25 May Health and Sexuality Education at Schechter Manhattan

Recently the 6th-grade students and I have been talking about body parts.  The boys have been meeting with me, while the girls talk with Reyzl, the 6th-grade Advisory Teacher, for some of the lessons in the Schechter Manhattan Health curriculum. The students were, at first, a bit uncomfortable talking with the Head of School about parts of the body they don’t usually mention in my company, and there were some giggles (ok, many giggles).  But, as we made our way through the lessons of the Health unit, the 6th-grade students have done a great job engaging seriously with important topics- sexuality, sexual organs, sexual behaviors, and sexual relationships. I have been teaching health classes in the Schechter Manhattan Middle School for over a decade, and it is among the most gratifying and important work I do as a Jewish educator.  As we are in the midst of the 6th-grade lessons, I am reminded of the core principles at work in our teaching of health and sexuality that make the units such successful parts of the Schechter Manhattan experience.

The Schechter Manhattan Health and Sexuality Education Mission Statement and Program Goalsoutline the beliefs and aspirations that form the basis of our approach.  Here are few key points worth noting:

“We believe that sexuality is a normal part of human development.”  While Middle School students often express discomfort talking about the topics we discuss in health classes, we make clear that there is nothing secret or dangerous about human development or sexuality. Rather, since these topics are fundamental to all human beings, the course content is very important, and from a Jewish perspective, reflects the holiness of God’s creation.  Health class is treated, as much as we can, just like any other class, with all students being asked and expected to engage in meaningful thinking and learning activities. Students are encouraged to speak about the topics outside of class–with each other as they feel ready to, and especially with their parents. At the same time, since we know that students find the topics sensitive, we also set clear guidelines together for how we can maintain a safe learning environment in health classes.  The guidelines that the 6th grade came up with this year include avoiding jokes during class and maintaining a respectful tone of voice and body language. We also end each class by asking the students to submit an anonymous exit card, on which they write feedback about how they felt during the lesson and ask any questions they have that they want answers to but may not have felt comfortable asking publicly. In these ways, we nurture a safe learning environment, so that health class can, in most ways, be conducted with the same high levels of engagement and student participation as all of their other classes.

“The health and sexuality education program aims to facilitate individual and group learning and reflection on societal values within a framework of Jewish tradition and Jewish values.” Each unit of the health curriculum includes study of and reflection on core Jewish ideas that relate to the topics of study, and which frame the dialogue in the class.  In 6th grade, for example, we studied verses from Breshit about God creating human beings בצלם אלהים, in God’s image.  Students discussed the implications of both men and women being in God’s image and concluded that regardless of our different bodies, our innate holiness calls for us to treat ourselves and others with caring and respect.  We also considered texts from the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Moed Katan, about the concept of כבוד הבריאות, honoring God’s creations, in which the classical rabbis changed religious practices so as to make sure to avoid embarrassing anyone in the community.  As we approach discussions of different types of bodies, sexual behaviors, and sexual relationships we come back to these core Jewish values, to make sure that we are talking about and treating all human beings with care, and with sensitivity to their feelings.  Incorporating Jewish text study and the application of the enduring values embedded in our heritage to our students’ real lives sends them the powerful message that Jewish tradition is a source of wisdom that can help us understand our lived experiences.

“Students who participate in the Schechter Manhattan health and sexuality education program will be respectful and sensitive in their interpersonal relationships of all sorts.”  The examples of Jewish values shared above relate directly to this goal of our health program, for students develop the skills and dispositions to nurture positive interpersonal relationships, including, one day, romantic relationships.  The units of the Health curriculum, which are taught in grades 5 to 8, each include lessons focused on the ways that people develop and sustain positive relationships. Discussions of sexual behaviors are connected to thinking about relationships between partners, and we keep coming back to the idea that our physical and emotional selves are inextricably intertwined.  Lessons about peer pressure also help students consider how to make good choices in the face of real social challenges while maintaining positive relationships in their social groups.

Relationships between people of different genders is an important part of the Schechter Manhattan health and sexuality education program.  As a general principle, we want students to understand that these topics can and should be discussed respectfully in mixed gender groups, so most lessons in the curriculum include all the students in the grade together.  And, for a few lessons when we know students feel most comfortable in single-gender groups, we divide up, so as to create the safe space in which students can have their questions answered. In those single gender groupings, we are careful to highlight that we should be talking about the other gender with sensitivity and respect, making clear that even though we are not in the same space at the moment we must practice empathy for those who are different than us.  Careful use of language is important in all health classes, especially in regards to gender, and we work hard to use words that are inclusive of the diversity of gender identities and sexual orientations.

