Sunday, June 20, 2010

Missing My Sundays

Work and school have bogged me down for the time being- my faithful Google reader is waiting with many stars for all the Jblogosphere posts out there that I would like to comment on, but alas, the hours never come.
And for that, I miss my Sundays. I miss that day of the week where I could catch up on work, relax, and generally enjoy my day. I could have off from work, spend time with my daughter and husband- you know the drill.

So I'm going to live vicariously through you. Whatcha doing this Sunday?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Integration in Israel Part Three

The second thing that happened to me was that a neighbor called me about a certain gan that was opening up in my neighborhood. It has a specific style of learning, of which I'm an advocate for, and she wanted to know if it would be suited for her child.

I told her my opinion, but added in a statement in that I felt that at her child's age, language would probably be an important thing to learn in the year- I felt that her child should go to a Hebrew gan, to better get a grasp on Ivrit.

She told me that that was her first inclination also, to send to a transitional, or Hebrew-speaking gan. But she felt that the style of learning in the new Gan would be better for her child.
So, she switched.

I later met another neighbor, who's child was registered originally for this specific new gan. I mentioned that I had just recommended another mother to this gan. She replied that she had switched her child out of it- why?
Language. She felt that her child should go to the Hebrew speaking gan that I recommended to my first neighbor.

So should I go back and stress the importance of Hebrew? Are there different opinions on this issue?

How early is too early to learn a language?

Why should I feel I should sacrifice an excellent learning style just to learn Hebrew?

This whole gan registration time is making me nuts, honestly. Integration isn't so easy after all.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Jewish Student Speaks

I don't usually delve into politics- but I thought this article, posted on Israel National News (Arutz Sheva) was kind of cool. It's about a lone Jewish high school student which marched alongside Arab-American students protesting Israel.

Reporters asked him [the Jewish student] afterwards about his unusual presence, and he explained, “I came out because I want to defend Israel… They [the soldiers attempting to divert the flotilla ships - ed.] were attacked, and they had the right to defend [themselves]. These people [on the boats] were not humanitarians; their ship was armed with knives, batons, and all kinds of things to attack the Israelis with. There is a naval blockade on Gaza, and they [the soldiers] were just doing their job of enforcing it… Hamas is a terrorist organization trying to kill Israelis.”
Asked if he is affiliated with any group, he said, “Just Judaism and Israel, that’s it."
Another Arab-speaking American explained, “The only reason Israel is doing this is because they got kicked out from, uh, the German whatever, whatever happened to them. So they’re trying to take out their anger on someone else.” Asked about the Bible and the Jewish presence in the Land of Israel since the times of King Solomon, he lowered his voice and said, “I don’t know about that.”

Check it out here with a video.

Integration in Israel Part Two

After having posted about the integration issues that Americans who have chosen to live in Israel face regarding their kids, two things happened to me.

One, I re-evaluated my choice for my daughters' first gan several times. I originally had chosen a gan that I thought would be wonderful for her, if not the total, absolute best, because that was what was out there that I thought suited her and our lifestyles.

Then someone else suggested a gan that would probably be the total absolute best gan out there. Problem is, that the gan is not a religious gan, but rather a gan to which religious people send their children. (ie, it's not a Bais Yaakov, but rather an Iriyah gan, to which those who are Dati Leumi or Mizrachi send their children, with a few Charedim thrown in the mix.)

As I investigated more into this gan, I found that it would probably be a wonderful place for my daughter, but for one problem: future Bais Yaakov schools would probably ask why I had sent her there, due to the fact that it is not a Bais Yaakov gan. (There were other small problems as well, like logistics and such.)

And so, I nixed that idea, and went back to my first opinion.

Now the question that still lingers in my mind: was I right to make that decision? If I wasn't afraid of public opinion, would I have sent her there? She probably would have an awesome year there, and would grow and gain in ways that my first choice gan would not be able to give her.

I can't fight the system on my own- to explain to a Bais Yaakov, which already looks down on me for being American, and for working at a job that not many mothers work at, why I sent my daughter to a gan that's not Bais Yaakov- would be far too hard for me to handle.

Yet I still wonder- should I have taken the risk, for my daughter's education's sake?

Third part coming soon….

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Israel Through Different Eyes

I recently hosted a good friend of mine who was visiting here for two weeks. As I'm in school and in work full time, I wasn't around much to show her the Israel ropes, but I figured that a basic level of Hebrew from American schools, plus the fact of her being Jewish and having visited Israel before, would be enough for her to get around touring this fair country.

It was enough- but I realized that there are so many things I've learned since I came here- things that I think are basic to anyone living in Israel, but not at all basic to those coming from America. Like, how not to take an Arab taxi, and how to pay the correct amount for a Jewish taxi.

How to stand while holding on to a swinging bus (is it true that all bus drivers are former tank drivers from the army?), and be able to punch your cartisiya, hold a baby, and fold a stroller while finding your seat.

How to navigate the winding streets of Yerushalayim, and how to find my way, basically, in the Old City. How to find the best stores to shop in, and how to find American salad dressing in Israel (not as hard as it used to be, but still hard).
How to adjust to the rest break in the middle of the day, and to learn that afternoon in Israel means after 5:00 PM, not after 12:00 PM as previously thought. Morning is MORNING with a capital M; starting days at 6:00 is common.

How to smile when you see that little one with a baggie containing their shopping list and the money necessary to purchase it, walking their way with small steps to the local grocery store, instead of freaking out that a child that young is going unaccompanied.

I guess there is a lot to learn in Israel- but oh, so much to love. Come back soon and visit again!