Sherut Leumi… I don't know what to do

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    I am a baal teshuva, who is very split in terms of chumras that I take on and do not take on between Modern Orthodox, and Bais Yaakov. I started keeping shabbos through ncsy, then after two years of being in ncsy, I went on an all girls summer program in E”Y for six weeks, I really liked it because the program had a centrist hashkafa, and there was a great mix of Bais Yaakov girls and Public School girls and a bunch of girls in between, and I really enjoyed it.

    The day after I got home from the program, I decided that for 12th grade that I would attend one of the local bais yaakov schools in my community for that year. Baruch Hashem, I got accepted there because it was certainly better than being in public school, but that is where I started having issues with adjusting to the idea of feeling like a hashkafa was being pushed on me (even though I had special permission to do ncsy, but I felt weird doing ncsy when none of my classmates were allowed to, so I only went to a few events last year), which is probably one of the biggest problems people seem to talk about in chinuch, not that I really know anything about that.

    Someone offered to find a way to switch to the modern orthodox high school, but at that point, I already made a bunch of amazing friends and I didn’t want to just leave a school and start in the middle of the year in another school when my only problems were the fact that I wasn’t hashkafically ready to go to that school, yet would have been the frummie in the modern orthodox school. I then ended up graduating that school.

    And this year, I started off in a more bais yaakov type seminary, but I wasn’t prepared for the hashkafic culture shock that I experienced at the previous school again, so I ended up leaving after two months for a bunch of reasons, however I think the root cause of most of the reasons had to do with the hashkafic culture shock.

    I am currently in a modern orthodox seminary (it was the last school on my list before packing my bags to go back home), and I am also experiencing a ton of culture shock, because on one hand, I think the internet can be used for good reasons, but on the other hand, I am the only girl here who covers her legs, and I feel like the only reason I wear the same skirt 3-4 times a week is because it is religious denim and therefore allows me to blend in more, which is somewhat important when one’s hashkafa is significantly beyond the seminary she is in, and I also wear gym shoes, and not as much black as I did before so that people don’t associate me with the more chareidi community (I am having shock about certain hashkafic values within the classroom setting).

    Overall, its an amazing school, and I am becoming an expert at dealing with culture shock… Baruch Hashem I have had many opportunities to do such amazing and different experiences!

    But the thing is that I have decided to make aliyah and I want to do sherut leumi next year, but I don’t know whether to go through Bat Ami, or Agudah. Nobody really knows how to advise me because I tend to experience culture shock whenever I am doing something that involves me leaving my mothers house from a Jewish perspective.

    Bat Ami is the modern orthodox sherut leumi organization, and Agudah is Chareidi. I know that bat ami has a website, but does anyone have any information on how to contact Agudah? Also, do you think I should go through Bat Ami or Agudah? I am at a loss as to what to do and I have been trying to answer that question for myself for the past month.



    paragraphed, by 95


    What community do you wish to be part of? When it comes to which seminary you attend, that seems to matter more than what yeshiva guys attend, as far as shidduchim are concerned.

    I encourage the Dati Leumi/Modern Orthodox approach, but I am nogea b’davar obviously. if you’re familiar with my postings.

    You have to ask yourself which community you want to become part of.


    I don’t have any advice regarding your question, but I wanted to share something I’ve learned: people are very resistant to reading long paragraphs (and sentences for that matter). Splitting your post into multiple paragraphs would probably inspire more people to read you post, resulting in more or better feedback.

    One thing to keep in mind regarding the charedi/dati leumi decision is that the dati leumi community is very diverse, including very nationalistic people and very moderate people, very MO people and pretty charedi people (chardalim), with everything in between.

    Regardless, hatzlachah with your decision! 🙂


    Moderator 95, thank you for putting my original post into paragraphs! I didn’t realize until after I posted it that I forgot to do that. Also, I can see myself doing both, but i would just need to make major lifestyle adjustments in order to blend in with the other girls who are doing the one I end up doing. Whether it means purchasing more religious denim skirts so that on days I am not working, I look like I fit in more, or putting my hair up every day like a bais yaakov girl so that I can also blend in a bit more, I would still have to adjust my lifestyle.

