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April 2005 Adar II/Nisan, 5765 Volume 2 Issue 5 Serving the English speaking community of Modiin and the surrounding neighborhoods

In and Around the City

Because Every Student Deserves More

Religious Education In the City: Where Is It Leading?

By: Naomi Galinsky-Kloot

By: Sigalit Handsher-Farkash, Adv.

Money makes the world go round. We all know this. We all accept this as a fact of life. Yet, somehow, when the Dovrat Report on Education was published, we were hopeful that on this occasion there might possibly be other considerations at play. We believed, perhaps naively, that this time there had been a genuine attempt to address the major problems in the education system. The Dovrat Report promised an educational reform that would change the face of education in Israel because “every student deserves more”.

A decision was reached recently by a special committee under the auspices of the Ministry of Education whereby registration for religious schools in Modiin will be zoned according to districts. The districts are as follows: those children residing in the Safadi and Miromi districts will be assigned the Netiv Zevulun school, Kaiser and Shimshoni districts will be assigned to the Tzomeach school in Shimshoni; Buchman will be assigned to the Mesuat Neriah school; and Giva C to any one of the three.

The Dovrat committee lists a number of very admirable objectives in its report. Disturbed by the poor performance of Israeli students in international standardized tests in math and reading comprehension skills, the committee suggests that one of the major issues facing Israeli schools is the gross inequality in the level of education offered to members of different socioeconomic groups. As a result, it recommends that schools with a population of students from a low socioeconomic group be given a higher budget than schools in wealthier areas. Furthermore, there should be a longer school day, to allow those students who cannot afford to pay for private lessons to be given the help they so desperately need in school and time in the Continued on page 14

In my opinion, this was an erroneous decision of which does not take into account the problems that arise from such a decision. It’s no secret that the demand for enrollment at Mesuat Neriah is much higher than actual available spots while Netiv Zevulun has a much lower registration rate. The discrepancy between the two schools is about 200 students in favor of Mesuat Neriah. The committee did not take into account that due to competition between the two schools Netiv Zevulun made many changes resulting in a significant improvement in its level of education. Nor did it take into account that the two schools differ in character in which those in the religious community Continued on page 5

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April 2005 n Adar II/Nisan, 5765 n Volume 2, Issue 5

Dear Readers, We are pleased to say that this issue of the magazine is bigger than ever. Included are new advertisers – and veteran advertisers – along with several interesting and informative articles from various members of our community. Keep a watch for the ads and articles to help ease your Pesach preparations. We’ve worked hard to keep the magazine growing along with the city. We hope you enjoy it all and don’t forget to tell the advertisers you saw their ad in ModiInfo. * The May issue of ModiInfo will be out Erev Pesach at locations near you. Daniella Hellerstein and Caryn Meltz, 052-6404-414, 052-3868-768

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New natural parenting book available here in Israel from the author Topics cover natural pregnancy, alternative education, nutrition, attachment parenting, health, psychology, and much more ModiInfo is an independently owned, advertiser supported publication distributed monthly to Modiin and the surrounding neighborhoods. ModiInfo welcomes all articles and ads but reserves the right to edit or reject submissions. The views expressed by writers and contributors are not necessarily those of ModiInfo. ModiInfo is not responsible for facts or claims made by ads or authors, nor for any typographical errors. Work produced by ModiInfo is the property of ModiInfo and may not be reproduced without consent.

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April 2005 n Adar II/Nisan, 5765 n Volume 2, Issue 5

Modiin Celebrates the Siyum Hashas:

After coming to Modiin, I reluctantly joined the Malibu daf yomi shiur, at first, as a way to improve my Hebrew. It didn’t take long, however, until I turned into a daf yomi-man. Now I make sure to either review the day’s daf after the shiur or prepare for tomorrow’s shiur feeling my day incomplete without having fully understood the daf. I delight in the amount of material I have covered and find it hard to understand how anyone could strive for a deep understanding of a particular portion of the Talmud without the benefit of vast topical knowledge.

