More Seminary Response

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    Y.W. Editor

    The Following letter was received by YWN vie email:

    Dear YWN,

    I am writing this in response to the seminary letters that have recently been submitted. Many people have been arguing that girls should not be sent to E”Y for seminary. It is an extremely expensive year and people don’t think seminary is worth it. I would like to show people the other side of the story- how a year in seminary can change a person’s entire life for the better.

    I went to a more modern high school where the girls in my class were not very careful about tznius, halacha or improving spiritually. We were all frum girls, but we were definitely lacking in our Ruchniyus. Today, where probably at least half my grade is married, I can tell you that we are as a whole different people. Practically all the married girls cover their hair, most girls dress much more tzniusly, and the whole approach toward yiddishkeit represents one of striving for growth rather than trying to do the bare minimum. While most girls married boys who are professionals, they all value Torah and want husbands who are koveah itim.

    You may argue that seminary should only be for ‘modern’ girls who need this year but I know this isn’t so. I know plenty of girls who went to more BY style schools who benefited as much from their year in seminary. Though they may have been following ‘the letter of the law’, the year in seminary definitely enhanced their ‘spirit of the law’. Most of these girls are frum because their families are frum, but they may not be strong enough on their own to withstand the tests of life. The year in seminary strengthens what theses girls have and gives them the independence they need to separate from their parents without compromising on their frumkeit. These girls come home with much firmer hashkafic views and are much more prepared to be imos b’Yisrael.

    Yes, there are some girls that were able to accomplish all of this in high school. For these girls, seminary may not be as beneficial. But for many girls, seminary is an unparalleled experience that is worth the money. In my opinion, enriching the ruchniyus and frumkeit of the future n’shei yisrael is a priceless endeavor.

    Thanks for reading.


    I agree that for some girls it can be a much needed chizuk to spend time in Eretz Yisroel in an atmosphere of Kedusha.

    There is an initiative to make a program that is both a great chizzuk and also cost-friendly. A seminary can be based in a suburb or city not in Jerusalem, yet a religious location, for example Beitar, Kiryat Sefer etc. The year should be from Sukkos to Pesach, saving money by less flying and cheaper season. A shorter year costs less too. I haven’t time to write much now, but the idea is that seminar can be reat but some of the current options are a huge waste of money and entail spiritual risk.

    I am curious to know what the girls who are flying right now to Israel would say if asked;

    1) what is the main reason that they want to go?

    2) What do they hope to accomplish there?

    3) Are they aware of potential pitfalls?

    That’s it for now.

    just one more point regarding what some wrote that seminary helps Shidduchim chances. It is not necessarily true. I have friends who are only maskim to hear about girls who have not gone to seminary. If you do what is right, al pi daas torah, Hashem will arrange the right Shidduch b’shaa tova, amen!

    ps. the views written here are not necessarily those of my wife, who went to seminary…


    Since you (the writer) seem to read these…

    Why can’t you take out a student loan and go? The issue is not with going, but the parents paying for it over everything else. If it is worth the money, that is what you should do regardless of your parents paying.

    Would you have done it?


    I agree with Gavra: If it’s so good, then let the girls take out loans and pay for it. Or maybe the seminaries should engage in fund-raising instead of blackmailing the parents. The costs are just too much to be offset by any good that might come of it.


    So if it costs too much, then the parent tells the young lady that we are sorry but we can’t afford it, and the young lady has the choice of taking out loans or getting a scholarship. It is a luxury, and should be viewed as such. Just like going to sleepaway camp, some can afford and some can’t.


    If you don’t live in NY and/or you have to send a child away from home, seminary is still going to cost more than 12th grade tuition. Not everyone will qualify for Pell or through the FAFSA.


    Seminary refines a girl and after a year there, they are more responsible and independent, ready to maintain a house. Some seminaries require the girls to cook one meal a day- it prepares them to cook for their families 3 meals a day. Girls also have to do their own laundry, take care of finding their own Shabbos plans, shop for food and do errands all while managing their school work. Besides for the spiritual growth that enhances almost every girl I have met who has gone, this more tangible benefit is seen.

