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  • Writer's pictureGaila Cohen Morrison

Dear Gaila - On the Importance of Knowing English

I want to share with you a story that happened to me last week that clarified, once more, why knowing English is so important in this day and age:

I have been vacationing in St. Petersburg with my mother. It has been an amazing, eye-opening experience. And not only because of the Hermitage's treasures. I have experienced, once again, how critical English is as a universal language.

From the hermitage treasures

In this day and age of globalization, English is necessary for communication. When we waited in line at the Hermitage, we used English to buy our tickets. The Japanese tourist behind us did not use Japanese or Russian - she too used English. Knowing even rudimentary English is critical when communicating with other people in the world. As the world becomes more and more globalized in the future, knowing English is even more important than ever.

To end with I'll share a story of an encounter in which we couldn't communicate. After an exhausting afternoon touring St. Petersburg, we took a taxi on the way back to our hotel. The taxi driver was very excited when she understood that we were from Israel. Excitement lighting up her face she said: "grandmother Israel, ummmm."

With many hand gestures and umms we deduced that she believed that she, or her grandmother, was Jewish. Yet her attempts to explain why were futile. Her vocabulary was so limited that we could not communicate. Our taxi driver did not want to give up, it was important to her to connect with us. With frustration etched on her face she tried new and different words. We could not understand her. I still do not know why this taxi driver thought she was Jewish.

The Grand Choral Synagogue of St. Petersburg - the second largest synagogue in europe

English is the global language. Speaking English is no longer a privilege - speaking English is necessary. Our children must learn how to speak English. This is why A.H.A.V.A. is so dedicated to making English classes accessible for all children in Israel.

I'll be back soon! I know I have much work waiting for me! The 1st of September is around the corner and our classes start soon.


A taste of the elegance and splendor in what used to be the palace

Gaila has almost 40 year of experience teaching and runs A.H.A.V.A., a non-profit to promote English literacy. Would you like to ask Gaila a question? Email us at or send us a message. Look out for more Dear Gaila columns

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