This is the first half of a two-year project
that will be a research directory of schools that run programs
for parents who are searching for educational/emotional support
for the pre-adolescent and adolescent age oleh. Teenagers of
Anglo-Saxon olim that move to predominantly Anglo-Saxon
communities exhibit unique risk factors because of the
compounding stresses of their pre-adolescent stage and
acclimating to a totally new culture. These risks include: teens
turning to the street, sex, substance and drug abuses, disregard
for normal routine and straying from their religious
convictions. My methods included interviews with school
administrators, health care professionals, teenage olim and
their parents. My goal was to investigate whether schools
provide programs focused on identifying and supporting
Anglo-Saxon teenage olim at risk.
At the end of two years, the report will serve
as a resource for Anglo-Saxon olim parents and their teens. It
will provide direction in the search for various supports within
the school system. These include academic, psychological, social
and emotional aids. This directory will be applicable to parents
and their teenagers who are exhibiting signs of crises and also
for those teens at greater risk simply because they are olim.
It appears that olim who immigrate to
predominantly Anglo-Saxon communities are more at risk than
those who move to Israeli neighborhoods. These children maintain
much of their American culture, which may help initially.
However, it also gets in the way of their acclimating into
mainstream Israeli society.
Teenagers of olim that move to predominantly
Anglo-Saxon communities exhibit unique risk factors because of
the compounding stresses of their pre-adolescent stage combined
with the stresses of acclimating to a totally new culture.
Evidence seems to point to the trend that children who begin
their studies pre-aliya and continue in Israel are at greater
risk than those who make aliya before the initiation of formal
schooling. There is pressure to become proficient in Hebrew.
This affects them socially and academically. Instead of their
expected carefree teenage years they are shadowed by the
impending obligation of army service. There is also the pressure
to find their identities and express themselves as Americans in
an Israeli culture. These teens must be encouraged and supported
in their search for positive ways to assert themselves and
helped to attain a sense of control over their changing
Schools and parents can detect early warning
signs and work towards preventing children from initiating
destructive behaviors. These warning signs may include the
following: Poor self esteem, depression, chronic boredom,
irritability, eating and sleeping disorders, substance abuse and
running away from home. Schools that run programs/workshops and
confront these issues provide youths with the means to
overcoming these problems. Children meet with greater success
when parents and schools work in a concerted effort on their
Interviews with parents of teenagers, Junior-High and High
School administrators, teens, and adults who made aliyah when
they were adolescents provided the material for analysis.
Educators were asked regarding their interventions and kids and
parents were asked about their expectations from the schools.
Are the schools fulfilling their promises to provide their
students with a complete educational experience? Are the schools
meeting the expectations of the students and their parents and
are they helping the children meet their personal goals? Adults
who made aliya when they were teenagers can give information
about how they made the transition from feeling like and
American oleh to being an Israeli oleh.