A Personal Perspective By: Joseph Z. Hellerstein An estimated 750 people packed the main auditorium at the Iriya in Modiin to celebrate the completion of the eleventh cycle of the daf yomi – the daily page-by-page study of the Babylonian Talmud – on Saturday night, March 5th. The entire crowd rose as our own Rabbi David Lau, Chief Rabbi of Modiin, escorted his father, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, former Chief Rabbi of the State of Israel, into the auditorium and up to the dais. For me, this was an especially joyous occasion.

Indeed as Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, the former Chief Rabbi of Israel, relayed in his eloquent keynote speech at Saturday night’s siyum, the same resistance to the daf yomi was expressed at the Aguda convention in Vienna in 1923. Thirty-six-year-old Rabbi Meir Shapira of Lublin proclaimed to the gathering of esteemed Rabbanim his revolutionary idea of a daily daf. Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, who is related to Rabbi Meir Shapiro, z”l, told how the other Rabbanim and Roshei Yeshiva at the convention were troubled by the idea of such fast paced study. “We study a page of Talmud in one month – not in one day,” they exclaimed. But as Rabbi Lau relayed, in that year on Rosh Hashanah night the Gerrer Rebbe, the grandfather of the present Rebbe, announced to the thousands of Chasidim in the Polish city of Gur , that they would study the first page of Tractate Berachot together in adherence to Rabbi Meir Shapiro, thus igniting the first daf yomi cycle. The first Siyum HaShas was celebrated on Tu B’Shvat Continued on page 12

Before making aliyah to Modiin four years ago, I studied Talmud with a Chavruta, a one-on-one study partner, every day following Shacharit and before leaving for work. Together, we tackled the most difficult portions of the Talmud sometimes spending weeks on the same page understanding all the commentaries and delving deeply into the Talmud’s logic. Although our schul had many daf yomi shiurim, and around my office in downtown Manhattan one could even attend a shiur during lunch hour, I never joined, preferring in-depth study rather than the fast, page-a-day pace of the daf. I didn’t understand how anyone could retain knowledge or understanding from such peripheral study.

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Religious Education, Continued from page 1 that stress more Torah in the curriculum prefer sending their children to Mesuat Neriah. The creation of zoned district system will turn Mesuat Neriah into an elitist school for the Buchman neighborhood while creating little opportunity for growth for Netiv Zevulun. It also takes away the right to choose which type of religious education a family wants for its children. This basic right exists for the non-religious community. In addition, the system will polarize the religious community to the Giva C and Buchman area in turn creating an “orthodox ghetto” which is not healthy for the community. The claim that creating a zoned system will stabilize the school system has no foundation. The Tzomeach school in Shimshoni will take several years before enrollment reaches its peak while other existing schools have reached their maximum enrollment levels. It seems that the creation of a zoned district serves only the interest of the workers at the Department of Education that alleviate much of their work at the expense of freedom of choice and the quality of education of Modiin’s religious community. Sigalit Handsher-Farkash, Adv. has a law practice in Ligad Center. She is also a member of the City Council of Modiin.

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April 2005 n Adar II/Nisan, 5765 n Volume 2, Issue 5

A Guide for the Perplexed: Food Shopping for Pesach

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By: Laurie Ann Sherby The weather’s getting warmer and the kids will be on vacation soon. It’s time to get serious about Pesach. The good news is that there are a number of conveniences offered by the supermarkets and the food companies around Pesach time:

Seder plates, haggadot, matzoh covers, afikoman bags, kiddush cups, holiday gift items and so much more!

1) Most stores stay open extra hours before Erev Pesach. They also have special sales and sometimes even give-aways. 2) The big companies (e.g., Tnuva and Osem) have hotlines or customer service representatives to handle questions and problems as the holiday approaches. Actually, this service is usually available year-round, but is more popular around Pesach. The phone numbers and e-mail addresses are available on food packages and are usually printed in the newspapers during holiday preparation time. If the operator can’t help you (and he/she usually has the answer you need at his/her fingertips), then he/ she will put you in touch with the person who has the information you seek, even if it means giving out the cell phone number of the Rav of the entire company! 3) Eggs and dairy products are specially marked after the equipment is cleaned at the dairy. These products usually come out shortly before the holiday starts. Special Kosher for Pesach ink is used on the eggs!

