Before you leave for Israel or soon after your arrival, define and write down your goals for the year! As an HUC student, your spouse has an explicit and pre-determined purpose for going to Israel. The student will usually be considerably busier than the spouse. Without a clearly defined goal - be it learning Hebrew, touring Israel, earning money, or reading great novels - you may feel at the end of your own "Year-In Israel" as if you did not fulfill yourself or achieve very much.
This may be the time to develop new interests in art, calligraphy or sports by taking advantage of the numerous courses offered throughout the city. Consider taking courses at The Hebrew University on a full- or part-time basis. The University offers a wide range of classes in English and the credits may be transferable to universities in the United States. The Beit Midrash-Liberal Yeshivah sponsored by HUC may be another alternative. Introductory courses in Bible, Midrash, Talmud, Jewish Life, and Contemporary Israel are offered and taught by HUC faculty. Spouses strongly recommend registering for an Ulpan. It will help you to feel part of society more quickly. Renewing your subscriptions to professional and personal interest magazines will help you stay in touch while in Israel.
Lacking an immediate peer group, it may initially be difficult for the spouse to make friends. If the spouse is studying or working at HUC, this may be alleviated. In the past, spouses said they found their "niche" within a month of arrival. Many advise learning some Hebrew before arrival in Israel.
Many spouses stressed that it was very important to share the year with the HUC student and to try to participate in as many school sponsored activities as possible.
If you would like to contact current spouses and significant others, please write to the Office of Student Services for names and addresses.
Spouses may enroll in the HUC program of studies (summer ulpan and/or academic year) on a credit or non-credit basis PROVIDED THERE IS SPACE AVAILABLE ON THE APPLICANT'S LEVEL and the spouse meets basic academic requirements (e.g., Hebrew Competency Exam for Hebrew language courses). All others must apply to the National Director of Admissions. Maximum student capacity in each ulpan level is decided jointly by the respective teacher and the Coordinator of the Hebrew Teaching Staff. There is NO GUARANTEE that there will be space for a spouse in any particular class. Spouses who wish to formally enroll in one or more courses for credit and transcript during the academic year will be charged to a pro-rated tuition fee.
The fee for auditing classes during the academic year is $150. Auditing fees are non-refundable. A Hebrew ulpan, twice weekly from 5:00 pm to 7:50 pm, is offered at HUC for new immigrants and the general public. Spouses may enroll, at a reduced fee. The Beit Midrash-Liberal Yeshivah program is offered on the HUC campus. For further information about the Beit Midrash contact Betsy Landis at (212) 824-2240 (email@example.com) or Rabbi Gary Tishkoff in Jerusalem at (02)620-3324 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Other Ulpan Programs
If there is no space available in the HUC program of studies, there are numerous other options at other institutions in Jerusalem which can be explored upon arrival. The cost for a two month ulpan in the summer is approximately $500 (five days/week, five hours/day). Hebrew classes during the year could cost an extra $500-1000 (once/twice a week, two to three hours/day). Most public ulpans begin on the first of every month.
The Hebrew University
The Hebrew University offers ulpan classes from levels "aleph" to "vav," and regular university classes in English and Hebrew during the academic year.
Those who wish to attend full-time for credit will have to pay full tuition through the School for Overseas Students of the Hebrew University. In this case, you must contact the American Friends of the Hebrew University (11 East 69th Street, New York, NY 10036; telephone: (212) 840-5820) for an application and information about scholarships.
Arranging for a work permit before arrival in Israel, without having received a firm job offer first, is a time-consuming, bureaucratic experience. A work permit can be arranged in Israel within a few weeks with a letter from your prospective employer. Many places will hire you without a work permit, but they may pay you less than the normal salary. With the influx of new immigrants, jobs are generally scarce.
Finding a job in Israel will depend upon your own initiative. Be prepared to "hit the pavement." The best possibilities are as a private English tutor ($15/hour or more), as an English teacher in an adult education class ($15/hour or more), or as a housecleaner ($10/hour). These jobs are usually advertised by posted signs in buildings, at bus stops, and in the newspaper. Other options: babysitter, waitress, secretary, or offering childcare in a hotel.
