Close this search box.

Out Of The Mailbag: Seminary Woes

yw story logo.jpgDear YWN Editor,

I just completed the last payment for my daughter’s upcoming seminary year, and like so many other parents in my predicament, I feel a serious need to vent.

Mindy is my second of four girls and is beaming with excitement at the opportunity to spend her post high school year learning and touring in Eretz Yisroel.  My wife and I are also very excited about the opportunity to let her be on her own and grow and mature into a young woman who will IY”H look to get married upon her return.  The experience of being in Eretz Yisroel for a year is truly something remarkable and something that I wouldn’t want to see her miss.

However, the question becomes at what expense?  While on the one hand there is no doubt that it truly is an unbelievable experience. Where do we draw the line and say that the cost outweighs the “experience”?  This year’s “Sem” bill will run me close to $25,000 after all is said and done (I get paid on the books which brings my pre tax bill close to $40,000).  B”H, I am not complaining as I do relatively well, but with one daughter living in Lakewood ($$$) and another four tuitions, where do we draw the line?  And of course, let’s not forget my ninth and eleventh grader who are also looking forward to their year in Eretz Yisroel.

When I say “we”, I am talking about us as a tzibur.  I have many friends that tell me that no matter what, they are not letting their daughter go to seminary.  Never never….Not me!!!  That is until they have the daughter to say no to.  How can you tell your daughter that you love so much, and would do anything for, that she cannot go to Eretz Yisroel because it is too expensive?  How do you explain that she will be the one girl from her chevra that will be left behind?  It is easy to insist that you are not going to be one of those parents, until you actually are one of them.

The problem is that our community is not a community.  Knowing first hand the stress this puts on families (myself included), my tears welled up a few weeks ago when I was reading how the Chasidim approach their internal problems.  It blew my mind to see the courage of the Gerrer Rebbe who told one wealthy chossid, that if he didn’t like the Rebbe’s takkana (about lavish weddings), he should go buy himself a new Rebbe.  Or when he told the striemel manufacturer that if he didn’t lower prices so that people could afford them, the Rebbe himself would be the first person to put on a regular hat and assur striemels.  That is true courage!

Do we have anyone that has the courage to get up and say that the strain and pain this puts on families is too much?  People going into serious debt to pay for seminary so that they don’t have to break their daughter’s heart.  I have no doubt that there are more serious and pressing issues for the tzibur to worry about, but if you speak to professionals they will tell you that the single biggest cause of sholom bayis problems is financial strain.  If sholom bayis issues are not on the top of the list of things that we as a tzibur need to address, then I must be missing the bigger picture and I yield to the people who know better.

Thanks for allowing me to bring this important issue to your vast readership,

D.G. Flatbush.

NOTE: Yeshivaworld welcomes your “Out Of The Mailbag” letters & comments. Letters may be edited or shortened for clarity. Submit all letters by clicking HERE – titled “Mailbag”, or click HERE and post them at the YWN Coffee Room.

The views expressed in this column reflect the opinions of the individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Yeshiva World News LLC. These individual opinions are also in no way meant as a P’sak Halacha or Hashkafa. As with all matters, be sure to consult with a Rov with all questions.

174 Responses

  1. 1. The Bais Yaakov schools across the US have engaged in a series of conversations with many of the (“main”) seminaries in E”Y about several things. One of them is the (prohibitive) cost. We (the BY schools) are aware of the problem, and we are tryng to do something about it (including possibly opening more seminaries here in the US.)

    2. Don’t send to E”Y. There’s Cleveland, Baltimore, Montreal, Detroit, Brooklyn, and Lakewood, just to name a few. (and yes, those girls find nice shidduchim, too.)

    3. There are scholarships. Not all are based on your financial status. Speak to your daughter’s high school. They should have the info on them.

    4. It is VERY COMMON nowadays for the girl to pay part, or even half, (or more, in extreme cases) of the cost of E”Y. I would say this applies to approx 25% of the girls going to E”Y. My daughter is saving up her babysitting money, because she knows there is no way I could possibly afford it.

    May you have much nachas from all your children,
    Someone who works in the BY system.

