Do we really need Seminary in Israel?

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    Yavneh alumni, I see nothing wrong with class discussions about kollel (or all sorts of issues). What’s troubling is when it is presented, heavy-handedly, as the only real choice.

    Mamashtakeh, this is why if my girls wouldn’t go for sem, I would send them on a structured program, to give them a chance to fall in love with E”Y. Not that they can’t get that from the home or K-12, but seeing is believing.

    [email protected]


    Maybe a year or seminary would have supported me for 2 years of kollel, but I still think it was worth it because if it wasnt for that, I would not have married someone in kollel at all. So 2 years was worth hopefully 10 years.


    Yes it is sad, and we should be living in eretz yisroel, and it shows how truly far we are in galus that people go there to visit or temporary as if it were any other vacation spot. My family is very into going to Israel, we go around 3 times a year. I always love it, but the differnce is when I go with my family we stay in rechavya with all the other Americans, but spending a year in Israel and seeing how people really live there showed me a different view. Now I am counting down the days to get married, not so I can be married, but so I can return to Israel, because everyday I really have a truly miss for it. May we all be zoche to be there soon by the coming of Mashiach.


    I would like to add my two cents to this discussion for all its worth (probably two cents). My wife went to a seminary and she has nothing but bad memories of the actual seminary. The seminary she went to, and many others (from the discussions she has had with other women, now 5-10 years out of seminary) they try to brainwash you and make you feel guilty if you dont choose the lifestyle they deem to be the right one. One of her rebbeim told a class full of impressionable girls “would you rather your husband come home from a day of working with goyim all day, or would you rather him come home from learning in an out of town kollel”. He said this statement and many worse statements to a group of 30 girls. At no point did he take into consideration that one choice does not apply to all people. All seminary did for my wife, was throw guilt, guilt and more guilt with a little brainwashing on the side. The worst thing is, that after robbing the girls parents of $20,000 for the year, so they can toil in “avodas hakodesh bikdusah vetahara (yea, after stuffing their fat pockets)” they tell all the girls to marry kollel guys (without knowing them, their backgrounds and their abilities to handle that life) and putting the parents further in debt. This issue is a major problem, not only in Seminary but in yeshivas as well. The same seminary rabbi, who tells these girls to live a life of simplicity and hardship turns around an hour later and asks parents for a check of $20,000. Aint that the biggest hypocricy in the world? One of these brainwashing rabbis from my wife’s seminary was in America (not fundraising, as they have endless supply of cash, rather recruiting girls/ATM machines) and my wife and I approached him and confronted him about his approach and his face turned red. He said over the years he has realized his mistake and has stopped saying many of those things, instead talking to each girl specifically about her goals and aspirations. Who do you think is teaching these girls in the seminaries? Gedolim? Rabbonim Chashuvim? They are guys who need money and just two years ago were playing in the Israel Football League and now is a frum kollel yungerliet who is well equipped to give seminary girls life lessons. ITS RIDICULOUS AND NONSENSE. Talk about the worst ROI you could make. My sister was in seminary last year and is going back as a madricha. The only things she has gained are 1.Weight 2.contacts in her cell phone 3. A further amount of cluelessness about the world and being a responsible jew appreciation for every restaurant in Israel and she has generally has had a great time. Wonderful, I am glad my parents wasted $20,000 on that!!! I welcome your responses and know I will get some blasts on this. I stand by my post.



    It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what’s going on between your high school and the Sem.s they *suggest*

    In any case, until within the last 10 years, Gerrer chasidim generally sent their “post high school” (yes, chasidim whose children receive a VALID HS education) to E”Y for what’s known elsewhere as “Yeshiva Gedolah.” Then they built “Yeshiva Gevoha” in Boro Park(not to be confused with Bais Medrash Govoha — Lakewood). One of the major reasons was so that parents don’t need to send their bochurim to E”Y (at a huge expense) and they can be close to family.


    bizrizut – u said it better than I could. I could not agree with you more,,,


    Tzippi, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the concept either, but it is not done realistically at all. I was just responding to what you said about the American seminaries being the same as the Israeli ones in this respect.

    [email protected], it sounds like your parents have no problem being able to afford sending you to seminary. In that case, I’m not saying that someone should davka not go. I’m just saying that it’s a luxury, not a necessity.

