Friday Update: Building the New School in Eshkol Municipality

A New building for Ma’ale Habsor and Habsor Schools

As I commented previously, the State has decided that students in this area of Otef Azza need to be protected. The most efficient way of doing so is to combine the Moshav based school Habsor with the Kibbutz based school Ma’ale Habsor in one comprehensive campus.

The plans consist of 4 units, each containing classrooms and or specialty subjects (labs, communications, English centre, Nutrition, Art, Clothing design, Machine Shop, woodworking, and so on). Eventually there’ll be an auditorium and cafeteria as well.

The flavour of Ma’ale Habsor, filled with green areas, is to be kept, while all the units will be protected according to Security demands.

On this space, I’ll provide weekly photo updates to give you an idea of how things are coming along. Projected time of completion is in about 8 months.

Looking in from the North entrance to the school

Looking in from the North entrance to the school

close-up, same angle

close-up, same angle

What else?

Meanwhile, we’re working. Classrooms have been shifted. Some English classes find themselves shifting from room to room during the week. Until we get used to this routine, it’s demanding we keep on our toes.

“Mashov” for Tracking Progress

Teachers are now using the computerized “Mashov” (‘Feedback’), a system  of recording student behaviour and keeping our own lesson plans up to date. Though we teachers were wary of trusting a new system of computer accounting (the previous system rarely worked the way it could have), this one seems to be fine.  We can file attendance, behaviour violations, and also message one another to relay positive feedback on students and events, all in one place. We can enter grades for tests and projects, and the program does its own ‘excel’ like computations. And it’s fast!

Albany/Mexico and Ma’ale Habsor Student Connections

We’re starting again to build a connection between some of our Junior High Students and those from Albany at Bet Shraga School and Mexico City pupils from Yavne School. Anat Rozen and I will work co-operatively to encourage the growth of personal and class-class connections. Eighth grade pupils will be in touch with Albany, and ninth graders will be in connection with Mexico City. We’re hoping that a broadened understanding of one another’s cultures will bring us together.


This week signalled the beginning of those in the Eshkol area getting together to work towards independent media. Lily Bar-Am Kazado hosted the meeting at Kibbutz Sufa, this past Tuesday, September 9, 2008. Representatives from the non-profit organization, Shakoof, Journalism for Democracy, were there to encourage all to participate in bringing the media back into the hands of the people, as opposed to being supervised by big business.

For further information: or in English:

That’s about it for now. Please write your comments, ask questions, be in touch.

We’re a small world and we can get to know one another so very easily.


New School Year! Building new school

  • One unified High School is being built in the Eshkol Region. The new structures will be fortified, secure and allow a safe learning environment for about 1,000 students and staff.
  • The new campus is being built on the grounds of Ma’ale Habsor, which is situated near the Municpal Buildings, the Central Bus Station, and the Eshkol Cultural Auditorium.
  • We are also near the Music Studio, the Gymnasium, and the Psychological Centre offering therapies, clincial psychology sessions and other means of support.
  • Ma’ale Habsor is opening the schoolyear with the cornerstone ceremony on August 31/08. At the moment, a large portion of the school is fenced off, viewable only from certain angles.
From the window of Grade 10

From the window of Grade 10

Where the Art studios stood, there is intense building of one of many new complexes.

One of the new complexes

One of the new complexes


  • This year while Ma’ale Habsor and Habsor Comprehensive High Schools are working on the unification process (due to be completed in 2009), what’s going on? Construction of the new campus is fully underway.  How does that affect the coming schoolyear?

         The blog will take a look at teacher preparation, classroom adjustments, location of High School subjects such as: Art, Physics, Communication, Fashion Design and more, and first impressions after the summer vacation

  • A closer look at students with PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder), an umbrella term for a number of syndromes, and the growing need for all teachers to keep up with latest information.

Please continue to check in.

Thanks and hope your summer break was restful and enriching. May the new year bring new energies.


The Mustache Theatre! “Tzeva Adom” (Red Alert)

Tzeva Adom!

"Tzeva Adom" Red Alert!

"Tzeva Adom" Red Alert!