  2. guess what I am sending my sending my second daughter to sem In P . I told them I can’t afford to to send to EY . even though there best friends are Going .BUDDY ITS PART OF CHINUCH. ARE YO GOING TO BUY HER a camaery because all her friends have one…

  3. D.G.-
    You definitely have a point. If the rabbonim would take a stand on these issues the way they did in your examples, the situation would be different.

    The problem is, alot of those rabbonim are profiting from those checks your’e sending out…

    I sincerely wish you much hatzlacha and bracha.

  4. Oh boy, my favorite topic….
    ok, instead of debating this issue back and forth and chewing it up till all we’re left with is bad feelings and sore jaws, how about this?

    the only reason you’re in this world is to serve Hashem to the best of ur ability and be the best you that u can be.

    the way to do that is by doing what is right in HIS eyes, not the eyes of others.

    if seminary is “mandatory” in your “community, then just buck up, and don’t care what they think. Have bitachon, and if keeping your daughter home is honestly what you believe to be the right decision, then keep her home and don’t give a hoot what others will say.

    you’re living for Hashem not for anyone else.

  5. I told my daughter “no”. I was told by an Adam Gadol that going to seminary in Eretz Yisroel is NOT part of Mitzvas Chinuch & it is NOT a part of the Chiyuv of Vshinantom – which girls aren’t Mechuyav. She went to Beis Yaakov Intensive like her mother did.

  6. We (in America) are probably living above our means. For the country at large this is reflected by the declining value of the dollar (compared to the major European currencies of 40 years ago, the dollar has lost 80% of its value). The frum birth rate has risen over time (the frum “boomer” generation was artificially low due to the effects of the war). The economy of Eretz Yisrael has gone from clearly underdeveloped to almost “first world”, meaning it costs more. WE WILL PROBABLY HAVE TO GET USED TO THE IDEA THAT SENDING CHILDREN TO LEARN IN ISRAEL IS MORE EXPENSIVE THAN MOST PEOPLE CAN AFFORD.

  7. I agree with everything DG says. But don’t forget the very high cost of sending a Bochur to Yeshiva…not everyone can go locally (shiita?) and have to study overseas.

    Our son wanted to move from a top European Yeshiva to an Israeli one. We said no ($$) but we would continue paying for Europe, which with fares, cell phone, clothing & general support, & tuition is also a fortune. He said “EVERYONE from my Shiur is going!”
    “So come back to NY.”

    Well, guess what? Out of 40 Bochurim only about 3 actually moved on! Like us, the other strapped parents said the same arguments, independently.

    The girls is a more pressing problem as it has become a rite of passage & if parents cannot send their daughters to Israel they feel like dirt. But when you consider that 1-2 years later, G-d willing, these same broke parents are making Chassunahs for their daughters, then supporting Kolel families….everything together has just about bankrupted us. I am not exaggerating.

  8. “Do we have anyone that has the courage to get up and say that the strain and pain this puts on families is too much?” – We need courage from poeple like you to say “no” to your daughter. If enough poeple have that courage, then the norms will change.

  9. why is the focus only on the seminaries???(which i fell in with as well) sending my daughter when i couldn’t afford to????? what about sheitels iy”h when they get married, living in israel for a year after the wedding (of course being supported by parents on one or both sides????) coming back without a future????? why stop here?????????? been there done that!!!!!

  10. Seminary is not mandatory and it doesn’t guarantee a good shidduch. I know a girl who went to the top sem. in E”Y, and she didn’t even get a well paying job, so what did go there for? She’s a fine girl, but, she would have been a fine girl if she went local or didn’t go at all to sem. I know great girls who didn’t go to sem. and they got married to very good boys.

  11. D.G. of flatbush..just a warning…besides for touition there are loads of other expenses…cell phone bill is at least $80 a insurance the cheap rate is $250 for the year…shabbas gifts are $5 a week…busses (not including taxi’s) $10 a week, Laundry $3 a week..end of year gifts for administration and mishloach manos $30….flight is $1500…and then there are the picky eaters who eat out all the time $8 a night…Soooo Good luck! A girl that just got back from sem!!

  12. My fellow readers. Read the following before you send your first girl to the utter nonsense known as “SEM”:

    I have already sent 3 of my 5 girls to “sem”, and I can tell that I am now a broken man.

    I have taken out 2 mortgages on my home and borrowed close to $50,000 in cash just to cover the tuition’s of this madness.

