Here’s that post I promised about school in Israel

Since everyone is posting back to school photos and posts I thought it was time to tell you a bit about school in Israel.

*Please note that I may get some facts wrong.  I will try to make sure that everything posted here is as correct as possible.  Also note that a lot of what I am going to write is my own experience and that everyone will experience the school system differently.

The majority of schools in Israel are State Schools.  This means they are funded by the Department of Education and are therefore free.

For Aaron, who is in Kita Aleph/1st Grade, we still have to pay for his books and stationary.  We probably have to pay for a PTA type levy or a class fund but no one has asked us for anything like that yet, maybe because we started school in the middle of the year.

Faiths Gan (Pre-Kindergarten) also happens to be free (at least I hope so as they have only asked us for the PTA levy/class fund money and not anything else).

Children in Modi’in are assigned to schools according to their residential address, Aaron’s school is two blocks up the road from us. Faith’s is the same block as us, just on the road behind us (we can see the playground out our bedroom windows) and there is a nifty little path next to our apartment that cuts to the road behind us.

We drop the kids at school anytime between 7:30 and 8:00 and Aaron’s school day ends at 12:45 while Faith’s school day ends at 13:45.

Since we are working we have enrolled both children at aftercare.  This is a paid service and you have to register through the Education Department.  You can fetch the children no later than 16:45.  It is quite expensive but the children are given a hot lunch (yesterday they had chicken soup, hamburgers and salad), the older kids get homework supervision and they also have some kind of entertainment, either art class or drama or something sporty.

In Gan there is no uniform at all, kids wear what is comfortable for them.  In grade school the children wear a modified uniform.  They can wear any pants/skirts and shoes that they like.  T-shirts and sweaters/hoodies have to be plain (though can be any colour) and need to have the schools logo/badge printed on them.  The stores that sell the shirts also iron on the badges.

That’s the basics.


Faith is loving Gan.  She is making friends and learning Hebrew.  She adores her teachers.

Aaron’s school is fantastic.  They are arranging for him to have additional Hebrew lessons so his vocab will increase and they also help him along during the day too.  He has made friends and is generally a very happy boy.

So far we are really really happy.

**It looks like a did get a fact or two wrong. Here is a comment that Dan left on Facebook for me:

You’ll have to pay for books every year. The school can charge an additional 1 time amount – depending on grade but with a cap set by the MoE – for extra activities (i.e. the annual trip.) The parent’s association may or may not ask for money at the start of the year but may ask for specific things – depends on the parents. The after-school is run by the municipality with no oversight from the MoE whatsoever. Education is from 3 and up in municipal schools although there are some schools in the city that are subsidized by the MoE and charge an extra fee and those any resident of the city can sign up for.

Go follow <Dan> on Twitter, he is funny and a font of information on Modi’in and living in Israel.  He also likes Star Wars so he gets extra points!

My children deserve a medal. Or ice cream. Or both!

This move has been stressful.  Any move is, but packing up an entire house and sending it on a ship to a house you have never seen is super stressful.

And thats a 35 year old grown up that is finding it stressful.  I can only imagine how daunting and overwhelming this must be for a 7 year old and a 4 year old.

My children though, have taken everything in stride.  A few small wobbles, a bit of separation anxiety but mainly they have been super stars!

Both children helped sort out their toys.  What toys were broken and needed to be thrown away, what toys could be given to charity and what toys were being sent to Israel.  There were no tears, no tantrums, just acceptance that they were not taking everything with.  They both made a concerted effort to ‘save’ toys for charity.  When I asked them to each choose 3 fluffy toys, they did so with no arguing.  The rest they made sure that I sent to a charity with children that would love the soft toys like they did.

They have taken to living in my moms house as if it were their own.  They are kind and courteous to my moms elderly domestic worker (She raised me from newborn!) and say please and thank you and help clear off the table and make their beds.  They carry laundry upstairs for her and give her hugs and kisses whenever they see her.

Every single day these children amaze me in their ability to adapt and to take things in stride.  I expect a few more wobbles along the way and we will deal with those as they occur but my kids have made me the proudest mom in the last few weeks.

#OperationIsrael Countdown

  • 1 day left of owning my Tazz
  • 3 days left of work (including today)
  • 7 days until the movers arrive to pack our things
  • 11 days until we hand over the keys to our house to the new owners
  • 22 days left of school
  • 33 sleeps until we get on the plane


A little bit of Jozi!

