Sunday, November 30, 2008

A visit to the gan (preschool)

I went to visit the preschool at Har El today (Har El is a Reform Shul around the corner from our apartment) as I plan on volunteering there twice a week. Oh it was so great. I came at the beginning of circle time and stayed until its end. We did Havdalah with Cantor Evan (whose wife, incidentally, went to Lake Braddock Secondary School, like me, and was a member of Adat Reyim, the synagogue where I went to high school, and went to UVA), and all of the kids sang along. After the Cantor left, the teacher told a story about a man who prayed for rain - it's amazing how differently rain is valued here, it is a huge topic of conversation and Israelis are so joyful to see the rain when it comes and always say that it is not enough. There is a droubt in Israel, btw, which explains why Israelis look forward to rain while Americans see it is a pain in the neck. The student of the week stood up while the teacher read what her parents had written about her weekend, which had included eating popcorn, so the student passed some popcorn out to the class (there are about 20 or so 3 year olds in the class). Then, they all washed their hands, went to the bathroom, and pushed together in a throng to get out the door and go outside - a bit like grown up Israelis getting on to the bus. Lines are not really part of Israeli culture at all. It was pretty fun to experience preschool all in Hebrew, though it will be sort of embarrassing not to understand what's going on in the classroom as well as the preschool students do. The teacher is excited to have me though, and tells me that she believes that language is not essential to communicating with or playing with small children. I totally agree. I'm sure you'll be hearing much more about preschool in upcoming posts.

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