When talking about sexual behaviors, consent is an integral part of the discussion.  Lessons in the 7th-grade unit about avoiding sexual harassment and assault and in the 8th grade unit about making safe choices afford opportunities for students to clarify what consent means and what actions they can take to avoid being a victim or a victimizer.  In the current climate of discussion in our society about sexual harassment and assault, I have felt that our graduates have been well prepared, knowing that I had personally talked with them about the idea that the only way to have consent for sexual behaviors is if you and your partner communicate with each other, say out loud, what your intentions and expectations are.  I am hopeful that these conversations set up our students to avoid negative sexual interactions and to build positive relationships.

“Students who participate in the Schechter Manhattan health and sexuality education program will be well prepared to make considered and responsible choices when faced with new situations.”  Much of the content and ideas in the health classes are things that students have not experienced yet.  The lessons are designed to offer students what sexuality educator Deborah Roffman calls anticipatory guidance- helping them prepare to navigate the next set of development challenges that they will face.  We want our students to consider their values, ask questions, and think about new situations now, in the safety of our classes, so that they will be better positioned to make good and safe choices in the coming months and years.  Each year, the 8th-grade lessons that ask students to role-play various situations they will face in high school, relating to peer pressure, romantic relationships, and teen use of drugs and alcohol, feel poignant to me. Seeing the students work through situations that are new and for many of them unfamiliar, but also knowing that they will certainly face these challenges in just a few months’ time, reminds me how timely and critical it is for them to talk about these things now before they reach high school.

“Parents are unique in their ability to share their own family values with their children and we strive to promote a healthy, ongoing dialogue between students and their parents about the choices students will face as they grow and mature.”  When I remind the students, during every lesson, that is always a good idea to talk to their parents about the things we discuss in health class, some students invariably look at me like I am crazy.  It is common for adolescents to feel uncomfortable speaking with their parents about sexuality and sexual behaviors. And it is also common for parents to feel uncomfortable talking to their kids about these topics.  And it is so important for them to talk to each other about it. This part of our lives as human beings is an area where we live out our values, and parents hold a unique position in helping their children integrate those values into their decision making.  I encourage Schechter Manhattan parents to find opportunities to talk about all of these topics with their kids- when your child asks a question, when something comes up in the media or conversation, or when you feel like you need to impart your perspective and wisdom.

At Schechter Manhattan, my colleagues and I will continue opening up safe spaces for our students to get accurate information, have their questions answered, and develop the skills and dispositions to make safe choices.  In partnership with parents who talk to their children about sexuality and share their values, our students are put on a trajectory towards healthy growth into responsible and good people.

Shabbat Shalom

Benjamin Mann

Author’s Chair

Each week we will feature the written work of our students. We hope that you will stop back next week and see what they are writing and thinking about.


Students wrote about what they did over the weekend, including Shavuot.

“Yestrday I sPendid Time with my parits and my bothrs. I had a Littl bit of Fun.”
(Yesterday I spent time with my parents and my brothers. I had a little bit of fun.)

“I went to a ise crem parte. I got shoclit iscrem. It was fun.”
(I went to an ice cream party. I got chocolate ice cream.)

“I haba plabaad I had a shavout lunch at ometiz hws.”
I had a playdate. I had a Shavuot lunch at Amitai’s house.)



After in-depth studies of a character of their choice from their serial books, students wrote short essays about why they would or would not like a playdate with their character. Please find excerpts from their essay attached below, in which students used their knowledge of their characters’ personality traits to make their decision.

Click here to view work by Avner, Adam, Liat, Nava & Hanna



The fifth graders worked hard on their immigration projects. Each student wrote a paper about a topic of their choice.

Russian Immigration

Did your family immigrate from Russia? According to the 2000 census, over 11 million Americans claim to have Russian heritage. There were two waves of Russian immigration to America. The first one is called the ‘old immigration’ and the second one is called the ‘new immigration’. The ‘new immigration’ was in 1890-1930. Men often made the journey first and then saved up money for their family to join them. They primarily settled in places like New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Chicago. In order to escape discrimination and poverty, Russians came to America in hopes of a better life. Despite some challenges, America proved to provide a better life.