Walking in Rosebank Mall the other day I came across {I Was Shot in Joburg}. This amazing initiative provides a platform for  youth at risk to learn new skills and generate income.

They also make the most amazing art!

I fell in love with the pillows made from veld and sporting some Jozi slang.

I knew I would be making my way back to the stall to buy some cushions for our Israeli couch!



You can find ‘I Was Shot in Joburg’ at Rosebank Mall and Arts on Main where they have a permanent gallery.

*I was not paid to write this post, I just adore the concept and the products!

Why we are not taking our dogs to Israel

Its heartbreaking.  They are our babies.  They have been with us for 9 years.

There are many reasons we are going to Israel.  Its our home.  The children will have an amazing life there, freedom like we had when we were children.  I have family there.  There are a few reasons that are private.

Even though the life we will have in Israel is better for us and for our children, it will not be better for our dogs.

Right now, we live in an average size, three bedroom house with a medium size garden.  Our front gate has a panel cut out and the dogs can run between the inside and the outside at their leisure.  They are also hardly ever alone, as our housekeeper is there during the day when we are at work and the kids are at school.

In Israel we will be living in a 2 bedroom flat/apartment, on the 2nd floor with no garden.  There will be no housekeeper.  Both Paul and I will be working full time (working hours are very different there too) and the children will be at school for most of the day.

How can I leave three active dogs locked up in an apartment all day?  If I was guaranteed a work from home job then maybe it could work.  I could take them out three or four times a day to run and play and do their business.  But that is not a guarantee.

This is a decision that was not made lightly.  We love our babies.  They are such special animals.  They are definitely not replaceable objects like a fridge or a bed.

They are living, breathing, creatures and THAT is why we made the decision not to take them with us.  They deserve better.  They deserve a home with a garden to run in and to be around people during the day.  They deserve to keep the freedom they have always known, they deserve to be pampered all day and have someone to play with them.  They deserve to be able to lie in the sun on their favourite patch of sand or come inside and climb on the couch and veg.

Do I feel like an awful mommy for not taking them with us? YES! Am I going to cry and sob like a baby when its time to give them to their new mommy and daddy. YES! Do I feel like I am doing the right thing for them? Absolutely!

I contacted {Dachshund Rescue South Africa} and the wonderful ladies there are helping us to find my babies a new home.  They have been amazing.  No judgement at all, just a solid presence helping us find them a new home.


If you know of anyone who would be able to give our babies a loving, comfortable forever home, or can help out any of the other precious babies looking for homes, please contact Sanmarie on  You can also volunteer to be a foster parent while forever homes are being found for all these babies.  Alternatively you can make a donation to DRSA (registered non-profit):

Dachshund Rescue South Africa
FNB Clearwater 
Account 62418285757
Branch code: 251141

To take with or not to take with…

Housing in Israel is very very different to South Africa.  Most people live in apartment buildings, and they are not huge apartments either. Even houses are different, most being multi-level with no gardens or very small gardens.

A typical Modiin neighbourhood
A typical Modiin neighbourhood

We will be moving into a 2 bedroom apartment.  The kids will be getting a bunk bed.  We need to sell our King Size extra length bed since there is no way it would fit into an Israeli apartment.

So, this is our ‘Take With’ list:

  • All our kitchen stuff, cutlery, crockery, pots, pans etc…
  • Washing machine
  • Tumble dryer
  • Dishwasher!
  • Small appliances
  • Dining room suite (its an antique that I just had recovered and I love it), includes 8 chairs and a sideboard
  • 2 additional side boards (one I use to store my Pesach things and the other is my linen cupboard)
  • Lounge table
  • Clothes
  • Kids toys (2 boxes each)
  • All our linen, blankets, duvets, pillows etc…

This is our ‘Not to Take With’ list:

  • Our Smeg fridge
  • Smeg freezer (we wont have space for a full fridge and a full freezer)
  • Lounge suite (Its very big and also needs to be recovered)
  • TV (very old)
  • TV cabinet
  • Bookshelves
  • Kids beds
  • Our bed and bedside tables

Trying to decide what to take and what not to take is hard, especially since we dont know what our new apartment will look like yet (we are trying to find an apartment as I type).

What would be your MUST take items?


We are going home.

Israel.  We are going home to Israel.