HUC offers some part-time jobs (usually $4.00/hour) in the library and in the College offices. Please apply after your arrival in Jerusalem to the Director of Student Services and/or the Head Librarian. Inaddition, there may be a position open as a nursery school or kindergarten teacher (Hebrew required) or assistant in the Reform Movement Kindergarten (apply at the kindergarten on the HUC campus).
Think about doing volunteer work with a monthly stipend (about $75 and health insurance benefits). Contact your Jewish Federation or Tnu'at HaAliyah for information.
As a rule, it is difficult for a spouse to find a job which will support the entire family.
A. Things to Bring
- Toys, storybooks, coloring books - even if it means paying for extra
- Immunization records
- Good quality jogging suits for children
- Sturdy knapsack for school books
- Children's Tylenol
- Children's Vitamins
- Cold Remedy
- Lots of warm winter clothes including knitted hats, gloves and waterproof boots. (Israeli diapers are available at the same price as US diapers and are just as good)
There are several options available:
ISRAEL PUBLIC SCHOOLS, KINDERGARTENS AND NURSERY SCHOOLS
There are several good neighborhood schools in Jerusalem, and parents in past years recommended the "Israeli education experience" as the best method of absorption and adjustment, provided the child is adventurous by nature and learns languages easily or has received some modern Hebrew instruction prior to enrollment. It is helpful if your child can at least read and write the Hebrew alphabet.
The three main criteria for determining the quality of a particular neighborhood school are: class size, how many tutoring classes are given to non-Israeli pupils each week, and whether the classroom teacher can speak English. Parents strongly recommend choosing the neighborhood you live in based upon the quality of the neighborhood school. It is worth the effort to investigate neighborhood schools thoroughly upon arrival. The HUC Office of Student Services will be happy to assist you. Most classes in Israel have 30 - 40 pupils.
Once you have found an apartment, you must go to the Municipal Office of Education to register your child. Your child will be assigned to the school closest to your apartment which still has room to accept pupils in that grade. The cost for registering your child for the year will be approximately $250. In addition, parents must buy all textbooks and supplies.
Israeli public schools operate on a 6-day week (Sunday-Friday). Note that school hours vary according to grade and day of the week. The elementary school day (K - 2) is usually over at 1.00 p.m. and grades 3 - 6 usually study until 1.00 or 2.00 pm. Additional activities (after school) cost extra. Therefore, if the spouse is working, you may have to make after-school childcare arrangements.
In addition, it may be helpful to ask your child's current school to recommend materials which can be brought to Israel and worked on at home during the course of the year.
Tali Bayit V'Gan
The Israeli Progressive (Reform) Movement has worked in conjunction with the Ministry of Education to develop part of the curriculum for the school, Tali Bayit V'Gan, which includes kindergarten and grades 1-6 and is a part of the Israeli Public School System. The School is located in the Bayit Vegan neighborhood (not in the immediate vicinity HUC) but transportation (approximately $50 per month) is available. Because of the enriched program, and reduced size of the classes (up to 25 pupils), the school imposes additional tuition fees which total $50-$75 per month. The kindergarten and nursery school, located on the HUC campus, imposes fees totaling $175-$200 per month. Afternoon programs can cost an additional $200 per month.
Helpful Hint: Regular Israeli schools are free except for the $250 registration fee and school fees totaling approximately $200 for the year.
Although the Progressive Movement is involved in the academic curriculum, the school is a regular public school and is administered by the Jerusalem Municipality and subject to Municipality regulations. There is a great demand for places in the school and priority is reserved for Jerusalem citizens. If you are interested in sending your child to Tali Bayit V'Gan, you must contact the HUC Office of Student Services immediately in order to reserve a place. Please send complete details, such as age, and the grade that your child should enter. HUC CANNOT GUARANTEE THAT ANY CHILD WILL BE ADMITTED TO TALI BAYIT V'GAN.
Beit Hinuch is a free ulpan/school for children ages of 12-18, held six days a week, five hours a day. For five months (beginning in September), your child will be taught Hebrew, Hebrew vocabulary for general school subjects, and quick introductions to Israeli school subjects such as Bible, Jewish History, etc. At the end of the five months, the child will be integrated into your neighborhood school at his/her grade level.
Pre-school For children under two years of age, the best option available is to find a "metapelet" (babysitter) who will either take care of your child in your home or who takes care of children in her home. A "metapelet" charges NIS 800-1400 per month (approximately $200-350) for 25-30 hours a week, depending upon whether she takes care of your child alone or with other children and whether she works at your house or her own.