One reason people left Russia was religious persecution. An example of this is pogroms. A pogrom is an act of violence against Jews because of their religion. Pogroms destroyed homes and stores. They were encouraged by the government. Another type of religious persecution was The Pale of Settlement. The Pale of Settlement was an area where Jews were forced to live. They could not leave unless they had permission, and even if they did leave they were not aloud to own land and were forced into certain jobs. Not only were Jews persecuted, Molokans were as well. The Molokans were a religious and cultural group who completely disappeared after feeling persecuted for their beliefs. The Molokans left Russia in 1906 and 1907 because the other Russians were harassing them for their religious beliefs. Religious persecution was a big factor in Russians coming to America.

Some Russians left Russia because of environmental reasons. Russia had bad Cholera epidemics in the 1800’s and early 1900’s because of lack of water and sewage treatment systems. Millions of people died because of it. Russia suffered from not having an improved sanitation systems or good medical care. Some Russians left because of famine and starvation. The environment in Russia was not safe.

Another reason that people left Russia was because they had an autocratic government. An  autocratic government is a government where people don’t get to vote or elect their administration. People do not have a say in what their government does. This was terrible because the czar had complete control and made decisions because of what brought him wealth or power, not because of what was good for most of the  Russians. The czar was what their leader was called. If you disagreed with the czar you were killed or jailed. Some Russians left because of the Russian Revolution. The Russian Revolution was a violent revolution when Russia became a communist country in 1917. Some Russians left Russia because of the autocratic government and the Russian Revolution.

Some Russians left Russia due to the economic system. The Russians worked long hours, but got low pay. If you were born in lower class, it was not possible to work your way up to a higher part of society. You would stay in lower class for your whole life. A reason that some Russians left Russia was the unfair economic system.

As a result of an autocratic government and the Russian Revolution, some Russians decided to leave Russia. In America, the immigrants hoped to find stability and escape religious and political persecution. They came for political freedom because America does not have an autocratic government. In America they could elect their government.

Another reason that Russians came to America was because it had more job opportunities. They hoped to get employed.  People often got jobs like  tailors, peddlers, miners, and sometimes even professionals like professors or doctors. The immigrants wanted to escape poverty and hunger. You could become wealthy by working hard, saving money, and spending money wisely. Even if you were poor in your old country you could becomes successful in America. Some Russians came to America because it had a better economic system.

Some came to America for environmental reasons. In America there was less fear of disease. The climate and environment were better. Immigrants hoped to find fertile land in America.  The Great Plains were accessible by rail and offered fertile land. The Great Plains also had inexpensive land. Some immigrants came to America to find fertile land.

Once the immigrants left Russia, they still had some problems to deal with. One challenge was the journey. Some immigrants faced robbers who would try to steal all their money and items of value. These robbers made the trip dangerous. Immigrants often had to bribe guards or run across the border to Poland or Prussia. There were also very few roads and automobiles. Most immigrants could only afford steerage class tickets. In steerage class there were no windows and very little air circulation. Many immigrants got seasickness. Once the boat ride was over, the immigrants had to go to Ellis Island. At Ellis Island the immigrants were asked questions about their marital status, financial resources, political and religious ties, country of origin, and destination. If the doctors thought that an immigrant had a contagious disease they would be sent back to their original country. Some immigrants cried so much on the ship that when they arrived in America their eyes were so red and puffy that the doctors thought that they had an eye condition and sent them back to Russia. After all they sacrificed to come to America, some immigrants were rejected and sent back to their home county. For this reason, Ellis Island was known by some as the Isle of Tears.

Even after Ellis Island, there were still some hurdles for the immigrants to overcome. One example of this was the living conditions. Most immigrants lived in crowded and dirty tenement buildings because that was all they could afford. Many of them had to rent a room in their tenement to someone else because they could not pay the rent. America wasn’t perfect, but it was still better than where they came from.

Another challenge for the immigrants was bad work conditions. The immigrants often had difficult jobs like working in a mine or a factory. Some miners got lung disease or injuries due to breathing in coal dust. They often worked twelve hours a day, but they got paid very little amounts. The work conditions for immigrants were unsafe and uncomfortable.

Russians fled Russia due to Anti-semitism and poverty. They came to America with hopes of freedom and a better life. In the end, America proved to have a better situation than where they came from. The immigrants faced struggles like the journey to America, living in tenements, and bad work conditions. Russian immigrants have had great successes, such as George Balanchine and Igor Stravinsky. George Balanchine was a famous dance choreographer, and Igor Stravinsky was a well known composer. The story of Russian immigration is an example of how immigrants can build something out of nothing by working hard and never giving up on a better life.


