Yeshivos and Seminaries in Eretz Yisroel

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    2 weeks ago, one of the newspapers that cater to the charedi / yeshiva population ran an article that questioned the necessity, cost and safety (both ruchnius and gashmius)in sending our kids overseas for a year (or more).

    Over the following week, there was a huge response from readers, and the paper printed some of the responses. All of them were on the topic of seminaries, most were against the idea. (Interesting to note, the paper asked several rosh yeshiva and menchancos to address the issue, none accepted.)

    The reasons most people listed as why they were against the idea was the steep financial cost, the idea that girls need to fend for themselves on shabbos, and the year away, arguably the most crucial year prior to getting married, was being spent away from home, and thereby missing out on the learning experience the girls could have gotten from watching their mothers and fathers as they run a yiddisheh houseold.

    All fine and well, but since I do not have daughters, I really could not relate to this as I would have liked to. But was shocked me, was the fact that NOT ONE SINGLE LETTER was sent in by anyone talking about the dangers of sending boys away for a year. The pitfalls are many (diros, DSL lines, eating out, accepting invitations for shabbos where the other guests are from all stripes and varieties, out till the wee hours, waking up late, ect).

    And lest you think that people wrote in, but the paper censored it, I called the papers office to check. NO ONE WROTE ABOUT THE BOYS.

    Which leads me to one of two conclusions:

    A) our communitiy is in denial of what the boys year is like (doubtful)

    B)Our community hold their girls to more exacting standards than we do our boys (I’ll go with choice B)

    That comes as no surprise to me, as we expect our girls to aim for a carrear, be super-duper presentable, ect… while our boys get a free ticket, regradless of how they spent thier 12 months. As long as they don’t do something glaringly dumb, all is well for the returning EY boy.

    And we wonder why we have a shidduch crisis? In a previous post, I said we have a confidence crisis. I think I should add, we also have an accountability / responsibility crisis. A boy needs to consider a girl 4-5 years his junior? Of course.. because a girl his age will see him for the shallow child he still is. Hold our boys to higher standards and we will see we have all the resourses we need.


    Wow! That’s pretty harsh on the boys. A shallow child.

    I infer that you have sons since you mention not having daughters.

    Are your sons like that? Their friends? Do you know any yeshiva guys in their mid-twenties; are they like you describe?


    What about Choice C) The year in EY is considered a MUST for boys – nothing to debate – while it is optional and open to discussion for girls.

    Boys grow in Torah while in EY – avira d’eretz yisrael machkim. Girls fumpfer away their time. Or so the song must go.

    I have known Yeshiva boys who did not seem too keen on gong to EY for the year, but that was “the program” – EY, then back to the Freezer. Everyone does it – even those that don’t really want to be there. Let me tell you something: EY does NOTHING for people who don’t want to be there.


    BP Totty: I’m agree with you that we are not tuned into the importance of preparing our sons for marriage with regard to developing their maturity level/making them into a mentch, in the same way we are tuned in towards our daughters.

    However, with regard to the reason why nobody is against boys-EY, I would go with choice A: People want to believe in the illusion that everyone/most boys in EY are shteiging away, since to think/believe otherwise would be considered as thinking too cynical.

    Additionaly, girls remaining home that year can actually help prepare them for marriage, however boys remaining home will not contribute to their maturity, as they will regardless remain in yeshiva all day learning w/o dealing at all with their future responsibilities in upcoming marriage.


    Truth be told, my boys will most likely follow “the route” because that’s the circle we’re in.

    But for those 12 months, I will be VERY worried, (and very attached to my tehilim). Not so sure BMG is a definite, though. It seems that there are a large number of returnees (one quote was as much as 50%) that do not go to BMG (other post EY bais medrashim that make allowances for college and / or work), so perhaps there is a chance my boys will follow the acheivment route, instead of the entitlment one.

    I’m sure gonna try!


    BP Totty: Being a shadchan, I would estimate that around 30% percent of returnees go to learn in [post EY] yeshivos outside Lkwd. In this estimated figure i’m including boys who return from EY at a younger age of 19-20 and continue with learning/attending college at night for a few years before marriage. Actually, the percent is currently rising due to several new [post EY] yeshivos which have opened up recently.


    I do not have a daughter in the age group of going EY, but my son returned in June after his first post-high school year there. I know he didn’t do everything he was supposed to but in general he followed his program. It is true though that there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of oversight of the boys. When I was there to visit several months back, I couldn’t help but see how many of these “yeshiva boys” were out and about. I’m not saying anyone was doing anything they weren’t supposed to, rather that the sheer numbers of “bochrim” that I saw walking around in the middle of the day was astounding to me. It really made me think about why I sent my kids there to begin with.

