Choosing a Seminary

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    Let’s try this again. Is anyone out there familiar with Ateres,what the sem’s like,type of girl,etc…?


    aimhabonim, I know ONE person who went there. I think its similar to chochmas lev (someone I know who went to chochmas lev and the person who went to ateres I think applied to both)

    BUT, less BYish, more academic.

    No guarantees this is really what its like.



    It’s funny but the same sem can have different images in different locations, so no guarantees you’ll get a clear picture.

    Ateres has become a bit more academic but I think it’s still solid in hashkafa, which is nice for girls who would like some unplugged time. As far as the type of girl, I think there’s an overlap with Chochmas Lev.


    Afikei Torah is an excellent seminary, especially for those who have never left home before. Most of the girls are friends/friendly with each other and knows everyone in the seminary. There are no “outsiders.” The Rabbaim, Teachers, and Staff, are truly exceptional, and sincere. The friends you make there, are forever in your life.

    Other information:

    -There is a curfew, and “check ins,” so you don’t have to worry about your daughter C’V getting into any trouble at night.

    -They set the girls up every shabbos with different families, so you never have to worry about her being stranded.

    -They serve dinner, but the girls are responsible for the other meals (I don’t recall if there was lunch given or not), but fear not, the girls have a full kitchen in their apartments.

    -There are about 2-3 girls to a room, and around 12 girls to an apartment (no wonder why the girls become so close with one another).

    -They have very well monitored trips, and the prices of these trips are included in the tuition. (except for the Europe trip).

    -The girls come from all over and many walks of life, but all have one thing in common. They all want to further their knowledge of Judaism, their role as a Jewish woman, become closer to Hashem, loving everything they do, not because they are “told” to, but because they have such love for the Jewish religion. It’s a time they find themselves, grow out of their childhood, and become women.



    Just in case anyone out there is looking at seminaries, I just found out (from a reliable source) that Shoshanim Seminary is opening next year on their beautiful new campus with an added extension for next year. The current year is extremely happy to be there! I know about the seminary cuz I know a lot of girls who have gone there in the past and they were thrilled at the school!

    Contact the school for more information! I was told that you can request an application from them as well if your local high school does not have them.

    Shoshanim USA office:

    Shoshanim Seminary

    c/o Mrs Baum

    2 Miriam Lane

    Monsey, NY 10952


    hi just read your post asking abt Ateres, in a “nut shell” Ateres is a out of box BY. Rabbi Belsky pushes his girls to find the ultimate truth by challeging them intellectually. it is an academic school, and they do alot of text, put they have programms to help those who are not there yet academically. the inside text is in the long run what makes Ateres out of the box, because once the students have mastered text they are then able to use it to inspire themselves, both with their head and their heart; they don’t deal with cloudy 9 inspiration, they are real! the build their Hashkafos through what they have been thaught, makes it more solid and lasting. the Hanhala is very frum and BY, the girls are more out of town. . .


    The curriculum is definitely more rigorous than it used to be (not a judgment, just stating the facts). They’ve attracted good girls. I think there’s a bit of overlap with Chocmas Lev. Rabbi Belsky wrote the chinuch column in last week’s Hamodia for people wanting to find out more.


    Went to Ateres…changed my life..I agree with everything lechlecha says..

    I am not one of those girls that comes back and says wow everyone must go here..

    I loved it but I understand not every sem is for every girl and it has to be a right fit so that you can get the most out of your year.

    Ateres was amazing but you have to be someone who is genuinely looking for a year of introspection and figuring out who you want to be for the rest of your life.. The girls are out of town BY, but still all different types, but good, real, solid growing girls. The school is small and everyone knows eachother and the teachers know each girls which was amazing for me, although some people like bigger schools. The thing with the academics is that its not just reading Rambams and Rashis and writing reports like other is very intellectually stimulating, for girls who like to think, question, and understand, not necessarily just learn academically. Hashkafa through text, not just fluff, but sources, thats what makes the changes stick..They do have two tracks, for girls who want to work on a more academic level, and girls who would rather not have to prepare meforshim and do assignments. (I was in level aleph and didnt really do well on tests or homework, Level two was not enough of a challenge, I didnt go on a transcript and no one will ever see my terrible grades, shhh don’t tell the shadchan.)