Immigration from Greece to America

Because of unemployment, lack of freedom, and a bad government, many people left Greece to find a better life in America. However, when they got there, things were nothing like they thought. When Greece was invaded by the Ottoman Empire in the 1500s, the Greeks lost all freedom. When they finally regained control of Greece, things did not get much better for them as a result of the new government. Most of the people leaving Greece for America  were young men who thought that they would be in America for only a short amount of time. They believed that they would make some money and then go back to Greece. For most people leaving Greece for America, that was not the case.

There were many economic problems in Greece during the 1800s. Originally, most Greek farmers grew olives, but when the French wanted currants, most Greek farmers cut down their olive trees and started growing currants instead. In 1890, the French refused to buy Greek currants to protect their own currant farmers. Because most Greek farmers had gotten rid of their olive trees, they no longer had a way to make money to feed their families. Additionally, there were some pretty bad living conditions in Greece. Most farm families lived in small farm houses. Entire families,  parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and children, would be crammed into tiny, one room homes. Because of these economic challenges, many people wanted to leave Greece.

Greece had many political issues as well. In 1453, the Turks took over Greece and ruled until 1821. During this time, the Turks banned all Greek culture including the language. Finally, the Greeks rose up and fought the Turks for their freedom. There was a long a revolutionary war in Greece that lasted until 1829. Unfortunately, that was not the end of the political problems in Greece. The new Greek government officials were constantly fighting among themselves. On top of that, the government officials ignored the needs and problems of the Greek peasants. People in Greece felt that they were not free to do what they wanted to because of their government.

Due to the conditions that the people of Greece lived in, they always kept an eye out for a way to improve their lives. Some people in Greece learned about job opportunities in America. Poor Greek farmers heard stories about a Greek man who went to America with a group of friends and easily started a very successful business working at a streetside cart. Some farmers thought that they could go to America and make money there as well. In America, immigrants could have a variety of jobs such as working in candy stores, shoeshine parlors, tobacco shops, theaters, restaurants, grocery stores, and flower shops. In America, immigrants could get jobs that paid better than their jobs in Greece. Not only that, but because of the higher wages in America, people could get better business than they could in Greece.

Some Greeks thought that the government in America would be better than the one in Greece. They thought that they would be able to live their lives the way that they wanted. In America, they hoped that they would be treated better than they were being treated in Greece. Due to this idea, they believed that life in America would be better than in Greece.

Due to the long and difficult voyage to America, potential immigrants had to really want or need to go. Most of the people leaving Greece did not have enough money to pay for the trip. Because of this, most of them had to borrow money from money lenders. Even then, almost all of the people leaving Greece could only just afford a steerage ticket. Steerage was the cheapest kind of ticket. The people leaving were in the lowest, darkest part of the ship. Sometimes over 300 people were crammed into the dark, cramped, wet bottom of the ship. On top of that, ocean storms sometimes delayed the already two to four-week journey. Due to this, many people did not make the journey.

As hard as the trip to America was, the hard voyage was not the worst of the Greek’s problems. The code of conduct for a Greek man was that a Greek man should always have the upper hand. This made Greek men very proud and boastful. It sometimes got Greek men into conflicts with other nationalities. As a result of this, many Greeks faced great discrimination. For example, in the western states, Greeks had to live in their own labor camps because they were not even allowed to live with Americans. Greek men could not live with other men working on railroads or coal mines. Greeks could not even live in some neighborhoods.

To get away from poverty and a bad government, people left Greece in hopes of jobs and freedom in America. The Greeks faced a long trip to America. But instead of being welcomed, they were faced with discrimination. They got jobs and made money despite their troubles. Parts of Greek culture such as the Olympics have survived to this day. The story of Greek Immigration is an example of immigrants fleeing from one country to another in hopes of a better life.


Japanese immigration

According to a 2015 survey, there are currently approximately 1,411,000 Japanese people in America. The story of Japanese immigration to America is one of struggle, discrimination, and the search for a better life. Unfortunately for many Japanese immigrants, America was proved to be a difficult adjustment, full of many of the same struggles they had before, just in a new land.

Different challenges in Japan led Japanese people to emigrate. Meant to keep peace and help bring Japan into the 20th century, a treaty between Japan and the US called the treaty of Kangawa or Peace and Amity led Japan to become more modern, urbanized, and industrialized. In this process, agriculture became less important so farmers lost their jobs, homes, and land. People hated this and wanted to leave for these reasons.

