I've been working. It's been about 18 months since I last worked such a full schedule, although I am working less than I did in the states. I feel much more organized when I work. I tend not to procrastinate on things, because I know there is no time to do them the next day. I don't have as much time for blogging, and it really is hard to squeeze it all in, but so far its been okay.
I work in a special education school in Kiryat Sefer, a chareidi city not to far from Modi'in. The ultra-orthodox are referred to, and refer to themselves as "chareidim". I grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and we called the place a "chassidish [pronounced by all good chasidim as "chaseedish"] neighborhood. In Israel it would be called chareidi.
Anyhow the facility is run by chareidim and a high percentage of the students (ages 2to 9, with a variety of handicapping conditions, from very mild to severely multiply handicapped) are from the neighborhood. The staff is mostly chareidi, but there are a number of regular Jews like me and some secular Jews as well.
My last job in the states was working for the New York City Public School system (I loved that job. Really.)
When I came in yesterday to my office, I noticed my office mate had left her bag on her desk. When I asked her if that was wise, she told me that in ten years of working at this facility, there had never been an kleptomaniac incident in the school.
Much as I loved the public school I worked in, the first thing I did upon arrival was put my bag away and bolt the locker closed with 16 different locks and keys. I installed a security system with a private code to ensure noone would get to the $3.00 or so that I usually had in my bag. This was, I assure you, a necessary precaution.
The other thing I noticed was amusing to me. I found a stack of pictures used to encourage description and answer questions in one of the speech offices. I had had a similar set in the states. Only in this set, everytime there was a boy or man in the set, someone had colored in a black kippah and a beard. Some of these pictures had boys and girls together in them, but I guess they had no way to get around that.
I remember growing up in Williamsburg, there were coloring books that featured Moshe Rabbenu always dressed in a shtreimel and bekeshe (the traditional hasidic garb consisting of fur hat and long black coat). The women in those pictures were always wearing wigs and Shabbos robes. That just cracks me up. As a kid, I thought, don't these people know anything?
Moshe Rabbenu looks like this and not like a chasid!
My husband and I made Aliyah in September, 07. We came with three daughters, ages 10, 12 and 14. Aliyah is not an easy adjustment for all us at our advanced ages, but we are happy to be here in the land of the Jewish people and are rising to the challenge of learning to be real Israelis (!).