Going local for Mesivta versus out of town

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    Sam Klein

    Why has is become the new normalcy for mesivta boys to stay and go to a local mesivta versus everyone used to always go out of town where you grew more maturity and responsibility as you got older and it was a great thing for your growth?


    Because people realized it wasn’t such a good thing. Especially today, where kids take longer to mature, parents and Rabbonim realized that these kids missing out on seeing parents interact, interacting with siblings and family, attending local family Bar Mitzvahs and Kiddaishim, etc, was doing more harm than good.


    Well we’ve learned that it’s usually not the case that it makes a person more mature.


    SK: You started with the premise “Why has is become the new normalcy for mesivta boys to stay and go to a local mesivta versus everyone used to always go out of town”. Where and when was it “normal” to always goout of town? I was in Mesivta Chaim Berlin in the 1970’s and 90% of the talmidim were local (Brooklyn), 5% from Queens and 5% from outside New York State.


    Because going out of town had many problems of it’s own that were only by those who went OOT themselves.

    The parents thirty years hadn’t done so and were blissfully unaware of them

    To give but two of the many (1)the difficulty of getting enough sleep in a dorm (2)having a vulnerable teenager in a situation of 24/7 peer pressure.

    When I was in my early twenties in the late 90s I was at a large debate about OOT with about thirty bochurim present. The only ones who said they would send their children OOT were the ones who hadn’t gone OOT themselves. Some of those who I remember as the biggest talkers about how they would only go OOT thirty years ago are now some of the most vehement opponent of OOT


    I have watched Mesivtos open and fold over the years here in CT. A few local parents decided they didn’t want to send their boys away after 8th grade. So they hit up the local Baal Batim and opened schools. In 6-8 years the schools would fail (usually after the first group of local boys had graduated and the original group of parents lost interest).
    My older brothers went to Mesivta in Brooklyn, but did not live in a dorm, they lived with my grandparents who lived within 2 blocks of school.
    I went to Mesivta in New Haven. My two sons went to Mesivta in Brooklyn, they dormed during the week and spent Shabbos with my grandparents.

    The only boys who I noticed being sent to Mesivta in New Haven during the 70s and 80s were those from troubled backgrounds, but whose parents could write a large check. The Litvish Mesivta (along with day school has closed down amid scandal and the RY is in a state jail cell for what was done to vulnerable students in the dorms.

    I would never willingly send a 14 year old off to live in a dorm somewhere and attend Mesivta in these times. I might consider boarding with a family I have vetted, but would prefer they live with relatives. My grandsons of that age are Brooklyn and living in my sister’s home during the zmanim.


    There are a number of really good OOT yeshivos, some of which weren’t around in the 70s, 80s, and early 90s. They are located in places as diverse as Philadelphia and Long Beach and each offers balanced programs of limudei kodesh and limudei chol on a par with the yeshivos in NYC. Obviously, they are not all offering the same “balance” and differ in competitiveness, class sizes, and overall ruach. Your son is special and you should not rely on others’ advice entirely but visit the school, spend a day or learning and perhaps add a Shabbos if possible. Talk with your son’s current rebbe and then make a decision.

    Sam Klein

    When a mesivta boy goes OOT for high school he gains the pro of full devotion to Torah learning with no distractions of going home every day and also worldly distractions going on around the world as he heads back and forth to mesivta every day.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    My boys dormed in local yeshivos


    Sammy: Do you really believe that a teenage boy living in an OOT dorm with no parental supervision is immune from “worldly distractions”?? Most bochurim today can run circles around the so called “mashgiach ruchani” or dorm counselors who are supposed to be providing real-time supervision. It really depends on the bochur and how much” independence” they can handle.


    Sam Hashem decides it all anyway except יראת שמים.
    So who cares where you send your kid


    As one who went away to mesifta/yeshiva at age 14 and who sent his son away at the same age (to the same place), I can report that there are benefits to doing so. I have found that there were fewer distractions OOT. It is easier to concentrate on learning and shtayg away from the familiar distracting home dynamic of travel, outside interests, etc.
    That is not to say that there are no difficulties with living in a dorm. While the rebbeim and mashgichim supervise the boys closely, ways can still be found to go outside the box, as it were. For instance, I learned to smoke in yeshiva. Also, dorm life has it’s tests and dangers that bachurim have to learn to avoid.
    Sending your son away requires that you know and trust your son. In my experience, the benefits clearly outweighed the drawbacks.

    meir G

    a few points; some of the changes that evolved
    1. the older dor of roshei yeshiva that went into a midbar to found a oot yeshiva had a wife willing to forgo everything and took the risk of their children going to local dayschools or dorming by relatives from a young age ( scranton , stamford, passaic…southbend.. chicago detroit.. denver.. telz today we cannot imagine how w/o money , bochurim, mishpacha… these mosdos started
    2. staff / ratio- many of these mekomos were a 2 man band a rosh & maybe 2 more staff & the rebbetzin cooked or office… shabbos , yomtov winter summer – today a oot yeshiva needs an army from mashgichim to nt seder from shoel umeshiv to dorm counselor
    3. THE TURNPIKE- made room for options ( patterson, sprinfield, clifton…. lakewood & monsey all this gave the best of both a little OOT yet w one foot in shtut

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