What should I expect?

The popular Israeli song, “Yeladim Ze Simcha,” celebrates children as a joy and blessing.  Israeli society cherishes children and provides a school system with opportunities to achieve academic excellence and emotional development.  In contrast to many Jewish children in the Diaspora who rely on privately funded schools, the overwhelming majority of Israeli children benefit from attending the public school system funded mostly, if not exclusively, by taxes.  This alone is a reason to celebrate!

As Israel is a nation built on the value and appreciation of Aliyah, the education system provides tools to assist your children in integrating into the Israeli classroom.  Assistance in learning Hebrew is mandated by the Ministry of Education.

Aliyah to Israel means that your children will enter a completely new educational experience.  A new language with a new educational culture.  Educational philosophies, curriculum, parent-teacher relationship, the school calendar, and physical facilities will be different from those in North America.

Making Aliyah with school-aged children brings many blessings as well as challenges to make sure that they are in the right program.  Having your children learn in Hebrew, in Israel, together with other Israeli children, is a very special experience.  The opportunity for your children’s growth, from their school experience, is one of the exciting aspects of making Aliyah.

Five questions to consider when looking at your educational options in Israel:

  1. Which school system?

This may be determined by what school your children currently attend.

  • Mamlachti (secular public) – Similar to public or private, non-religious schools, in North America. Click HERE for school locations.
  • Mamlachti Dati (religious Zionist public) – Modern orthodox day schools best align with these programs, which include a wide range of religious observances, including Torani (Torah-oriented) or Chardal (Chareidi Dati Leumi) schools with enhanced Torah studies. Click HERE for school locations.
  • Chareidi – Yeshivot and girls’ institutions (including Bais Yaakov) would be similar to this program. Click HERE for school locations. There are usually three options:
    1. Mamlachti Chareidi, which offers a full curriculum of religious and secular studies supervised by the Ministry of Education and is geared to full high school matriculation (Bagruyot).
    2. Mukar She’eyno Rishmi (recognized but unofficial), which makes up the vast majority of Chareidi schools that have partial supervision by the Ministry of Education, including Chinuch Atzmai (Independent Education system) and Maayan Hachinuch Hatorani (Sephardic Torah education); and
  • Mosdot Ptor (exempt institutions) that are independent.
  1. Where do you see your child post-high school?

This is a hard question to answer and may sound a bit pretentious, as your 3-year-old starts pre-school, or your 6-year-old enters elementary school.  The rationale behind the question is that some schools are focused on a specific track that may preclude other options.

  • IDF/National Service and or University & Vocational training – If you envision your child growing up to serve in the IDF or National Service the Mamlachti and Mamlachti Dati schools may be the preferred options. If you envision your child continuing to higher education in an Israeli university, then Mamlachti, Mamlachti Dati, and Mamlachti Chareidi may be the preferred options.
  • Yeshiva, seminary studies, Chareidi college & vocational training – If you are looking for a Chareidi education for your children and foresee presenting them with the option of a Chareidi college, then one of the Chareidi educational options would guide them in this direction.
  1. Does the outlook of the school match my own?

For those sending their children to a religious or non-religious framework, does the school reflect the values and practices at home?  There is a wide range of standards that are reflected in a religious school’s regulations and expectations of in and out-of-school behavior, including dress codes.  It is strongly recommended not to overburden your children upon Aliyah with a significant change from their current practice.

  1. What are the schools in my community?

Once you have the answers to questions 1,2 and 3 you can create a list of the relevant schools in the community you are researching.  Educational philosophy, academic achievements, extra-curricular activities, tuition costs, how students relate to each other, and the educational staff are some of the aspects upon which to reflect.

  1. What Oleh resources are available in the school?

Communities and schools with a large population of Olim are usually able to offer enhanced services to children above and beyond the 6 hours per week of Hebrew assistance mandated by the Israeli Ministry of Education (called Shaot Olim).  Schools without a critical mass of Olim students will not have the economies to provide additional Oleh services.  Many times, even in communities with many Olim students, enhanced Aliyah services may be at an extra cost, which needs to be clarified with the school.  In a school without many Olim students, it is important to verify that your child will receive the Shaot Olim in a timely and consistent manner.

Top five locations with the highest number of English-speaking Olim students:

  1. Beit Shemesh
  2. Jerusalem
  3. Modi’in
  4. Efrat (Gush Etzion)
  5. Ra’anana

If you have questions or comments, please email us at [email protected].

* Last updated on February 22, 2023 *

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