    The key is that obviously, I should not change my personality for the sake of fitting in, but also I have found that things that are considered inappropriate in the more chareidi community are totally normal to talk about amongst modern orthodox Jews, and sometimes, I forget that there isn’t a place (no matter what school I am in) that will be for girls exactly like me.

    If I go through Agudah, I might be overwhelmed with the chumras that girls in the apartment I will be living in while doing my service take on, but at the same time, I have found that since I am currently in a modern orthodox seminary, that the fact that people here don’t cover their legs, and that the female teachers here don’t always completely cover their hair (when I was looking for places to switch to, I did look at some bais yaakovs, but eventually it got to the point where I could only go so bais yaakov in my search without having to weigh on on the fact that it would have been a culture shock anyway, however I got rejected by all the bais yaakovs that I looked into because I guess they didn’t exactly think of me as a legitimate bais yaakov girl. I also got rejected by some modern orthodox seminaries because they either didn’t have room for me or I didn’t give off the impression of being modern orthodox either) has been a culture shock for me as well.

    I have been told by some of my friends who are doing sherut leumi through bat ami that the organization aren’t so boxed in for specific hashkafos, but at the same time, since I have to take into account that I will be living in an apartment with other girls who are doing sherut leumi in the same city that I end up doing it in and I am assuming that i would be living in an apartment with people who are doing it through whichever organization that I am deciding to do it with.

    I find that in my current seminary, I sometimes have trouble relating to other girls because I don’t watch tv or movies, pay attention to hollywood, or stuff like that and I have had to figure out how to bond with girls and find chavrusas where I won’t be pressured to know about those things.

    All of that also has to be taken into account as well.


    From the way you describe yourself there are many seminaries that seem like they could have been right for you. In even the most left of the MO seminaries there are still mixes where you will find every kind of girl. Even if not, around winter vacation the girls begin changing and you’ll see some girls becoming more lax with the rules and you’ll see others who start to wear the four inches below the knee skirts.

    I went to a very MO seminary and I remember whenever the girls would play non jewish music they would always ask everyone in the room if they were okay listening to non jewish music.

    You never have to be like everyone else. Work on making the experience positive for yourself and you’ll see that there is so much to gain. Whether the other girls are too modern or too chumradik for your taste, you’ll see that when you start respecting them for who they are as people, instead of judging them, you will gain respect and friendship. My closest friends range from the most frum chassidish, to almost ‘greasy’ yeshivish, to not observant, and if you’re able to see the character inside, you can relate to everyone. I also knew barely anything about the pop culture (I lacked the interest) yet my friends were of the most secular ones in the seminary. You don’t have to know the background behind every conversation to be able to relate to the other girls.

    You sound like you’ve been working hard to find a hashkafa and community where Judaism can work for you. But you also sound a little closeminded. Try to gain the good parts the seminary and the girls have to offer you instead of focusing on the bad. Also, I bet if you ask, the teachers will give you a halachik source for why they cover their hair as much (as little?) as they do.

    Why do you want to do sherut leumi? Because you love the land and want to give everything to your people or because you want to move to israel and if you do you have to do sherut leumi?

    Unless it’s because you love the land and want to do as much as you can for am yisrael, if you wait until you’re 19 to make aliya, you don’t have to serve. Regarding the question between bat ami and agudah I would think the only difference is the community where they set you up.


    I’m afraid I don’t really have any useful advice. However, let me assure you you’re not the only one stuck in this difficult position of not being quite chareidi and not quite MO.

    As for me, my wife is strictly chareidi and I myself am more MOish. When we got married I was more of the chassidishe BT type – but it’s just not my thing. I’m more comfortable/stable like this. But it does put me also in this impossible situation, which is very difficult in Gateshead in particular.


    What is the point with wasting your life on sherut leumi and putting yourself into many undesireable situations? Learn in a sem until you get married. Leave the “burden” to the Israelis. That’s what they live for and it just wouldn’t be right to take that away from them.


    Sherut leumi is too complicated. Just join the army.


