Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Iyar Challenge


That was close!

But, B”H, I think we did it. Another (more or less) successful Iyar Challenge has been completed…

{catches breath and heaves a huge sigh of relief}

What’s that you say?

You’ve never heard of the Iyar Challenge?

Well, then, I suppose I’m going to have to write a post about it. (And look! By a fortunate coincidence, this post’s title is all about this very topic… ;-))

I should begin by explaining that the term “Iyar Challenge” suggests different things to different people. For instance:

  • For cheesecake fans, it refers to counting Sefirah with a brachah every night until Shavuot.
  • For Israeli kids, it implies collecting ridiculous amounts of wood for the Lag BaOmer bonfire.
  • For Israeli teens, it alludes to the odd custom of staying out all night - right in the middle of bagrut season.

But as parents of Israeli schoolchildren are well-aware, the real Iyar Challenge is ensuring that one’s offspring have enough white shirts to make it through the first week of Iyar.

Because after all, the beginning of Iyar is essentially one long kacholavan day - including most of the following:

  • Two days of Rosh Chodesh
  • The day before Yom HaZikaron (i.e. the day when many gannanot celebrate Yom HaAtzma’ut with their young charges)
  • Yom HaZikaron
  • Yom HaAtzma’ut, at night (assuming, that is, that the Yom HaZikaron shirt is no longer, um, as white as it could be…)
  • Yom HaAtzma’ut, during the day
  • One or two Shabbatot (depending on the year)

In other words, we’re talking about a minimum of 5-6 white shirts per child – and, usually,  a great deal more than that – within a 7-8 day span!

Furthermore, remember that the Iyar Challenge comes right on the heels of Pesach and the countless white shirts that it entails…

Note: The jury is still out on whether school uniforms are helpful or a hindrance in this regard. On one hand, the overall white shirt supply is increased. But on the other hand, most of the white shirts can now only be worn on Shabbat and Yom HaAtzma’ut itself. </note>

Thus, as you can see, the Iyar Challenge is extremely demanding.

Oh, and to those who would insist that the Chidon HaTanach is the real Iyar Challenge, all I can say is: You obviously aren’t responsible for your family’s laundry…Open-mouthed

How do you handle the Iyar Challenge?


P.S. The latest Haveil Havalim is available here. Special thanks to Susan for including my tribute to my grandmother z”l.


  1. So how many white shirts do you stock?

  2. Well,
    there are differnt types of white shirts for the boys
    They have these sort of airtex shirts for school time

    This year the ganenet said that they did not have to wear a white shirt on Rosh Hodesh, because they also needed one on Friday!

    (I was also thinking about the white shirt thing)

    I just wash often, but you have then to be careful, not to wash them on a day when people are making barbeques!

  3. Ilana-Davita - It depends on the child. But as Keren noted above, the only solution is to do laundry often.

    Keren - I'm impressed that your ganenet was even aware of the white shirt issue! And good point about not doing laundry when people are making BBQs! :-)

  4. In my neck of the woods also cheesecake is a big prize for saying all the days of sefiroh.

  5. Y W - Welcome back to the blog! :-)


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