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I was reading this post and decided to pipe in with a seminary that has not been mentioned yet…BAIS YAAKOV SHOSHANIM!
It is an amazing seminary that has warm and caring staff. It is so easy to gain a kesher with the teachers, am habayis, and staff. The seminary is academic but not crushing in the amount of work they give. There are girls there who are on different academic levels there so the seminary staff will work with those girls to help them make the most out of seminary. It is smaller, close-knit…they become a family to the girls almost immediately! There is a nice mix of in-town and out-of-town girls. It is anything but “jappy”. It has been small in the past (purposely) but they have bought a new building so they can accept more girls this year! It is great to know everyone’s name within the first week!
The work is not too overbearing but you gain tons! The seminary feels that you are in seminary to learn from some of the best teachers- so you sit in class and learn more than have homework. Classes cover such a wide range of topics (Halacha, Nach, Parsha, Middos, Hashkafa and more) that girls have trouble picking a favorite! There were those who got straight “A”s throughout high school and were challenged, but they wont make you memorize 10 perakim of nach. You learn it and internalize it.There were papers to write and they left huge impacts on the girls. They need to do research, but there are people willing to help, loan sefarim, explain things ect. There is preparation to be done, but there is a set period in the schedule to work on it where there is staff ready to help if necessary! The food is great (as compared to other seminaries where it is barely edible) and they are willing to take suggestions! It is home-style and cooked fresh (not institution food). There are in-shabbosim and “out shabbosim” where the seminary goes to different areas as a school, about one in/out shabbos a month- more than many seminaries! They even made a special shabbos that was not mandatory for the shabbos before pesach because they realized that the way the calendar was set up that year, it would be hard to find shabbos placements. They take you on amazing tiyulim, some that are hard to go on in the 150 girl seminaries. It is so special to be able to travel with the entire seminary together and not have to split up. The have guest speakers quite often, as well as “workshops” where you go to specific teacher’s houses and, in a relaxed, comfortable setting, have animated and in-depth discussions about specific topics, many times relating to the theme (changes about monthly)- the theme coordinates with guest speakers and yomei iyunim as well! It makes it so much more understandable and you get a fuller picture of the topic, rather than getting a snippet here or there.
It is a real BY seminary for BY girls who want to grow, learn and internalize the lessons! I know its cliche, but the seminary girls who leave feel like they are one big family!