Part of finding community best suited community for your family to live in, is determining if the education resources the community has to offer will suite the needs of your children.

Choosing the right type of education for your children is critical when selecting the appropriate setting for your children. As parent’s one must define which type of school “hashkafah” ( perspective) will help your children flourish and feel they belong.

In Israel, the blending of different religious approaches within a single educational environment is not commonly found. Therefore, it is very important as parents to find a school that best reflects the religious ideologies within your home.

Below is a description of many of the terms regularly used to describe the different types of schools in Israel’s educations system. Hopefully the description of below will give you the needed knowledge and understanding when searching for the right school system.

Common Terms Used in Israel’s Educational System:

Chiloni: Secular. This is a co-ed learning environment, where there is No expectation that any Judaic topics will be taught in the school day. Classes are taught in a fully integrated coed learning environment.

Mesorati: Traditional (Similar to the education of those practicing Conservative Judaism in North America). Some Judaica content offered during the school day. Classes will most likely be coed through high school.

Dati-Leumi: National Religious. (Similar to Modern Orthodoxy in North America). There is a commitment, with varying levels of intensity to a Torah observant lifestyle. Judaica courses, taught from an Orthodox perspective are offered daily. Classes continue to be co-ed anywhere up to the 3 to 6th grade.

Dati Leumi Torani: Families for whom Torah learning and mitzvah observance play a critical role in their lives. Schools with have separate boys and girls classes from early on. The day will include more Torah studies than a traditional Dati Leumi school, and a longer day as well.

Chardal: This is an abbreviation which stands for: Chareidi Dati Leumi. (Similar to your typical working yeshiva communities both in North America). This term has widely been used to define the Anglo Orthodox religious sector who follow a Charedi lifestyle, yet may also serve in the army in religious units, attend a Hesder yeshiva, and pursue a work career.

Chareidi: Right wing- Orthodox (Similar to yeshivaish in North America ). In the boy’s division there is a strong focus on Torah learning with a minimalist approach to secular studies. Girl’s schools offer strong Torah education, with secular studies continuing through high school.

The Chiloni and Mesorati student will most likely attend the local public school in his town. The public school will have no religious classes, however TaNaCh will be part of their Bagrut exam (Matriculation exams), although it will be taught through a more historical/social perspective. There is a Tali track (secular schools with added religious studies in Israel) option in many communities for the Mesorati family where some Judaic courses are offered. High school graduates will most likely enter the army after graduation for their required service.

The Dati-Leumi student will most likely attend one of the many Mamlachti Dati school systems (religious public school, known for its acronym Ma’Mad). A Ma’MaD school equally divides its day with Judaica and secular studies, with Judaica study hours generally being taught in the morning. High school students will take the bagrut matriculation exams and will most likely serve the army in one of the options geared for the religious soldier. Girls most often will fulfill a one or two year program of national service (Sheirut Leumi – Community Service).

The Dati-Leumi Torani student will most likely follow the schooling pattern of either the Dati Leumi sector or the Chardal sector. These students will attend a Ma’MaD Torani school, which dedicates more hours per week to Judaic studies. As high school graduates, boys will most likely go to very strong Hesder Yeshivas or those Yeshiva Gedolas with a Zionistic slant. Girls often attend a midrasha (learning program) or a one or two year program of national service (Sheirut Leumi – Comunity Service).

The Chardal student will most likely attend a semi-private school that integrates charedi religious values together with the importance of living in Israel. Boys may decide to attend either a yeshiva ketana with no secular studies, or a Yeshivat Tichonit (yeshiva high school) with bagrut testing.Graduates will most likely attend either a Hesder Yeshiva or Yeshiva Gedola.

Girls will attend either a Bais Yaakov or a more right wing ulpana. Graduates most often do not participate in national service, but will continue on to seminary or one of the many post high school programs designed for the Chardal and Chareidi sectors.

The Chareidi student will most likely attend a private or semi-private school (chinuch atzma’ey), with girls participating in the Bais Yaakov (BY)system. It is important to note that there are central differences between the BY system in Israel, where the Israeli system tends to be more strict. This point is most highlighted by a school’s takanon, code of dress and behavior (to be kept by all family members, both in and out of school).

Upon graduation, girls will most likely either attend a post high school program offered by their high school or choose another post high school program designed to serve the needs of the Chareidi sector. Boys attend Cheder for their elementary school years and Yeshiva Ketana for their high school years. Upon completion of Yeshiva Ketana, boys will continue on to Yeshiva Gedola.

Registration tends to fill up quickly! It is important to research schools and apply enough time in advances of your childrens attendance. Within any of the semi-private schools or Chardal/Chareidi systems, there is an acceptance process. The school has no obligation to accept your child (nursery – grade 12). Registration begins as early as December for the high schools and as early as February for elementary schools. If you intend on visiting and applying to schools while on a pilot trip, it is advisable for you to bring both your child’s last report card and a recent photograph. A letter of recommendation from a Rebbe/teacher, or community Rav is often required when applying to a school within the Chareidi system.