. You never introduce new material, you always talk about ‘hey, how’s your weekend?’… [you] get them to switch from English to Hebrew. Once you do that, the second part is the sealing. The sealing is learning something new or reinforcement… And the last part is winding down… leave the class with something positive and wanting more.”
Antebi said he had instituted many lessons and aspects in his classroom that he picked up when he learned English as his second language. “We always look for the real-life experience,” he said. “If we’re learning about apartments or houses, can the student write a real life situation about trying to rent apartments?”
He continued: “When I go to the drive-through and order something, people don't look at it as a challenge. But for ESL [English as a second language] learners, it is a challenge because you don't see the lips of the person next to you when you have to order, and you sometimes really don't understand what they’re saying to you.”
Antebi also said he believed that being on-air adds a “good pressure” because you never know who’s out in the world listening. “You need a little pressure,” he said, in order to best learn vocabulary and correctly pronounce new words.
As of this fall, Antebi has worked at Brandeis for 19 years. He teaches multiple Hebrew courses and is known as being “chill,” “patient,” and “understanding,” as some as his students described. They also agreed that Antebi had accomplished the “good pressure” he said he strived for.
Brooke Schwartz ’25, a student in Antebi’s HBRW 44b class, explained with humor and seriousness that, “on the off-chance that we have one listener somewhere, I have to try to make it seem like I know Hebrew.”
Davina Goodman ’23, another student in the class, said that the radio show “helps put a little bit of pressure on you because even if nobody’s listening, it's still a more intimidating environment [than a classroom], so you want to be able to speak it.”
Specifically with HBRW 44b, Antebi said he felt that there was always room for new learning opportunities. “This course is [on] Israeli media, and every Thursday, we are doing a news journal where the students are choosing an interesting article that they read or something on campus.” The students then read and discuss the article in class. “I felt that it was super interesting, and they were very enthusiastic, but that something was missing. And the something that was missing was more real life experience. Going on the radio… will give them [students] something more,” Antebi said.
Thus, the WBRS show “Shalom Brandeis” was born. So far, Antebi’s students see this as an interactive way of learning. Kobi Russell ‘23, another student in HBRW 44b, said he believed that “Guy, who is the best professor on campus, has struck the balance [of both a fun and academic classroom environment] perfectly.”