It’s been a busy few months full of activities and milestones. No one event seemed to justify its own blog, so this post is intended to catch us up with a series of mini-blogs…
The kids enjoying a local amusement park located just north of Tel Aviv, about 15 minutes from our house:
Danielle and Gregg continue to enjoy learning more about the great work being performed by so many organizations here in Israel.
Strawberry picking in a local field:
Tel Aviv Safari and counter-terrorist training with the Goldwassers:
This is what Gregg woke up to the morning of February 27th.
Danielle, Jacob and Gregg had the opportunity to spend time with the participants of the Northeastern University Hillel trip to Israel, comprised of mostly non-Jewish campus leaders.
This group photo was taken at a restaurant in Tel Aviv called Blackout. The restaurant is completely dark (100% pitch black) and the entire wait staff is blind. Guests are lead to their table by a blind host/hostess and left mostly on their own to navigate their dining experience (pouring water from a pitcher, locating and identifying silverware, etc.). Food orders are taken in advance, prior to entering the blacked out dining room, for purposes of reading the menu. However, they do offer both a “surprise entrée” and a “surprise dessert” for the daredevils (i.e. Jacob).
March 8th was the annual Raanana 10K. The race began and ended in Raanana Park. Danielle ran with several of her friends. Large groups of soldiers participated as well. Many of them ran wearing their full gear AND their heavy automatic weapons. It was interesting to see several sectioned off areas in the park for soldiers that didn’t run with their weapons to safely check them during the race.
A few days later was another annual race held in Evan Yehuda, a few miles away. It’s a very family oriented 2k that draws mostly parents and children from the neighboring towns. Jacob and Allison enjoyed the opportunity to run with many of their friends.
Jacob turns ELEVEN! Laser Tag birthday party with friends.
His entire family (parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, etc.) all chipped in to buy him his first laptop!
Dinner that night at his favorite restaurant with his two best friends. He was able to select the lobster of his choice right from the tank.
We were visited the next week by my best friend from college along with two of his three sons. First time in Israel for all of them.
Our kids’ school holds an annual Science Fair every spring. The fifth graders compete against other fifth graders within the entire American International School system across the world. The top three from each grade compete in the second of three rounds. Jacob’s team placed second and they are now working hard to prepare for round two. Their project focusses on experimenting with different shaped routers to maximize the potential strength of a WiFi signal.
All three kids have most of their afterschool activities at the school (soccer, basketball, karate, etc.). However, Allison and Jacob are both experiencing a bit of emersion into Israeli culture and language through additional programs outside of their school.
Allie has been taking an afterschool art class in Raanana with an Israeli teacher and Israeli kids.
Allie is justifiably proud of her progress:
Jacob takes afterschool tennis lessons at the Raanana Tennis Center and golf lessons at Caesarea Golf Club. Both are ninety minutes of total emersion as classes are taught in Hebrew and attended by Israeli kids whose basic English is equivalent to Jacob’s basic Hebrew.
The Jewish holiday of Purim is a very big deal in Israel. Celebrations often include widely attended city parades and costume parties. Stores and malls began displaying costumes and decorations nearly two months in advance.
We were thankfully advised to visit the local costume shop at least a month in advance as the line just to get into the store can be HOURS long in the weeks leading up to Purim!
The kids scouted out the perfect spot to watch the Raanana Purim parade.
Mikey receives a “high-five” from the Mayor of Raanana!
Spending time with Camp Tevya’s 2019 Israeli counselors. Danielle and Gregg fielded questions from them as camp parents while Jacob and Allison spoke with them about life as campers. Most important to the councelors’ success at Tevya, the kids taught them how to play Four Square!
One of the many fabulous aspects of our children’s school is the international component. The school is comprised of kids from all over the world. The rich cultural diversity is thoughtfully incorporated into the curriculum and evident throughout school life.
Last week was the annual “International Day”. School families from twenty-three different countries showcased their local culture. Booths were erected where they displayed cultural icons, served ethnic food, sang traditional songs and performed lively dance routines.
Another great performance by the 5th grade band! Amazing that six months ago, most of these kids had never even touched the instruments they are now playing so well. That’s Jacob playing the French horn. The video may be slow to load, but impressive if you’re patient!
Click here to watch video: IMG_1322
This past Saturday was the school’s annual 4k Fun Run. Danielle, Jacob and Allison all did very well and had a great time!
On Sunday we participated in an active archeological dig. It was truly fascinating. There are over 1,000 caves at the site and only about 50 of them have been excavated to date. Lots of crawling through VERY tight spaces. We learned how to properly pick and sift. And all of us found multiple pieces of clay and pottery.
Believe it or not, these are just the highlights. It’s truly amazing how much there is to do and see in Israel!