This morning we went to Talpiyot to visit the Rappaport/ Ahavat Yisrael school there. We heard that some of the people living in Ramot send their children there. It is a chardal school.
When we got to the school we had a small issue with parking. Apparently there are different colored curbs to indicate if you can park in a specific spot. Red and white means no parking, grey means free parking and blue and white means you need to pay. All the available spots around the school were blue and white. We parked and started to look for a meter to pay. The sign said to download an app to pay for parking. The app requires a tehudat zehut number, which we as visitors do not have. Even the smallest things like parking have to be figured out. In the end, we found a place to park, and were able to go into the school.
The Rappaport school was very welcoming. The principal seemed friendly and as I waited for my meeting, I saw many girls being pulled out to get individual attention to work on their Hebrew skills. I spoke with a teacher who assists new olim with the transition and she was very optimistic about our girls integrating into the classroom. Each of the classrooms had a handful of girls that spoke English at home. We even met a girl who made aliyah this past summer and would be in our 8 year old's class next year. We asked the girl if she liked school and she said "No." Her teacher indicated that she is having a hard time transitioning. I can not lie, that was a little discouraging.
We had the opportunity to meet with Rebbitzin Rappaport, the founder of the school. As an olah herself and having dealt with many olim, she was a great resource and gave us a lot of helpful hints to assist in the transition. She recommended we buy some of the American books like 'Frog and Toad' and Dr. Suess books which are translated to Hebrew as well as Naomi Shemer songs to pick up more of the language. She also highly recommended a children's picture dictionary. Her hashkafa seemed to be in line with ours and her vision for a school day full of exrta curricluar activities really appealed to us. She described that the girls take a cooking class which integrates lessons about kashrus and nutrition into the class. This sounds like such a cool way to learn! Plus having more than just academics in school will also assist with our kids socialization.
After our meetings, we filled out some paperwork. My husband and I laughed as we tried to figure out what the form was asking and then answer the questions. I am glad he was there to help and make it fun, otherwise I might have been very overwhelmed and discouraged.
We had lunch in the Ramot mall. Parking garages and food courts remind me of home, but there was one big difference- the food was kosher! Not only that, there were separate tables for meat and dairy. This is just an example of why we want to move here. Even the everyday events like getting lunch in a mall take into account the Torah and Mitzvot. This country is made for Jewish people.
Next, we drove to Ramot Alef and went to see the Noam school. We spoke with a teacher there as well, but made an appointment to return on Thursday to meet with the principal and get more information. What we know so far is that Noam is a dati torani school. It is closer to Ramot Bet so if we move to Ramot, our kids will have a closer commute than to Rappaport. There are many olim from Ramot that send there and they are very used to working with olim on their Hebrew and helping them acclimate to Israel.
Finally, we drove around Ramot and met with a realtor. She showed us a cottage and spoke to us about housing opportunities. Ramot is a beautiful area overlooking Yerushalayim. It is unique because it has a real suburban feel while still having the proximity to and amenities of Yerushalayim.
Overall, it was a productive day giving us so much to think about.