Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90
A young olah accessing The "Tehila" E-government project.

Growing up in Pittsburgh, the day school I attended often took in Russian or Israeli children with little English. Somehow I always gravitated to these kids and could find a way to communicate, with my hands or with drawings, if not with words. I was a communicator, witness the fact that I grew up to become a writer. It pained me to imagine these kids without the necessary language facilities, kind of locked into their own worlds with no one to listen to them or understand.

It makes sense that I ended up the communications writer at Kars for Kids, a car donation program that underwrites educational initiatives for children. A lot of what we do at Kars for Kids is about matching kids (and even adults) with mentors. In an informal way, that’s pretty much what we do for our Olim in Efrat, where I live. We mentor these new immigrants, sharing what we know, and teaching them about the educational system of their new home, Israel.

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CAN WE HELP?

I’m sure it’s pretty much the same way everywhere in Israel where Western Olim are absorbed. But I was thinking that I’d like to offer this column as a conduit for Olim to tell me about the difficulties they encounter in educating their children and about their successes, too. What can we do to help you, as your neighbors?

Maybe, just maybe, some new immigrant will learn from your mistakes and successes with the system.

Feel free to write me: Varda at kars4kids dot org and I will share your stories here in this space, anonymous or attributed as you prefer.

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Blogger and mother of 12, Varda Meyers Epstein is a third-generation Pittsburgher who made aliyah at age 18 and never looked back. A proud settler who lives in the biblical Judean heartland, Varda serves as the communications writer for the nonprofit car donation program Kars4Kids, a Guidestar Gold medal charity. The author's political opinions are her own and not endorsed by her employer.
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