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4) The fresh food departments (meat, cheese, cold cuts, salads) are usually kashered a week or two before Pesach, and at that point, they will display a special Kosher for Pesach certificate. 5) During Pesach the stores will cover the shelves that contain food that is not kosher for Pesach. They will also display a certificate from the Rabbinate that states that they have sold their hametz according to Halacha. Along with these already familiar things, you may find yourself dealing with some things that are done differently in Israel:

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1) The oil varieties for Pesach might be different from those you have used before. That is, you won’t find peanut oil in Israel. The oils that are easily found are: hazelnut oil, corn oil, soybean oil, and olive oil. More difficult to find are palm oil, cottonseed oil, and walnut oil. Some of these are kitniot (legume) derivatives, so you may want to clarify which you want (from both a minhag and a health point of view) before you set out.

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2) Kitniot—Ashkenazi olim are usually concerned with avoiding kitniot. Fresh food products can be kitniot (peas, beans, peanuts), as can many canned, packaged, and dried foods (hummus, tehina, corn,

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rice). Many take-out stores and restaurants may have a kashrut certification that states that the products are only for use by people who eat kitniot. You must check the label or the teudat hechsher to ascertain whether the food is suitable for those who do not eat kitniot. If a product has a BaDaT”z (Beit Din Tzedek) hechsher, then it does not contain any kitniot or kitniot derivatives. The same goes for American kashrut certification.

One kilo of matzah contains about 25 square sheets. 4) Some people may be concerned with “gebrochts” or soaked matzah. In Hebrew, this is “matzah shruyah”. For the best selection of products without matzah meal, you should shop in a religious area like Kiryiat Sefer, B’nei Brak, or parts of Jerusalem.

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Okay, so then where is the best place to shop in the Modiin area for all of your Pesach needs? To find out who has the products that you want at the best prices, check the newspapers (Hebrew too) for the ads taken out by the major food chains. If you pine for your favorites from “the old country,” try the stores that carry imported products all year. Happy shopping, and have a Hag Kasher V’Sameah. Laurie Ann Sherby bakes cakes for birthday parties and other occasions (but not on Pesach!). She is interested in consumerism, household hints, and all aspects of food. To order a cake, call 058-836-9657.

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3) The matzah in Israel is only kosher for Pesach at Pesach time; the rest of the year, it is hametz. Matzah boxes are stamped with the year to insure freshness(!) as well as kashrut. Regular matzah is available everywhere. Matzah shmurah comes in machine and hand-made varieties. Yehuda and Yerushalayim shmurah matzot are whole wheat matzot. It is difficult to find matzah meal made from shmurah matzah. Stores in religious neighborhoods may carry it.


It is important to check ingredients that may not seem to contain kitniot, like the vinegar in pickles or prepared horseradish, for example. Some product labels may state that their BaDaT”z certification is only valid for the rest of the year, but it is not valid for Pesach.

April 2005 n Adar II/Nisan, 5765 n Volume 2, Issue 5

Gemach Ir Atika

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By: Daniella Hellerstein I had heard Rav Haim Dovrat’s name many times in the course of living in Modiin. He is responsible for the Lahav magazine, Daf Yomi, and a gamach, and is organizer of the Union of Synagogues in Modiin. I finally had the chance to meet him in person when we met in his apartment to talk about how it all got started. While the fragrant smell of homemade food wafted in from the kitchen where his wife was cooking, Rav Dovrat and I discussed some of the more significant contributions he has made to this city. He is a modest man with a warm smile and a good heart. It was a pleasure and a privilege to meet with yet another true tzaddik living amongst us.

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ModiInfo: Among the many contributions you have made to the Modiin community, one of the most significant is the gamach. For those who are not familiar with the concept, can you explain exactly how it functions?

