By Shmuel Katz
Sometimes we fall into a rut. Other times we fall out of one.
In the heart of summer and the depth of winter, I have noticed that I run out of things to say for a few weeks. How many times can I really talk about the rain here (the Kineret is terribly short of seasonal growth and may dip below the Lower Red Line over the summer, but that is a story for another day) or the kids’ continued acclimation to the country (they are all Israeli already—enough said).
So I take a break.
The problem is that once I am out of the habit of sitting at the computer each week, it is hard to fall back in. And like an old record player, it usually takes something special to jar me back into the groove.
A few months ago we got an e-vite from our former neighbors Duvy and Sara Goldberg inviting us to the hanachat tefillin of their son Yoni. We are always thrilled to be able to share in smachot here of our friends, especially because we cannot participate in the “old country.” We haven’t seen the Goldbergs all together since we moved here, so it was a really great chance to catch up on their growth and what’s going on in their lives.
And it gave me a bump to put some words together so that I can wish Yoni and his family a terrific mazal tov!
We are also beginning to see the start of something new for our family. Mordechai will be entering 9th grade next year. Although he made a shift of schools for junior high/high school, many kids make another shift when they enter 9th grade (as Aliza did five-and-a-half years ago). Mordechai is less than thrilled with his current school (and we semi-agree with him), so he has been looking around to find a new school for himself.
We have gone through this with two of our three girls, but boys are so vastly different from girls in this arena, and the school has such a different focus, so we were really quite unprepared for the whole process.
Mordechai considered a few options, but surprised us by telling us that he really wants to move to the Sha’alvim high school in Nof Ayalon. Sha’alvim is a dorm school, which means that he would be away from home during the week. And Goldie’s initial reaction was less than encouraging. Yet it is an Israeli Torani environment, which is what we are looking for, so she decided at least to see for herself.
We have a nephew in the school, and after speaking to my brother and his wife as well as other parents and checking out the school, Goldie has been slowly warming to the idea. This week, they had an open house and both Mordechai and his mother walked away very excited.
The school seems warm and caring, rather than cold and impersonal. Mordechai loved the three rebbeim he met. The campus is nice and even the dorms seem well-run, with house-mothers who care a lot about their charges. He made friends with a couple of kids he met at the open house, specifically going out of his way to introduce himself to the other kids and try to befriend them, which made us very proud.
All in all it was a terrific day, and he hopes to get in. We’ll know more in a couple of months. Until then, I’ll have to think of some other material for you! v
Shmuel Katz is the executive director of Yeshivat Migdal HaTorah (www.migdalhatorah.org), a new gap-year yeshiva. Shmuel, his wife Goldie, and their six children made aliyah in July of 2006. Before making aliyah, he was the executive director of the Yeshiva of South Shore in Hewlett. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.