Saturday, November 21, 2009

Quiet week

Last week was a quiet week. I have been preparing for thanksgiving, and every time I look our guest list grows. Since we have only one over and one burner (yes, a single burner), its a lesson in logistics and time management to get everything done. I am very excited about it though.

Friday, a nephew of one of Yehis sisters ex-boyfriends (long story, just go with it) had his fourth birthday. We went to support him and it gave me the chance to see what a pre-schoolwas like here in KG. All in all it was a really interesting experience. On each child's birthday (or on the Friday after) they have a celebration where they sing songs, give fake flowers, spell mazal tov, count to the age of the child, and eat cake. Every child wrote a blessing for the birthday boy on a piece of paper, and the adults got to give theirs during the party. I spoke in English, and the gannenet (teacher) asked the kids what language I was speaking in. One kid said I was speaking in English, because thats how his grandfather speaks to him.

The pre-school seemed similar to ones in the states- they had a calendar and the days of the week, marking which day of the week we were on, they had decorations for the unit, which of course was channukah. They also had a bomb shelter built in the back.

I am still trying to figure out the education system here. For pre-school there are three types of schools- not-religious (like the one we were at), religious and haredi (really religious). The first two follow a similar lesson plan, but the dati (religious) one begins with prayers and incorporates them throughout the day. Since the hebrew calendar is a matter of state, as are the Jewish holidays, they are taught in all schools. I would compare the lessons at a non-religious school here to the education at a Jewish Community Center pre-school in the states. We have a while before we have to deal with it, but it poses an interesting issue. There is no separation of church and state here, which I love in so many ways, but it also raises interesting concerns. If our religious level is somewhere between religious and not religious, where do we send? At least I have a couple years to think about it.

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