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Rav Dovrat: The word gamach is actually an acronym for the words gmilut chasadim. The gamach is a collection of money contributed to by donors, which is then distributed in the form of a one-year interest free loan to those in need. The recipient receives the funds in one lump sum and repays it over the course of one year in the form of twelve checks. To donate to the gamach is actually a higher form of a mitzvah than to give charity because the money is used for a loan that will be repaid. In that way, the recipient retains his dignity, does not know who the donor is and the donor does not know who the recipient is.

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ModiInfo: How did your gamach, Gamach Ir Atika, get started here in Modiin? Rav Dovrat: Given that Modiin is a new city, many tzedakot were missing and this was one of them. About three years ago I decided I would try and fill the need. Gamach Ir Atika, a seventeen-year-old organization located in Jerusalem, offered to help me run the Modiin branch. They donated the initial $35,000 to get the gamach started, which I operate with Yehezkel Mink from Jerusalem. ModiInfo: Has the gamach been successful so far? Rav Dovrat: Some 200 families from the Modiin area have utilized the gamach. There are those who have received loans two or three times. They must finish paying off the previous loan before taking out a new one. The beauty of the fund is it allows people to get back on their feet or over a hurdle that is hopefully a one-time situation such as job loss, bank debt or threat of eviction. Everything is done extremely meticulously and officially. Recipients are required to submit their teudat zehut number and provide a guarantor. ModiInfo: Where to the donations come from? Rav Dovrat: Aside from the start-up money I received from Gamach Ir Atika, individuals mostly make donations. Continued on page 13

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Ah, To Be Able To Speak Freely Again

To register for the ulpan, Malkah can be reached at 08-976-1732 or 054-575-1667. Being that we have school-aged children, the twice weekly morning classes make it easier to juggle it all. It is also great to meet other Olim in the area who are experiencing similar challenges with being in a new country. We share classes with people that we went to school with twenty years ago!!

By: Ilene Cahan Among the wonderful new things that we have found in the Modiin area since making Aliyah from Baltimore, Maryland this summer is the newly-created Daled/Hey Ulpan started in Chashmonaim.

We are learning how to understand the news both written and spoken. We are building our vocabulary and fluency, as well. But best of all, our Hebrew continues to improve daily and we find ourselves not clutching onto our dictionaries as tightly as before.

Almost immediately after landing in Israel and during the wait of the arrival of our lift, I began a threemonth long Medical Ulpan in Yerushalyim. The ulpan was great – the commute was not. After its completion, I was interested in continuing my ulpan at a higher level. Modiin offers Aleph, Bet and possibly Gimel Ulpanim within the city limits. Yerushalyim or Tel Aviv would be where higher levels are found – until now. Beginning just this past December, Malkah Livneh, who happens to a be a cousin of mine, painstakingly worked with Misrad HaKlita and Misrad HaChinuch to organize and begin a higher level ulpan in this area. We are very grateful to her and all of her hard work. Thankfully, now, we are able to continue to improve our Hebrew within close proximity to home. There are about 30 students currently enrolled in the Daled/Hey levels which meet twice per week in the morning. We have a nice combination of new Olim and Vatikim, American, Dutch, Canadian, British, French and others.

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April 2005 n Adar II/Nisan, 5765 n Volume 2, Issue 5

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The Consumer Corner

Case in Point

One popular use of credit card points is their conversion into El Al Frequent Flier points. If you could use these points for your next El Al flight instead of using them to buy your concert tickets, you might decide to pay the full price on your concert tickets and save the points for your next flight. The way to find an answer to this dilemma is to make a short list of the transactions in which you generally use your credit card points. The type of transaction which will give you the highest financial value for every credit card point should be used as a benchmark to which you compare every other potential use of the points. As an example, if X amount of points can save you $100 on your next El Al flight this summer but only $50 on tonight’s concert tickets, you would be better off paying the full price tonight and saving the points for the summer flight. Admittedly, you will not get rich from this, but at least you will get some satisfaction from making informed decisions. If you would like this column to address a specific topic or answer your questions, feel free to email Sammy at:

By: Sammy Fejbusch Every day we have the option to use our accumulated credit card points to purchase goods and services. For example, we can purchase goods from the credit card company’s brochure or concert tickets using the points accumulated over time. The big question is: when is it appropriate to use the points? The answer varies according to the financial value of these points to each person. In case you’re considering purchasing, say, an electrical appliance from the credit card company’s brochure, you should first compare prices with competitors. You can often purchase the same item at a lower price with a competitor without the need to use your credit card points at all. In this case you end up avoiding the dilemma altogether. On the other hand, in case you consider buying tickets for a concert at a discount by using credit card points, you should get some idea of the financial value of these points in order to decide whether or not to use them for buying the tickets. You may, however, want to save them for another transaction where you could possibly save more money. In order to assess the value of these points you should consider their savings potential in alternative transactions.

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April 2005 n Adar II/Nisan, 5765 n Volume 2, Issue 5

Siyum Hashas, Continued from page 4

the dais table flanked by Rabbi Eliyahu Elcharar and Rabbis Lau, Chabad Rabbi Slonim, Rabbi Segal of Ezer Modiin. Another special guest was Rabbi Kowalski, founder and president of Meorot Hadaf, an organization that trains daf yomi teachers, publishes a weekly newsletter on the daf and operates a website where one can see and hear video shiurim on the daf in Hebrew, English and French. The Modiin Choir sang between each speaker accompanied by an orchestra. The actual siyum was led by Rabbi David Lau who explained the last few lines of Tractate Niddah and read the prayer and special Kaddish recited at a siyum. Rabbi Eliyahu Elcharar, the Chief Sefardi Rabbi of Modiin, taught the first mishnah of Tractate Brechot, the first tractate of the new cycle. Rabbi Elcharar then paid special tribute to the women who encourage their husbands to attend the daf every day and sang a unique sephardi melody comprised of the names of all the masechtot of shas.

at Rabbi Meir Shapiro’s yeshiva, Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin, a well known site for anyone visiting Poland. Unfortunately, Rabbi Shapiro died at the young age of 46 and never reached the second siyum. The second siyum, was conducted by Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau’s father, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Lau, also in the Lubliner Yeshiva one year before the Nazis entered Poland. Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau spoke about the enjoyment one receives from the study of Talmud and the unifying nature of the daf yomi. A Jew traveling from Israel to America, Australia, South Africa or Europe can attend a shiur studying the exact same daf as his own shiur in his country of origin. While the former Chief Rabbi’s address was clearly the highlight of the evening, the entire program was uplifting. The Mayor of Modiin, Moshe Spector, sat at

Modiin offers a number of daf yomi shiurim at varied times. Every morning, an hour before sunrise, the Sefardi Kipodan Schul learns the daf followed by Shacharit at sunrise. One attendee of that shiur told me approximately 30 men show up to learn every day. The shiur at the Malibu schul that I attend begins at 6:15 am followed by Shacharit at 7:00 and is lead by Rabbi Lau or Yehuda Finkel. Michael Sedley recently started a daf yomi shiur in English at the Mercaz Modiin schul, and the Tzeirei Modiin (Safra Schul) learns the daf between Mincha and Ma’ariv. Rabbi Tzikochai, rabbi of Reut and last speaker of the night, informed the crowd of the two daf shiurim in the Reut schul – one in the morning and one in the evening.

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Gemach, Continued from page 8 Anyone who makes a donation receives a tax receipt from mas hachnasah. All money donated goes towards the fund and is never used for other expenses or other matters. The gamach helps anyone and everyone in need. In that way, I think the gamach is a kiddush Hashem and brings the entire community together.

homes. We make a special connection that lasts for a long time. ModiInfo: Where did you live before Modiin? Rav Dovrat: I grew up in Netanya, my wife in Bnei Brak and we lived for many years in Kiryat Gat. We spent nine years on shlichut to South Africa and New Zealand. We moved here from Kiryat Ata to be closer to our children and grandchildren who live in various areas around Modiin. Modiin is our final stop and we love it. I took part in the Moreshet Modiin course where I learned a great deal about the history and archeology of Modiin. I was chosen from the group to teach subsequent courses and to lead tours of the city.