    As far as coming back from seminary wanting to live in e”y after marriage, I don’t necessarily think that’s such a good thing. For one, the choice of where to live is not usually the wife’s. Secondly, if someone plans on supporting their husband in kollel, there aren’t any jobs to be found here that can even cover the rent. So they are essentially asking their parents to support them fully, which is about double the cost of one year in sem.

    just me

    I sent my daughter to Bais Chaya Rochel in Gateshead. That is the “new” Gateshead-only 10 years old instead of 60 like the “old” one. That sem prepares the girls to be the next generation of Yiddishe Mothers. Most of the classes were either halacha l’maase (dinai kashrus or Shabbos) or hashgafa. Even when they learned Chumosh or Navi, they learned with hashgafa in mind. The girls had “vocational classes” in the afernoon. My daughter took a few computor classes over ther 2 years there. There is very little opportunity for a girl to do things she shouldn’t in a town like Gateshead (think of a town like Lakewood used to be) but some girls managed. Some people ALWAYS manage to do what they shouldn’t. Those girl were generally cought and told not to come back after a bain ha zemanim. BCR goes by yeshiva z’manim. My daughter was not brainwashed. She came back saying that Torah was important to her but she is not kollel material. She ate all meals including Shabbos in the sem. Rabbi Katz had as much control as a father does.

    Oh, the cost was about a third of what my friend paid that year for her daughter’s year in Israel.

    Was these years in sem a nessesity? From the change for the better that I saw in her, I would say yes. Perhaps if a girl has a very possitive high school experiance, which my daughter didn’t, sem would be more of a luxury.

    I couldn’t see sending an 18 year old away to a place where every Shabbos she is on her own. Come to think of it, my son was 20 when he went to Israel. I wouldn’t have let him go so young if he would have wanted to.


    Mrs. (B”H) [email protected]:

    That was the first exception. No complaints, this is where you wanted to go and you got there (with Hashem’s help, of course).

    Bizrizut: So break the trend and don’t send your kids. Or, send them to Michlalla and have them get real credits from a real college that they can use back home.

    There has been a good point made by a couple of posters:


    Please try to comment on this point as well (or if you have seen such a fundraiser).

    Feif Un

    The only place I know of that has fundraisers is Neve Yerushalayim. As I wrote earlier, my wife went there. They don’t require girls to pay if they can’t afford it. They have what they call a “moral obligation”. Basically, you pay whatever you can when you attend. After you leave, as you go through life, you send them a check when you can. If you have extra maaser money, or just make a decent living and can afford to send a check every month, you can send it then. If the day doesn’t come, they won’t press you for it.

    By the way, Neve is one of the few places I know of that actually gives girls a firm foundation in Judaism. I’ve met some of the teachers there, and have asked some questions. R’ Kelemen in particular was able to answer pretty much anything I ever asked him. I thank my wife for introducing me to him!


    Gavra At work,

    My kids are 4 and 2. I think seminaries are the last thought on my mind right now. Honestly, its not about breaking the trend. Its about using this forum to open peoples eyes and FOR ONCE, ASK PEOPLE TO USE THEIR BRAINS AND NOT THEIR HEARTS AND EGOS WHEN MAKING AN IMPORTANT DECISION. Michlala is a good place as well, another sister of mine went there, but that too can be considered a waste. I think that now that Touro is out there, many parents will demand that their daughters get some college credits and go to school at night, going to seminary will come with responsibility and only for a serious girl who is goal oriented will comply with seminary during the day and college at night (with the work that comes with it). Honestly, its about time we ask from our youth (i include myself in that) to show some gumption, show a sense of goal and responsibility. This “MAGIAH LI (I DESERVE IT)” attitude, is poisenous to the kids and causes more hurt in the long run. Teach them what it means to have ownnership of their work and lives and when they will get married and have children they will be more prepared to face those challenges. Should’nt that be what post highscool programs be? We trust them to be in a different country being independent and making choices. That trust does not come by itself, it must be earned! The whole seminary concept and how they it is run, is completly against that idea. Makes me a little upset. Hopefully when its my kids turn (another 15 years) the landscape will change a little and people will grow some brains.


    [email protected],

    I’m sure you mean everything yopu’ve said lishma, but I have to tell you, I don’t think you grew up in the real world.

    Earlier whaen I asked why you thought sem in EY was “essential to a jewish girl” (your words) one of the things you said was:

    “Our generation is also into making things easy and as simple as possible. Some things u learn in seminary such as independance u can learn in life experince, but if were so into making things as simple as possible, why not in this area as well.”