For children 2-4 years of age, there are excellent "ganim" (pre-school programs) throughout the city that cost approximately $150 per month. The best way to find a "gan" is to look for one in your neighborhood, after you have found an apartment.
There is a nursery kindergarten for 4-5 year olds affiliated with the Israeli Reform Movement on the HUC campus. If you would like to register your child, please let the Office of Student Services know by letter or fax as soon as you are accepted, in order to ensure space. This is most important as the kindergarten is booked up very quickly. HUC cannot guarantee that any child will be admitted to the nursery kindergarten. The Reform kindergarten imposes additional tuition fees.
A new website geared to English speaking teens who are moving to Israel is now on-line. The site, "Teen-to-Teen" offers articles, advice, and a chance to "talk" to other English speaking teens who have moved to Israel. Visit the site at http://www.ttt.org.il.
Children with learning disabilities may need special attention that is not offered in the Israeli school system. Unless your child is in a special needs program (e.g., for handicapped children), there will probably not be a special class or special tutoring available. For further information, write to or call the following organizations:
NITZAN, For the Advancement of Children with Learning and Developmental DisabilitiesSummer Programs and Activities
14 Allenby Street, Tel Aviv
Telephone: (03) 510-1154/1158
HILLEL, Parents of Children with Mild Learning Disabilities
P.O. Box 23131, Jerusalem
Telephone: (02) 586-5247 or 566-8588
ALMOG, Association for the Development and Improvement of Services for the Handicapped and Retarded in Israel
JDC Hill, P.O. Box 3489, Jerusalem
Telephone: (02) 566-1231
If you are arriving for Summer Ulpan, there are day camp programs available, e.g., YMCA (across from HUC), Society for the Protection of Nature, and Ramah. Although it is usually possible to register your child upon arrival, some of these programs may be full by the time your family arrives and it is advisable to reserve a place beforehand. Some recommended camps are:
Gan Haim Day CampIf you plan on enrolling your child in a Hebrew-speaking neighborhood school, you should consider hiring a private Hebrew tutor (which can cost $10-15/hour) over the summer and possibly during the year, or tutoring your child yourself. It is also helpful to provide tutoring for your child before your arrival in Israel.
Session-July through mid August
Cost-not yet determined
Helpful Hint: Contact the HUC Office of Student Services immediately if you are interested in enrolling your child.
YMCA (across from HUC), telephone (02) 569-2692
Ages 3-5, Hours: 7:45 am - 1:00 pm
Session I - July ; Session II - late July - August
Cost - not yet determined
Ages 6-12, Hours 7:45 am - 1:00 pm
Session I - July; Session II - late July - August
Cost - not yet determined
Extended Hours - 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Cost - not yet determined
Ramah (Conservative Movement), telephone 972-2-679-0243, fax 972-2-679-2069, web www.ramah.org.il
Grades 1 through 6. (English speaking with Hebrew encouraged)
Hours: Sunday - Thursday 8:00 am - 1:45 pm; Friday 8:00 am - 1:00
Weekly basis throughout the summer
Cost - no yet determined
Make sure that your child has all required immunizations before departing for Israel. The schedule of immunizations is different in Israel so, determine, in advance, which immunizations your child will need. Also discuss with your pediatrician the matter of polio vaccinations, as well as any special needs your child may have.
Due to environmental differences, expect that your child (as well as yourself) may easily catch colds and flu after you arrive. This is normal. Also, you may find it helpful to bring a Fahrenheit thermometer.
It is necessary to arrange for comprehensive medical/hospitalization coverage for your children in your country of residency prior to departure. Comprehensive medical/hospitalization insurance can be purchased for children at half-price (subject to change) through a private insurance agent (see Insurance). The Hebrew University Health Services does not cover children.
Tiyulim and Sderation or Tnu'at HaAliyah for information.
As a rule, it is difficult for a spouse to find a job which will support the entire family.
HUC reserves the right to decide whether children can participate in a tiyul or seminar. This will depend upon their age, the educational nature, and physical conditions of the trip, as well as available bus space. As with spouses, there will be a charge.
A few words of advice from HUC parents:
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