One of our clients sent me a WhatsApp the other day expressing the importance of having a list of many Israeli terms and procedures relating to Aliyah with children and the Israeli school system. (Thank you Aimee for your valuable input). The list is a work in process and we welcome comments and additional points to add to this list. Please read this through and share with others that can make use of it.
Important vocabulary to be familiar with when dealing with Israeli schools and pre-schools (Ganim):
Mazkirut- Main school office- most school secretaries have the answers to most if not all of your questions. Make sure to get to know the secretaries well and to get on their good side ? Get used to hearing answers that are probably less defined and less detailed than what you are used to. Keep in mind rules and regulations in Israel may change more often than we were used to back home. But that’s part of the beauty of Israel. Get used to it. Join them instead of trying to fight them.?
Book Project (In Hebrew called proyect sefarim)- many schools give the option of buying school books directly from the school (we pay here for school books but I think that’s still a little less than the average Jewish tuition overseas). If it is available in your children’s schools, I highly recommend buying through the school. Our first two years in Israel we spent weeks running with lists of 3 kids to different stores to find all their books. There was never one store that had everything we needed and we paid thousands of shekels by the end of the process. The schools are cheaper and efficient. ASK ABOUT THIS PROJECT WHEN YOU REGISTER YOUR CHILDREN. IT IS ALSO AVAILABLE IN MANY HIGH SCHOOLS, ULPANOT AND YESHIVOT.
“School Uniform”- (Tilboshet shel Beit Sefer) – otherwise known as a t-shirt with a logo ironed onto it- most schools in Israel are very casual about school uniforms as compared to what we had back home, but there usually the mandatory t-shirt with a “semel” (logo). Ask at the school where the closest stores are that sell these t-shirts and also who offers the service to iron the logo onto them. Many stores like ZEBRA (which is a large clothing chain all over Israel) iron the logo on for free if you buy the t-shirts from their store. Make sure to get a few white t-shirts with a logo for Fridays and Rosh Chodesh. Some schools ask that children wear white on those days.
“Kalmar” is the Hebrew word for a pencil box. Each teacher has a written list of what they want the children to keep in their pencil box. When registering your children ask for this list for each child. Ask which local store is the best place to shop for all the stationary items needed for the Kalmar.
“Takanon” (school guidebook) When registering your children at their schools, ask for the school handbook. Schools usually have them and it has a lot of useful information like the yearly vacation schedule, school hours, dress code and much more.
“Aruchat Eser”- this is the morning meal children eat in school. It is usually between 9 a.m-10 a.m. Most schools ask that children eat some type of sandwich at this type (roll, pita, regular sandwich). Some schools are stricter as to what is NOT allowed to be part of Aruchat Eser. Ask in your children’s schools what their guidelines are for this meal.
Chugim (after school activities)- many schools offer different Chugim at school. Ask the secretary for a list of the Chugim and their cost. Most Chugim only start after the Chagim (after Sukkot). The municipality and or city also have a wide variety of Chugim. Ask the Olim coordinator of your area for a list of what is offered, when, where and the cost.
What’s App Groups- Israel lives on these groups and information is shared instantaneously with a large number of people. Ask if your children have a class WhatsApp group. It may make you crazy with all the messages, but many times teachers use this method to send out important information. Neighborhoods also have WhatsApp groups. Ask which are the best groups to join for useful information
If you have any questions about anything written here, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit our website to see how we help to make Aliyah a smoother process for individuals and families.
We’d love to hear from you about what you feel we could add to this list in progress to help others with their Aliyah.