Our English Story Hour

My town doesn’t attract a large number of new English-speaking olim, having been eclipsed by Raanana, distant Beit Shemesh and Modiin. But we now have a new attraction–an English story hour.

Our group consists of six or seven families. Some I knew before, and the rest met through our community’s email list. Each week a different family hosts, chooses a book and plans a related activity. I was impressed with J, the most recent hostess. Despite having only one child, she managed to welcome the crowd and make us all feel comfortable. When I had only one or two small children I couldn’t imagine inviting over one large family, much less a few small ones (most parents bring one or two children).

Today’s story, The Gruffalo, is a cleverly written rhyme about a mouse who avoids getting eaten by the other forest animals and J provided materials for making a forest collage. I don’t know where J got the idea, but the internet is full of activity ideas for popular children’s books so non-crafty parents like myself don’t have to scramble. When we hosted we read Pancakes by Eric Carle, and made pancakes. (No, I didn’t have to search the internet for that idea.)

My kids (age 4 and 6) look forward to the story hour all week, and until I realized that my older children all end late that day I thought I would send them to supervise. But like all successful cooperative ventures, the story hour turned out to be as much fun for me as for the kids. I’ve even made some new friends, which doesn’t happen often at my stage of life (“virtual” present company excluded).

We had something similar a few years ago but I never dreamed of finding enough parents to start it up again. So now all we have to do is await the influx of English speakers to our fair town. (Even though my location is an open secret, I hope you’ll forgive me for being annoyingly circumspect.)


  1. Many Americans are being priced out of Raanana and Modiin, and I think even Beit Shemesh. How are housing prices where you live?

  2. Good question, Baila – also, how is the proximity to financial centers, eg places where RaggedyDad might work?

  3. mominisrael says

    Baila–prices are going up everywhere. But there is a much larger range here than in Modiin. In other words, it depends on the neighborhood and the building. I don’t know exact prices. I believe it’s still cheaper than Raanana, but I would guess that some of the newer neighborhoods are priced about the same as Raanana.
    A recent survey showed my town as the most popular destination for young couples looking to buy apartments.
    RM- My husband says a 40 minute busride from our house to the stock exchange in the morning.
    Abbi, I’ve been part of a few different cycles of mother-baby groups.

  4. What a great idea. I was part of a free form mom’s group when my first was little where we used to rotate houses one morning a week, just to hang out and chat, without any really activities (the kids were babies) but this sounds like a lot of fun.

  5. My granddaughter loved the Gruffalo. There is another one called ‘The Gruffalo’s child’, not quite as good, but worthwhile.
    I love the book + related activities idea. Great for littles to be together and getting stories told.

  6. mominisrael says

    Mary–I had no idea about N.’s illness. Thanks for providing updates.

  7. We have “The Gruffalo”- in Hebrew! The scary guy is called “Troffoti”- it’s a great story. The sequel is good, too, but not as good as the original.
    Housing prices in Israel are just crazy these days, no matter where you are. We’re constantly sighing with relief that we bought almost 6 years ago, at the very bottom of the housing bubble (and before the influx of French Jewry into Ra’anana who could pay any asking price and drove prices WAY up around here).

  8. prices in Modiin just made huge jumps. I’m praying that the prices will drop when the dollar stabilizes.

  9. “Even though my location is an open secret…”
    I didn’t realize it was a secret. In one of your comment section, I think I asked you where you live, or you asked me. I don’t remember.
    Sorry, if that was intrusive or unfair!

  10. mominisrael says

    Miriam, you can ask any question you want. I can choose to answer or not.