Modernization caused many unexpected problems. In the mid-1800’s, Japan experienced economic depression. There were fewer jobs available and higher taxes. It was difficult for Japanese people to pay them because their wages went down and taxes went up. Even the people with jobs were not able to pay the taxes because of this. It was also hard to leave Japan because you could not get a passport unless Japan trusted you would come back. This was another reason why people emigrated from Japan.

Japanese people immigrating to America needed to get some jobs. For instance, in Hawaii, immigrants were hired to come work on sugarcane and pineapple plantations. Also they  could work on farms, railroads, and mines. These jobs required little education and skill, and this was good for the immigrants, because they needed jobs quickly and could not yet afford school.

A second reason why Japanese people immigrated to America was because of religion and culture. America let Japanese people, and all people, practice their religions freely. There were even after school programs to practice Japanese religions. Also, American culture had strong military strength, which was familiar to the Japanese people, and a modern way of life. Also, America still had less expensive taxes.

In Hawaii there were some challenges. Like immigrants were treated badly by plantation owners, they would be whipped for not working hard enough. Also if they missed a day of work they would have to work 2 more days to make up for it. They wanted to go back to Japan and tried to save up but lots of them could not get enough money. On the other hand some good things were that they could continue their traditions in Hawaii. They even didn’t work on November 3 because of their emperors birthday.

Japanese immigrants who came to California worked on farms, lumber mills, mining camps, general stores, restaurants, and small hotels. By saving money, many were eventually able to buy land for themselves. Unfortunately, later on California made a law called “The Alien Land Law” which did not allow Japanese immigrants to buy land. Even the land they already owned was taken away!

During this period of immigration there were two types of Japanese American  immigrants: the Nisei and the Issei. Nisei saw themselves as Japanese Americans who studied more American Culture than Japanese culture. Also Nisei could get jobs easier because they were American citizens. Issei saw themselves as Japanese Americans and practiced mostly Japanese culture rather than American culture. Issei could not get jobs so easily because they were not American citizens. Due to the different ways they dealt with their Japanese culture, these two immigration groups had very different immigration experiences.

Japanese immigrants faced many challenges in America, especially racism. Japanese immigrants were treated differently because of how they looked. Since they were not yet citizens, many immigrants were not able to buy land, so they had to put the land in their children’s names. Also in 1942 the United States made new laws to stop all immigration from Japan. Despite this racism, many Japanese immigrants even fought in US military units during WWII, including battles against Imperial Japanese soldiers.

In the early 1940’s, the immigrants faced more challenges after Japan made a surprise attack against America by bombing the Pearl Harbor military base in Hawaii. Americans feared that Japanese people already living in America would help Japan. However, during WWII, the US had an all Japanese unit, and those who did not fight in the army got put in internment  camps. Internment camps are like jail. People would be forced leave their homes and go to the camp to live. The camps were small, stinky, and without privacy. America even built fences with watchtowers surrounding them. The interned Japanese Americans tried to make the best of the situation, but it was hard to live a real life there. After the war lots of Japanese immigrants lost their homes, properties, and businesses in WWII. They also could not become citizens until 1952. After a while America gave everyone who was in internment camps money because they realized how bad the internment camps were. Japanese people tried to go on with their lives, but they had been hurt by their treatment at the hands of the American government.

The story of Japanese immigration shows how poorly this group of immigrants were treated in the United States. It can teach us why we should always be equally fair to people. Despite the challenges they faced, Japanese immigrants were still able to be successful in America. For example, figure skater “Kristi Yamasaki” and sculptor “Isamu Noquchi”are famous Japanese immigrants. These people are important because they make America more fun and interesting.  For instance Kristi Yamasaki is a figure skater and that could be interesting or fun to watch. America has even made places for Japanese immigrants like “Little Tokyo” and people are still immigrating from Japan to the United States today.


Yemen to Israel

היום בישראל יש 435,000 תימנים. גל ההגירה של יהודי תימן התחילה ב- 1948 ונגמרה ב- 9561. כשהתימנים הגיעו לישראל הם התיישבו בעיקר בנגב. בסך הכל בכל השנים של העלייה הגיעו לישראל 50,205 תימנים. במהלך הטיסות לישראל נולדו 12 תינוקות והאיש הכי זקן שעלה לטיסות היה בן 108. מה שהיה ייחודי בהגירה הזאת בשבילי זה שהאנשים שעשו את ההגירה היו תימנים ואני חצי תימנייה. העבודה שלי מדברת על איך התימנים עברו לישראל, מה הם עברו במסע ואיך התנהגו אליהם מתי שהם הגיעו לישראל.