What can a bunch of kids do when the cry of ‘Tzeva Adom’ becomes part of the vernacular? What can a bunch of creative kids, who belong to the Mustache Theatre Group, do when they’re looking for a subject for their latest stage performance? What can these same kids do when their youth club is the target of a qassam and they need to find the strength to go on?

They can write a play! And that’s how “Tzeva Adom” came into being. Melany Rosemberg, a member of the group for a few years, told me her experiences.

Judih: Can you tell me about your experiences with Tzeva Adom?

Melany: “I live on a kibbutz, Gevulot, which so far hasn’t had any qassams, (knock on wood) but I deeply felt the fear of other kids who had experienced qassams falling near their homes.  I felt their fear. You can’t help but feel it – because we work on a psychological level in our group. I wanted to help them.

Judih: How did the play start?

Melany: “A qassam fell on our workshop. Not when we were there, but still, it was shocking. That’s how the whole play idea started. All of us, for the first time, shared the feeling of a qassam landing in our lives. We didn’t know what to do at first. I mean we cried.  It was such a shock, but then we decided we had to use drama to overcome the feelings we had. So we began to work on the play”

Judih: Is the play still being performed?

Melany: The play is going to be performed. I’m not sure when. But, we still meet every Monday afternoon to work on drama.

A quote from the play, from a monologue by Osnat:

It happened the same morning.

It’ll stay with me all my life.

The ‘Red Alert’ that i heard suddenly

Got me panicked and I didn’t know what to do…

Writing the Script

Ofer Sela, Israeli playwright, who has worked with the Mustache Theatre Group before, put together a skeleton of vignettes of daily life in this Otef Azza region. Along with this, the kids in the The Mustache Theatre added their own touches. A few wrote and performed their own monologues, others wrote brief sketches of things that typify life here, these days.

I spoke to Yuval Revia, an artist and a natural on stage, about his particular contribution to the performance. He wrote a piece about a kid’s birthday party. To the dismay of the young birthday boy, his relatives were afraid to step foot in the qassam-threatened area, and the only guest who actually showed up was a neighbour who dared to appear at his home in full padding and helmet. She managed to enjoy a super brief stay till she had to escape back to the safety of her family.

The little boy’s ice-cream reward for turning a year older didn’t really make a dent in the fact that people think three times before coming to family gatherings. But the laughter was apparent in the comic getup of the guest. What can you do? Life goes on no matter how inane.

Members of the Mustache Youth Theatre troupe include:

  • Aviv Zanzuri
  • Osnat Almog
  • Ioav Mishkyn
  • Yuval Revia
  • Yotam Labban
  • Ya’ara Messika
  • Carmel Israel
  • Liran Morad
  • Miri Sosnu Baski
  • Melany Rosemberg
  • Idan Aharon
  • Tzach Elbaz
  • Rahel Cohen
  • and Shahaf Simon

The Mustache Theatre is a theatre workshop for kids of Junior High and High School level from Ma’ale Habsor Comprehensive School together with Habsor Comprehensive School. The workshop addresses the very real talent of students in the area and offers a deeply needed mode of artistic expression. Many of the actors have other artistic skills, whether in the plastic arts, music or in writing.

The Mustache Theatre youth group has been in existence for a number of years.  This year’s production of Tzeva Adom was directed by Ya’acov Amsalem. Choreography was done by Osnat Kashi, music provided by David Valdman, costumes by Smadar Boaron. Production: The Only Team for Teenagers

The show “Tzeva Adom” has been touring all over Israel. Minimalism is the key. Props include a few chairs, a table. Visuals are screened onstage. Costumed in the colours red, black and white, the figures make dramatic impressions on a fairly bare stage. This is a play that can raise an audience’s awareness as to how absurd  life is, living together with the Red Alert. Yet, life goes on. Life goes on with humour, satire, and talking about things out loud.

If you get a chance, go see it.

I’ll add some contact info to this spot. Stay tuned.

Quote from the promo for the play:

Life in the shadow of qassams, a group of kids show us daily life as it is, compared to what we’re told by newspapers. We look at the personal experiences as well as social life in Otef Azza. Songs and choreography, dramatic vignettes all make up this performance, something which communicates it all to the audience while offering these kids another way to deal with reality. Length of show: 60 minutes.