    I also have very close friends in both camps, but when all is said, join the Modern Orthodox, because they are open and won’t attack the right wing, whereas the right wing are claustrophobic will openly attack the Modern Orthodox.

    These attacks are Sinas Chinom & are simply unacceptable.

    The Modern Orthodox will respect you, whereas the Right Wing will blow up any issue where you have the slightest divergence from them.


    I don’t know much about the Agudah program, but my sister is now in her second year of the Bat Ami program and different schools I have taught in have had Bnot Sheirut from Bat Ami as well. From what I’ve gathered there are a wide range of girls in the program and you should be able to find a group that you’ll be comfortable with.

    As far as your concern about rooming, my sister wasn’t happy with the first apartment she was assigned to last year and her advisor was very accommodating in finding her a situation she was more comfortable with. This year she met a family with whom she preferred to board and Bat Ami was fine with her doing that. So you don’t have to worry that apartment assignments are set in stone (as they may have been in your seminaries; I know mine was pretty rigid in that regard).

    On a more personal note–Yasher koach! From firsthand experience, the decisions you’ve been making these past few years were not easy ones, and I’m impressed by your self-awareness, self-assurance, and maturity. You seem to be handling the culture shocks on both ends with a good deal more aplomb than I did when in high school and sem. Hatzlacha raba on whichever paths you choose, both next year and in the future.


    147, I initially thought that was true, but a few days ago, I was in a class, and my teacher kind of attacked the chareidi community, and I wanted to say something, but I didn’t because I was so shocked by it.

    General: I spoke to a bunch of people who are doing sherut leumi through bat ami, and they said that nobody is boxed into a particular service organization due to hashkafa. I then went to the Agudah website and saw that the girls in their pictures did not look 100% bais yaakov. One of my friends mentioned that I actually have an acquaintance who is doing sherut leumi through aguda, but is more modern in hashkafa.

    Interjection: I am 19 years old. I will turn 20 in October. I went to a public school for kindergarten, so the state deadline was September first, verses the frum, Jewish schools in my city have a December 30th deadline, so my high school class ranged from people (at graduation) being 17 years old, to people being 19 years old (I think she was held back a grade because of switching schools at some point…).

    Also, in terms of seminaries being right for me, when I needed to switch, that is why I called up about 15 seminaries, but most of them rejected me because I was not a good enough fit for them (meaning I was either not bais yaakov enough for them because I was not secure in my bais yaakov hashkafos and I need to use a laptop for assistive technology because of a learning difference, or because I was not modern enough for them, and would have been the only girl there who does not wear denim, wears 50 denier tights, and not such bright colors most of the time and therefore they felt it would be difficult to make friends or for people to like me, although most of the seminaries I called up, I knew at least one girl there, and some of my friends pleaded on my behalf to schools and they said no anyway…).

    My group of friends also is a very big range, specifically because I have been all over the place and have attended many types of schools and programs. I don’t consider the fact that I want to minimize the culture shock that I will face by making a decision to be something that a closed minded person would do. For the past two years, I have been in many situations where I have gone to an event in the frum community, and someone will ask me what my name is, and I never met them before, or maybe I have met them several months before for a few seconds, and I will have no idea what her name is, and that person has already heard about me from someone else, and in order to prevent me from thinking they are creepy, they end up telling me how I am connected to them (usually something like, I am doing chessed for so and so, and they told me all about you, or, i go to school with _____ and they told me about you, how is (insert whatever new project or program or school I am in) going? Eventually I got used to that, but the point is that I experience enough shock as it is, and despite that, I still have the right to enjoy my life and participate in new experiences.

    General: I want to do sherut leumi because as someone who is planning on making aliyah, I feel that I should serve Israel at some capacity because the establishment of the State of Israel has done so much for me as a Jew and for us as Klal Yisrael. Even though many Jews disagree on many things, it is important for us to be there for each other. For me, I don’t typically have time to do chessed because I usually have an extremely busy schedule, so when I was younger, I would grow my hair out so that I could donate it (I have donated my hair four times, and am growing my hair out again to donate a fifth time), and in high school, I chose to enroll in classes that had mandatory community service hours, so that I would be able to do chessed as part of my school work, and give my mom a reason to drive me to whatever organization I was doing chessed for (my mom doesn’t typically have time to drive me places, and this was before I got my drivers license).