בעבר התימנים בתימן טופלו כמו כל האנשים, הם היו שווים. לפני שישראל הוקמה התייחסו אליהם כמו חברים או משפחה אבל מתי שהוכרזה מדינת ישראל כמדינה לא התנהגו אליהם כמו שהתנהגו אליהם בעבר. כאשר אנשים שמעו על הכרזת מדינת ישראל החלו תנאי המחייה של יהודי תימן להשתנות. רב האנשים  התחילו להתנהג אליהם כמו חיות שמאלפים אותם ומכים אותם. הם החשיבו אותם כאנשים נחותים ולא חשובים שצריכים לגור בבתים מפח, ולחיות חיים לא נורמליים. לא התנהגו אליהם בהתנהגות רגילה ועשו להם כמו חוקים. הממשלה לא התערבה וגם לא עשתה להם כלום ואף אחד לא היה בצידם. הם התנהגו אליהם ככה כי הם חשבו אם יש להם מדינה יהודית למה הם נמצאים במדינה שלנו, הם סתם אנשים שונים מאיתנו. הם עושים את המדינה שלנו למדינה לא טובה  ונחותה.

בגלל הכרזת מדינת ישראל, יהודי תימן התחילו לחיות בתנאים שונים ממה שהם חיו פעם. הבדואים והמוסלמים התייחסו אל יהודי תימן כאנשים שונים ונחותים. הם חשבו שהם אנשים לא מהמין שלהם, ושהם לא צריכים לחיות אתם באותה עיר ובאותה מדינה. מאז שהבדואים והמוסלמים  שמעו על הכרזת מדינת ישראל הם התחילו להכות, לרצוח ולהתעלל ביהודים, מי שעשה את זה היו אזרחים ולא אנשים מהממשלה. הבדואים והמוסלמים לא הרשו ולא נתנו ליהודים לעבוד בעבודות גבוהות ונחשבות. בעקבות זה שיהודי תימן לא עבדו בעבודות גבוהות ונחשבות כמות השכר שלהם ירדה והם לא יכלו לחיות כמו שהם חיו פעם. כמות האוכל ברב הבתים היהודיים ירדה, ומשפחות סבלו מרעב. המשפחות לא יכלו לחיות אורך חיים רגיל כי לפעמים לא היה כסף. המשפחות פחות נהנו מקניית דברים בכסף.

יהודי תימן החליטו לעבור למדינת ישראל מכמה סיבות. הייתה תנועה משכית שעודדה את יהודי תימן לעלות לארץ ישראל. תנועה משכית זה שבאים אנשים ומעודדים אנשים אחרים לעשות משהו שהם מתלבטים עם לעשות אותו. שליחי ישראל באו מארגון שקוראים לו הסוכנות היהודית ועודדו את יהודי תימן להגר ולגור בארץ ישראל. עד היום הסוכנות היהודית קיימת בארץ ישראל. כאשר התימנים שמעו שיש מדינה יהודית הם רצו לעלות אליה, הם רצו לחיות כיהודים במדינה יהודית. הם רצו שלילדים שלהם יהיה מושג על הדת היהודית. הם רצו שלילדים שלהם יהיה מקום יותר טוב לגור בו. והם רצו שהילדים שלהם יתחנכו בישראל כי בישראל יש חינוך יותר טוב מהחינוך בתימן.

בדרך ישראל לא ממש עזרה להם, ישראל רק ארגנה את השליחים שבאו ועודדו את העלייה לארץ ישראל. בדרך במסע לישראל השלטונות הפריעו ועכבו את המסע. השיירות של היהודים נעצרו הרבה פעמים בעקבות השלטונות. עבדים של שליטים מקומיים לקחו כסף על העברת הגבול ומי שלא היה לו  מספיק כסף היו פוגעים בו או הורגים אותו. האימאם השליט של תימן אישר את עזיבת היהודים לארץ ישראל אבל שליטים נמוכים ממנו לא הקשיבו להוראותיו כי הם היו אנטישמים ליהודים, והם הפריעו לעזיבתם של יהודי תימן. הם עצרו אותם הרגו אותם והתעללו בהם. הם עצרו אותם כי חלק מהשליטים לא אהבו יהודים ורצו לעשות להם רע. והחלק האחר של השליטים רק רצה כסף.

