We had a bright and early meeting with the principal of the Noam school in Ramot. The principal spoke Hebrew, but we were able to understand most of what he was saying. The guidance counselor was also present at the meeting, and she spoke more English for when we needed some assistance.
We were impressed with the warm atmosphere of the classrooms and how approachable the staff seemed. The principal took us to see three different classrooms and asked the girls to raise their hands if they spoke English at home. We noticed at least 4 in each classroom. He then asked the girls 'who thinks we should move to Ramot and send our girls to this school?' It was unanimous in all three classrooms. When asked why we should send our girls to their school, there was one student in each classroom that mentioned that the principal was funny. Other girls said that the teachers were nice, there were three recesses, and that the school was like a family. The girls seemed to be able to speak comfortably and appeared to genuinely enjoy school.
We met with the teacher for the English for English speakers classes. In that class, our children can continue to work on their English reading and writing on an American level. The teacher runs a chug (or extracurriclar class) after school for second graders who would like to work on their English and then teaches classes during school hours for third and up once the Israeli curriculum begins teaching English. Our daughters love to read and have very strong English reading and writing skills. It would be very beneficial for them to be able to continue working on these skills.
This Noam school also offers ulpan for 6 hours each week to all new olim. They are very familiar with olim and are ready to assist our daughters with their transition.
The guidance counselor mentioned some tips to ease our childrens' transition including making sure to personally bring them to and from school for the first few months. She explained that it is scary for children who do not know the language or feel totally comfortable with the city. She suggested that making sure they feel secure in knowing that a parent will bring them to the building and be there when they come out really helps them. She also suggested that, if possible, I not work outside the home for the first year to make sure to be available for our kids to assist with homework, social situations, and any other aspect of the transition.
After that positive experience we decided that we did not need to return to the Rappaport school for an interview today. What a relief, we made a decision! If we moved to either Rechovot or Ramot, we would send our girls to Noam. We are just one step closer to figuring this whole puzzle out. It is a good thing too, because our trip is coming to a close. One more shabbat and then we are flying home.
Besides community searches, we were hoping to figure out more information about furniture. What should we buy here in Israel, what should we bring from America, and what should we buy new in America and bring to Israel? So, we drove to Talpiyot. Apparently that is furniture city in Yerushalayim. We walked around many stores to see prices of couches, beds, mattresses, closets and dining room sets. Guess what? It was super expensive! I know people say it, but it was important for us to see it and really do the math for ourselves. If you ask me right now, I am planning to bring our kids beds and dining room set. Our beds are too large for Israeli rooms, so we probably would want to buy smaller beds. We are planning to go shopping in America and see what we can find for the price we would pay in Israel. If the quality is better (which I am presuming it will be), we will buy them in America, and sent them on our lift. We have already had our couches for seven years and we really like them. They could probably eek out another few years, but I do not want to waste precious lift space with such temporary furniture. I am voting for buying new couches and sending them on our lift.
We are definitely making progress toward our goals! Thank G-d because I really miss my children that we left back in America. I am really looking forward to our old-city-Friday, shabbat in Ramot, and one last ice coffee and then I think I will be ready to go home.