    I make $150,000 a year (after taxes), and I also have 3 others children. Two are still in yeshiva in NY, and one is in Eretz Yisroel in Yeshiva.

    I have already made two chasunas as well.

    Basically, we were saving enough for the weddings, but never dreamt that we would be in for this surprise.

    Oh, I almost forgot to mention the 20 grand spent this past summer on the bungalow/summer/sleep-away-camp fiasco.

    So to sum it up, I’m a broke, depressed, in debt 46-year-old man, who has high blood pressure, chest pains, and worries all day how I’ll make ends meet……all due to “SEM”.

    None of the above is an exaggeration, it’s an understatement.

    My doctor is concerned that I’ll have a heart attack over this stress.

    Is this what Hashem want?!?!

    I doubt it.

    Kudos to YWN for posting this letter. Let the Askonim, and the Rabbonim (YES, I SAID IT) WAKE UP! We are heading down a path to a very tall cliff…..Hashem Yirachem! [And FYI, I daven at one of the most prestigious shuls, with one of the most prestigious Rabbonim in Flatbush, who speaks about every topic – except this!!!!]

    We can ban concerts and all kids of garbage, but how about banning “SEM”!!!????
    Want to know why? Because all the “CHOSHUVA” folks send their children to these top-notch “SEMS”.

    Nuff said……I’m sick now……

  13. This is now at least the third thread here on the seminary issue.

    DG, you raise (and in many instances, repeat) a variety of very good points.

    I’d like to add a point to the mix.

    I put a share of the blame for the current state of things on the girls’ high schools.

    They all make a very nice show of telling the girls that seminary in EY is a luxury, that your parents may not be able to afford it, and that it ultimately doesn’t matter if you go or not.

    Then no sooner than they finish reading this hypocritical disclaimer, they spend the rest of the 12th grade year hosting seminary nights, counseling the girls on their choices of which seminary in EY will be “just right” for them, guiding them through the application and and interview propcess, and finally scrambling to make sure that the girls all get in somewhere as the Feburary D-Day arrives.

    Me thinks their early-year speeches about not pushing seminary in EY ring a little hollow as all of this unfolds.

    If we are looking for someone to send a message that the madness has to stop, let’s see the high schools take the first step by taking a genuinely nuetral stand on the issue. Let them provide transcripts anmd reccomendations as requested, and nothing more. Then let’s also see the High Schools advocate for the domestic seminaries as actively as they do the EY seminaries. Then let the seminaries compete for aplications on their own.

    I don’t think this alone will solve the problem, but it’s a start.