    I don’t think it is acceptable to attack anyone or any movement under any circumstance.


    BYEnglish: Thanks a ton for your compliments! I really appreciate your support.

    To everyone else: I understand where your comments are coming from, I hear them all the time because my life is generally very complicated, and I usually have to make bigger decisions than most people need to to sort them out. Often times, people think (and have even said to me) that I take things very seriously and sometimes need to lighten up or go with the flow, but once they understand that I have to make very big decisions, they realize that I am usually very serious because I need to look at all aspects of each option in order to avoid situations like needing to switch schools, or feeling stuck somewhere. All of your opinions are valid, but unless you know more about the person’s life, and maybe know them in person, it is hard to give an opinion, which on one hand is annoying about coffee room, but on the other hand, allows people to feel they can speak more freely. Just keep in mind that when you post here, you are speaking to real people, and since you don’t know their identities all the time, it is especially important to be careful of what you post because people can take things in many different ways. Please keep that in mind when you post things.

    EY Mom

    I think that the poster who asked what the goal is behind Sherut Leumi was asking a good question. Is there a reason you would rather do that then continue your education?

    I am asking because from what I hear, unless I am reading you wrong (if I am, I apologize), Peninim has a seminary that sounds as though it might be right up your alley. I have a niece who also does not fit a real mold, she is now at this sem and she is thrilled. She is not typical Beis Yaakov, yet MO is not for her, either. They are very accepting, very open-minded, very encouraging of questions.

    If you think this might interest you, post me back and I will ask my SIL for info.

    Whatever your decision, may you have much hatzlachah!!

    EY Mom

    To 147:

    I am sorry, but your post makes you sound just like those whom you are slamming – claustrophobic, sinas chinam, etc.

    Are there people like that in the “right wing” (btw, how are you defining that?)? I’m sure that, however defined, there are. There are also people like that who are Modern Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Mizrachi, Chardal, Sephardi, Ashkenazi, Litvish, Chassidish, Yeshivish, and any other label you can come up with.


    EY Mom:

    Believe me, I would love to do shana bet, however that would cause a ton of stress, and I am in debt because I had to switch seminaries for shana aleph… I don’t even know how much debt I am in because my rabbi and some other members of my community in the states are negotiating how much money I initially raised will transfer.

    However, if anyone is willing to donate $30,000 (doesn’t have to be from one person but from many people), I would love to have another year in seminary…


    The only reason that I need so much money is because tuition is probably about $20,000 and I have some medical conditions [none that would prevent me from being successful in Israel, however I don’t want to go into details here because I don’t want to embarrass myself], also my mom is very against supporting people after high school and I am lucky she is supporting me this year, for the bit that she is, at all.

    I am interested, but I am tired of begging people for money (which I guess is what happens when you spend your entire senior year and a bit after that working so hard in order to raise $23,000 when your initial goal was $30,000). I don’t want to go out of my way to raise that kind of money again.

    As for doing sherut leumi next year instead of continuing my education next year in a seminary that is closer to my actual hashkafa (and could potentially be a culture shock for me again, because I am currently in a seminary that is so modern that girls will often wear mini skirts with pants underneath the- again- this wasn’t my first choice of seminary to switch to, and I find myself shocked on almost a daily basis. Which would not be as bad because I find it shocking when I am in classes and my teachers here are making references to woody allen and other actors, singers, and stuff of the like. Read original post in lieu of me making this post epically long).


    Snowbunny, I am wondering if you ever thought of a seminary for BTs, which may be out of the box you’ve been thinking of, but I know that Aish HaTorah has a very good seminary for women. Most of the girls are newish BTs but they have a high commitment and the learning is awesome and I’m sure the tuition is much lower than what you’ve mentioned here. Your background sounds similar to some of the girls who have gone there, but you’re obviously more advanced. You could contact Aish HaTorah or the women’s branch itself – known as Eyaht. Amazing place!!!

