The Jacobis: Then and Now
Monika and Shay Jacobi told us how they fortuitously met 23 years ago: Hungarian Monika was an au pair in England with a family that visited Israel a few times a year, and was included in these holidays. One evening, her employer encouraged her to spend the evening having fun in the vibrant city of Tel Aviv, and there she met Shay through a mutual friend. They hit it off right away, especially when Shay charmed her with his guitar playing, and despite religious, cultural and geographical differences, kept in contact. When Monika returned to Israel for a week to see him a few months later, it became apparent that they were meant for each other. “He would start a sentence and I would finish it and vice versa.” Monika remembered. “We were totally on the same wavelength.” Shay agreed.
They were both worried that their parents wouldn’t accept them as a couple, but both sets of parents not only accepted the young pair, they loved their offspring’s choice from the first meeting. Following a short stint in London cut short by visa issues, they decided to get married in Hungary and start their wedded lives together in Israel. Monika continued her career as a child caregiver in Central Israel and discovered one of the boys she was babysitting attended Helen Doron. As she was responsible for taking him to classes, she saw firsthand how impressive the methodology is and how quickly the children learn though fun and movement and eventually, she became friends with the teacher who encouraged her to attend a Teacher Training Course in 2000 and become a certified Helen Doron teacher.
Starting off with 6 groups, Monika launched her new career with support from Shay, who took responsibility for the marketing, advertising and financial aspects, while raising their 2 children, Eden and Daniel. They bought a large flat with a designated room for Monika’s classes, which quickly grew to 120 Helen Doron students. “Helen Doron gave us the flexibility for Monika to be able to stay home with the kids for the first 2 1/2 years of their lives, while continuing to work and build a career at the same time.” Shay added.
They returned to Hungary in 2008 and continued their careers with Helen Doron based on the experience they gleaned in Israel. In 2009 they bought their franchise area 60 kilometers from Budapest, and decided to buy a Gymboree play centre for children to complement their English-teaching business, and combined them.
They currently have a Learning Studio with about 100 students, with plans for expanding. Their business is a real family affair, as Monika’s 21-year-old niece, Yasmin, grew up in the Helen Doron network and recently passed the teacher training course, taking over teaching their teen classes as a very popular teacher, as the teens can really relate to her.
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