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  • in reply to: Yichud Gift for Kallah #1037874

    What about a sign with your last name on it for the front door of your future home?

    in reply to: It's seminary application time, so… #995217

    I went to Machon Raaya recently. It seems that I looked into similar seminaries as the girl that you are describing is. I am also from out-of-own and (I hope!) fairly shtark, and quite wacky!

    My favorite thing about Machon Raaya was its excellent teachers. I really enjoyed the classes. I found them to be very intellectually stimulating, very textually based, and inspiring without being fluffy. They do have a uniquely open-minded staff. We had one teacher who only teaches in Michlala and Machon Raaya because he does believe in many of the other BY seminaries hashkafa. I would say that many of our teachers were atypical and discussed things that they would not discuss in other BY seminaries they teach in (although I can’t say that for sure). The principal, Mrs. Rosenbloom really appreciates smart out-of-towners who can think for themselves. Both in class and out-of-class were full of atypical debates and hashkafic discussions which usually involved girls pulling out sefarim from the library shelves.

    The teachers in Machon Raaya will not chase you. If you want to have a relationship with them, you have to work for it. You also do have the option to become close with the hanhala. Many took these opportunities, many did not. There are some teachers that everyone gravitates to and become close with and there are those that are harder to reach. But, you do have the ability. I know girls who talk to teachers and aim bayits still. Personally, I have not, but iy”H when life’s exciting things happen/ I get engaged, I will feel comfortable calling them. On a similar note, if I have difficulty with something, I would feel comfortable calling a couple of them. I did go to many of my teachers and my principal for Shabbos- and felt very comfortable doing that. It really depends on your daughters personality.

    They do attract a wide range of girls- at least my year. I had a group of friends who are super shtark, committed girls who definitely left more shtark than they came in. And, I would say that their development and commitments were real. Both among ourselves and with teachers we would discuss and debate. In general, they were more yeshivish than their families. There was also a large group who were less into growing the same way- though they also grew. This year, there are 100 kids- more than half are from very in-town communities. Some of those girls are really shtark, most considered themselves sooo atypical, but to me they seemed like pretty typical Brooklyners. I am an out-of-towner after all! All are smart and worker hard. A good way to find out what kind of girls go, are to find out what the other schools they applied to were. My friends also applied to Bnos Sarah, BJJ, Mesores Rochel, and Michlala. Other places girls applied to were Nachlas, Meohr, Seminar, Bnos Chava, Binas, etc.

    And, I cannot forget the location. Being in Geulah was amazing. We were enough out of it that I did not feel claustrophobic, but three minutes away was a fascinating neighborhood. I loved walking the back streets of Meah Shearim, and the Old City is less than half an hour walk. Protests weekly, controversial signs, great Shabbos gifts, dynamic neighbors, unusual places to daven- truly a remarkable location.

    At both schools, she will have to work hard. Make sure that her skills are up to par, though if she needs help, I know that Mahcon Raaya will help her.

    Binas is academic, but it is known to be more hashkafic than textual. It may be more fluffy- though that may speak to her. She will probably not get the same rigorous acadmics and the girls that come along with that. It also is more yeshivish. I do not know so many girls who went there.

    Mesores Rochel is known for its rigorous academics. It is also very in-towny. I doubt that there will not be many out-of-the box thinkers. I do not know much it about it, though.

    I did not feel like I was doing busy-work generally. If there was some, it was minimal. Yes, the classes were very textual, but they had a lot of solid machshava. Machon Raaya does not believe in forcing ideas on you- they do not have a “type” that they want the girls to come out as. They truly believe in individuality. For example, never did a teacher say that our husbands must learn in Kollel forever, rather we often discussed the value of Torah and the ways to have it permeate our lives. Machon Raaya has a very good balance of text based learning and machshava. Also, they have an elective system, so while girls have to take all of the morning classes, they do not have to take all of the afternoon ones, rather they set their own schedule. Besides for the freedom that it offers, it also means that a girl can take the classes she connect with.

    If your daughter goes to Machon Raaya, she will probably find a group like her and have passionate, intense conversations (that is what we did in Machon Raaya!) and a lot of fun, crazy, shtark out-of-towners – though these girls will probably not be the majority of the seminary. She will have a great group of diverse teachers and she will learn a lot-both inside the sefer and out.

    I hope this helped and Hatzlacha!

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