    P.S. Maybe even a place like Neve has classes for people advanced in their yiddishkeit but looking for more learning. I’m not sure of their policies on tuition and such, but it might be worth thinking about a place like one of these to continue your education rather than a straight-out BY seminary.


    Dear SB3318,

    From one BT to another. When I was your age I was attached to the idea of a schedule. Presumably you’re prepared to go off schedule and travel to Israel to do basically “Army Service”. Whether it’s SL or bonafide “Army Service”, according to some really great personalities it’s not the right thing for a girl. It doesn’t have to do with whom you’re going to marry. Girls have their thing to do in Yiddishkeit and boys have their thing. This is what I’ve learned after so many years of learning about Judaism. This is not an obvious thing.

    In terms of being supported by parents I had to take out student loans. There’s nothing wrong with that. Whatever option you take should be a safe one. I would say that because you don’t know what kind of life you’re opting for – supporting your future family either partially or entirely – you should figure this into your plans as well.

    When I was your age I took this into account. Maybe you can take student loans and attend Touro in Israel if Israel is the goal. I know if you make Aliyah now you’ll get various kinds of support from the Govt. – they’ll provide free college level language -tutoring at Israeli colleges – you have to have graduated highschool. You might end up hanging out with less observant people but if you keep your mind on the goal then you can end up with a degree where you can work in Israel. By making Aliyah now you’ll be able to work which means being able to support yourself somewhat. A friend of mine found work at the restaurants.

    If you’re not interested in working at all then you could try the Chabad School in Tsfat – Machon Alta.

    Again, I would encourage your making Aliya now in order to force yourself to integrate into Israeli society and then you’ll truly see if it’s what you need. You can come back to America anytime. They won’t stop you…

    Good Luck.

    –>Forgot the most important thing –>Make sure you have a Rabbi or Rebbitzen guiding you – this way you’ll have a blessing in whatever you decide. I would recommend Rabbi Wallerstein because he has a school in Brooklyn and he’s also pro-Israel – he’ll know how to guide you. You will probably meet the most amazing people at his school – Ateret Naava. Please check into it.


    Prithee get thee a Rabbi.


    I am from the midwest… also, my rabbi isn’t completely against me doing sherut leumi, neither are most people who know me well.

    My situation is a bit more complicated than people here seem to think it is. At the moment, I am in a seminary program within a larger seminary program, and I chose the smaller program because unlike the bigger program, it has more chareidi staff (the assistant director is lubavitch, and some of the teachers are a bit more yeshivish, but since this program is different in nature than the other program, that makes sense) I do take classes through the bigger program as well in order to get college credits while I am here because I want to take as many college courses as possible in English in order to make it easier on me when I go to a college in Israel, and have to take courses in Hebrew so that I can get the scholarship benefits from making aliyah.

    Again, I would love to go to seminary next year, but not everyone is capable of taking loans out. The reason that my senior year I had to go all over the place and eat, breathe, and sleep my fundraising campaign is because I am not able to take out loans because I don’t have a cosigner, and therefore could not participate in an Israel experience college (I applied to one, but I saw the fee to participate was a ton of money and I didn’t want to spend $1,500 to be in debt, when I could not even get a cosigner, plus I know I am going to a Jewish College regardless, so I don’t need to do that sort of program).

    I understand that there are a ton of amazing people like Rabbi Wallerstein, who could theoretically guide me, but I don’t really have these people’s numbers…

    At the end of the day, my mom says I should do sherut leumi because she knows that even though I did not grow up religious, that I feel that it is important to help other people, and for most of my life, I haven’t had so much time to devote to doing chessed, and as a result, I have had to either sign up for classes with required chessed hours, so that I had a reason to drive to a nursing home on a sunday to help with bingo and spend time with the residents (I am typically very busy), or I have been growing out my hair, and since I was ten, have donated my hair four times, and am growing it out again to donate a fifth time.

    Bottom line, if someone has money to finance this theoretical “shana bet”, I would be more than delighted to go. But I am not going to actively chase it as a dream.

