Half-Australian, half-Israeli, and a longtime nomad, Tamar Pross had always been obsessed with learning how to quickly and enjoyably immerse herself into local cultures and lifestyles. After years of traveling and moving 18 times across four continents, Tamar finally returned to Tel Aviv and set out to rediscover the city she once called home.
After starting her own concierge business, Tamar met Efrat Chen – one of the most sought-after Hebrew teachers who specialized in teaching high-profile clients, such as ambassadors and business leaders, language communication skills.
The two recognized a gap in the local language market for busy professionals who were looking for an effective and engaging way to learn Hebrew and decided to team up to create Citizen Café. Their goal was to provide the city’s growing community of internationals with an opportunity to become more successful, engaged, and connected to an otherwise unfamiliar culture in Tel Aviv.
In its founding days, Citizen Café courses were held at actual cafés in the city. Efrat and her founding group of teachers would meet up with an intimate group of students over coffee and lead them in a conversation-based lesson that is the foundation of Citizen Café’s teaching method to this day.
Her approach centered around the belief that language is much more than a literal translation – it’s a reflection of the culture, the essence, the energy, and the way people look at the world. That’s why, more than teaching the technical skills of the language, Tamar and Efrat set out to hack, adapt and present the Israeli genetic code through language. After word began to spread and more and more students became interested in learning Hebrew with Citizen Café, Tamar and Efrat set out to find a home for their growing community.
After their early years working out of cafes, Tamar and Efrat eventually opened Citizen Café’s permanent campus on Rothschild, inside the Mindspace coworking complex. Today, Citizen students can meet over coffee, network and attend in-person classes at the beating heart of Tel Aviv’s startup community.
When Israel went into strict lockdown at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Citizen Café quickly shifted to online courses. During the first few months of the pandemic, Efrat worked tirelessly to adapt the Citizen Café method and curriculum to an online platform by examining how to maximize the benefits of digital learning to create an energizing and exciting online classroom environment.
The result was a huge success and for the first time ever, Citizen Café began welcoming students from all over the world. Today, Citizen Café continues to grow globally and has expanded both its in-person and online course offerings to meet the increasing worldwide demand for people who want to join a unique community that lives and breathes the Tel Aviv lifestyle and culture.