Meet a Village Family

Q&A with Maya and Yaron Y., Parents of Hawaiian Hummingbird Shira and older sister Noa

Where were you each born? Where did you each grow up?
All 4 of us were born in Israel, in different towns near Tel Aviv. Yaron and Maya grew up in small towns near Tel Aviv. Noa, our eldest has been growing up in the UK until she was 4, which is when we moved to California. Shira was 5 months old when we moved. 3.5 years ago our dog Mastik joined our family. He is the only member in our family who was born in the U.S :)

When did your family move to the United States? To California?
We moved from Israel to CA in September 2008. We lived in Sunnyvale for a few years and in 2013 we moved to Campbell.

Why did you move?
Yaron got a job offer in CA. We lived in the UK for a few years and wanted to find a place where there are more ״sun days״ than “rain days”…

What are some of the major differences in living here versus your original home?
In our home town in Israel people are more out in the streets, walking everywhere and less driving. Also when we visit, our kids can be more independent since they can walk by themselves to their friends. The culture is less “official”- kids can go over to their friends’ house without having their parents schedule play dates. Another major difference is the nightlife. In Israel, whether you live in a big city or a small town, there are always restaurants, coffee shops and bars that are open to midnight or later. You don’t need to drive so far to hang out with one or more friends, there are many open places next door.

What do you like about living here?
We like the school system here very much. In Israel there are approx. 40 kids in each classroom with one teacher so it is much harder for one teacher to be able to reach so many kids. We also like the weather in CA. It is mostly dry and sunny. In Israel it is very hot during the long summer and it is very humid. Above all we like the multi cultural environment this area is offering where everybody feels equal regardless of their origin and ethnicity.

What do you miss?
We mostly miss our family. In our culture we would meet our extended family either for Friday dinner or Saturday lunch every week. We are very close with our families so the distance is not easy for us. We also miss the food. The food in Israel is absolutely amazing. Whether it is a small “hole in the wall” or a fancy restaurant, the food is always unique and exceptionally good. Tel-Aviv is considered one of the top 10 cities in the world when it comes to food.

How do you keep traditions and culture from home a part of life for your children?
We keep our tradition in many ways – we speak Hebrew at home ; We eat a lot of Israeli food ; We listen to Israeli music and of course we celebrate the Jewish and Israeli holidays with our local friends. There is a large Israeli and Jewish community in the Bay Area so there are many special events and occasions for us to experience cultural events.

How did you pick Village?
We heard about Village from a couple of people. After Shira started Forest Hill we felt it wasn’t the optimal fit for her personality so we started to explore other options. We really like the focus on the social emotional side of child development and we felt that this is an important skill to develop for a 21st century child. We also liked the fact that Village has a small community and a strong sense of community compared to other schools in the area and we felt that this would be a great fit for Shira and for us as a family.

What is the school system like in your hometown?
The school system has changed a lot since we were kids. None of our children went to the current school system in Israel so we don’t know much about it. The main difference that we know about is the teacher-student ratio which is high compared to the Bay Area education system.

What else would you like our community to know or understand about the culture of your childhood and the transition you’ve made?
In our home we are very casual and informal. We are always happy to have friends over for a spontaneous dinner. We also really love to travel in the U.S and overseas, see new places, try new foods and learn about different cultures. You will often find us hiking on sunny days.