One addendum to the account of the boys’ year in school. The language barrier wasn’t just an issue for them, but very much for us. At least every Erev Shabbos, and at other times at well, the boys would bring home long notes from school, all in Hebrew. We’d have to figure out what was going on, or risk having our boys be the only ones without a swimsuit on a field trip, or the like.
The weekly Shabbos sheets were a serious workout for us. Yitzi would come home with a list of review questions on the section of Chumash they were doing that week. We’re used to a few parsha questions from school, but in Chicago they’d be in English and would be maybe a dozen or so. Yitzi’s list would be 30-40 questions, all in Hebrew, with a cursive typeface for the answers that was all but indecipherable. When the school days got longer, and they added Shoftim (the Book of Judges) to their study, that would be another 20 or so questions. I have to admit that there were times that I simply read the questions in Hebrew, not fully understanding them, and when Yitzi’s response pretty much matched the language of the answer, we’d move on with little-to-no comprehension on my part.
There were also the occasional calls from the school, or bumping into one of the rebbes or the menahel in the Rova, and having a stilted attempt at conversation. Everyone was amazingly patient with us, and we’re really grateful to Zilberman’s, the rebbes, and everyone for the great year they gave our boys and us.