Misgav, Galilee — It is the second week of first grade, and 6-year-old Faidi Mohammed looks as if he’d like to be anywhere but this classroom, listening to a teacher describe in Hebrew the Jewish holiday of Rosh HaShanah.
Like most of the 32 children enrolled in Israel’s first fully accredited bilingual school, Faidi, a dark-haired boy with an engaging smile, is in the grips of culture shock.
Jerusalem — As much as he’s been wanting to complete his master’s degree in history, David Graniewitz would rather be standing in front of a classroom, teaching history or English to junior high and high school students.
Instead Graniewitz, who has taught in Israeli secondary schools for almost 20 years, has spent the past couple of weeks glued to his kitchen table, focusing — or trying to focus — on his own studies.
When Rabbi Jonathan Snowbell was taking undergraduate and graduate classes at Yeshiva University, he never dreamed the State of Israel would find his YU degrees unacceptable.
The problem: the Ministry of Finance changed the criteria in 2003 of what it requires to pay Israeli teachers a higher salary for their college and graduate degrees.
"I was told my degrees are legitimate except for salary evaluation purposes," said Rabbi Snowbell, 30, a high school teacher in Jerusalem who has lived in Israel since 1998.