ההתנהלות הביורוקרטית  של הרשויות הפריעה ליהודי תימן בדרך ומתי שהם הגיעו לישראל. העובדים של השליטים עצרו את יהודי תימן וגבו מהם מסים. מי שארגן את זה היו השליטים הנמוכים משליט תימן האימאם. גבו מהם מסים על העברת גבול על העברת הישוב או הקיבוץ שהם היו צריכים לעבור או שגבו מהם מסים על כסף. במסע היה להם מאד קשה, הם לא ידעו מה לעשות עם הילדים או שהם יגיעו בכלל לישראל. מתי שתפסו אותם במחנה גאולה ובעוד מחנות שעצרו אותם בדרך לישראל לא היה מספיק אוכל. במחנות לא היה מספיק אוכל כי הרשויות הביורוקרטיות לא דאגו ולא טיפלו בעניין האוכל. הם לא טיפלו בעניין האוכל כי לא היה להם אכפת מהעניין שלא יהיה לאנשים מספיק אוכל לאכול והאנשים יגוועו ברעב.

כשהתימנים עשו את המסע היו שלושה קבוצות, היו זקנים ילדים וצעירים. במסע הזקנים והילדים היו מול הצעירים בגלל החוזק הנפשי והפיזי. הם היו נגד כי הם לא היו חזקים כמו הצעירים. הצעירים היו יותר חזקים פיזית ונפשית מהזקנים והילדים. רב הזקנים והילדים מתו בדרך בגלל החוזק הפיזי והנפשי שלהם. הצעירים היו יותר חזקים כי הם לא חיו יותר מדי זמן, ולא חיו קצת מדי זמן, והם היו כמו באיזון נפשי ופיזי. רב הזקנים והילדים חלו ראשונים במגפות ובמחלות שהיו להם בדרך של המסע. מתי שהתימנים עלו לישראל הם טסו במטוס וזה הקל על הזקנים והילדים, הם הגיעו למטוס בסוף המסע. הם הלכו ברגל למטוס ואז הטיסו אותם. במסע תפסו אותם במחנות והרגו חברים ומשפחות שלהם והילדים קיבלו את זה יותר קשה מכולם כי הם ראו איך הורגים אנשים. מי שהרג את המשפחות היהודיות היו העובדים של השליטים ועוד אזרחים אחרים. הם הלכו הרבה זמן ואז הם הגיעו למטוס. כשהם הגיעו למטוסים היו שם רק את הטייסים. עם המטוסים הם טסו לישראל.

שהתימנים הגיעו לארץ קליטת השפה לתימנים הייתה מאד קשה. הם לא דברו את השפה העברית. לא היה מי שיעזור להם ללמוד את השפה ובעקבות זה לקח להם הרבה זמן ללמוד את העברית בארץ ישראל. הם לא יכלו לתקשר ולהסתדר בכוחות עצמם עם כל מי שסבב אותם. הם לא יכלו ללכת לבית חולים לבד מתי שהיה צריך. הם לא יכלו ללכת לסופר לבד, הם לא יכלו ללכת לחנויות לבד והם לא יכלו ללכת או לנסוע לבתי מלון או לטיולים לבד.

כשהתימנים הגיעו לישראל רב ישראל הייתה מורכבת מיהודים אשכנזים שלא חיבבו את יהודי המזרח. מתי שהתימנים הגיעו למדינת ישראל הם נאלצו לזנוח את המסורת שלהם וללמוד את המסורת של ישראל. לא הסבירו להם איך להתנהג, ולא לימדו אותם את המסורת בישראל. הם ידעו איך מתנהגים בתימן והם המשיכו להתנהג ככה גם בישראל כי לא הייתה להם אפשרות אחרת. לא הייתה להם אפשרות אחרת כי אף אחד לא לימד אותם איך להתנהג בישראל. בעקבות זה שהם לא ידעו את המסורות ואת ההתנהגויות בישראל הם היו שונים מכולם. בגלל שהם היו שונים מכולם עם המנהגים שלהם עשו עליהם אפליה והחשיבו אותם לאנשים נחותים כמו שעשו להם בתימן. הם שרו את השירים שלהם, הם רקדו את הריקודים שלהם, הם דברו את השפה שלהם ואכלו את האוכל שלהם.