The gamach recently received a donation of a set of Venetzia shas, which were hand written. Anyone who makes a donation to the gamach from now until Yom Ha’atzmaut will be included in the lottery to win the shas. Any sum of money is acceptable. In the past we have received donations of up to 30,000 NIS. In addition to making donations, people can loan money to the gamach that will be returned to them.

The city has changed over the years. I think a lot of the tension that was present at first has now dissipated. In addition, aliyah form chutz la’aretz has contributed to Modiin in several good ways. The people who come are very special. From my years on shlichut I am familiar with the Anglo Saxon community and know what it means to be a Jew in the Diaspora. Although it can be difficult at first I believe aliyah to be the best move a person can make, for their families and for Klal Yisrael. I tip my kippah to them.

ModiInfo: What do you do when you are not working for the gamach? Rav Dovrat: I am presently on sabbatical from my position as Ram (Rebbe) at Ner Tamid, the boys high school in Chashmonaim. I started the Lahav magazine six years ago, which I was running until one year ago. I teach Bar Mitzvah boys from all over Modiin, Maccabim and Reut. I especially enjoy meeting with the boys and their families most of whom do not come from religious

Every Kind Every Size Every Color Largest Assortment of Plastic and Paper Goods in the Modiin Area This year we are on our way to cherut, With the help of Klai Kalut. We’ll help you set your table for seder night, So you won’t be a slave in your kitchen much after midnight. You’ll find a large variety of dishes, napkins and tablecloths, An assortment of storage containers including for broths. Serving platters, wine goblets, tin foil and pans, These items and much more to fill your hands!

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April 2005 n Adar II/Nisan, 5765 n Volume 2, Issue 5

Every Student, Continued from page 1

Special Sale

school day when teachers are able to work with weaker students in small groups.


In addition, the committee claims, the status and quality of the teaching profession must be improved. There should be more stringent requirements for those wishing to enter the profession in the first place; higher wages and monetary incentives for teachers to perform well once they are already working in the profession, and a mandatory 40-hour week in school, to align teachers with other working people.

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So why are the teachers complaining? Unfortunately, where the Dovrat report fails, is in its complete lack of understanding of what education is and of what it means to be an educator. For some unknown reason, the committee did not include teachers nor did it attempt to consult with teachers before making its recommendations. Headed by a successful businessman, the committee attempts to apply the realities of hitech to the education system. It suggests grading teachers on the basis of their success in preparing students for matriculation exams, creating competition between teachers, allowing principals to raise money independently, and the like. It does not acknowledge the fact that education should be as much about the “process” as about the “product”. It does not understand that the only reason the education system continues to function is because of the idealism and commitment of teachers, for whom teaching is a vocation, not just a way to earn money, and that if it wishes to give committed teachers an incentive to continue to give their all, it should not undermine the cooperation between teachers which makes it at all possible. It focuses on efficiency, productivity and competition, rather than on education. It reduces schools to factories for grades, populated by employees competing for bonuses.

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Moreover, whilst it claims to improve the status of the teacher, it in itself demeans the teaching profession, in its complete lack of appreciation of what teaching involves. The implication in the report is that today teachers do not work full time and as a result, are not highly regarded in society. In reality, a teacher who teaches 24 frontal hours a week, will, on average, spend an additional 20 hours preparing lessons, grading tests and assignments, having meetings/telephone conversations with parents or students and attending staff meetings. Furthermore, the physical effort required to teach groups of 36 students for five hours a day, cannot be compared to an equivalent number of office hours. By increasing teaching hours, without significantly reducing class size, the report increases the total number of students taught by any one teacher, thus reducing the teacher-student ratio. It raises the workload of teachers to unrealistic levels. Ironically, if the recommendations are adopted, the standard of teaching will go down drastically, since teachers will be forced to cut corners. It may well result in a mass exodus from the teaching profession of the committed teachers that the committee claims it so wishes to encourage.

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Finally, notably absent from the report is a response to the major problems facing schools in Israel today; namely, class size, poor physical conditions, a lack of discipline and violence. Unless these issues are dealt with, it is untenable that schools will be able to operate for an eight-hour day or that education will in any way improve.