    Long story short – my son came home a man! My wife and I continue to marvel at the growth he experienced while he was there and the level of maturity he’s reached. So much so, he’s asked to return for more and we have agreed because we’ve seen the growth and trust that there is more to come. We believe that this growth came as a result of his being away from us, and in the end what better place to be than in EY.


    Its interesting that so many people are against EY for girls but for boys its a given that they will go. Having gone to seminary, and now living in EY as a married kollel wife(and hosting many bochurim for meals), Ive seen plenty of seminary girls and plenty of bochurim here. I can honestly say that there seems to be so many more girls that grow from the experience than boys. Yes the serious boys will feel a difference in the learning in EY but the rest are sort of on vacation. The girls that come are mostly comitted to reaching higher goals and they really do. There are for sure those girls that come for a good time but they are few and far between (especially now with the recession). Bottom line- EY is not for everyone but for some people it does wonders, no matter if you are a girl or boy.


    Lomed –

    This is very encouraging news.. with any luck, it will gain momentum and wider acceptance.

    I’m still a few years away but hopefully we’ll be in touch when my tzadik’l is ready to swim…unless my prevoius posts have squashed my chances flatter than day old soda :O

    Laguy – I could’nt agree with you more. The out of town / dorm experience did wonders for me too. But I dormed 50 miles from home.. not 8,000! And I was home once a month.

    One week, back in HS, I called home for my weekly “hi-ma-hi-ta-how-are-you phone call. The next day, my father showed up at school becuase he said I “didn’t sound right”. Try that with you kid whose on another continent.

    Of course I want my kids to grow into adults, and cut the apron string (uh, oh.. here’e comes the barrage of hate mail from all the moms). But what gets me is, even the boys who really dont want to go (as SRP pointed out) are being “forced” to go.. becuase “everyone does it”

    Lastly, Whatrutalkingabout –

    Your shabbos table is most likely NOT what we are afraid of. I wish he is lucky enough to get invites from normal, adjusted balbateishe families.

    Its the homes that are open to all sorts of transients, character and odd folks who deserve to be taken in.. but not where young bochurim and sem girls are being seated at the same table. Can a chiloni soldier (male or female) benefit from seeing what an authentic Shabbos observant home looks like? Sure they can. But does my 22 year old need to be there at the same time?

    No.. not until he is mature enough to face that part of our world.


    Sorry poppa – I missed your post the 1st time.

    Is my son like that? I need to face facts; everyone (myself included) takes the path of least resistence. If not held to standards, why strive? And at 22-24 no less?

    Add to this mix the fact that slacker attitude is amply (and in some cases, lavishly) rewarded. I mean, to hand a boy a Breitling.. just because he asked for one! 5-10 years suport? At least the kallah has shown her ability to earn a decent living, so her diamond solitare can be justified. But what does a bochur bring to the table that warrants such a shakedown?

    Time has come to start asking the hard questions. (and yes, I only have boys…. until the D-I-Ls start ariving 🙂


    well i can say from personal experience, that going to seminary in E”y was an incredible experience for me, and wouldn’t be the same person. I do have brothers that went and i noted that the bochurim do not have a strict schedule, with a strict curfew. We HAD to be in the dorm by 10 pm SHARP and if not… Thursday nights, like a lot of other sems, was 9:30. My brothers simply couldn’t comprehend.

    A few years ago when i overheard my father saying something along the lines that it’s a hevker velt in E”Y yeshivos for boys… i questioned why my brothers went. He said you have to know your kid, and he trusts my brothers. Truth is i have to admit, they are really GOOD boys.

    BP Totty , you definitely have a point, and i have no answer because to me it seems, that over the years it’s become more and more ‘mekubal’ that ALL boys go to E”Y after HS before shidduchim. And maybe i’m biased but i do think that girls gain a tremendous amount (i’m not saying that there aren’t those who come to have fun…)


    BP Totty-

    I didnt mean that there is what to be afraid of when bochurim are at my shabbos table. I meant that at my shabbos table I hear what they do the rest of time.


    Boys go to Eretz Yisroel to grow in Torah in the Yeshiva.

    Girls don’t have that need.


    “grow in Torah in the Yeshiva”

    In my day, 90% of the boys went from 3rd year Bais medrash either to BMG or work / college and a local after school Bais medrash. Only the super-serious 10% (maybe less) when to EY.

