A High School in Israel

[Haveil Havalim is up at Shiloh Musings.]

My daughter entered ninth grade this year. This year she has “the best teacher and the best class.” She was able to request a number of friends, and they’ll be together for the next four years.

Her school has six grades, each with about eight classes of thirty girls. The six grades are divided into three batim (lit. houses), each with its own building, vice-principal, secretary, advisor, and two teachers who serve as grade-level coordinators.

The school operates several large volunteer projects:

  1. All ninth graders volunteer in a public gan (kindergarten) once a week. My daughter catches a van from school at 7:30 to take her across town, where she assists the teacher for two hours. Girls coming from out of town, like the ones in my younger daughter’s gan, volunteer close to the school so they don’t have to commute twice. They gave the girls (unfortunately bright green) t-shirts so they will be recognized. Good marketing, so long as I don’t have to wear that color.
  2. The school runs a country-wide organization to collect used appliances and furniture and redistribute them to the needy. Seventh-graders work in the warehouse; during the summer my daughter took a few shifts answering the phone to schedule pickups.
  3. Students volunteer in the special-education gan right on school premises. My daughter hasn’t worked there yet, but girls in her class have.

The school is handicapped accessible, has an ethnically heterogeneous population (Jewishly speaking), and boasts the third highest bagrut (matriculation exam) scores in the country, after two secular schools in Haifa. It discourages graduates from enlisting in the army but many still do (my daughter isn’t interested).

When my kids were younger someone told me that I would be happier with the girls’ schools in Israel than the boys’. The girls don’t have the pressure of gemara (Talmud), leaving little time for anything except the bagrut requirements.

[I tried to stay positive all the way through.]


  1. sounds like a good school

  2. mother in israel says

    tnspr: Grades 7-12.

  3. Wow- sounds excellent.
    Six grades? How exactly does that work with 9-12? Am I missing something here?

  4. Lion in Zion says

    “The girls don’t have the pressure of gemara (Talmud), leaving little time for anything except the bagrut requirements.”
    if all else is the same between boys and girls schools, how much of the day in the boys’ schools is devoted to gemara? do the girls schools have gemera at all?
    “It discourages graduates from enlisting in the army”
    i just read a review about a novel by an ameican olah who enlisted and was thoroughly disenchanted
    “I tried to stay positive all the way through”
    when should we check back for the negative post? (i guess then you’ll elaborate why you aren’t as happy with the boys’ schools?)

  5. mother in israel says

    Ari, the positivity was for you. I don’t want to discourage your aliyah too much. No surprise NBN didn’t want me on a panel. My daughter’s school has little gemara. 7th grader has 14 hours/gemara per week. I never compared boys vs. girls curriculum.
    R. S. Aviner has been writing a lot about the uselessness of girls in the army.

  6. Just to compare a bit of the high school with those in New Jersey, in Bruria girls do not learn gemara and thus reportedly can learn more languages or other subjects. In Mayanot the girls do learn gemara.
    As my daughter is struggling with first grade, I’m trying not to worry about high school.

  7. “i just read a review about a novel by an ameican olah who enlisted and was thoroughly disenchanted.”
    That’s the basis for not wanting or not wanting your children to serve in
    the Army that protects our land?
    Girls have a great part to play in the Army, remember it is not only soldiering that takes place. Girls are needed for administrative, computer, medical and other non-combat areas which support our boys in the battlefields.

  8. Lion in Zion says

    i was merely trying to show off my worldliness in the realm of literature. i made no statement about what i feel of the role of girls in the army. besides, i don’t have any girls nor do i live in israel, so any opinion i might have remains purely academic.
    but since you’ve brought it up, it is my (perhaps erroneous) impression that it is more common for girls to avoid conscription. (i met a lot of sherut leumi girls when i was in yeshivah and quite a few were not there for religious reasons.) if this is accurate, why is it so?
    “Girls are needed for administrative, computer, medical and other non-combat areas which support our boys in the battlefields.”
    again, only because you brought it up: from what i remember, the author was disenchanted because she discovered that the role of girls in the IDF was to serve as mattresses. (to clarify: i am not saying this is my opinion, but just reporting about the book)

  9. Regular Anonymous says

    In the last few years my friends’ daughters have done army service in the following areas: intelligence, tank repair and instruction, teaching Hebrew to soldiers, military police, other educational functions. I don’t think any of them served as mattresses either on duty or off.
    While I’m not saying all soldiers are pure as the driven snow, it’s really motzei shaim ra to generalize out to all female soldiers.

  10. It’s hard to stay positive when talking about Israeli schools, isn’t it?
    Well you did a great job at it.

  11. Informative and interesting, and positive (I nearly forgot). Thanks MiI.

  12. Lion of Zion says

    why, is there something bad about israeli schools in comparison to their american counterparts that we should know about?

  13. Lion of Zion says

    that is what was described in the review of the book. i didn’t mean to be motzi shem ra here about anyone. while i knew some not-so-religious girls in sherut leumi, none of the girls i knew in the army were matresses.

  14. Lion of Zion says

    sigh. to clarify again, i wasn’t in the army. the girls i knew who were in the army were not matresses

  15. That sounds like a wonderful school! I’m always happy to hear stories like this because usually when people (not you personally) talk about education in Israel, the story isn’t positive.
    I think all students, not just from religious schools, should be required to do some sort of volunteer work.