    4 Years out of seminary and still inspired 🙂

    (Just my persective on Afikei from my many friends who went there, and I actually applied there as well… not so intellectual, but full of amazing hashkafa and growth, it is not considered a BY school at all.)


    new seminary GO TO WORK OR GET AN EDUCATION!there’s no halachic obligation rather its probably forbidden to literally kill parents so their daughters can to camp in ERTZ for 10 months none of the last generations women went [rebbetzins included] when will this stupidity end? send all your daughters to nigt sem and they’ll perfectly capable jewish mothers enough of being scammed!



    Seminary is a really important year for girls who need it/take it seriously ie. If your year is not about Sam’s and FroYos.

    That being said..seminary doesn’t need to be in Israel for $$$$$$$. There are other alternatives in US/Canada/UK.

    BUT Night seminary; staying at home and being in college while your doing is just not the same at all and the girls do not benefit as much from it.


    And what about the out of town girls who don’t have in town options? They need something solid and (especially if you don’t qualify for FAFSA, etc.) it does add up.


    what do you teach girls for a whole year? if they work/ study they can eventually support a husband who learns ,that should take priority if your serious about marrying a talmid chochom even before seminary


    Lotsa talmidei chachamim out there who have 9 -5 jobs, especially among the 70 and 80 somethings (who married older, FWIW, many of them) who had to start working full time early as it was pasnisht for obviously pregnant women to work.

    You see, this is the albatross around my neck. I grew up with too many role models of men who truly made Torah umnasom, even if they worked. Guess I need some serious deprogramming….


    Listen..if a girl is mature and has her head on straight then I agree…

    I work with high school girls, and in my opinion most of them don’t know who they are or what they are doing in life.. they are on cruise control. You can do college in Seminary (I finished my degree before girls who opted out of seminary) if your worried about a degree. In a whole year, you figure out who you are, who you want to be, what kind of guy you want/need, what kind of wife you want to be, how you want to raise your kids and run your home. You spend a year without outside definitions of yourself so that you can truly define yourself. Even if your a good frum girl your whole life, it important to still be someone who thinks and chooses to live that way, otherwise we are passing down meaningless traditions to the next generation. PS. just because a girl can support a guy learning doesnt mean she is going to be a good wife and mother and instill good values into the home.

    But again, if a girl is Fro-Yo-ing through seminary and coming home all floaty and 18 years old wanting to get married because she found a pretty dress, wants to wear a ring and finally get to have a boyfriend…then yeah, she could have stayed home.

    tzippi- im not understanding the conflict… I was talking away from home even for NY girls


    Tzippi..your last post is a whole different topic but I agree, no need to de-program your doing just fine… There are guys sitting and learning with no chashivus hatorah just because that is what your “supposed to do” (dont get me wrong.. there are guys sitting in yeshiva who are real learning guys and very very machshiv torah, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for them..) and there are guys who are working, not because that is their goal in life, but simply to support a family, doing that while keeping sedarim, and going to shiurim, and walking around with a sefer in their hands..that is a person chashivus hatorah as well.


    When I was in seminary in Israel ya, there were the girls going out to eat, going shopping in malcha or Mamilla (malls)living it up like they were on vacation not living in Israel-a Makom Kadosh!, There are hypocritical people ya, they go to the frum camps, high schools but in seminary the girls listened to their non Jewish music, books, magazines,videos etc. and I went to a well known to be good frum seminary(I was shocked!)I wonder if the good frum boys yeshivas have the same issue?

    My point really is you must know your child before sending him/her to Israel make sure you can trust 100% they know whats right and whats wrong!



