November 30 15

Today was a busy, busy day.

The morning after my son’s bar mitzvah included consuming all of the leftover brownies that didn’t get eaten last night, checking out all of the photos that were hashtagged #marbar15, teaching my mother how to add apps to her phone (after we emailed iForgot for a new Apple ID password) returning rental cars, and several trips to the airport to {sniff} send family and friends home.

And then we had parent-teacher conferences at Isabella’s school.

Her awesome English teacher told us exactly what we had anticipated—she’s progressing nicely, she works hard, asks for help when she needs it, is struggling a little bit with long division, is a great, great storyteller and writer, has a creative mind, and is way too disruptively social with her friends. No really. I predicted this report from start to finish, basically word for word. Isabella can be a little predictable.

But then we sat down in front of her Hebrew teacher.

Isabella does not speak Hebrew. Which is a problem because we enrolled her in a school that teaches all Judaic subjects in Hebrew. In *only* Hebrew. We got her a tutor, we tried to speak to her in Hebrew. We made flashcards, we labeled things around the house.

But I worried so much for my little girl who wants so much to fit in, who wants so much to speak Hebrew, who wants so much to not be so terribly behind. Her teacher asked if she could conduct the meeting in Hebrew since her English is not great (Read: Non-existent) and of course, since we are both fluent, agreed.

She showed us a binder she made for Isabella. Inside were pages and pages and pages of worksheets that she has Isabella do during class. Basic skills. Writing Hebrew letters in cursive, learning tenses and grammar, learning words for things through matching games and word searches and pictures. Her teacher is going so far above and beyond what is expected of her as Isabella’s 5th grade Hebrew teacher. She’s teaching her 1st grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd grade too.

She has taken my little lady under her wing and is providing a soft place for her to land, a place where she doesn’t feel embarrassed, a place for her to really just LEARN.

“She will be speaking Hebrew by the end of this year, Mrs. Martell, I know this in my heart.” she said. 

And then I cried.

Tears of Joy. Gratitude. Relief.


Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 11.42.11 PM



  1. I did not realize that people spoke Hebrew as their first language. Please forgive my ignorance. I grew up in a small town where the only religions were different flavors of Protestant Christianity. I love reading about your religion because I don’t want to be ignorant. I’m so happy that Isabella is doing so well and will be speaking Hebrew soon.

    And you looked like the most beautiful ballerina in the bar mitzvah photos!

    Comment by Corey on November 30, 2015
  2. I cannot tell you how much I know exactly what you are feeling. When you realize just how much a teacher is doing for your little person when they are behind. We’ve been blessed with several of those this year.

    Comment by Jen on December 1, 2015
  3. She’s a tough one and will do whatever she puts her mind to! I have no doubts about that!

    Comment by Kristabella on December 1, 2015
  4. I seem to have something in my eye. Sniff.

    Comment by Elana on December 1, 2015
  5. Ali such a nice blog. So happy for your daughter.

    Comment by Liann on December 4, 2015

Allowed tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>