  14. I am a teacher in Israel and taught and am involved in the seminary system. I know enough about it to speak. Mr. D.G. IT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT IMPORTANT FOR YOU OR ANY OF THE TZIBUR TO SEND YOUR DAUGHTER TO LEARN IN ERETZ YISROEL FOR A YEAR. Give it a year and the rabbanim in eretz yisroel are going to bann it. These girls arriving (specifically from the typical flatbush crowd) don’t belong here. If they want to experience the avira of eretz yisroel, let them come for an eight week summer tour experience. For that money they’ll get a lot more in a much shorter time. While I have no connection what so ever to these summer tours, I do have connection with seminary age girls all the time. It is you the parents that are falling for this pressure like so many other things in life and causing it. I have yet to find a principal or assistant principal in these schools that doesn’t mean their money ( there are one or two) but because they do do it for the emes , you Mr. D. G. will not want to send your daughter there because unfortunately no matter if the makom is real/emes or not the name of the seminary makes the whole difference , not what’s in it. I’m sorry to say, but I’m amazed at how some of this self proclaimed rabbis/principals walk around talking about the rabbanim; rav paam, rav shach etc. etc. that they got smicha etc. etc. it’s easy to mention dead peoples names since there won’t be a way to prove it. THe other principals; most of them proclaim themselves as BJJ talmidos. And so, BJJ these days is still good for the high level learner but is it relevant in other areas. Years ago a child had to really really live up to the level in every area for her parents to feel that her daughter deserves the year. THese days, every type of girl is seen prancing around geula; which is still good and other places. Exposing innocent poor israelis that may never be able to live have a quarter of the life that these girls have, while leaving them with dreams. Let alone the tznius level; what a shame! These girls, while it may not be D.G.’s daughters , I’m still sure that it’ll be some of her friends. Why in heavens name are knees uncovered these days, keep them in flatbush. Noone is interested in Yerushalayyim. While most girls don’t realize that half the time their skirts aren’t covering, I’m the one living in geula and working and meeting them and I can’t understand why they’re here. Yes the price for the year is outrageous, but not only you Mr. D.G. has to pay; and you say you afford it. Me; …….. without any money sometimes for the barest of things, has to also spend for shabbos seudos and yamim tovim; because I feel an obligation when someone calls. And how about my rav; we ate there one shabbos and all the men and women alike were listening to dvar torah and the four girls who self invited themselves; without even having the intuition to feel out the gadlus of this man, continued to shmooze , my husband came over to me and had to tell me that they don’t want these girls again. The schools get the money; and most of these principals lead a very very rachvusdige life. Some of which wouldn’t allow the students to even visit; because I know something the girls don’t know, I personally know her personal chef at home. Even those going to these seminaries that are open for years….. most of them are down the drain. They were good for when they started, the principals are older. Some of them are sister seminaries of bigger institutions and are open only to hold up the other seminarys (Neve, kiruv program)while some are newer, I am sure they have a bigger purpose than that of which is open for fifteen years; and it’s obvious by the clientele in these schools. The girls are here for a year of fun. Even for those very few seminaries that are on the level of being open and serve a purpose. If you compare notes and levels and STAFF to a seminary like Bais Yaakov Intensive in Boro Park, it is not to be compared. While unfortunately Bais Yaakov is situated in a pretty unpulling place for a seminary girl, it still serves the real purpose for one that wants to grow and grow and learn the beauty and halachos and hashkafos of building a bayis neeman b’yisroel. I COMMEND THE FATHER THAT DOES HAVE THE MEANS TO SUPPORT A DAUGHTER FOR ONE YEAR OF SEMINARY IN ISRAEL AND STILL DOESN’T DO IT BECAUSE IT’S AGAINST CHINUCH ; FOR EVERY REASON. KEEP THEM HOME!!!!

  15. No one says she has to go to seminary and no one says she has to go to israel for it! if u feel she should go to seminary there are plenty of very good seminary around here. Maybe its time u learn how to say NO to ur daughter when u feel u should and about ur daughter ($$$) just be happy that were ever she went to seminary directed her in that direction and her husbands learning ! And if u look around to what’s happening to todays generation r”l ull be proud of her

  16. Why is it that EY Seminary costs so much?

    They’re charging close to triple the FULL tuition of a girls HS throughout the NY & NJ area & most don’t even offer Shabbos meals!

    My son who goes to an “out of town” (Room & Board) Mesivta costs me $11,500.00 (Full tuition) were the salaries (Rabeyim) are much higher & shabbos is taken care of.
    Yes. I agree that you can fundraise a lot more for a boy’s yeshiva then girls (just the hard facts).

    These places collect tuition in $’s. They’re collecting close to $2,250,000.00 in tuitions. (150 students x $15,000). You make the calculation to see how much the “Rebbetzens” are profiting by instilling the “Right” hashkofos into our precious daughters!!

    Which Yishiva or BM is running on profit & has a surplus of funds? Which Yeshiva would allow the “MANDATED” tuition to go beyond the actual costs of the yeshiva? These seminaries are not being guided by our Chachmey Hador, they’re being guided by the G-d Almighty Dollar!

    There have been at least 3 new seminaries that opened in the last two years to join this lucrative business.
    I guarantee that if we get together & insist that unless the tuition drops by 35% no body goes, these seminaries would cave in. – Like any business.

  17. I totally empathize and agree with your concern. Writing from the other side (I work at a seminary here in Israel) however, I can tell you that the Seminaries are suffering financially and that is why prices might seem so exhorbitant. In my school, half the staff was laid off because the dollar has dropped so much. I can also say that Seminary enrollment is also down which shows that the trend in the future might not be to automatically send your daughter to sem.
    I agree with everyone else I saying that you don’t have to send your daughter to Israel for the year. It is a great experience, but if it means financial suffering, is it really worth it?

