Warning: This post may exceed the recommended daily allowance of snarkiness. Proceed at your own risk.
The thing about Israeli gannenets is that it’s very easy to make fun of them, and as long time readers know, I’ve taken ample advantage of this convenient fact.
Indeed, I’ve frequently
mocked discussed with obvious love and affection gannenets’ many foibles and idiosyncrasies – including their pyromaniac tendencies, the ritualistic pageantry of gan birthday parties, and, of course, the bizarre gan meeting.
And so, it’s only fair that I also give them credit where it’s due – namely, their innate resourcefulness.
You see, their creative, never-say-die attitude is what enables them to
erect straw men identify pressing problems and then skillfully knock them down devise clever and original solutions.
Here are two examples:
I. The neglected holiday
Problem: Coming, as it does, at the tail end of the festival-laden month of Tishrei, Simchat Torah always gets short shrift in most curricula.
Solution: Gannenets don’t even try to cover Simchat Torah before the holiday. Instead, they use the “hakafot shniyot” model and throw a big party on Friday, Erev Parshat Breishit. Decked out in their most elegant kacholavan, the kids dance, sing, and imbibe inordinate amounts of candy.
Ahh, good times, good times…
II. The missing season
Problem: In a recent post, Mother in Israel discussed autumn in Israel – or the lack thereof. As she correctly observes, there’s no real transition between summer and winter. Furthermore, aside from a few noted exceptions, the traditional signs of fall – i.e. the brilliant foliage, that crisp autumn air, etc. - simply don’t exist here in Israel.
Solution: Israeli gannenets teach that autumn in Israel is nonetheless significant, because it heralds the arrival of the… nachlieli (white wagtail).
The gannenets ensure that their young charges are very familiar with the distinctive, long-tailed, black-and-white bird. In fact, even as adults, Israelis of every stripe can still easily pick the nachlieli out of a bird lineup.
Moreover, the gannenets stress, seeing a nachlieli is a joyous and momentous occasion.
Thus, last week, a certain gan-age child of my acquaintance came home bursting with exciting news. The breathless report soon followed: They had gone on a siyur stav (literally, “an autumn tour” – i.e. a nature walk), and – guess what?! – they SAW TWO NACHLIELIS!!! (Space considerations prevent me from including the full complement of exclamation points, but I think you get the general idea…)
And so, dear readers, the next time an obscure blogger sets his or her sights on the much maligned and often misunderstood gannenet, please refer them to this post in order
to provide them with further ammunition to remind them to appreciate all that the gannenet has to offer…
P.S. On a serious note, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the incredibly dedicated and talented gannenets who have done – and continue to do - such a wonderful job educating the Shiputzim children over the years.