    Later on, you replied to Gavra with:

    “Maybe a year or seminary would have supported me for 2 years of kollel, but I still think it was worth it because if it wasnt for that, I would not have married someone in kollel at all”

    So let’s get this straight some of the reasons seminary is “essential” and “a must” because:

    1) It teaches you independence.

    2) We might as well make things a simple as possible

    3) Without it you might not have married a kollel boy.

    Well I hate to break it to you but:

    1) There are alot of folks out there who don’t see being shipped off around the world for an all-expenses-paid 12-month party, as an independece-building exercise. You, like many young kids, confuse being away from your parents, with being independent. True independence comes with responsibility. Having to do you own laundry doesn’t cut it. Who do you think learns more “independence” the seminary girl, or a girl who works after HS because she knows she will have to defray some of the cost of her own wedding.

    2) You’ve got to be kidding. Simple for who? The kid, or the parent slaving to pay for it.

    3) Let’s assume you are correct. Is marrying a non-kollel boy a fate so awful, it renders sem a “must”.


    Re Bizrizut: I would have loved to have been able to have a kid work or go to vocational school by day, and a night sem at night but out of town doesn’t have the range of options that she needed, and I wanted her in a supervised dorm. Again, we need more options and it will take a few years of grass roots work to get them.


    “Why don’t seminaries need to have fundraisers like every other frum institution?”

    Everyone seems to think that this is an argument against the seminaries. In fact, it is not. Seminaries don’t have fundraisers because they charge enough to cover their costs. All you people out there complaining about “learning responsibility” should at least learn that lesson from the sems. Don’t spend more than you have. Other frum institutions are committed to spending money that they don’t have.

    Now you may not like what the seminaries charge, and you may not like what it pays for. But at least it’s there, on the table, for all to see. Other institutions will first hit you up for all you’re worth, and then once they’ve bled you dry will engage their creativity to find other ways to bilk you. Then they’ll force you to bilk your relatives. And you can’t say no, because this IS an obligation, unlike sem.

    So let’s hear it for the underdog, at least when it comes to THIS argument!


    As with all things in life, Seminary in EY for a year is good for some and less beneficial to others. For the person who is serious about making a “connection” with EY, as well as learning, this can be a tremendous growth experience. For the kid who views the year (or two) away as a “12-month party,” this is clearly not the right attitude to be bringing to the table.

    My time in a girls’ seminary was well-spent, my learning and love of learning increased tremendously, and the experience of living with a bunch of girls from all over the world, opened my eyes to how blessed I was to be in EY, which I loved with all my heart. It’s true that it is a financial sacrifice, and it is equally true that NOT all kids benefit from the experience to the extent that their parents would hope. But I have a friend who sent her son to a well-known boys’ yeshivah, with the reputation for taking in difficult boys, a kid who was really off the derech, doing all kinds of things that none of us would like to contemplate. She sent him there really to put some safe distance between them. The first year, he went simply to be able to come and go as he pleased without mommy and daddy on his back. He decided the first year was so liberating that he wanted to go back for a second year. During the first half of his second year something happened – he got turned around, ended up switching to a more intense Yeshivah for another few years, then came back to the US, got his smicha and is now a rebbie himself, working with disenfranchised youth. Does this happen to every

    kid who goes to ISrael? No. But it happens sufficiently often that it is worth doing, if at all possible. Sometimes just the experience of being in EY is the good part.

    Avira d’Ar’a machkim, after all.


    I am a 22 year old girl now in the middle of the “wonderful” world of shidduchim. And, yes, the seminary that you go to does make a difference in the “parsha.” Unfortunatly, the seminary that I went to does not have the best name and so I am not having the easiest time.

    Nevertheless, I WOULDN’T TRADE IN MY SEMINARY YEAR FOR ANYTHING. Call it a luxary, call it a nessesity and it doesn’t make a difference. For some girls it is a luxary for some girls it is a necessity. My friends who attended seminary in NY, are much more lax about dressing tzniusly, hang out with the opposite sex, etc. My friends who went to secular colleges (dorm) are not religious anymore (not suprising). So you have to look at the options. The majority of high schools are not giving girls enough meaning in their lives.

    It used to be enough to be Frum, your kids would be frum almost automatically. If you are not inspired, do not know why your doing what your doing, there is a good chance your kids wont be frum. That is what seminary did for me – provided with me with tools and resources to find meaning in what I’m doing.