    EY Mom

    Snowbunny, you sound like such a special person! I wish I could get to know you – really! It is unclear from your post (or at least I didn’t “chap” it) – are you currently in EY or in the US?

    Please forgive me if giving outright advice seems forward of me, I am only doing it because I care: If you are here in EY now, and you can find a Rav here who can guide you, I think it might make your life and your decision-making much easier. There are Rabbonim like R’ Zecharya Greenwald and R’ Meisels who are very caring people and who have experience with a very broad spectrum of girls (so you won’t have to feel that they might box you in). Their numbers can be found in any Yerushalayim phone book and probably in the Newcomers Guide, as well.

    If helping and giving are what you are looking for in Sherut Leumi, there are plenty of places like Ezer MiZion, Yad Sarah and Zichron Menachem who are happy to get volunteers. As far as room and board, there are also families who have girls board with them in exchange for help with the kids, something that might also have the added advantage of getting an “inside look.”

    Again, you sound like a very special person who has a tremendous amount of potential. May Hashem bless you with hatzlachah in all you do!!


    SB – I’ll be honest, while it is very admirable to want to do chesed, your first priority should be to learn as much as possible now before you begin to look into getting married. This is the time to focus as much as possible on growing and deciding what your derech in life is going to be – MO or Chareidi or somewhere in between. You will not have the opportunity to engage in full-time learning after that. I see the difference between myself and my siblings, who are also BT – I came back before I got married and came to EY and learned for 2 years before I looked into shidduchim. They were fortunate in that their husbands and children also came back together, but they never had more time than the shiurim given in their neighborhoods, which is great but all of their growth had to be basically self-impelled.

    Chesed is a lifelong obligation and you will be doing tremendous amounts of that after marriage, with husband and future children, iy”H. I don’t think you need focus on that as your growth point right now at your age. Think now about yourself first (chesed starts at home).


    Also, the original purpose of this post was to learn more information about two different Sherut Leumi organizations, Bat Ami and Agudah. I understand that there are various opinions about whether a woman should serve Israel, however when I read these posts, all I see are dreams that I have that are now getting my hopes up for something that I know will not happen, simply because I know my financial situation won’t allow it to happen at this time, unless the to good to be true miracle comes up, but I refuse to look for that miracle right now. I am in a seminary, and even though it isn’t my first choice, I am making the best of it, and like any program, there are pros and cons to everything.

    The reason I chose not to look into Peninim originally when I needed to switch, is because a friend I grew up with was also looking to switch there, and I didn’t want to fight with her, and I knew that she needed to be in a bais yaakov more than I needed to be. And I don’t regret making that decision, because we are both happy now, and that is all that matters to me now. Obviously, I wish things were different, but I know that I had a number of issues my senior year because I was not used to being in a bais yaakov environment, and as a result, for most of the year, I was leaning more towards, being modern orthodox, yet keeping all the halachos of Tznius, and therefore, I did not initially apply to Peninim. Things have changed a lot since then, and now I am in this other school, and I need to focus on making realistic plans for my future.

    Sherut Leumi is more realistic than another year in seminary.


    Just as a last note, I really suggest looking into something like Eyaht or Neve because it can give you a very strong time of learning and the tuition is definitely not what a typical BY would cost. In some cases it may be optional, but you have to call and find out. Aish HaTorah can give you the phone and location info for Eyaht.


    I think it would be sensible to speak to representatives from both parties and see which suits your needs better…

    and generally, in life people often don’t “fit” 100%, you need to weigh out which party has more pros than cons – and talk it over with someone you trust to be objective.


    EY Mom: Amen (to your bracha)! I wish I could get to know you as well in person! I am in E”Y now in a seminary program (its a bit complicated to explain the program I am in, I am in two different programs at the same time, they are in the same building, I learn in one school part time, and I do camp like activities the other half of the time with the other program. It was not my first choice of combination of programs, but when I needed to switch seminaries, nobody else would take me in, I got rejected by 15 seminaries, not including Peninim- (see other post). If money was taken out of the equation, I would totally do that, but at the moment, that is not exactly the case (seminary is very expensive and I am now in debt because I switched). Ideas are great, but I can’t just make the impossible happen. The difference between doing official sherut leumi and just volunteering and living by someone’s home is that if I do it officially, I can get paid, and get extra benefits, that just living with a family will not allow me to get.