  18. The issue is to what extent should you think for yourself and do what you think is correct regardless of what others think. While society effects one’s decisions, that does not absolve one for taking responsibility over one’s own decisions. You have the option of teaching your children about the realities of money. I often tell my own children that I can’t buy everything they want. It’s important for children (and adults) to recognize and come to terms with reality.

    I empathize with burdened parents. It might help if some leaders would say something, but don’t be so dependent on them in this matter. You should also feel confident in making the right decision, as we say ‘vesakneinu be eitza tova’.

  19. Very well written article, and I can assure you that you are speaking with the same sentiments of many, myself included!

    Unquestionably it’s going to be a very productive year for your daughter, perhaps priceless. Though like you’ve said, the pressure of having to send your daughter is quite great.

    About a month ago, I sat with a friend, who’s the husband of a Mechneches in a fairly prominent Seminary; and we did some number crunching, and in agreement, noted that the owners are in no way getting rich here. The $15k in costs, are for the most part, going toward expenses, especially now with the weak dollar. Then on top of that, there’re the odds and ends that we know we need; flights, phones, a bit of spending money and some other misc. expenses. yes – in the end, it’s going to run between $20k and $25k.

    So there are a couple of thoughts that we need to tackle:
    1) Can we send our daughter to Seminary in the USA?
    2) Can we break their hearts and say “sorry – the price is just not something we can afford”?
    3) How will this affect a potential Shidduch ($25k pails in comparison to what we would pay to marry our daughters off)?

    It truly creates a major pressure at home.

    I believe this is something that only the Rav Kaminetsky’s and Noveminsker can really address and either put a stop to, or give us the chizzuk to bite the bullet send our daughters. Perhaps on a case by case basis, rather then as a general Psak.

  20. I remember when i went to israel my father had not yet sent the last check of the school year and they literally chased me down in school the first day.. my father sent everything but the last check-i thought it was quite ridiculous.. aside from that it is way overpriced but i can say now i had a great great year-was it worth the money?? that is the question-its definitely overpriced i guess they take advantage of the fact we are in America. ppl. think money grows off trees in America..

  21. LC
    Give me a break! Every “business” has its ups & downs. Until the dollar dropped you did very well! Were you offering any tuition subsidies then? – I think not!

    Two years ago when the $ was still strong (somewhat) what was your tuition then?

  22. To all the commentors,
    You all have too much money if your worried about paying for Sem. A lot of people I know can’t pay school tuition. My son was told he can’t go to shiur in his high school until an arrangement is worked out. My daughter has not yet been accepted to high school because I can’t pay tution.
    To smr,
    What scholarships? All schools demand as much as they can pull from you and the rest they call a scholarship?!

  23. I have recently given this whole thing much thought, the chinnuch of our daughters is geared to people who are people of means, making people who are not rich feel horrible for saying no. It is up to us parents to enlighten our girls that money does not grow on trees, if they want to live the Bais Yaakov/Seminary “dream” of having a husband in kollel they must get some sort of education so they can help support and not impoversh their parents. Also, I find the high schools not supportive to the girls learning a parnasah. They waste a tremendous amount of time with concert, yearbook, G.O., seminary applications and interviews in their twelth year of high school. Lots of fun, but we as parents have to get our girls the skills they need to be financially stable. Sure, you can be a teacher and be paid almost nothing. Don’t think the high schools and seminaries will prepare our girls to be financially responsible, because they do not (it’s not kosher). it’s up to the parents, unfortunately.

  24. This is really not a joking matter. I am proud of the YWN for bringing this letter to the forefront. I hope some serious changes come from it.

  25. comment #15,
    What an eye opener! I reread your post and it was most revealing and true.
    I always get a kick out of people who quote rabbonim that are not with us and use them many years later instead of looking for the kohen asher beyamecha.

    To # 12, Please take care of yourself! Get a competent rav to speak to even if he’s not popular. I found myself one in Flatbush. Practical and with constant chizuk. If he can’t talk to me when I call he tells me what time to call back.

  26. To all reading:

    I know for a fact, that the “menahell-‘ess’ of one of the leading ‘sems’ are reading these comments right now.

    Just wanted to let ya’ll know that.

  27. Does anyone know what the REAL scam is?

    These sems all charge $100 for an “interview fee”.

    That’s right! You guessed it!
    400 girls apply for each seminary which profits them each $40,000.

    Oh wait there is more!