    You have to know that your kid wants to grow and learn. Even if they don’t seem to be “knowing right from wrong” at this point in their lives. Many many girls come to seminary the way you describe and leave completely different. Had they had not gone to seminary they would have never had that chance to grow and change and define themselves..figure out who they are without their friends and family and community.. Again, this is why that year that seems so unreasonable is so important..otherwise they are stuck as high-school minded girls. And yes..there are guys in yeshiva who have the same issue.


    I personally would think twice about having a child of mine marry a girl who did not go out of town for seminary. It could be to montreal or yavneh (if you arent from there), if not E”Y, but lakewood, BY half day, full day or night sem doesnt cut it at all. They need to be away from home and know how to survive without mommy and daddy always being there. Girls need to learn how to take care of themselves, be responsible, learn who they are without mommy telling them when they go home. Making shabbos plans, cooking, budgeting, travel arrangements, social skills, setting their schedule (going to bed ect)….are all part of growing up. I know someone who married a girl who did not leave home for seminary and she could not deal with being married and ended up in a divorce…

    Girls who can define themselves, take care of themselves, have a sense of maturity… are more likely to come from those who were away from home.

    Being a good mother and wife is more than having a job or having a little money saved up. College can be done in sem, depending on the place, or it can be done fairly quickly when they get back home.

    Jobs and money come and go, but who the person is will stay.


    Havesomeseichel, I don’t totally agree. Personally, I know for my kids that out of town sem is the best for them. But a good friend told me that her outstanding daughter – who did go away for sem, went on kiruv programs, etc. – was looked at askance shidduchim-wise because for whatever reason she never went to sleepaway camp (?!?!?). This may be your hakpada for your kids but I don’t see it as objective.


    havesomeseichel, you are majorly overgeneralizing. Independence has to do with a lot more than whether someone went away for a year. A lot of it is personality and how you were raised. I personally was always independent. B”h my parents raised me that way. I have also tried to be as financially independent as possible even when single.

    As I heard a wise person say (actually I think it was a comment posted on this site or another one), who is more independent? A sem girl who’s living it up on her parents credit card for a year, shnorring shabbos meals from people, and calling home on her cell 2x a day, or a girl who’s going to sem at home while starting training for a career so her parents won’t have to support her as much when she gets married?

    Traditionally, Jewish girls never went away from home for a year – this is not the criteria and should not be the criteria of who will be more capable of being a good wife and mother.


    rebetzin- there is more to responsibility than having a job. Like I said, jobs come and go. I was referring to E”Y seminary in the ideal sense, where parents do not give their daughters free reign of the credit cards, a lush bank account to always take out money, and unlimited phone calls. E”Y seminary is, and for many people I know has been, a scenario in which they were given a limited budget for the month, maybe a credit card for emergencies ( real ones…like when the bus broke down and they needed to take a taxi to get back to the dorm or if they C”V had a medical emergency and needed to see a doctor) and a fixed number of times they could use their phone internationally.

    It does not have to be internationally, as long as it is away from their hometown and far enough that they can’t just come home when they get homesick and miss mommy. Being away from home for 9 months is like a trial run for marriage. Some seminaries require the girls to cook one meal a day, all require the girls to do their own laundry, all require keeping their room (as well as some general/common areas) clean and orderly…. its a microcosm of the macrocosm- marriage.

    There are ways to start training for a career in seminary, especially Montreal and Yavneh. And anyways- you can get through these technical schools and some colleges so quickly that they should be able to have a final year away. Icing on the cake to help solidify them before marriage. There is no need for them to have their BA by the time they are 18. If they have it by 19 or 20 they are still way ahead of the goyish world. Having a job in no way is a sign of “maturity” the same way living on your own far from home is.

    anon for this

    HSS, when I was in seminary most of my needs were provided for, and I had fewer responsibilities than at home. I did wash my own laundry & keep my room neat, but I did this at home also. The seminary provided three meals daily, so I did not have to cook my own meals; at home I helped prepare food for shabbos & cleaned up also, besides helping younger siblings with their homework. My parents provided an allowance that was more than adequate for bus fare, school supplies, and other expenses. No one had cell phones then, but my parents called me a couple of times each month & I wrote to them two or three times a week.