    Also, I can’t just call Rabbi Meisels and ask to attend his seminary and for him to give me a full scholarship, that would not be appropriate…


    because its a lot of money to ask for from one person. I understand that there are many seminaries for baalei teshuvas, however, I don’t feel that they are appropriate for someone my age (if I were 22-23 years old, that would be different).

    The idea of tuition being optional seems to good to be true.

    I can want a lot of things, but it is important to be in reality.

    Unless Rabbi Meisels knows I am calling, I do not be the one to initiate that… I get nervous about these things.

    Its very nerve-wracking to ask people for that kind of money, I have done that before, several times, but I – I just don’t see myself wanting to go through that, when I am 99% sure the answer will be no. Unless someone specifically has a connection to that kind of money… I am not wealthy, but now I just feel bad about the fact that i don’t have money…


    I have no ideal who Rabbi Meisels is, but I know that Eyaht is run by Rebbetzin Dena Weinberg, who is the almanah of HaRav Noach Weinberg, zt”l. They are definitely available to discuss tuition, etc. It is not a typical seminary setting, but may give you something you need. When I was there, I found that they had time off and I was able to go to families and to chesed there, especially on Erev Shabbos.


    I was responding to EY Mom when I mentioned Rabbi Meisels. He is the menahel of Peninim. I personally think if I were going to seminary next year, I would seriously consider that school. Due to the nature of the program I am currently in (which is not a typical seminary program either), if I were going to a seminary, I feel that it needs to be with people within a year of me age-wise, and also with a bit more support than programs for people who are older than me (I am in a program now with a ton of support… I am in a complicated situation now…).

    The reality is that I understand that a number of people are available to discuss tuition for anything, but I just don’t feel comfortable going up to people asking for a full scholarship for several months… Plus, there are a lot of fees involved in going to seminary… phone rental, medical expenses, I am the type of person who needs plans for a minimum of one year at a time (excluding summer). Although I often think that the life I am living is to good to be true, I just have my own personal doubts about this…


    Can you please explain to those of us who are not in the know what is Sherut Leumi?

    EY Mom

    Snowbunny, please don’t make any decisions yet. Nechoma is right that THIS is the time you have to learn, grow and build yourself.

    I just spoke to one of my sisters-in-law who is Rabbi Zev Leff’s daughter. She will be more than happy to put you in contact with her father, who teaches in Pninim and knows Rabbi Meisels very well. She cannot promise to what extent he will be able to help you, but he is a wonderful, warm person and a very good contact who will do what he can. They also have girls for Shabbos almost every week.

    Mods, please give snowbunny3318 my personal email so that she can contact me, and I can give her my SIL’s name, phone number and other information.


    Sherut Leumi is national service. It is most often performed by young ladies after they graduate high school, in lieu of going into the army. I think the girls can be a “bat sherut” up to three years; my middle daughter is in her second year.

    The jobs can be almost anything – working in hospitals or old age homes, in schools, working with special needs kids, working in service organizations, working in museums and historic sites, etc.

    While working the girls are given a place to live (usually an apartment with other girls) and a small salary.

    Keep in mind that once a girl gets her exemption from the army, she does not have to do sherut leumi. It’s entirely voluntary.


    Sherut Leumi is a way for people who are exempt from serving in the IDF to serve Israel. The biggest group of people who do Sherut Leumi are religious girls. Sherut Leumi assignments range from working with people who have special needs to working in schools to working with disadvantaged population to doing office work for organizations such as Nefesh B’Nefesh. People who do Sherut Leumi are placed in many parts of Israel. By doing sherut leumi, you get monthly stipend and the same benefits as soldiers do (discounts on cell phone plans, and other things). As someone who is making aliyah, I would get extra money for my stipend because I fall under the category of chayal boded, lone soldier, that also may allow for extra days off at the beginning to do errands and stuff like that. It is another way to serve Israel instead of being in the army.


