Yulia Karra
September 3, 2023

September 1 is the day all Israeli parents wait for during the long summer – it’s when the new school year officially kicks off.

Last Friday, over 1.7 million elementary and preschool pupils across Israel began the school year, including 181,000 children starting first grade.

Some schools began today (Sunday). Overall, at least 22,400 preschools and 3,480 elementary schools opened the school year over the weekend. High school students have to wait a little longer, however, due to a Teachers’ Union dispute with the Treasury.

Speaking of disputes, Education Minister Yoav Kisch said Israeli educators are prepared to handle discussions about the deep differences of opinion on judicial reform that have rocked the country over the past few months.

“During the school year, the Education for All Opinions program will deal with the social crisis in Israel and will provide a proper, respectful and inclusive place for safe discourse. The students and educators will be able to hear and accept different opinions and in the process, will ensure the common future of Israeli society,” Kisch said.

In the meantime, in honor of the new school year Keren Kayemeth L’Israel-Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) opened its photo archives, offering a glimpse of nostalgic moments from Israel’s schools before and shortly after the establishment of the state in 1948.

Vintage back-to-school photos from Israel’s past
A school in Kibbutz Hulata in 1947. Photo by Zoltan Kluger/KKL-JNF Archives
Vintage back-to-school photos from Israel’s past
A Yemenite ‘Heder’ in Jerusalem, 1935. Photo by Avraham Malevsky/KKL-JNF Photo Archive

Director of KKL-JNF Archives Efrat Sinai said: “Sitting on tables or on the floor, in the physics lab and in a sewing class, the children of Israel learned and expanded their horizons in a variety of fields all over the country.”

Vintage back-to-school photos from Israel’s past
Children studying sewing at a youth farm in Jerusalem in 1954. Photo by Photo by KKL-JNF Archives
Vintage back-to-school photos from Israel’s past
School in Adullam in central Israel in 1958. Photo by Photo by KKL-JNF Archives

“The learning atmosphere is also reflected in the KKL-JNF posters and stamps, which the best Israeli designers were entrusted with designing, such as the ‘Honor your teacher’ series of stamps from 1953 designed by the Shamir brothers, who among other things designed the symbol of the State of Israel,” Sinai said.

Vintage back-to-school photos from Israel’s past
Girls in the Spitzer School, Jerusalem, 1940. Photo by Photo Levi/KKL-JNF Photo Archive.

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