Yerushalayim themed kindergarten party

This past week I attended a special party at ds5’s kindergarten, as the gala event following weeks of learning about Yerushalayim (Jerusalem).   It was only for mothers and the children in the kindergarten, but the day of the party the teacher told me that I was welcome to bring my older girls.  They were happy to come along and share in their little brother’s excitement about his special party – there have been lots of preparations going on in his class!

Ds5 with his big sisters in front of Kotel/Western Wall display

It was beautifully set up, and what was unusual for Israel is that the children made everything – often you see a huge amount of teacher decoration and wonder where the kids’ part was.  This particular teacher is extremely good; she and I have very similar ideas about education at this age.  She does lots of educational games, integrates writing and math into the games, and so on, so the kids think of learning as fun.

Every corner of the classroom had different aspects of the Yerushalayim theme  – for example, one side had a model of the famous outdoor market, Machaneh Yehuda – the boys had made tiny miniature fruits and vegetables and fish from clay, rolls of fabric from small pieces of cloth.

Another corner had a replica of the Biblical Zoo, another was the transportation of Jerusalem and the boys built a city of blocks with roads and cars leading to it…all very nice.

Then the boys performed a few songs – they were so cute!  The teacher had put music on for them to sing with, and as I listened, I noticed the music was from an American boys’s choir, with the American accents singing Hebrew words.  I suddenly and unexpectedly got a big lump in my throat hearing those familiar accents.  An Israeli mother commented to during the singing that ds5 was singing just like an Israeli, and he really was!  He was very cute as he did the hand motions to accompany the songs.

Light refreshments were provided, and a couple of mothers brought themed cakes for the party – here’s one that was decorated as the Western Wall.  I enjoy baking but my creativity in doing stuff like this is very low!

This is the second time that all the mothers have had an opportunity to meet, and with time, these are people that I would look forward to getting to know over the years as we would continue to meet for school events.  However, it looks like I’ll be sending ds5 to a different school next year than most of his peers.  Seriously, I don’t think that making a decision about first grade should be so heart wrenching.  But it is, and not because I’m overemotionalizing about it.

Maybe I’ll write another post about the social realities here, the fear people have about sending to a school that’s different than their neighbors, the frustration I feel that everyone – everyone – that I’ve spoken to about the concerns I have regarding the popular local boys’ school choice seems to agree with me but practically still keep their kids in the same educational framework…

Ds5 and best friend - hopefully when the year ends their relationship will continue

For now, I’ll say just that going to these events is a bittersweet feeling; I hope that in the future we won’t be viewed as no longer belonging socially in the same way we do now.


4 thoughts on “Yerushalayim themed kindergarten party

  1. Fortunately, you are no stranger to blazing your own trail. :) Clearly Eretz Yisroel needs you as much as you needed it. I predict that your neighbors will not only continue to befriend you, but your example will create very positive ripple effects over time.

    1. It’s true, I’m not! Someone last week said after about three minutes of conversation said, “I see you’re a pioneer” – I don’t know how she picked that up so fast. But you know, sometimes it would be nice not to have to blaze every single trail I want to go down. I’m looking and looking for people who have gotten the end result that I want – I found lots of them who say they want the same thing – but haven’t yet found anyone charedi who has done it.

      Thank you for your beautiful prediction – when I got here, I was more optimistic, then more recently when I shared about being down, it was in large part because I started feeling that as one person, I won’t be able to change anything. The social reality is so, so constraining, and the only way I can see being a model of anything is by working within the system. But I dislike so many parts of the system…..

      1. Tell me about it. Being chareidi I’m expected to do certain things that I REALLY don’t want to do. For now, my kids are home, but I know that will automatically make us be “non chareidi”, because how can you be chareidi and not go to cheider… Its really hard to blaze your own path, even when you’re in a warm and accepting community like I’m in, because you want to be able to see other people that have achieved the results you want. So now I’m just going with the assumption that yes, I’ll be able to raise chareidi kids “our way”, but who knows…. Its actually depressing in a way and makes me really consider moving back to the US strongly…

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