Children’s Ulpan-Summer Camp

Yisrael started ulpan at the Musar Avicha shul on Sunday the 17th. His first few days were rough because he preferred to be home playing video games, watching DVDs or playing with friends. AND he thought it was babyish because he knew it all – until we tested him!

When his teachers reported that he and a partner in crime were disrupting the class, we renewed our title of meanest parents in the world and stripped him of computer, DVD and even GameBoy privileges until he changed his attitude about focusing on his learning and taking other people’s feelings into consideration before acting on his impulses. By Thursday he was with the program and we were able to give him back his new remote controlled cars.

Our landlords (and adopted family), the Levys, brought Yisrael these really nice cars from Denmark when they returned last week.

The second week ulpan is being held at the Pnei Shmuel shul in Mitzpe Nevo to make it fair for all families involved. It took me almost an hour round trip yesterday to take him there because of the bus schedules so today I decided to hang out for the whole session. (The director also requested that I spend at least an hour there to monitor his behavior.)

The counselors did a great job organizing fun activities for the kids, but boy they were a tough crowd – the boys that is… they couldn’t sit still or quiet, they were disrespectful – interupting and disrupting, and wild. I found one little girl sitting under a chair crying after her brother pounded her. They really are too much for these two sweet teenagers to handle. In all fairness, these children have all made Aliyah recently (and if they’re like mine, it wasn’t their choice) so they are entitled to a period of adjustment.

The morning began with a dot-to-dot activity that each child completed and colored. Shelley Brinn, Ma’aleh Adumim’s incredible Aliyah Coordinator dropped in and asked each child to tell her – in Hebrew – what their pictures were and the names of the colors. One girl impressed us as she not only named off the colors in her picture but all the colors in the marker bag!

Next was a review of yesterday’s kitchen utensils and cookie making words. This was followed by the morning daveing (prayers). The children were then divided up into smaller groups to play familiar board games (e.g., Candyland, Who Is It? and Dominos) using the Hebrew colors and numbers as they played. And a few children who didn’t feel like playing games sat with one of the counselors as she read and interpreted an interesting picture book.

At 10:00 it was brunch time and the children washed and enjoyed their food. Then they split up into two groups:

  • One made a fruit salad as they learned the Hebrew names of the fruits.
  • The other painted tzedaka (charity) boxes and discussed the Hebrew names for the colors.

When both groups completed their activity, they switched so all had opportunity to do both activities.

While cleanup was taking place, they played Barvaz, Barvaz, Avaz (Duck, Duck, Goose) and Telephone (known as Gossip when I was growing up). And then came the best part – we enjoyed the fruits of their labors.

And a story was read to the group.

It was so much fun that I was invited back (to help out) tomorrow :D!

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