    My only complaint is that seminary was not “brainwashing” enough. They barely talked to us about kollel, shidduchim, etc. I feel like I was not given enough guidance in this area.

    p.s. most high schools cost (especially in the NY area) just as much as seminary but in seminary you are getting dorms, food, tiyulim, shabbatonim, famous teachers and speakers, etc. why does e/o think seminary is such a money making schemes but they don’t say this about jewish high schools?


    Graphix-girl, what happens in many sems with the kolel, shidduchim talks, is that a girl leaves with the impression that it’s the speaker’s way or the highway. What is more beneficial is discussion, and meeting some kollel families and talking with them, and teachers, speakers, etc. who could serve as mentors giving guidance (not brainwashing!) re shidduchim. You really didn’t get any of that?

    anon for this

    I attended an Israeli seminary over 15 years ago, so I’m not sure how relevant my experience is, but here it is: I personally felt that seminary was very helpful for me; I knew I’d be attending college, so I felt it was important to continue my Jewish education past high school also.

    B”H I had a lot of financial aid from various sources, & used money from summer jobs to help pay for it. The seminary provided 3 meals/ day & I had relatives near the seminary so my other expenses were minimal.

    I did attend a prominent “name” seminary in E”Y, because I felt it would be a more valuable experience for me; although I didn’t agree with everything the administration/ teachers said, I learned a lot from their views. Often disagreeing with a hashkafa shared by a teacher forced me to articulate (to myself) why I disagreed; this allowed me to either change my views or clarify them (or sometimes some of both).


    not enough. but it was a great year nevertheless 🙂


    I definitely think seminary is worth the money. I also think that everybody should know that not ALL seminaries are out to make the big bucks. There are people that run seminaries so that they can feel like they are giving- helping to raise the women of klal yisroel to be true nshei chayil and have a love for eretz yisroel. i loved seminary so much and i gained so much from it. i honestly think it was the best couple of thousand dollars that my parents have spent on me.

    I also think that everyone should stop badmouthing this topic. Seminary is a year that complete’s a girl’s education and prepares her for her coming years as a bas yisroel or a jewish wife/mother. Maybe instead of criticizing all the seminaries, we should thank them for ensuring a proper future for girls and for the generations to come….

    Feif Un

    random visitor, just like most of the people here saying that seminary is worth the cost, you are a girl who attended, not a parent who paid for it. If you all were actually paying the bill, you’d probably rethink your opinion.

    lammed hey

    Figure the sems make more money on application fees than a fundraiser could raise so that fundraising is not required. 🙂


    I am not such a fan of sems in E”Y because of the lack of supervision and the (hefty) price tag. for the majority of girls soing to sem in E”Y its a result of peer pressure to get a good shidduch more than they’re actual learning. after 12 years of school most girls are “burned out” and the things taught in seminarys that may be helpful in throughout life like tznius and hashkafa need to be ingrained to a certain extent from the begining before sem even came into the picture I cant imagine anyone would make such a drastic change in going from 0 to 100 and have it last. additionally I think peer pressure is a big obstacle in the area of shidduchim, if we would lose the mentality of get out of HS, go to a top sem in E”Y, marry the “best” boy in lakewood and adopt one like there are sems other than those in E”Y and there are yeshivos other than lakewood ( not saying anything against it) we would all benefit


    I sent my son to EY this zman and the “tuition” we were asked for was a small fraction of what our daughters year cost us. Boys belong in EY, not the girls. Send the girls on summer tours-thats the way to go. I dont think the Israelis love having their neighbourhoods overrun with American girls. Sem in EY is not what it used to be. Today its big business and not about chinuch. B”H our BY schools are terrific-plenty of role models for the girls right at home. Our girls are not impressionable like they used to be. Save your money. Sem in EY is overrated big time. Girls with issues used to be sent away for a year. Keep your girls home.


    I sent my son to EY this zman and the “tuition” we were asked for was a small fraction of what our daughters year cost us. Boys belong in EY, not the girls. Send the girls on summer tours-thats the way to go. I dont think the Israelis love having their neighbourhoods overrun with American girls. Sem in EY is not what it used to be. Today its big business and not about chinuch. B”H our BY schools are terrific-plenty of role models for the girls right at home. Our girls are not impressionable like they used to be. Save your money. Sem in EY is overrated big time. Girls with issues used to be sent away for a year. Keep your girls home.

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