    After attending seminary in E’Y I lived in my parents’ home while attending a local university. Even though I was living at home, I was in some ways more independent than I was while in seminary. I chose my major, planned which courses to take, bought my textbooks, and of course was responsible for my own coursework. My parents provided room & board, while I applied for scholarships and worked to cover tuition, fees, and books. At the beginning of each fall term, I’d arrange with my professors and TAs to make up tests, quizzes, and labs missed due to the Yomim Noraim.


    anon- yes, what you said about attending a university is correct. Those that choose that route end up more independent in the long run. Since for many people that is not an option, for whatever reason, seminary is a good second. It is not for everyone, but many I have known have matured, and they were quite mature to begin with! It is an experience being away from home. Yes, I had some of the same experiences you had, having to arrange with yomim tovim and the like- a very solidifying experience having to explain what the yom tov is about, do we really believe in “all that stuff”, ect. For those who go through it- kol hakovod in todays world, which is very different from years past. But at the same time, dont discount seminary. Would a girl I know, in secular college now, be able to go through it all without her sem experience? each experience is different and it depends on your sem and how your parents dealt with it.

    You seem to have been quite mature to begin with. But for those who are not, and will not go to a secular college or even a frum one away from home, it is a bridge to “adulthood”.

    anon for this

    HSS, I did not mean to imply that my year in seminary was not a valuable one. On the contrary, it was a spiritually enriching experience. While the hanhala of my seminary generally disagreed with college attendance, the ideas I learned there, and what I learned about myself, prepared me for college and for life afterwards in a way that my high school education did not.

    However, I still maintain that my year in seminary did not teach me as much about living independently as my freshman year in college did. My years in college, among people who knew very little about Judaism, forced me think about why I keep the Torah. In a way, this time, and my time in the workforce afterwards, were a kind of practicum where I applied the Jewish education I’d received.


    I don’t know…I live here in e”y and I see the seminary girls and I’m not particularly impressed. It seems like one long year of camp to me. With some studying, depending on the sem, but even that, while good, is not preparation for real life. Maybe for a very specific type of girl who is very attached to Mommy, it’s a good idea. The case you mentioned where someone got divorced is one case and extreme. I wouldn’t take an example from it. I’m not saying girls don’t gain and grow in seminary but not necessarily in ways that make them better wives or mothers. It’s very narrow to say that you wouldn’t consider a girl who didn’t go away for that reason. You could be rejecting a lot of good, independent girls. I went out of town for sem and I don’t feel it made a difference either way to my independence. So I learned how to do laundry. By the time I got married, I had forgotten already and it took me approx. 5 minutes to relearn.

    I don’t know the percentage of girls who are are on a strict budget in seminary, but I don’t think most people have as little spending money as you described. There are ways to learn budgeting at home too. Parents can start very young with that if they want to.

    One more thing: just because someone is homesick in sem doesn’t mean they will be homesick when they get married. It’s not the same type of situation.


    Does anyone know of seminaries in Brooklyn with classes at night or afternoons aside from Bais Yaakov of Boro Park?


    Pleeeeeeeeeaaase urgently. does anybody have information about baltimore sem???? Kodesh and Chol program.


    Hi, does anyone know the number for Hadar in America. i want to apply, but i never got an application. thanks

    Pashuteh Yid

    Maybe somebody could post a spreadsheet type of list so we could all compare them point by point. Like consumer magazines do when they rate products.

    Which serve 3 meals a day? Which can you stay for Shabbos. Which neighborhoods are they located?

    When you think about it, the bottom line is that the only important thing you will learn there is to be a kind person. Does it really matter how many prakim or meforshim a girl learns? Can this quality of kindness be learned outside a sem just as well? The only other valuable thing is to learn everyday halachos well.

    The only ones who need a real academic type with rigorous exams and reports are those who want to be teachers or go into an academic career. Also if a girl wants to understand the intellectual underpinnings of yiddishkeit for her own curiosity, that is a reason to, as well. However, if you go to a place where they don’t allow questions, then what is the point?

