Hanukah is a school holiday here

Even though I’ve been here for about 14 years, I still get reminded occasionally that I’m still an ‘oleh hadash’.

Last year was my first experience with the Israeli school system. The teachers are pretty lucky because I don’t know how things are run back in the old country so I can’t really compare them, or the system, to anything else, like is inevitable with many other issues here. I hope I’m not being apathetic, but I think the whole thing of my kids in Israeli nursery and pre-k is a traumatic experience just for me.

Our daily routine is that my wife leaves for work early in the morning with the car, and I’m responsible for gettting the kids ready and walking them to nursery and daycare. Drop off is from 7:30am to 8:15, after which they lock the gates for security reasons (anything from whacko parents and drunk idiots, to wandering kids and stray dogs). If the gate is not locked by 8:15, then it will definitely be by 8:30. After that, to get in, you need to ring a bell and have a teacher physically come out, unlock the gate, and give you the inevitable ‘nu, nu, nu, you know you should come on time’ or anything else from the Israeli repository of sayings to make sure that you don’t entertain the thought of going through this humilating experience again. So you understand, that when one is running late, it is a major accomplishment to get to the nursery before the gate is closed, and a small miracle if it is already past 8:15 and you get there as the gate is being locked.

So first day of Hanukah 5767 last year is just a regular day of being late and rushing to get the kids to their destinations, of course mainly the oldest who has to get past that infamous gate. Normally, it’s usually a ten to fifteen minute walk and I’m trying to get the kids to know the neighbourhood so we walk different ways, while they get to choose the directions. Of course, when we are late, we don’t have time for that, and they refuse to accept that. So this time, we’re late, virtually running, and the kids are ‘frustrated’ because I’m not listening to their directions, and we get to the street where the nurseries are located and we’re the only ones. No cars, no kids, and no other late parents (we have an informal club). What is happening?!!

So I call the wife and discover that she forgot to tell me, well, everyone knows that there is no school on Hanukah. I accept her apologies, though she didn’t (Israelis rarely apologize) and baruch Hashem, I can drop off my oldest with her other siblings at their nanny/daycare (she’s an angel).

It happened again a few months later on Shushan Purim, like d’uh, everyone knows that the school system around the country also identifies with the employees in Jerusalem.

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3 Responses to “Hanukah is a school holiday here”


  1. 1 Shauli December 11, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    The schools are off all 8 days of Chanukah?

  2. 2 arielaliyah December 17, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    For better or for worse – the Chanukah school vacation is only for part of Chanukah. Kids shouldn’t worry about that though – there are usually enough school strike days to make up for it.

  3. 3 joshinariel December 20, 2007 at 8:29 pm

    Israeli school holidays include all of Succot, Pesach, and Hanukah (though this year the first day was a regular day). Isru chag is a holiday too. And what are we supposed to do with the kids during the holidays? That’s an issue that hundreds of thousands of parents have to deal with every few months. It’s fine if you get off for chol hamoed, but otherwise, it’s a challenge. Some employers tolerate bringing kids to work for the day.


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