This is what the ganenet (kindergarten teacher) asked for from the parents: A dollar is 4.5 to 5 New Israeli Shekalim. Amounts are in shekalim.
- 220: Weekly exercise class, in the gan.
- 60: Photocopies
- 35: Embroidered towel
- 80: End of year gifts and pictures
- 80: “Sal tarbut” (culture basket) –a group of three plays sponsored by the municipality.
- An NIS 1.5 gift that each child brings for children celebrating their birthday. In other words, I need to keep 28 identical gifts at home for my child to bring to the birthday children.
Frankly, this ganenet’s requests are quite modest. In the past I have had to bring toilet paper, disposable cups, paper towels, and have also been asked to subsidize an air-conditioner and library books. The biggest fight was over a science class. If I recall correctly it cost about NIS 300 plus transportation, for eight sessions. And it required parent volunteers. Based on the parents’ reaction to it being cancelled, you would have thought that not attending would destroyed their child’s chances for admission to medical school. The ganenet told me that the city doesn’t let the parents choose more than one class (!). The city should not allow any. Their policy is that 100% of the parents have to agree, and this puts pressure on the parents who don’t want it. I had already decided to give in on this issue.
Now here’s where it gets really interesting. The gan gets a certain amount of money per child for food and other expenses. The ganenet says that she is able to save about a third of the money by shopping wisely, but the parents have to sign saying that they know that extra money will be used for supplies. It comes out to NIS 800 (!!!!!) a month, although there is no guarantee that that will be the case this year. I asked her why the photocopying, for example, could not be taken out of this. She said, “Don’t pay for that.” As I discussed my objections with her she kept saying that if there was a problem she could arrange a discount etc. Sephardi Lady, maybe you can articulate for me why this was so annoying.
And she can’t let go of the gift problem. She is extremely concerned that my son will suffer by not getting a gift. I don’t know how to explain to her how ridiculous that is, knowing my son. I may have to wrap up something to give him that day, just to appease her. But wait, then the other children might be jealous when they see that my son got something different!! She didn’t think of that. I guess nothing can beat an embroidered towel.