    In some ways, does it matter where you go, or if you go?


    This is a link to a listing of most of the E.Y seminaries,it has email or other contact info.I hope this is a help to others in need of info.

    Does anyone know of such a listing for places in the states?

    The sem in baltimore is maalot baltimore they have a dvd you can request that describes them.I think it’s #410-358-3144


    The case that I know is not extreme. The girl was probably never away from home for more than a shabbos or school shabbaton weekend. That is the type to be worried about. It is not extreme, just abnormal that someone in today’s world should be in such a situation. But now the divorce is tearing the families apart… the girl could just not handle being away from home.

    If the guy/girl went to college and lived independently from their folks, that would be the same (or even better) than seminary. But if someone wont be going to seminary out of the area they are most likely not going to be going to a university out of the area.

    I never said that if someone is homesick in sem they will be when they are married. I just said that if they never went away for 9 months, how likely is it that they will be able to live out of state from their parents? Yom tov not with their parents and siblings? The first time was a biggy for me and many of my friends. But the next time they were away they were able to deal with it and were not crying from homesickness. First times are always hard. Let them get their first time when they are not going to endanger their marriage when they will be going to his side instead of hers.

    Going out of state/to montreal will do the same thing, especially if they will not be going home for every shabbos, yom tov ect.


    When this post began there were some comments from girls actually in Machon Raaya. Any updates?


    I guess not. So does anyone have any information about Machon Raaya? Thanks a lot!


    I went to BY MAchon Raaya last year and i can tell u about it. I B”H had an amazing year there. I of course had to weigh my options before going because it was the first year of the seminary but it turned out to be the best place ever!

    SO here are the basics and if u want more ask.

    In terms of the type, I know that ppl are saying that is “a more open minded type of BY” whatever that means. According to me it is a BY period. To give u an idea, the girls that were there last yr got into places like Bos Chava Nachlas seminar bya…

    and applied from anywhere from hadar to meor. The girls are solid, tznius, frum and fun girls. There are a bunch of out of towners and a bunch of in towners, but as someone said earlier on in the thread, it s really achdusdik and everyone is friends, and even has kept in touch, as a sem, which is really nice.

    The Hanhala is really unbelievable. They are there for u in every situation. U can feel comfortable going to them for shabbos, asking any questions… As someone else mentioned, they will listen to and be really accomidating about ANYTHING whether its regarding work or anything else.They are really exemplary ppl and they truly care about each girl in the school. They would seriously do ANYTHING for u!

    The work- Basically its like this. If u are looking for an easy sem, this is not for u! the work is not easy! but, it is also not wut ppl tend to think of as stam “busy” work. U have reports, and hmwk assignments, but not just like twenty little stuff to do each night.Its smart work, and interensting stuff. Everybody who came was the type that they love to learn. No one was just trying to get away with out studying or with compramising on the reports and stuff.Everybody came to learn, and everybody learned a lot! there is a lot of focus on meforshim and text, but there were girls who came with out such a backround in that from outa town schools, and by the end of the yr they were mamash fluent!

    The teachers are TOPS! We has unbelivably chashuv ppl teaching us, and yet they were aproachable, warm ,and brilliant. We has a standing invitation by all of them for shabbos and those were the most beautiful shabbosim! Some of the classes are electives and u only have to take a certain amount, but almost every single girl took extra cuz it was too hard too choose.

    The accomidations are really nice, its in the prettiest location by the yaar yerushalayim. really nice rooms and stuff.

    Although its not easy we had the funnest time ever!

    we got to go on lots of trips that most places dont go cuz its a small sem, and we went on a trip in Yerushalayim EVERY WEEK!!! We got brachos from tons of gedolim, met a few amazing Rebbitzens, and each got PERSONAL TIME with Rebbitzen KANIEVSKY!!! Those are a few of the maalos of being small in addition to the warmth and achdus although it is growing…

    U make ur own schedule sort of, cuz there are electives, so the time is very managable and so is the work.