    By the way–

    Look into Touro (specifically Flatbush)- they have grants for those who will be going there after a year in seminary but have issues paying for seminary.


    please have some seichel. ONE? seminary makes you cook 1 meal a day, so that’s not some. Do you mean that the girls eat pizza, ice cream, shwarma and rib steaks every day with their parents’ credit card? Is that good? I don’t mean tasty. Some seminaries take money and don’t provide food on Shabbos, but the girls get fed by local Kollel families. That too is great. One fifth of the food is sponsored by donors who make do and share their meager meal.

    About laundry, I definately agree.


    My daughter’s seminary fed them three times a day. But she didn’t like the food sometimes so she ate out. RIB STEAKS? come on, you are exagerating… She had plenty of in shabbosim also where she ate at seminary.

    If we all stopped sending to seminary in Israel, alot of these kollel families would be without parnasah, many of them teach at these schools. so it is worth their while to help the seminaries with shabbos meals. if the sem would have to feed them every shabbos, the price of sem would be prohibitive, food is so expensive there, even more than in the U.S. just my opinion…


    Shindy, these Shabbosos out are getting to be a big concern for me. My daughter will be happily invited by friends of hers who are in kollel in E”Y and trust me, they are NOT employed by any seminaries, in fact, are struggling to find any employment at all, and American support will only go so far. They can barely afford to feed themselves.

    They start off with in Shabbosos but we really have to look into this and I do plan to talk to the menahel about Shabbos placements.


    If these kollel families can’t afford it they won’t. The truth is that they make shabbos very simply and really love having orchim, since they are far from home and relatives they crave company. also, my daughter went to many working families in places all over israel. Spending shabbosim in different households was a lot of fun for my daughter, she really got to see different parts of the country and see how other people live in Israel. The seminary places the girls, and have no problems getting them placed, people seem to love to have orchim and share the little they have.


    The school I was at actually paid the staff to have girls over for Shabbos- this made it a win-win situation. We got to eat at special people, who lived very simple Torah lives but they didnt lose out because of it as they were fully compensated for it.

    This wasnt public knowledge because the school didnt want the girls to feel like the teachers would only have them for pay.


    i think sem in isreal is the best place for some ppl and the worst for others you have to know your kid


    for a minute lets forget the financial issues of seminary, with me going to israel was cheaper than my high school, plus it counted as my first year of college and it was a lot cheaper than college. but beyond that i think the bigegst problem is that seminary has been a must, in 12th grade it wasnt are you going to seminary its which seminary are you going to, personally i ddint feel it was the best thing for me but it was an option not to go, so i went. its not for everyone and it shouldnt be a msut whether for shidducim or for other reasons, depending on the girl she can agin a tremendous ammount spirtitually and from the independence she gets from that year. but for ohters it can be a potenital pitfall, some girls dont want to feel like they are in a cookie cutter system and feel like they are being brainwashed. plus the indepence in israel can be a potential pitfall, while theres so much kedusha in eretz yisroel, theres an equal amount of gasmius and the hangouts are in israel are the worst. so the things is parents and educators have to be careful who goes there. it wasnt meant for me, i wish someone would have realzied that, while i did learn to be more independent and did my own laundry, and cooked supper- we only got lunch and yes i actually cooked, i value money and do not just max out on my parents credit cards and eat out every night, i shopped for my own food cooked my own meals and made plans for every shabbos. but spiritually it was bad for me, i went off the derech for a while and the like. but anyway seminary can be amazing for certain girls, just be careful who.


    Cooking one meal a day- I knew many girls who did not buy take out or eat out in restaurants ect but they cooked their own meals. They made REAL dinners and learned how to keep house ect. They were responsible to clean their areas (and no maids), cook, do laundry ect. Many girls knew that their credit card was only for emergencies and not for outings.

    About shabbosim- many times girls went to American families who invited them, not always begging to go. sometimes they went to the people in charge of the seminaries. Sometimes they made it themselves or ate in seminary! There are seminaries where they had to eat in sem at least once a month (in shabbos)and they gave them 3 meals a day 6 days a week.

    About placement-If we were placed somewhere where we felt that they did not have enough to feed their families, we were told to fill up on challah or eat when we got back to the dorm (if we were sleeping there) and we told the people in charge of placement about it (discreetly).

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