    Thank you Takah and Snowbunny for explaining it to me.


    No problem!


    Once you obtain a teudat oleh, I believe you are eligible for Kupat Cholim coverage, which covers pre-existing conditions. (The quality of care is another story – choose your kupat cholim carefully.) You probably would also get assistance for shana bet in a place like Michlala, which might suit your needs.

    Be VERY careful before committing to citizenship in the state of Israel. Know your rights, and know your responsibilities.


    Having never been to Israel i was not aware of what this was.


    That is a good point, however, Michlala is to academic for me. Also, you only get the equivalent to $3,000 towards tuition a year because that is what Israeli tuition is at universities, seminary costs significantly more than that, so if we were going based on that, I would not be able to pay full tuition from that fund alone. I mean, I don’t mind going to girl zone again in order to get the funding from oorah (yes, I went to girl zone, I was on discover u. I only went last summer). But I don’t want to go any crazier with the fundraising than that…

    In terms of committing to citizenship, I have been thinking about it for the past two years, so I have done plenty of research on the topic.


    The Goq, that is a good point. I went to Israel for the first time at the end of 8th grade for my graduation trip (I went to a conservative Jewish elementary school, so we went to washington in seventh grade…) and I didn’t know that at all even though I was there for two weeks (although I was not really exposed to the frum community in Israel either, I vaguely recall going to Ben Yehuda and Malcha, but otherwise, I don’t remember the trip, and ironically, at that time I despised frum yidden and thought I was better than they were, so I never paid attention to the black hatters, or religious women… obviously that changed, but what is an eighth grader supposed to know?)




    The reason I mentioned Michlala is that it has some sort of accreditation, so your tuition subsidy might work there. Perhaps there are other schools in the same category.


    If I had the academic background, then I would look into it more. When I was looking for a seminary to switch to, a bunch of my friends that know me through girl zone suggested that I look into Michlala because I was at the time looking for a more modern seminary where I could still get a bais yaakov shidduch.

    If it helps, I started filling out my aliyah application at the end of last week, and I put down that I am chareidi because that is where I want to end up. At the moment, my struggle is that I need to grow hashkafically, throughout my journey as a baal teshuva, I have taken on things very slowly, therefore resulting in me needing to take steps to allow myself more future opportunities that involved big hashkafic leaps, such as going from public school to a bais yaakov.


    mods, is there a way to get EY Mom’s personal e-mail. I just read that part of her reply. I am finding it hard to process all of this because of so many things going on at once in this thread.

    I’m sorry, it is against CR policy.


    Moderator: That makes sense. Maybe I can look up who his daughters are and figure it out from there.


    EY Mom: Which city does the daughter that you spoke to live in? A few of my friends have him as a teacher and are trying to help a bit here.


    147- claims of sinas chinam against people fighting for torah is a shtus.



    EY Mom

    Hi Snowbunny!

    I am so sorry, I did not see that the mods can’t give you my information.

    Rabbi Leff lives in Moshav Mattityahu. He is the Rav there, my SIL lives there, too.

    Mods, can I give you the info and you will pass it on to Snowbunny? Or is there some secure place I can post it? I just do not feel comfortable posting my SIL’s information on the Internet.


    I have some friends who have Rabbi Leff as a teacher in seminar and other by seminaries, I asked a few of them to see if they can bring me to his house for a shabbos. I think the issue is that there is no chat room option on coffee room, so they don’t have a “messenger” type place (for example; Facebook has Facebook chat) where the information could be passed on securely.

    EY Mom

    I hear, snowbunny. So let’s do this. I’ll give you a clue so you can look up my SIL’s number in either the Newcomer’s Guide or the Madrich HaChareidi. It’s not like she’s not listed or anything, I’m just nervous about info on the Internet. So here goes:

    Her last name in gematriya is 2-200-10-10-50-60. They are the only ones with that last name in Moshav Mattityahu. You can tell her that her SIL suggested you call. I already spoke to her about this sweet seminary girl I met online!!

    If you do speak to her, please ask her for my phone number; I would love to say hi to you in person!

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