Musical instruments, pianos and sound systems Voice cards and program systems for home studio recording Repairs for all types of instruments

Amazingly, despite the criticism that the report has received, the government proposes implementing many of the recommendations from next school year, and Modiin is keen to be one of the first cities to adopt them. The teaching unions warn that there will be no unilateral decisions without the agreement of the teachers, but the government claims otherwise. In any event, let us hope that the government is, at the very least, responsible enough to take some time off from dealing with its disengagement plan to properly address the issues raised by the Dovrat report and by its critics, and that it will make sure that the necessary infrastructure is in place before any of the recommendations are adopted. Let us hope ‌

Ligad Center, 15 Hashdera Hamerkazit, Modiin Tel: 08-926-8331, Fax: 08-926-8332, Cell: 054-666-3568 Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 10:00-20:00; Friday: 9:00-14:00

Naomi Galinsky-Kloot is Head of the English Department at the Maccabim-Reut High School. She teaches English and Translation Studies. She is a national Bagrut Examiner and has written textbooks for The Center of Educaional Technology.


April 2005 n Adar II/Nisan, 5765 n Volume 2, Issue 5

Why We Live in Israel

were the perfect contrast. The ambassador program was designed to send olim to their former home towns in order to stir interest in aliyah. We were scheduled to speak to five different groups of people over three days in South Florida. My mission was to recount personal stories of my own experiences providing advice and inspiration for those who wish to embark on aliyah themselves in the coming months or years. As I attended these events I realized that I was benefiting more than those I was supposed to benefit. Recounting my experiences to others who had not yet experienced this roller coaster called aliyah, reassured me that I had made the right decision. Although the past few years had been difficult for us and the adjustment to a new life, far from family has been challenging, I realized that the experiences that I was recanting to the audience of potential olim had made me a different person. I came to recognize that the life that my family and I live here has a meaning acquired only through my experiences living in Israel.

By: Lisa Mensh When I was accepted into the Nefesh b’Nefesh aliyah “ambassador” program I immediately called my best friend from my previous life in Boca Raton, Florida to tell her. Upon hearing the news, she burst into laughter. You see, I made aliyah reluctantly in the summer of 2002 on the inaugural flight of Nefesh b’Nefesh. I didn’t want to make aliyah; it was never in my plans. My husband, on the other hand, had previously made aliyah with his parents, attended high school in Israel, and when his parents returned after four years, he returned with them, graduated from college, married me and together we raised a family for 10 years in the States. He had always clandestinely planned to return “home” one day and after many years of working on me to move I finally acquiesced (I think he drugged me) and decided to give aliyah a “try”. That was over two and a half years ago. So I wasn’t the typical candidate to return to my home town and preach about making aliyah. However, I also felt that since I was never a “bleeding heart” Zionist, I was an excellent candidate to tell people why they should make aliyah because I consider my aliyah a success and I wanted to represent the real face of aliyah. My fellow ambassador, also from Boca Raton, was the one to represent the “bleeding heart” Zionist aspect of aliyah. She spent her whole life dreaming of moving to Israel and settled with her family in Gush Etzion. We

One of the stories that I told happened in the first few months of our aliyah. I had made the mistake of going to the supermarket on a Friday morning, the worst day to grocery shop, of course, but what did I know? I parked my van in a designated parking spot, but when I returned, someone had designated their own parking spot right behind my car, preventing me from pulling out. I had no choice but to wait for the driver to complete his or her shopping and return to his car. I put

