Reply To: Reader Responds to Seminary Woes

Home Forums Decaffeinated Coffee Reader Responds to Seminary Woes Reply To: Reader Responds to Seminary Woes

The little I know

Perhaps there are times and places that decisions need to be made with external considerations. But I suggest that the decision where to send a child to yeshiva, Bais Yaakov, seminary, etc. is best made with the main interest the child him/herself. The system has evolved to where there is such a thing as “the seminary 1-2 years in Israel”, or “the 1-2 years in yeshiva in Israel”. These generalizations are potentially hazardous. If a bochur or girl is right for the trip to E”Y and the yeshiva or seminary, then it is a wise consideration. To go there because others do is plainly stupid, and a huge risk. I eat when i am hungry, not when yenem is hungry.

There are certain realities that we face, and are easily blinded by the baseless sending to E”Y. The extent of hashgacha on a bochur or girl is minimal. Being absent from yeshiva may go unnoticed. There are countless excuses to be AWOL. There are countless places to go, many are mekomos hakedoshim, others sightseeing and touring. There are countless places to eat, and people to visit. There are also lots of events like protests and similar drama that many question their validity altogether, but are, at the very least, potentially huge distractions from the purpose of going to E”Y.

There are also risks there. At least 20-some years ago, there was a brilliant article in the Jewish Press authored by a social worker, Chezi Goldberg A”H HY”D. He begged American families to please not send their teens with issues to the streets of Jerusalem. He was consulted by way too many who were fighting the scourge of drugs that had assaulted the young people and were claiming lives. I have personal knowledge of tens of cases (and I am informed the real number is much higher than that) of kids sent back to enter rehabs back home.

There is no gezairoh that bochurim or girls must learn in E”Y. Nor is it fair to judge the yeshivos and seminaries in comparison. Together with the heightened kedusha there, there is a corresponding level of yetzer horah. The external presentation of a boy or girl fails to serve as the basis to judge whether this task is for them or not.

Often, the prolonged connection at home is an asset. And sometimes it is better for the teen to be elsewhere. These are all individual judgments. Making this into a trend is criminally irresponsible.

I went to E”Y for a few years, and thrived. I had friends that did not. And this predated the drug risks there. I eat when I am hungry, not yenem.