07 Sep Back to school for Bnei Menashe
With a healthy does of excitement and anticipation, the 2016-17 school year in Israel has begun. For the Bnei Menashe immigrant children there are many unique challenges and therefore numerous creative solutions.
In each Israeli community where Bnei Menashe live, Shavei Israel has worked together with the municipalities and the schools, to ensure that there are adequate support systems in place to help the children succeed and thrive in school. National service girls from the Bnei Menashe community who can speak their language are assigned to help the children. After-school programs have been established to provide homework help and an activity framework while parents work. In some cases special classes geared specifically toward the Bnei Menashe have opened to address the specific needs of this unique immigrant population.
In Hispin in the Golan Heights, for example, the incoming 9th grade at the boys high school includes an entire class for Bnei Menashe boys. The faculty members who work with that class include a main teacher, an education coordinator, a social worker, a class mother, and a counselor who is responsible for the students’ activities.
Chanoch Haokip, himself a Bnei Menashe who works for Shavei Israel as an advocate on their behalf, says the school programs are great, and encourage parental involvement at all levels. On that very first day the parents escorted their children despite the distance from most of their homes. They got to see the school grounds, meet the faculty, and even wrote messages of good luck to their sons in their native tongue.
With nearly 1,000 Bnei Menashe schoolchildren in Israeli schools we’d like to wish them all the best for a wonderful and successful school year! As we say in Israel, B’hatzlacha!!