Making Aliyah Mid-Year with Kids

El Al planeI received this question from TYm:

My family is planning to make aliyah next year in the late fall. We have two children 4 an 1 with a baby on the way. We are moving to Rehovot where I will be doing a post-doc in the sciences. We’re still not certain what my husband will have lined up. Any general suggestions for transitioning kids in the middle of the school year and for mom’s that will be working full time immediately?

With kids who will be 2 and 5, the middle of the year shouldn’t be such a problem. You will have most of the year to get the older one ready for first grade, if that is your plan. If possible, reserve their spots in gan before you get here.

If your husband can be available for the first few weeks it will help a lot. Be-shaah tova.

Readers, any other suggestions?

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Photo via Wikipedia


  1. Network before you arrive – there is a wonderful community in Rehovot and I’m sure people will be happy to help out. Even just getting information, or having someone go with you to the various offices is helpful. Or someone to watch the kids while you go out to do errands! They can also give you phone numbers of recommended ganim that you might not otherwise have access to before you get there (no internet presence.) I’d say that reserving spots in the gan ahead of time is a MUST. My kid’s gan (in Modiin) fills up by June.

  2. The principal at our local school , in the Galil, says that in lots of ways mid year aliyah is easier for kids.

  3. For the younger child, there is no issue at all here. For the older, find a way to register as early as possible. Have your children watch Israeli videos starting now.
    There are some on Amazon:
    plus the shalom sesame series is good.
    (there’s a new series that just came out of Shalom Sesame episodes).
    While children do learn languages “naturally” it takes time and can be stressful. If you can help a bit with the transition, it’s a good thing.

  4. some very popular gans start registration for the following year as early as January, so as others have said, it’s really important to network with acquaintances in Rechovot or via a community Email list to get recommendations for good gans and already get your child registered in the winter.


  5. The question is…will this reader be able to register her child/ren for gan without a TZ or without a rental agreement?

    We came in the summer, but were told not to bother registering in advance (had the rental agreement as of June, but no TZs until August). If it is for gan chova, they will have to find a place for the 5yo, yes? It may not be the most convenient, but they’ll have to find a place–gan chova is mandatory.

    I agree to network ahead of time. A lot of places with an “Anglo” presence have an email list or Yahoo group that can really have a wealth of information. Or ask NBN to hook you up with a family in Rechovot with similar aged kids.

    A computer program (for a fee) that my kids really liked is called “Sod Shel Maya” (–it has sections on math and Tanach stories and chagim and (most helpful for my daughter, who was 5 when we came) Hebrew letters + sounds + spelling.

  6. The kids will be fine, I am worried about you!
    They say never make too many life changes at the same time, like new baby, new job, new country. You are doing all of those.
    I had the opposite experience: I did a post doc in the states and we moved there with 4 kids, the youngest of whom was 3 months old. I started work a month later. It was VERY difficult and stressful. Can you move here a month or two b4 you start your post-doc to settle in? The more time you have to get used to the new things one at a time (baby,new country, new job) the better.

  7. Ariela, the writer is pregnant and not making aliyah for a year or so. So the baby will be at least 3 months old. . . 🙂 But what you wrote about the job applies.

  8. I also seem to remember that you need an address to register for public gan. Also you’ll want one close to where you live probably.
    Ours (we live next to Rehovot) fills up pretty quick too and you want to register around January.
    Good luck with this – sure it will be hard at first, but I bet it will be an amazing experience. Do you speak any Hebrew?

  9. Making aliyah mid-year has many benefits. To begin with, you will do a lot of running around to different offices and buying things you need, so pleasant weather really helps. In addition, Israel seems to shut down for Elul/July through the end of Sukkot. I think it would be a nightmare trying to get settled and taking care of all your paperwork at that time.

    Each municipality may be different, but I don’t think you can register for gan without a teudat zehut, which you can’t get until you arrive. You should try to find some playmates for your kids, whose parents can watch your kids, ASAP. I know one or two seems young, but this is Israel, it’s not so strange to send a 2 year old along with their older sibling to play. You will not want to try to keep them content in a bank while opening an account. You may want to look into opening an account online or over the phone. It is a ridiculously long, but necessary process.

    For your 4 or 5-yr-old, starting in the middle of the year can be great, since (s)he’ll be special, the other kids and the teacher will give him/her more attention than if (s)he started with everyone else. And his/her classmates will go home and tell their parents about the new kid, and then the parents might call you! My daughter started gan last January when she was 4.5 and didn’t know any Hebrew. The other girls really doted on her. Ask the teacher for a list of classmates’ phone numbers. They give it out toward the beginning of the year. Then you can become familiar with classmates’ names and invite them over. (But only after 4pm.)

    Rehovot has a very close and friendly Anglo community. There is one main shul where most of them go. Just show up and you’ll make lots of friends and business contacts for your husband. Hatzlacha & besha’ah tova!

    USEFUL LINKS: is a lot of fun. My kids started before we made aliyah and they still love it. I think it’s like $6 a month.
    For you, this blog ( is a great source of cultural info, and older posts on are very amusing and informative.
    Also check out: for free interactive learning. is more advanced.
    Your older child can watch videos in Hebrew at look at the links under the video for chapters 1-7.

