The Bais Yaakov System

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    OneOfMany- I am saying that you appear to have been really happy with your mainstream bais yaakov school. The bais yaakov school I went to in 12th grade was not mainstream, but it pushed me to grow hashkafically so quickly, that at one point- I tried rebelling, and at another- I was convinced that I would not cover my legs when school ended (i only fell into that temptation when taking out the garbage a few times, but I was wearing a long skirt…

    I should probably just give you a comparison between my public school and the bais yaakov so that you get a clear understanding.

    On a typical day in public school, I woke up at 5:30 am to be able to say brachos and with tons of excitement, do nagel vasser, al netilas yadiyim, and say brachos, then I would eat breakfast, and leave the house by 7 am so that I could get to school on time and be able to park my car as close to the school as possible so that I could leave as quickly as possible during lunch to go home for open lunch. I would enter the school, we had block schedule, a days and b days, on A days, thanks to the large, secular Jewish population in my town, I had hebrew first for block one, it was an hour and a half and started at 7:40 am. This class did not teach anything religious at all because of church and state. I still keep in touch with that teacher and my mom hired him to be my ulpan teacher. After that, I had the next block free- an hour and a half of free time. I would spend half an hour doing home work- maybe 45 minutes, and study a bit, then I would see some teachers in order to clarify course material, and then the rest of the time, I would just walk around the school hallways with music on my ipod. Then, I would have lunch (and go home), then I had physics. Then, I had English. Throughout my time in that school, I read the most inappropriate books in history. I read the odyssey, romeo and juliet, and other dirty books. We had to read 200 pages or more a semester of free choice. JEWISH was considered a genre. It didn’t matter if it was Rabbi Shach’s biography, or a novel by Chaim Potok. They were still considered, in my teacher’s eyes, a Jewish book. We had to read from different genres each time we picked a book, so I started reading my sister’s keeper and only read enough to do school projects on it and called it a day. I would come home, and work on righting whatever essay, research paper, or what ever I needed to write. I had no friends to hang out with, and NCSY was my entire social life. I was not even allowed to spend shabbos away from home outside of my home town, luckily, there are two yeshivish rabbis in my town, and one of them got semicha from ohr somayach, but still, politics aside, my life was extremely boring.

    Bais Yaakov:

    After never wearing a uniform for my entire life, after never covering my legs when it is 80 degrees outside, after being bullied for being amish, after having to ride in cars on road trips on shabbos, after not having a social life outside of ncsy. Two weeks before school started, I decided to sign up for this CHAVAYAH- but I didn’t know that word existed at the time.

    Its 6:30 am, my alarm clock beeps, I roll out of bed, exhausted due to lack of sleep. I wash my face, stare at my brown glasses, put them on, I sit on the ledge of the bathtub because i am so exhausted that I can’t even stand- yet. I finally stand, just wishing I could go back to sleep. I mean, I have permission to sleep in if I am to tired to drive, but I know my mother won’t let. I can’t even swallow the protein bar in front of me, and I regurgitate what I did swallow. I then- still half asleep, get into my car and start driving. I literally am BLASTING non-Jewish music on the radio in order to keep alert for the whole ride. I turn my music off once I enter the frum community, at which point, I am basically awake. And proceed to start my school day. “Button your Button” “Where am I supposed to turn in my cell phone” Over there. Enter Davening room. Long drasha by principal- must be awake to get on good side, there is to much at stake for me to even try falling asleep. Girl next to me rubs my shoulder, and I prop my head up, then I nod off a few minutes later. Eventually we start davening shacharis. I can barely sense my kavannah. I am pretty sure I only said one paragraph. Davening ends, I am exempt from physics, so I get free period, I do homework/ sleep. “Why don’t you just use an empty classroom to study?” “Aren’t they locked? I have never used empty classrooms to study…” Find empty classroom… feeling isolated and bored. I work on scholarship essays. I have no internet access, but that is the only thing that drives me nuts. “If you use the internet, your laptop will be taken away- forever”. Finally, a bunch of classes, I can’t register a thing that is going on, except for the fact that I have a lot of teachers that are interested in being there for me. I also have a lot of culture shock because I constantly hear about all the strict interpretations of halachos, and i have to drop out of the halacha classes in order to avoid complete culture shock. Not to mention, my social studies teacher was my mom’s social studies teacher! Then, English as the last class, and I go home. My brain completely fried. Luckily, I have a million free periods, and nobody seems to believe that I can actually learn any of this stuff on my own- so I don’t actually have to do my homework…


    Sounds pretty intense…I definitely feel for you. I went from a out-of-town BY elementary to a pretty straight-laced (probably using this as a euphemism here) NY Bais Yaakov high school. I like to focus on what I gained (and I feel that I gained a lot from high school), but I’d be lying if I said that I was completely peachy with everything that happened there. Especially going in–I was totally unprepared for all the crazy politics, and I was initially very put off by it. But I sort of just learned to deal with it and keep my nose clean, and focus on what I stood to gain there. And now, what matters to me most is that I had a few really great teachers (that I am in close contact with even today), made some good friends, and learned lots of stuffs. I hope you were also able to get something from your BY experience.

    Also, it sounds like your sleeping issues were unfortunately a big part of your high school experience. I am sorry about that. Hop you find a good eitzah soon. 🙁


    I also like to focus on what I gained, but people like to know more than about how I made a ton of close friends, so then they press me for more info, then i talk about my amazing teachers, and they can always read between the lines that something is going on, and then I end up caving in and telling a bissel of the details. When say a bissel of information, its usually to intense for people to understand, and yet, there is always soooo much more to the story.


    :/ I hope your seminary experience will make up for it. 🙂


    I hope so as well. Although I am not sure at this point if it will be able to by the end of the year 🙁

    I am sick of dealing with so many issues on a daily basis. On Purim, which is supposed to be a day of simcha, I had issues to deal with that were pretty intense. I understand that Hashem feels that I can handle all of these challenges, but I just wish I could have an easier time. Just because a guy was so drunk that he gave me five shkalim even though I never said a word to him in my life before does not make it any easier.

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