Last month, UC San Diego’s Tritons For Israel held their annual cultural celebration, Semitic Soirée – a linguistic exhibition of the Semitic language family that celebrates the cultures, alphabets, and similarities between these groups. The 60 participants explored the ancient languages of Aramaic, Arabic, Amharic, and Maltese all the way through modern-day Hebrew in an interactive exhibit.

As they arrived, students were given a “passport” to carry through the exhibit, and at each stop along the way, they could write their names in each of the languages represented. Throughout the evening, students enjoyed shawarma, couscous, pita, hummus, as well as music featuring the various languages.

Students remarked how fascinating it was to see the similarities between languages of the region. For example, seeing the Aramaic table represented alongside the modern Hebrew table allowed students to witness side-by-side how a nearly-dead language was suddenly revived and is spoken today in the Jewish homeland.