Understanding the Education System in Israel

This is in response to those of you who have been asking me via Facebook and e-mail about the education system in Israel. If I’ve missed something, please feel free to ask questions in the comment section below and I’ll attempt to get you answers.

Quality of Education in Israel

The quality of education in Israel varies based upon the community’s dedication to education (via tax allocations and programming), individual school’s focus, and parental involvement in the system. Unfortunately, Israeli schools are not ranked well among other countries in the developed world. But that can change, and you can play a role in improving the quality by making Aliyah and getting involved. Continue reading Understanding the Education System in Israel


I.O.U. – Ra’anana

I can’t believe three months have already passed and I haven’t told you all about our new home in Ra’anana. I do apologize for the delay and for the fact that this is going to be a long one!


If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that we left our beautiful and happy home in Ma’ale Adumim (along with our settler status :() and moved to Ra’anana for employment in July.

Michael is working at Delek where he is re-learning Oracle database technology (in recent years he specialized in Microsoft SQL databases). Because of his limited Hebrew skills, and his need for retraining, he has pretty much started at the bottom in a junior-level position, but that’s okay with him because he likes it there. Delek treats their employees very well – he especially likes his co-workers and enjoys the Thursday afternoon beer and nosh treats that signal the end of the work week. Continue reading I.O.U. – Ra’anana


High Anxiety! 1st Day of School – 2009

With tears welling up in my eyes I exited the school and hid my face with the camera taking shots of the crowds and scenery surrounding Yavne elementary school. My son was not happy about starting at yet another school and I couldn’t blame him… At 8-1/2 years old he has attended 1 preschool in Nashville, Tennessee; 2 preschool/elementary schools in Cleveland, Ohio; 2 elementary schools + ulpan in Ma’ale Adumim, Israel; and now another new school in Ra’anana!

After a restless night of stomach ache and dizziness complaints, he surprisingly emerged from his room in a good mood and even made his bed and put his dirty laundry in the hamper without my nagging! I offered bagels or cereal for breakfast and he made an excellent choice all on his own – plain yogurt with granola. When Jessica phoned from Tennessee just as we were ready to walk out the door, he actually rushed me to get off the phone so he wouldn’t be late for his first day. With backpack loaded and recyclables in a bag he rushed me to the elevator. I was amazed at the change in his attitude from last night and ever so proud of my little soldier. Continue reading High Anxiety! 1st Day of School – 2009


Ulpan: Day One

Thirteen months into my Aliyah I started ulpan today :)!

Before telling you about it, I have to apologize for letting so many weeks slip by without keeping you up-to-date on what was happening with us. I’ll do my best to catch you up in the near future (including photos) but for now suffice it to say that we have moved from Ma’ale Adumim to Ra’anana.

There are 18 people in my ulpan ranging in age from early 20s to 60s – 5 of us from the US (NY, PA and Texas) and the rest from Venezuela, Argentina, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Serbia, Slovakia and England. It’s an interesting mix of people. Our instructor, Vardit, is Israeli-born and also speaks English and a little Russian. She’s a rather animated woman causing our first class to be lively. Continue reading Ulpan: Day One


School Friendship Event

Advanced planning and notification doesn’t seem to be a strong point for Yisrael’s teacher – and maybe this is just the way Israeli schools operate. Last Monday, Yisrael came home and told me that four boys would be coming to our house on Tuesday. Why? He wasn’t sure but the teacher said they were coming and we were supposed to do something with them. I wonder, are all boys like this – or is it just mine? If Jessica had been in this situation, she not only would have been able to tell me what the teacher expected, but she would have told me what SHE expected and already planned with her friends!

Being one of those just say “no moods, I told him that I wasn’t accepting this responsibility until someone explained to me what exactly was expected. And that of any possible weekday, Tuesday was the worst choice because he has occupational therapy at 11:30 on the other side of town and school gets out at 12:35 (we don’t have a car). Continue reading School Friendship Event


Hebrew Learning Videos

Jacob Richman has been kind enough to provide us all with a free Learn Hebrew Video series – check it out. This is in addition to the wonderful Learn Hebrew with Pictures and Audio which taught me today that a band-aid is “plaster” in Hebrew (I had to listen to the audio to learn to pronounce it correctly).

Hats off to Jacob for all the work he put into helping all of us Hebrew-challenged folks! 😀


An Aliyah Mother’s Dream Comes True!

In case you haven’t picked up on this already from reading my rantings, I am one of those mothers who constantly worries about her children; safety, health, nutrition, behavior, academic achievement, social assimilation, cleanliness, weather-appropriate clothing, etc.

Aside from the language factor, making Aliyah wasn’t much different for me than moving from New York to California, South Carolina, West Virginia, Tennessee or Ohio when it came down to my children’s welfare. There are always the worries and challenges of whether or not the child will fit in socially and academically.

A few weeks ago I met with Yisrael’s ulpan teacher and her assistant to discuss his progress. Continue reading An Aliyah Mother’s Dream Comes True!


Zman Maale – Ulpan Fun Day

An article about Yisrael’s ulpan fun day appeared in this morning’s issue of Zman Maale (translated: Maale Times). I can’t tell you what it says because my Hebrew reading skills haven’t reached that level yet. If anyone out there in blogland would like to give it a try, feel free to post a translation in the comment section below.

Click this photo for a full-size PDF version.


A Touching School Experience

Yisrael missed school last Wednesday through Friday because he was suffering from an upper respiratory virus. Saturday night we received a phone call from his teacher inquiring about his health, wishing him well, and hoping he’d be returning to school on Sunday. Fortunately, our landlady Sanne was here to help translate the call.

He didn’t feel 100% well on Sunday, nor was he sure he was prepared to avoid flying objects while his classmates fight like vicious animals, but dragged himself to school anyway. To his utter surprise when he entered the classroom Sunday morning all the boys surrounded and hugged him! They welcomed him back with encouraging words and carried his backpack to his desk! All day they treated him as though he had been a best friend they had been missing for months. Incredible! He arrived home grinning ear-to-ear.



Ulpan Fun Day

Yisrael is finally happy in both school and ulpan – I am so thankful! His ulpan took us on a park outing Tuesday morning that was a lot of fun.

We were greeted by seven teenage camp counselors who did a terrific job entertaining and teaching the eight ulpan kids. They played playground type of games, using only Hebrew and the kids really got into it.

Continue reading Ulpan Fun Day