My Favorite 4 Back to School Tips from R. Yemima Mizrachi

My Favorite 4 Back to School Tips from R. Yemima Mizrachi

This year, the newspaper Makor Rishon named my teacher and mentor Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi as the third most influential religious woman in Israel! Mazal tov, Harabbanit Yemima! (Although I’m still a bit upset about this whole third place thing… Rabbanit Yemima should have been number 1! I guess there’s always next year…)

Here are Rabbanit Yemima’s Top 4 Back to School Tips for the new school year.

1)Wrap them in Prayer – Every morning, before your children rush out to the schoolbus or carpool or whatever, make sure to say a short blessing over them. Rabbanit Yemima recommends reciting the Priestly Blessing, which she says every morning for each of her own children:
יְבָרֶכְךָ יהוה וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ
יָאֵר יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וִיחֻנֶּךָּ:
יִשָּׂא יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם
You can also add a tiny request for any specific needs that child has…that your son’s teacher will adore him this year, that your daughter will make some great friends this year, that this will be the year that your son will start loving gemara at least as much as his Gameboy.
Rabbanit Yemima says:”A child whom you haven’t wrapped up with a small prayer is, in fact, leaving the house naked. It is your job to make him or her a coat of prayer to wear every single day…”

2) Watch your Tongue- You can’t stand your daughter’s new teacher. You think she’s a witch who would have done the teaching profession a favor by retiring shortly after the Cuban Missile Crisis. It’s OK to think that. You can even do what you can behind the scenes to improve the situation. But never, ever, EVER speak negatively about a teacher in front of a child. By doing so, you are creating a child who will never be able to absorb wisdom from any teacher or adult at all, G-d forbid.

3)Buy New- When you buy school books for your children, and the salesperson offers you the shiny, hear-the-spine-snap, new workbook or the dog-eared, sort-of erased answers, used workbook, spend the extra money to buy the new one. Ditto for the best, state-of-the-art erasers, pens, notebooks etc. Why spend the extra money for the new and best and fanciest you ask? Because 1)Your extra investment will send your children the message that school and learning are among the most important things in life, and 2)Anyway you aren’t the one paying for those books, or fancy erasers and backpacks. Hashem pays us back for all of our children’s school expenses. As Rabbanit Yemima says, “I always tell them in the store to write out the receipt to the Ribbono shel Olam.”

4) Accompany them- I know, I know, it’s the hardest time of the day. Your son is rushing out to the schoolbus, and at that same moment your daughter can’t find her gym shoes, and your baby is crying for the pacifier. But make sure to accompany that rushing-to-the-schoolbus child at least 2 steps out the door. This accompaniment and your blessing will guard that child from danger for the whole day.

May Hashem bless all of our children starting school this coming week with a year bursting at the seams with good friends, good teachers, passion for learning, and absolutely everything good.

Learn more about Rabbanit Yemima and her classes at

Photo courtesy of user Avolore


  1. Jennifer Wise

    These are fantastic – thanks for posting. You are an extra dose of inspiration in a season of inspiration 🙂
    Love it!
    All the best,
    Jen Wise

  2. Shalom Chana,

    Could you add the pronunciation of the Priestly Blessing for Hebrew beginners like me?

    Thank you


  3. great tips thanks, can’t wait to share them with my friends.

  4. thanx for sharing!

  5. Perfect Timing!! My first child started kindergarten today:) Do you guys all remember your firsts? It’s such a big moment for her and me – I miss her so much! Why can’t they make live web cams in schools nowadays?

    • my daughter’s also starting first grade tomorrow, this is my fourth time sending a child to first grade but I am also so excited about it.

  6. I don’t want to put a damper on things, only I could have done without the admonishment that if I might forget to send my child off without a ‘coat of prayer’ it’s like sending them off naked…
    It’s hard enough to get them physically dressed and out the door! So as much as it’s a beautiful concept, I’m going to save some face by saying a little prayer afterwards in case things don’t go according to plan, kind of like taking a forgotten lunch bag to school…
    I don’t need the guilt of sending my child naked, I believe there are always second chances…

    • some years i just couldn’t get it together to accompany or bentch my kids on their way to the first day of school. so i made it a point to sit down and say a kapitel tehillim in their zechus at some point during the day. i pick a short one, often one that i have practically memorized so that i can say it completely, even if i get interupted by something…

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