  10. We didn’t make aliyah midyear, but we came September 8, when school had been in session for a week already. It was very convenient to get there and put the kids in school/gan the next day – made taking care of all the various aliyah things much easier. Lots of friends who come in the summer had to do all of their running around with cranky, hot kids in tow.

  11. I recently made aliyah with 3-yr-old twins and a 1-yr-old. I found it really helpful that everyone went off to gan and every-morning bbsitting a week after we came–not a moment too soon! It let us have time to settle in and get things done. After a couple of months, I . After a couple of months, I started keeping the baby home a bit more. So I would suggest getting more initial childcare than you think you’ll need. If a private gan is an option, that’s something you can arrange before you arrive.

  12. Bethami Gold says

    Hi – just to respond to the questions about registering early. Correct that you can’t register at an Iriyah gan before you have a T.Z, but for younger children, you may want to find a private place that will register early.
    For example, when we moved to Modiin, we wanted to register our daughter in a maon early, but did not even have a rental contract yet. So we couldn’t register in the Iriyah places, or even the Wizo/Naamat places, but we found a great private mishpachton. I think that if you pay a registration fee, a private place will save you a spot even without a T.Z…and it could definitely be worth it!

  13. Hebrew! Work on knowing as much hebrew as possible. If you get the pre-schooler registered in advance it would be great, even to communicate somehow.

  14. Thanks everyone for your kind responses and suggestions. We have visited Rehovot twice and found the community to be warm and helpful. A good friend made aliya there a number of years ago, but her children were/are older and she wasn’t going straight to work as I plan to do. If all goes well, I should have a week or two to take care of most of the necessary running around. It sounds like setting up childcare/gan/mishpachton in advance is going to be a critical piece. I have a contact who said she could help me with finding good places, but I didn’t realize I needed to start planning so far in advance for that — very good to know! As for Hebrew, I am a beginner or advanced beginner. I took an ulpan over the summer and found it to be most useful during my recent visit. I’ll be continuing with a community group ulpan associated with my daughter’s preschool – a mizrachi school – in the upcoming months. My daughter’s preschool teachers are aware that we are planning an aliyah for next fall so they take a little more time with her, speaking Hebrew to her in class. We’ve tried to get her to watch Shalom Sesame, but she really didn’t like it – maybe because it was from the late 80’s? My husband and I will be checking out those other sites several of you suggested.

    So, just to clarify… the 5 year old will need to be signed up for gan (most likely a private one), the 2 year old and baby for a mishpachton, yes? Can the 2 yr old and baby go to the same place or are they split according to age? The baby will be 5-6 months old at that time B’H.

    Thanks again and thank you for posting my query!

    • hi, we made aliyah to Rechovot in the spring of 2009. I can’t really add much to the other great comments- but yes, even the Emunah and Wizo Maons need a TZ number, they take children from birth to 3 AFAIK, but split into different age groups. Smaller, private places tend to take more specific age groups- though small mishpachtonim sponsered by the iriyah, but in someone’s home sometimes have a larger age range- I think you need to work 24 hours a week to be eligable for funding. I’ve heard that Weizman have their own, on site, maon, if you are working there.

      We had trouble initially getting our 5 year old into an iriyah trom chova, but after advice from friend, we told the lady in the office that we would speak directly to the mayor if he couldn’t be placed somewhere within walking distance of home, they found him a place within 5 minutes!

      rechovot is a great place- and you’ll miss the summer heat during the initial settling in process, which is great. There is a yahoo group to ask more specific questions.


    • Hi just to clarify about your five year old- gan for 5’s is called Gan Chova, mandatory gan, and it’s basically kindergarten. Private gan chova is a rarity, you will have to sign him/her up through the iriya when you get here.

  15. Thanks Miriam for sharing your experience. I will B’H be at Weizmann, but in speaking with people there I was told it is very difficult to get a space in their maon as there is quite the waiting list. We’ve already joined the yahoo group and I will be posting there for recommendations for childcare. I just hadn’t figured on needing to do so this early in the process. If I remember correctly, most of the maons and mishpachtons only run until 1pm. What do people do for childcare the rest of the afternoon if they have to work?

    • Bethami Gold says

      Hi –
      My experience is in Modiin, but I imagine Rehovot is not much different.
      Re the afternoons, most maonot or misphachtons do go the entire day, as they are made for working parents. My daughter’s is open from 7-5, although some parents sign up for 7:30-4 or 4:30. It’s also open on Fridays 7:30-12, but many only are open every other Friday, or not at all. (We thought perhaps not to send on Friday to spend more time with her, but learned quickly that Friday mornings are precious no-kid, no-work time!)
      My older daughter’s gan chova goes from 7:30-1:30 (free from the city), but then we signed her up for the “tzaharon” (afternoon program)that goes until 4:30.

  16. yes, my experience here in Rechovot has been pretty similar to Bethami’s. You will probably only need to enrol in a small pivate mishpachton (for your younger children)in the summer, I only organized a mishpachton for my 18month old in July for a September start. The larger maonim get filled up much earlier, but will probably need a TZ, so not sure how you would organize that before your arrival. The Iriyah would have to find a place for a 5 year old, but afternoon tzaharon gets filled up (and is pricey) you mentioned that you are looking for a private gan for your 5 year old- I don’t know much about those, but the yahoo group would be a good place to start