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Friday, November 8, 2013

Down by the schoolyard

So last week we received a letter from one of our children's teacher.  The teacher expressed serious concerns that her young pupil, while bright and enjoying school, was clearly not working to maximize potential and was not doing the homework.  She explained the steps she wanted us to take and we had to sign at the bottom of the note to prove that we had seen the missive and were in agreement with the corrective steps.

The child:  Ariella

The teacher:  Lital

Wow, home ulpan can get pretty intense when an older sibling bathes in the luxury of authority.  Frankly, I'm a bit nervous about how parent teacher conferences are going to go...

At my own ulpan we are improving our vocabulary daily.  I again notice the ulpan trend of assigning themes to remind current immigrants that no matter how challenging things may be there is no comparing to those with real hardships.  For example, today's assigned reading is about the founding of a town called "Petach Tikvah" (the opening of hope).  Apparently, the founders left Jerusalem in the 1870's and discovered a town that was swamp land and most of the inhabitants were sick with malaria. They brought a Greek physician to the town and he told them that it wasn't fit for human life.  In spite of all of this they named the town "Petach Tikvah" and got to work.  OK, I get it I'll stop complaining.  OK, I'll stop complaining after this one line:  Why are all of the grocery carts built in such a way that they tilt as you push them?  This can make getting your groceries to the car quite a workout.  Between the obstacle course of other shoppers and cars, Oy!

In her regular Kindergarten class, A is learning about tzedakah (charity).  The other day she told me she wants to make sure to bring money for tzedakah every day because that way old people can get food and drinks and have a place to live.  "Though," she commented, "they will still be old."  I'm really not sure if that was a translation issue or the philosophy of a 5 year old.

Another thing I learned in ulpan is that the number of continents in the world is apparently not an agreed-upon fact.  Seems that since I am American, I was taught that there are 7 but for much of the world there are only 6 because they count North and South America as one.  I am proud to report that we have students from 5/6 or 6/7 continents:  Africa, Europe, N. America, S. America,  Australia and Asia (stretching with this one as the teacher is from Israel).  Everyone has to give a 5 minute talk about themselves in Hebrew and it it quite interesting hearing about the different parts of the world that my classmates lived in before moving to Israel.

This morning N's school started off the morning with a run and healthy breakfast.  It was loads of fun.  Each class wore matching color shirts and they all carried banners and torches exclaiming things such as "5th grade 2 is my family".  The 1500 meter run was less a race and more a promoting healthy habits event, but N came in 2nd place for his class.   As I watched him interacting in Hebrew with his friends and classmates I felt that I was watching a type of transition. . .


  1. When a teacher goes on chufshat leidah they should definitely call in Lital. She will keep that class in line, no problem!

    1. Too true. Though not nearly as fun as telling your sibling what to do!