Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A never ending source of amusement

What’s funnier than the world’s top comedy clubs?

Four words:

The annual gan meeting.

Yes, you read that correctly. The meeting where the gannenet tells the parents about all her plans for the coming year is – as far as I’m concerned – a great place to go to enjoy a good chuckle.

After all, consider the following:

  • The gan meeting is the third most important date on the gannenet’s calendar. (The first two are the Chanukah party and the end-of-the-year graduation party.)
  • Even though it’s only a preschool meeting – and, really, how much is there to talk about?! - the gannenet takes the gathering very, very, VERY seriously.
  • In fact, the gannenet spends three days preparing the kids for the big event (a la the Shloshet Yemei Hagbalah). She has the kids make an arts and crafts project for their parents’ benefit, and although they’re  not even going to be there, the kids are encouraged to think that nothing could be more exciting than having their parents visit the gan.
  • The gannenet gets all dressed up for the occasion – including makeup, shaitel (if she’s so inclined), etc.
  • Assuming that the sayat (aide) knows her place,  she also wears nice clothes, but as befitting her station, she’s careful not to overshadow the gannenet.
  • When the parents arrive, the gannenet proudly shows them their kids’ artwork. The parents are then required to figure out which project was made by their own offspring. (“Hmm. Maybe this one on the right is my son’s? If I hold my head to one side and squint, that squiggle over there kinda looks like the first letter of his name…”)
  • The parents are then given art supplies and asked to prepare a project as a surprise for the kids. (No, I’m DEFINITELY not kidding about this one…)
  • While the parents sit there coloring, stringing beads, and gluing (!!), the gannenet talks about the gan. (Of course, she could’ve just typed all this information up on 1-2 sheets of paper, but then she wouldn’t have had an excuse for the meeting…)
  • Finally, there are always refreshments. And we’re not talking about a plate of stale Bamba either. For instance, at a recent meeting, each parent received a fresh chocolate croissant and a bag of chocolate milk.

See what I mean?

But before you go check out one of these never-ending sources of amusement, I should warn you that it’s very bad form to use the words “enjoyable” and “gan meeting” in the same sentence.

Indeed, it’s de rigueur to insist that they’re boring, inconvenient, completely unnecessary, and a total waste of time.

All of which is quite true.

And yet… and yet…

{swallows hard and gets up the courage to make a confession}

These meetings always make me laugh.

{glares defiantly at all the shocked faces}

I can’t help it. They’re just so ridiculously, absurdly, and hysterically funny…



  1. I am so glad my gan days are over. I don't recall refreshments, just the arts and crafts.
    How could you forget to mention the stupid arguments and the ridiculous fees?

  2. The meetings are the same everywhere I think. Sounds like the ones we used to have here.

  3. MiI - Ah, but the stupid arguments and the ridiculous fees aren't funny... :-)
    [Actually, to be fair, in recent years, here in our neighborhood, they've eliminated that unpleasantness by having the parents pay for the fees when they register their kids for gan.]

    Jack - Interesting. AFAIR, there were no preschool meetings in the day school our older kids attended in the States before we made aliyah. Maybe it's a newer phenomenon?

  4. Hilarious!
    (Of course, she could’ve just typed all this information up on 1-2 sheets of paper, but then she wouldn’t have had an excuse for the meeting…)

    Exactly what I think when our administration organizes a meeting.
    I would hate having to do crafts!

  5. just went through my second round of gan meetings after making aliya last year and this post is 100% on the money. The only thing it left out was the arguing over things that work out to 5 shekel over the course of the whole year- or whether the ganenet should be required to remind kids to wash their hands...

  6. My favourite is when the ganenet gives the parents the piece of paper that she is going to read from, and then reads through it very very slowly (remember, she is used to talking to pre-schoolers) emphasising the really important bits a couple of times just in case we didn't get it.
    Also, i hate the arts and crafts activities cos i'm rubbish and my kid's bag or whatever comes out looking totally awful. And then he/she has to walk around with it all year to his/her and my shame. This is almost on par with the 'decorate a siddur' for kita aleph competitive activity, where i'm sure pushy Israeli mums employ professional artists to make sure that their kids' siddur looks so much better than the rest of ours!

  7. I attended a gan meeting that was exactly like that for Flash many years ago.
    Except that mine got interrupted when the ganenet handed out paint and glue for our "art project" and I burst out with "Is this woman freakin' kidding me?" in loud English. (I don't know WHY the other parents didn't like me.)

  8. Ilana-Davita - Yes, the art project is the worst - and hence the funniest! - part. There are basically two issues:
    1) Since the parents sit on the kids' little chairs (with their knees up to their chins), even the most artistically-inclined parent isn't at his or her creative best...
    2) As RW noted above, one always feels very inadequate compared to some of the other, extremely talented parents.

    Happyduck1979 - RE: those petty arguments about money: Don't you love how there's always one parent who claims "zeh lo hakesef" ("it's not [about] the money") - as if some lofty principle is involved...

  9. RW - Ah, yes, the Kitah Aleph siddur covers! {shudders at the memory} Fortunately, I only had to do it once. The other years, the teachers collected money from the parents and purchased ready-made covers.

    SuperRaizy - LOL! At my first gan meeting, which took place about 2-3 months after we made aliyah, I desperately looked around the room, hoping to catch the eye of a kindred spirit. But I was the only new olah there, and the other Anglos in attendance either had no sense of humor or had been here so long that they had become inured. There was no one who could share the joke with me...

  10. Zeh lo hakesef. Reminds me of the salespeople who say, "What's 20 shekel? Zeh lo kesef." I once answered, Okay, so give it to me for free.

  11. MiI - LOL! Did it work? :-)
    It's like those advertisements which tell you that the admission price for a certain event is the "מחיר סמלי" (literally, "symbolic price") of 40 NIS...

  12. The funniest part is that I remember how excited i was when my oldest reached gan age - little did I know what was in store for me. By the time i hit my 6th gan meeting, i used to cringe - and now with kids in elementary school, I've conveniently managed to be stuck late at work a few times for the annual start of year meetings or this year, I pulled off being in hu"l for work so that the poor husband got stuck with the attendance duty (evil laughter!!!)


  13. "It's like those advertisements which tell you that the admission price for a certain event is the "מחיר סמלי" (literally, "symbolic price") of 40 NIS..."
    Or when they say "כמעט כמו מתנה" and ask for 50 shekel

  14. Shoshana - Good planning on your end! ;-)

    MAG - At least they include the word "כמעט"...

  15. heehee this post made me laugh


    ('karnat'-does that mean anything? i feel like it should. yeah yeah tis my word verif, but still..)

  16. The Sabra - Thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it!


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