    Contrast that today, with a whopping 98% that fly off for a year. Wether they are up to it or not. Serious learning? Do they need to take tests? No. So how does anyone quantify how serious they are learing? Hasmodah is a great thing, but that can be done here too. Will all 98% benefit from hearing a terrific shiur? If you count exposure to the gedolim of our generation, yes. But are all 98% sitting at the feet of the gedolim all day and most of the night? Not really, as shiur is 30-45 minutes, max. And the rest of the day (and night) is self policed. Could I (someone in my 40s) be trusted to fill my day in a productive, wholesome manner if I was accountable to no one? I’m not sure. So how can I be sure of the judgement of a 22 year old?

    Not saying BP junior is staying put, but I (and most parents) surely have what to worry about. And forget about the yeshiva doing it for me; with 5,000 (or even as little as 200) bochurim, no one can keep track of them. So yes, I’d say I have what to worry about. (Especially when the clarion call of the day is, “don’t worry”)


    Boys go to Eretz Yisroel to grow in Torah in the Yeshiva.

    Girls don’t have that need.

    Was wondering when someone would bring that up. Avirah D’Eretz Yisroel Machkim!

    It is a good point.


    I agree with BP Totty’s first post.

    In my day, after girls finished Yeshiva High School, many were in the Shidduch Parsha right away and started looking to get married, and, while doing so, were either in college or in a trade school, training for some kind of Parnossa. The boys attended college or trade school, and were learning Torah at the same time, so they would be prepared for Parnossa. Girls and boys saved up their money until they got married. Going to Eretz Yisroel for a year, or learning full-time, was an option. Going to Seminary was an option, or for girls who wanted a teacher’s license, and going to Seminary here in the US was fine. We didn’t hear stories about a “Shidduch Crisis.”

    Now all of a sudden, going to Seminary has become a “style” for girls, and Heaven help you if you don’t go, or if you don’t go to Eretz Yisroel for a year. Boys have to sit and learn full-time for a while. Why can’t a girl stay in the US and start looking for a Shidduch right away? Why must every boy be a Yisochor? Is there no room for a Zevulun, who works full-time and is Kovaya Itim to learn Torah during the day, and gives his Maaser money to help support Torah study?

    Of course, every Jewish man and boy must learn Torah. But not everyone can be put into the same “pigeon hole.”

    Why isn’t a girl good-enough, if she didn’t go to Seminary? I have a long list of girls for whom I daven for Shidduchim, who are pretty and accomplished and went to all of the right schools, and they’re in their mid-20’s and still not married R”L.

    Isn’t it more important that the boy and girl have the same Hashkofos and get along, for a Shidduch?


    Boys have to get into their heads that they have an option of marrying before leaving off to EY, then there will finally be an end/great relief to the ‘Shidduch Crisis’. The problem is that boys just pick themselves up automatically and leave to EY without even giving consideration to any other option, and of course they don’t at all involve their roshei yeshiva in their hastily made decision of traveling off to EY!


    BP totty:

    I do not intend to minimize your concerns regarding the dangers inherent in the Israel year, particularly among the yeshivos which attract kids directly from high high school.

    I have 2 points.

    A. I went to yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel. I know many people who did. Largely, the people involved are not acting in a way which deserves any censure, while there or upon their return.

    Particularly, if your comment is aimed at those who go several years after high school, the vast majority are being extremely productive. While it is true that there is often little oversight, it has not been shown to be a large problem.

    That was the intention of my comment, “do you know these people?”. What I meant to say is that despite the risks, the facts show that it is a good idea.

    B. I would actually argue that the lack of oversight is what allows the kids to grow. Again discussing the immediate post high school yeshivos, they have tremendous success turning kids into responsible adults with a new found appreciation for Torah and Judaism.


    I read the original letter BP Totty refers to and think that DK summed it up well this past week. Hatzlacha to the family.

    BUT it seemed apparent that these people did have options. For an out of towner, who has no sem in town or only one that is clearly not for her, and whose parents want her to go to sem with a good chevra, there may not be options. To send a young girl to an apartment in NY without supervision for a vocational program and night sem just won’t work. We need more good dorm sems in the US because it’s not so simple not just to buck the trend, but to do so with certain kids. But the shidduch problems from not going to sem seem overrated. My friends haven’t run into that.

    As far as boys and their “year” – if I was sending a son davka for a year straight from high school I would only send to one of the yeshivos that have well supervised full service (i.e. meals) dorms. They’re out there. Personally, if my boys go, it will be at the time that is right for them, and their growth. Interestingly, their rosh yeshiva is not for boys going so young.

    For parents who want their boys to have an early, solid Israel experience, I saw ads for an Elul-Tishrei yeshiva under phenomenal hanhala. Maybe this trend will expand, so boys can get a taste of E”Y now that it’s fairly accessible, assess their options, and get back to learn in chu”l if that’s where they’ll really flourish.

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