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my baby in his car seat and began to drink the latte that I had thankfully bought prior to the shopping excursion. I was sitting in my car for about three minutes when an unknown man knocked on my window. I opened my window a drop because after all I had not lost my trepidation for strangers that acquired from growing up in America. The man asked me if I needed help backing out of my parking space. I told him there was obviously nothing he could do unless he had the keys to the car immediately behind my van. He told me to let him try, after all, it was just hours before Shabbat and he thought that I had better get home. So against all of my better judgment and all of the lectures on strangers my mother had ingrained in me, I let a stranger get into my car with my baby, my purse and most importantly my latte as I watched him extrapolate my car from the spot. Within minutes he had my car freed from the parking spot and exited my car with a “Shabbat Shalom”. I drove away thinking that this was something that could only happen in Israel. Where else could I have trusted a complete stranger to drive my car with my baby and purse and still live to see it minutes later? It’s for simple extraordinary moments like these that make living in Israel special. In my daily life I often don’t take the time to see the meaning that living in Israel has brought me and my family. The ambassador program forced me take the time to contemplate why we live in Israel and how it continues to enrich the lives of our family and for that I am truly thankful.

Pesach is Near, the Shopping Starts Here! Pesach Fair at Beit Sefer Mesuat Neriah Thursday, April 7, 27 Adar Beit 18:30-22:00

All proceeds benefit the students of Mesuat Neriah

10 NIS admission fee per family includes raffle tickets Tupperware, Skye Green Bandanas, Barosh Shelach hats,, “One of a Kind” hand-painted glassware, Baduk games, Atalia trivets, Country Shuk, Giant Pizza, ParKafe, Laurie Ann Sherby cakes, Sabonim shel Savta Jamila, Hachai books, Wiz Kids, Mother’s Pearl by Chava Dagan, Hagaddot by Rav Gideon Weitzman, Chava Ecology, jewelry, greeting cards, reflexology, arts and crafts, paintings, imported giftware from South Africa, ceramic dishes, needlework, plus more! For more details, please call Ilana Cohen (08)970-3299 or e-mail,


April 2005 n Adar II/Nisan, 5765 n Volume 2, Issue 5

Kids Corner

4) Which one of these people can sit in the front seat of a car? a) A grown adult. b) A child. c) My baby brother sits in the front seat!

How Safe Are You on the Road? Take this quiz and find out.

5) When you hear a car and you want to cross the street you: a) Wait until the car passes. b) Wait two seconds and then cross. c) I never trust my hearing.

By Avigail Raday, 5th Grade, Beit Sefer Yachad 1) How do you cross the street? a) I look before and while crossing. b) I look both ways and cross. c) I cross without looking.

After you finished the test and circled all your answers, check this out:

2) How do you cross the street when there is no crosswalk? a) I look both ways before and while crossing. b) I look both ways and cross. c) I run after my dog.




Now add up your answers. 0-15: You have a lot to learn. Ask your family, friends, and maybe even check on the net about road safety.

3) When there is a red light and you want to cross the street, what do you do? a) Wait for the light to turn green. b) If there is no car, I cross. c) I keep going.

16-19: Not bad, but you still have a few things to learn. 20-25: Great! You are a responsible and safe citizen on the road!

Eight Important Safety Rules for the Road 4) Don’t unbuckle your seatbelt when your car is in motion.

By: Shira Hyman, 5th Grade, Beit Sefer Yachad 1) Don’t disturb the bus driver while he’s driving.

5) Cross the street only at a crosswalk.

2) Don’t run in the crosswalk.

6) Don’t stand or walk while the bus is motion.

3) Start the engine of your car only when everybody is buckled.

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7) Look both ways before you cross the road. 8) Always wear a seatbelt when you are in the car.


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New Services

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Recipe Corner

Easy Strawberry Pie By: Benyamin Macales, 6th grade

I have been making this almost every Shabbat. It’s so good, one is not enough.

Ingredients: 1 ready made graham cracker pie crust 2 boxes of fresh strawberries 1/2 cup sugar 1 tablespoon corn starch 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Instructions: Cut and mash 1/2 box of strawberries and then put over the stove top on low. Add your sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Simmer until thick. Remove from heat and prepare the rest of the strawberries by cutting them in pieces, and arrange them in the pie shell. Put the strawberry liquid that was prepared over the stove, and pour evenly over the cut strawberries. Serve chilled. Optional: Serve with whipped cream. ENJOY!


April 2005 n Adar II/Nisan, 5765 n Volume 2, Issue 5

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