      כשהתימנים הגיעו לישראל הם חיו בצריפים. הם לא חיו בבתים רגילים או בקרוונים. הם לא חיו בבתים או בקרוונים כי לא דאגו להם ולא נתנו להם את מה שהם היו צריכים כדי לחיות כמו משפחות רגילות. האשכנזים לא הרשו ולא נתנו ליהודי תימן בתים נורמליים כי הם היו כמו אויבים שלהם בגלל שהם היו בשלטון ולא התנהגו אליהם יפה. התימנים לא גרו בערים, קיבוצים או מושבים והם גרו באזורים פתוחים בנגב. שמו אותם באזורים פתוחים בנגב כדי שאם אנשים סורים או ערביים יפרצו למדינה מי שייפגע ראשון יהיו התימנים.

      במשך השנים רב ילדי תימן נחטפו על ידי אלמונים (אנשים לא ידועים). ההורים של ילדי תימן היו שמים את הילדים שלהם בבתי החולים ומתי שהם היו באים לקחת אותם הם לא היו שם. הם אמרו לעובדי בית החולים איפה הילדים והעובדים אמרו שהם מתו. ההורים רצו את הגופות של הילדים שלהם כדי לקבור אותם אבל בתי החולים אמרו שאין להם את הגופות. מי שגנב את הילדים היו האשכנזים, הם רצו לעשות רק רע לתימנים. בתי החולים שיתפו פעולה עם האשכנזים שחטפו את ילדי תימן. ההורים של הילדים לא ידעו איך לטפל בזה כי הם לא ידעו את השפה. באותו זמן הממשלה לא ידעה את זה וזה לא עניין אף אחד. עד היום העניין לא טופל ועדיין יש משפחות שלא הוחזרו להם הילדים שלהם. 

סיפור ההגירה של התימנים התחיל בזה שהם שמעו על הכרזת מדינת ישראל ורצו לחיות במדינה יהודית כיהודים. כשהם יצאו למסע הם גילו שיהיה להם יותר קשה ממה שהם חשבו. בדרך תפסו אותם במחנות לא נתנו להם מספיק אוכל, עכבו את השיירות שלהם, גבו מהם מסים ולקחו מהם כסף על העברת הגבול. כשהם הגיעו לארץ ישראל הם גם שם גילו שיהיה להם יותר קשה ממה שהם חשבו. הם גרו בצריפים, לא שמו אותם במושבים קיבוצים או ערים, שמו אותם באזורים פתוחים בנגב. לא נתנו להם לעבוד בעבודות גבוהות ולא היה להם הרבה כסף. היום עדיין יש הבדלים קטנים בין האשכנזים לכל העם המזרחי אבל הם די שווים ומתייחסים אליהם כמו כולם..

  – Dror



For this assignment, students were asked to read an article in which an American immigrant to Israel described the diverse types of people she encounters on a daily basis. Then, the students described their own daily experiences with people of diverse backgrounds and compared them with the reporter’s


I meet alot of different people in my day. Every day I go on the city bus home from school. On the bus there are many different kinds of people including race and religion. I see different people everywhere I go , even just walking on the street. I also know alot of people from different religions. My mom works in the performing arts and I sometimes do to so we meet alot of different types of people and get close with alot of different types of people too.
-I do think that i encounter about the same amount of diversaty on a day to day basis as the auther. For example she meets different types of people when she go’s to get her car fixed at the auto repair shop as do I when I walk into a store like CVS or whole foods. There are all types of people who work in those stores and alot of other places I go.


first thing I do is I talk with my Hispanic doorman. then on my way to school I see I lots of different people on my way to school when I arrive I wait down stairs with the school security guard. I go upstairs have some lessons with my three Jewish teachers and two christian teachers. then I have piano with my Israeli teacher or a friend comes over or I have baseball with my christian teacher. then I eat my kosher dinner.
I think I see more but I interact with less. I only really interact with Jews and Christians. but I think I see more diversity.


I meet and see many different types of people on my daily basis. For example, when I go to school, I usually see Spanish people, Indian people, Jewish people. I feel like it’s nice seeing different types of people on my daily basis because you can listen to their language when they speak. I also like paying attention to how they have a different lifestyle then most people. I think that we americans see a lot more types of people. I mean if you think about it, in America there are so many different types of people, and in a country such as Israel, there are only a few types of people. That are mostly related to the Jewish religion. Or at least close to the Jewish religion.