Some schools start Rosh Chodesh Elul while others will start anytime up until September 1.
A few minor differences to get used to when you go to school in Israel compared to the USA:
- Teachers are called by their first names. I was always called Mrs. Furman in the Old Country. In Israel, I am known as HaMorah (teacher) Karen or simply HaMorah. Rabbeim will generally be called HaRav + Last Name or HaRav.
- There is a mid-morning food break usually around 10:00. The standard fare is a sandwich on a roll, a baguette, pita, or sandwich bread. Many students will also bring fruit, a vegetable, or yogurt.
- If the school offers hot lunch it is basari/fleishig. The main course is generally chicken or meatballs, a grain such as rice or ptitim/couscous, and a vegetable. There is a fruit and/or vegetable option on the side such as apples, red peppers, oranges, or cucumbers.
- The school bell is music, not a bell or buzzer. You will know what I mean when you hear it.
- There is generally one day a week where elementary schools get out earlier than the other days. Check with your school.
- Sunday is a school day, not a day off. This is a major difference. Say goodbye to the concept of ‘weekend’. On Friday schools have an early dismissal or are closed.
- Icky alert: lice is not a reason to send a child home from school or to keep him/her from attending. There is no law against sending a child to school with lice. Invest in a good lice comb and comb your kids nightly. Use shampoo with rosemary to help thwart off critters. The best comb is Assy 2000. IMHO it is the dumbest name ever but the best comb to invest in.
- Nobody uses brown lunch bags or bento boxes. Juice boxes are not available everywhere except for the bug juice grape Tropit which is like a Capri Sun. Milk comes in little bag and Israelis from a young age are proficient at tearing them open by making a little hole with their teeth. Hard-boiled eggs are not something sent for lunch. Be sure to send your student with a water bottle whether reusable or disposable.
- Students sit at tables for two. Books are kept in a cubby, magirot (plastic drawers), or on a bookcase.
- School buses aren’t yellow.
- School vacations revolve around the Jewish holidays. This is a big benefit to living in Israel.
If you are still shopping for school supplies you may wish to refer to The Aliyah Files #8: The Illustrated Guide to School Supplies.