    If u wanna know more just ask!


    Thanks so much MASHEHUKAZEH. Approximately how many girls are in the seminary?


    now there are around thirty five, last yr there were 27.


    Thanks so much, MASHEHUKAZEH.


    I too am a Machon Raaya graduate. I agree with everything MASHEHUKAZE said. The work is hard but extremely interesting, not at all busy work.

    one of the things I loved about it was that it was such an amazing group of girls and we all felt comfortable discussing real things (if u know what i mean) in or out of class. I learned as much from my peers as i did from my teachers ( and i learned A LOT from my teachers) every girl was a role model in something.

    What i personally think makes Machon Raaya so special is this: We were taught tto go in one direction, up, toward Hashem. To follow Torah and the Emes. What the y didn’t do is preach a specific derech to do it. The idea is that we were each created differant for a reason and not by accident. We are all headed in the same directions but thre is more than one way 2 get there. (Mrs Segal especialy stressed this) Even as role models, our teachers were all unbeleivably amazing ppl. all so amiti, so real… and different from each other! same with the girls. We were all learning, growing girls seeking truth. all different from each other but united in our desire for emes and growth.

    It’s a great place, though obviously not for everyone.


    Have you considered Manchester? The focus is definitely hashkafa based. There is not a lot of work and there are vocational classes in the afternoon. There is a big spectrum of girls and as long as you follow the dress code and rules, there is no problem.


    Does anyone have information on Bais Yaakov Mezuraz ? I know they are not a full year sem but that is all I know.


    fabie: Please re-post in this thread.


    (ol)fabie: Please re-post in this thread.(/ol)

    OK will do. I assume this is referring to the post regarding pell grants. Please let me know if I have violated any rules.

    I wanted to know if most-some-any seminaries are eligible for Pell grants, Staff loans, other government programs, and any other sorts of aid.


    Yes, sems are available. You usually have to go through a US program, i.e the school is an Israeli branch of an American program. Totally above board and legit. The schools takes a processing fee.

    Two schools I know of are TI (Skokie girls’ program) and Touro. You have to check about how well the credits will tranfer though, and some schools don’t like you using their program if you have no real plan to continue once back in the states.

    Is anyone in your school willing to help guide you?

    And don’t forget MASA, your local Federation’s grants, etc.


    Thanks Tzippi. The Israeli choice I’ve heard of, does seem somewhat complicated though, but never actually used them, since both of my married daughters married early, directly after high-school, now they may use them for some other training or something else. I am actually concerned for my third daughter who I would like to send to the US next year. So I’m looking for a Seminary in the US who will handle this, hopefully without any middlemen. Right now based on your advice, seems like so far the most likely from our side is Detroit, but I am still researching. I would really like to know what the total costs are, including everything, and after any grants or aid.

    This daughter right now is in 11th grade, but will be 18, so she is in high-school now. Next year I would like to send her directly to Seminary though.


    aimhabonim, what did your daughter decide in the end?


    Thanks for the interest,potpie.My daughter applied (and was accepted to) a few sems,and will iy”h be attending Darchei Binah next year.It seems to be the closest fit to what we were looking for,and she’s excited for next year.

    jewish grl

    theres a good seminary in england too called bais chaya rochel


    aimhabonim, I wish your daughter much success. I personally know of a number of great girls going to Darchei Bina next year. Out of curiosity, did your daughter also apply to Chochmas Lev?


    Yes,potpie,she did apply and was accepted to Chochmas Lev. There are major differences between them,however,and Darchei Binah is more “up her alley”.


    Bais Yaakov Mezuraz- for those who want to know about it, it is a real good idea. the girls get to be there for the summer, tishrei (and are not jet lagged there) and part of the winter, I believe. I am not sure exact months. They are able to grow and learn there… The menahel is AMAZING. He cares about each girl, much like a father for the sem. If someone has a problem, they can go to him. It is an amazing place, worth looking into.

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