Photo Credit: Dina Mann
The "Cheder Tanach" (Bible Room) at Aseh Chayil School in Efrat. Parents identify with the school's National Religious and Modern Orthodox ideology, and its allegiance to the old-time HaPoel HaMizrachi path.

I often share with teachers any challenges the child is facing outside the classroom, in his/her social circle or within the family environment. I generally ask teachers to share with me if they notice any change in behavior or mood, and any tips they think I could apply at home for better communication and encouragement for the child. In general, my best strategy for handling anything that comes up is making sure to be in almost constant contact with almost all the teachers (homeroom teacher and special subject teachers) who teach all four of my children.

As I said – hanging around the school a lot as a volunteer offers me the perk of being able to be in touch with the teachers more easily. When I find myself hanging out at school less, I utilize email to maintain a continuous connection with teachers.

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Through these methods I find our children are really thriving. We have managed to enhance their positive attitudes toward school and learning, and they are all excelling beyond our expectations and their teachers’ expectations

V: How do you see the future for your children? Are you glad your parents made Aliyah? Do you ever think about moving back with your kids?

Dina: I am very happy my parents made Aliyah! I am the person I have become thanks to their upbringing, and thanks to the change they made. I sometimes wonder if the conviction I feel to live the life I am living would have come through on its own, and whether as an adult I would have made the same choice on my own. I have sometimes wished I had had the opportunity to prove that to myself. But I have never ever considered moving anywhere else.

I very strongly feel that our existence is of utmost value here. And if there are things I feel need to be improved – I feel most empowered to affect the necessary changes in my surrounding right here! And I feel any affect I can have here is not only for the personal benefit of my family or immediate community, but also part of history and continually building our national homeland as a whole.

I wish my children to grow into the same sense of community and national connection and responsibility, each using their talents and inclinations to add their imprint on the revival of our nation in its homeland, in whichever particular environment will bring out their personal strengths.

Feel free to write me: Varda@kars4kids.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.

5 COMMENTS

  1. When the Jewish Agency unified all Zionist organziations, Aliyah rates by religious Zionists such as Bnei Akiva was relevant. Now the only religious olehs are those who come to live on Israeli welfare and not serve the country and its holy army, hiding behind a wealthy rebbe in a fake yeshiva.

  2. Yechiel, I don't really know where you get your information about new olim … I am a toshevet chozeret while my husband and kids are Olim Chadashim. My oldest came just a year ago to Israel with no Hebrew and now he is serving in a special tactical unit in Givaati .We do not hide behind any wealthy rebbe since most are pretty poor.. ….my other son (15) goes to yeshiva and works as a gardener, dog walker, snow shoveller and a kidsitter, in his spare time.

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