Making Aliyah at any age is tough. Making Aliyah with kids is tougher. Making Aliyah with medium/large kids is really tough.
BH my brood has settled in nicely even if we could still used a few good Hebrew lessons every week. In Israel most elementary schools end in 6th grade, and 7th-8th although middle school are attached to the high schools. So, 6th grade is a big year for girls and boys alike. For the girls it's a year full of bat mitzva parties, entrance exams and visiting prospective schools and then making the big decision. I'm finding this year a bit more stressful with J in 6th, more than when A was in 6th last year. For A, this year of 7th grade has been more challenging; a new school, longer hours, bar mitzva practice and increased learning and school.
Back to J: she's been pining to go visit Chorev in Yerushalayim to check it out. I've been pretty much against it. It's far; it would mean a 40min to 1 hour commute each way every day ("But there are vans that go from RBS every day and I'll be with friends during the ride!"). It is very academic and although I think she's just about the smartest girl on earth, I wonder if she'll be able to hack it. IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE. ("Remember Imma, I've been here for a year and a half! I speak Hebrew!")
Long story short, I was blown away. I have heard only good things about the school, but unless I see something for myself I am the forever-skeptic. What impressed me most was not the gorgeous multi-building campus, nor the highly academic courses, or even the top notch staff. It was not the fact that we met in the science building in one of several auditoriums. What impressed me most was the girls. Now, I'm not an idiot; I know they bring their finest girls to answer our questions and to represent. But I was struck at how refined each and every girl we met was, and how articulate and mature.
After we left there were two girls from Michlala standing outside who asked us for a ride towards the central bus station. Once they got in we they asked if we had just been to the open house and what we thought. They told us that they themselves were Chorev graduates and again, we continued to have a frank, mature conversation about the pros and the cons of the school.
It won't be such a hard sell on me anymore. I'm still wary of her traveling so far away every day. The size of the school (750 girls!) freaks out this small town girl just a tad. But being there, looking at that school and the quality of those girls reminded me that although making Aliyah may have been one of the hardest things that we've ever done as a family, it's good. It's really good.
Here's to hoping that Hashem will once again guide us and help us chose the right thing so that each one of our children will grow in every way and each one of them will reach their true potential.