We have had this thought of making Aliyah (emigrating) to Israel for about 5 years, but various things kept us here.

A few months ago we made the decision that now is the time.  The kids are young enough, we are young enough.  Lets go!

I have sold my big car, the house has been sold (in 3 weeks!!! Need a fantastic estate agent contact {Wendi}!!), I have resigned, the kids know, our families have has some time to process everything.

We leave mid December.  Thats 2 and a half months away!  Our lift leaves in 6 weeks!!  I haven’t even started packing or deciding what is being given away or sold or coming with us.

Its all very hectic and very exciting.

This is going to be the adventure of a life time and I cant wait to take you on our journey with us!

A belated Israel post

Israel was amazing!

We spent most of our time with family and very little time touring but that is why we went, to be with family!

In Tel Aviv, we were right by the beach, a 5 minute walk away to be precise.  Now, Im not really a beach person but we went 3 or 4 times and I swam in the gorgeous warm ocean and got a tan.  The kids loved it!  We found a restaurant on the beach (literally, tables and chairs in the sand) and plonked ourselves down for a few hours a day.

We walked to the mall and took taxis to my brothers flat and had picnics in the park near his house.

In Jerusalem we spent our evenings with our Israeli family and the days with our family from the UK.

The wedding was amazing.  So very very special.  Looking out over the old city, our family and friends all together.  It was a truly happy and joyous occasion.

And the food!  The food in Israel was amazing.  We didnt stop eating.  The croissants in the morning from the corner store, the felafel and shwarma from the little hole-in-the-wall shops, the Italian restaurant we celebrated my Grandfathers birthday in, the homemade meals our family served us.  So much of yummy food all the time!

Here are a few snaps from the trip!


My 88 year old grandfather with his 92 year old brother and his sister in law
My 88 year old grandfather with his 92 year old brother and his sister in law


Baha'i Gardens
Baha’i Gardens


My grandfather and my brother resting while the gals shop
My grandfather and my brother resting while the gals shop


Our little beach restaurant in Tel Aviv
Our little beach restaurant in Tel Aviv


Tel Aviv sunset from my brothers apartment
Tel Aviv sunset from my brothers apartment


Tel Aviv market
Tel Aviv market


More Tel Aviv market
More Tel Aviv market


The Jerusalem windmill at night
The Jerusalem windmill at night 


My brother and my new sister :):):)
My brother and my new sister :):):)


The Kottel (Western Wall)
The Kottel (Western Wall)


Aunty Yana and the kids
Aunty Yana and the kids


Ruins of the Southern Wall in Jerusalem
Ruins of the Southern Wall in Jerusalem


Trying to move the huge rock that once made up part of the old city walls
Trying to move the huge rock that once made up part of the old city walls


Ancient olive tree
Ancient olive tree


Buttons, the cutest dog in Israel
Buttons, the cutest dog in Israel


Kitty sculpture in the Mamila Mall, Jerusalem
Kitty sculpture in the Mamila Mall, Jerusalem


Why cant ants read books...
Why cant ants read books…


Sibling love!
Sibling love!


















Our Tel Aviv Apartment

So I tweeted that our apartment is like living in an Escher painting. It gives new meaning to the phrase ‘split level’

Here is a quick video. Excuse the mess and the unruly children.

It’s also a 5 minute walk from the beach and a 10 minute walk to the Disengof shopping centre!

Of birthdays and traveling…

4 more sleeps until my birthday.  I’m not usually one to get excited about a birthday, and considering this is not a ‘big’ one, I’m not entirely sure why I’m excited.  But I am 🙂

We are going to be Art Jamming so maybe that’s why.  I love painting (even though I cant paint for shit) and being creative so I’m looking forward to that.

Its also a family orientated birthday, the kids will be there so it should be even more fun.  Im betting my kids paint better pictures than me 🙂

Im following the painting session with lunch with those that cant or wont paint.  And then we are off to see Wolverine that night.

So yup, a super special birthday for me!

Keep Calm and HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! Poster

Then in just over a months time, we get on a plane to Israel and I get to see my brother and almost sister in law (and their puppy).  I cannot, CANNOT, wait to see  my brother.  Its been 2 and a half years since I have seen him and I miss him so much.

I cannot believe my brother is actually getting married, I remember when he was born! Too awesome for words!

I also cant wait to see the dozen or so friends of mine that all reside in Israel.  Its going to be an amazing and special time.