TWILIGHT ZONE Reentry and Quick Exit

Was last week just a bad dream? Have I been living in a Wizard of Oz delusion for the past month? No, I checked and there are no bumps on my head. So how do we explain the drastic turn of events? You may recall that I was told the school had a new teacher in 2nd grade who doesn’t speak English and none of the 18 boys in the class do either. Well, Friday was Yisrael’s first day in the new school and we were in for a big surprise!

His teacher greeted us in the lobby and when I attempted to start a conversation with her using my limited Hebrew she spoke very clear English to me! She certainly knows enough English to inform us of how Yisrael is doing in class. Morah Batsheva escorted Yisrael to his classroom where he was introduced and fussed over as the new student. And he was seated at a table with an English speaking boy. Success! I could go home and prepare for Shabbat.

When he came home from school he shared with us that this English speaking boy was very nice to him and even helped him get back some silly plastic trading discs (that come in the chip bags here) from a boy who asked to see them and then ran off with them. He was happy, I was happy.

This morning I dropped him off at ulpan and waited to speak with his teacher to make sure she knew he needed to be put on the shuttle bus to his new school after ulpan. She gave a good report on him and I praised her because he really likes going to ulpan.

After that I had a busy and boring (for a change!) day cleaning up after a weekend of Shabbat guests (Carol/Rina brought her friend Adina and we had a very enjoyable Shabbat) – laundry, dishes, etc. And I made a little progress (between several phone calls) on rebuilding my laptop – program by program, and file by file (maybe I’ll write an online help system to help others get through this stressful experience :idea:). Oh, and let us not forget my friends at Sonigo – it took 3 calls to them to finally learn that our lift will not be delivered today or tomorrow. Someone named Batsheva is supposed to call me tomorrow from Haifa to let me know IF they will be able to deliver it on Tuesday. We are now in week 16 since our lift left our home in America!

A little after 3 p.m. I took the 7 minute walk from our apartment to Yisrael’s new school to pick him up. I stopped in the office and confirmed I had the correct times for each school day’s schedule:

  • Sunday, Monday & Wednesday: 8 a.m. – 3:20 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 8 a.m. – 12:35 p.m.
  • Thursday: 8 a.m. – 2:35 p.m.
  • Friday: 8 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.

Amazingly I didn’t have to struggle to have this conversation in Hebrew because there was a woman in the office who took pity on me and spoke English! (My friend Shoshana was kind enough to e-mail the schedule to me this morning, I was hoping to receive a copy of his class schedule from the office but I have to get that from the teacher who was out today… patience.) I was also able to confirm that the note sent home on Friday contained instructions for our children to make a sukkah and bring it in by Tuesday to win a prize of some sort. Too bad the lift isn’t here because he made one last year using a shoe box, magazine clippings and tissue paper and could have just taken that in :). Now I have to go buy Popsicle sticks or pipe cleaners or some other sort of arts and craft supplies that are so foreign to my nature! On second thought, he won’t be in school on Tuesday because he has ulpan until 12:30 that day. Hmmm, would it be terrible of me to let him skip this project?

I had agreed to meet Yisrael outside his classroom – I suggested meeting him at the guard shack by the gate to avoid embarrassing him, but he wanted me to come inside. So I walked down the hall through the flood of children and there he was walking toward me from the science lab with his new buddies with a big smile on his face – what a relief!

On the way home he filled me in on his day… Ulpan went well except that a boy who speaks English, Spanish and a little Hebrew hurt his friend Coby. The shuttle bus ride was really cool because the driver had all sorts of gadgets he could use and one of them opened and closed the van door (hey! he’s just a 7-year-old little kid, o.k.?) The seats were comfortable and the air conditioning was nice and cool. And best of all, the guy was waiting for them when they came out – during the first few weeks his friend Mandy had to wait sometimes as much as 20 minutes for the guy to show up.

After a short 5 minute ride to school, he found his classroom all by himself. His homeroom teacher wasn’t there today, but his new buddy was. He settled in and understood some of what the Rabbi was teaching and what was in the book he was using, AND he liked the guy. After lunch the excitement began! The female substitute teacher was unable to control the boys and spent most of the class time yelling at them. Yisrael wasn’t feeling well (it’s allergy season again) so he remained quietly in his seat, along with his new buddy next to him, while most of the other boys were brawling!

Eventually it was time to leave the room and go to the science lab where the teacher managed to captivate the audience – or perhaps they were just tired out. It was at this juncture that he learned that an Israeli boy in his class also spoke English, as the boy explained to him that they needed to go to the science lab.

How was recess? His new buddy gave him a tour of the school, showing him where all the important places were (I was afraid to ask what that meant!) and then they went to the playground. What is this boy’s name and where does he live? He didn’t remember, just that the boy had an unusual name. I told him to try to find out tomorrow what the first letter is and maybe the next day we’ll get another… Boys are so different than girls! A girl would have known not only the child’s name, but address, phone number, names and ages of siblings, what shul they go to, and possibly the parent’s professions and approximate annual income!

The bottom line… Yisrael told our landlady that he likes his new school and it’s just like Fuchs Mizrachi in University Heights, Ohio.

I am so thankful that God has given us a break from the stress of the past 4 weeks during which time Yisrael was unable to attend school. Looking back I am now able to see a lesson or two in middos improvement (perfection of character) HE sent my way. Year after year, the month of Elul has plagued me with the worst stress imaginable and this year was at the top of the list with only 2004 defeating it for first place (that’s a long story I’ll share with you another time). Maybe, with a lot of effort on my part, He’ll be easier on me next year. 🙂

If you have fallen behind in reading posts, refer to:

  1. TWILIGHT ZONE – The Israeli Education System
  2. TWILIGHT ZONE – Israeli Education Episode 2
  3. Exiting the Twilight Zone

Hopefully this will be the last episode of the TWILIGHT ZONE in our Israeli experience!


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