    My daughters each applied to 3 seminaries, so tack on another $300.

    Feel free……the stuff grows on trees……


  28. I guarantee that if these letters continue for a period of time, people will wake up and stop the madness!

    YWN you should be gebentched.

  29. my daughter stayed, going to sem in the states. It is very difficult for her to say goodbye to all of her friends, watching them go, knowing that she is staying. lots of tears, even though she knows that this is the right decicion for her/our family. I agree, it is a year of fun. One of her friends was telling her, C’mon you have to go, you deserve a year of fun! you worked so hard in high school, you’re gonna come back and work hard again to get education for parnossa….I could not believe it. This is a “good girl”, very sensible, grounded, solid parents, not at all a “party girl”, but still talking about a year in sem in EY as a year of “fun”. Major disconnect here, something seriously wrong with the system, if such a quality girl has internalized this message of a year of sem in EY as PRIMARILY a year of “fun”. It takes a lot for a girl to go against the tide and stay home. B”H even though my daughter is “shtark”, she is struggling this week with watching her friends leave. As such, she is not yet “into” her sem program here because it it just too difficult to adjust/commit to this while watching her friends all leave for a year of “fun”, while she is already looking at hachana, papers, etc. Something is not quite right. No answers here, just needed to vent and validate what other people have said.

  30. One of the previous bloggers had it right: Our leaders have their girls go there, so we are just sheep to the flock.

    They do it and so do we.

  31. A big yasher koach to the author of this letter and YWN for posting it. I have just emailed it to my entire Shul email list with the title: YWN Bans Seminary!
    🙂 🙂

  32. rebbitzen hockstein, thanks for ruining my day even more.

    FUN?! Did you just say F-U-N????!!!

    25K for “FUN”???????!!!!

    Oh my lord. have mercy. my daughter thinks she’s going next year.

  33. Why is no one bringing up the topic of the “pick-and-choosing” methods that the retarded SEMS use in selecting the “FINEST” girls?

    Does anyone know how they torture the girls minds as they wait to see if they are exempted or not? And when they are not, they sit and cry their hearts out!

  34. Many have aleady been paying that amount for high school. There are many yeshivot even below HS that charge over $10,000 and many HS’s in the $15,000 – $20,000 range. Even for those who worrk at good jobs (and pay taxes) this is quite a burden.

  35. They teach the same Chumash there as they do here.

    Things aren’t as they were 10 or 15 years ago.

    Time to adapt.

    Why go broke, or have heart attacks, r”l, over this?!

  36. They teach the same Chumash there as they do here.

    Things aren’t the same as they were 10-15 years ago.

    Time to adapt.

    How about if the girls who are so bent on going EARN their way? Wow, what a novel concept.

  37. Teka a look at this mailbag letter from the YWN archives (it got 192 comments, some heartbreaking):

    Dear Yeshivaworld,

    As my husband and I are now in the “Parshah“, we have started receiving responses for my 12 grader; re: acceptance or rejection for the “privilege” to spend $20,000 for seminary in Eretz Yisroel.

    I would like to know the following from your readership:

    1) Are the seminaries trying to clone an Aryan race by only accepting girls with an over 90 average? Does this average make you a Frummer or better person?

    I can understand that they will not accept a failing student, but shouldn’t acceptance be based on the interview – but more likely the report from the teachers and principals regarding etc?

    2) Without mentioning the name of the seminary, I think it is disgusting the way they write their rejection letter by saying: “consider this a letter of non acceptance”.

    Where are the feelings? Where is the Menschlichkeit?! How can someone who composed such a letter be a Mechanech?


    Disgusted mother who will not send her precious daughter to seminary.

  38. All of you who send to Seminary in Israel have to have your heads examained & sorry your kids dont gain anything in Israel except havign a good time at your expense & just give a look at the chassidic scholls here in good old Brklyn & see for yourself what they accomplish & the first look is the Tzenius of those girls who dont go to Isreal & get educated here & i must say its unbeleivable & yes i must say Satmar of all schools is number one in Tzenius & that is what its all about & the rest is a bunch of nonsense.

    I am just Curious if Reb Moshe Feinstein or Rav Aron Kutlers or Rav Shmuel Birenbaum wives went to seminary & yet they had husbands that illuminated the world with thier Torah & they had a very modest life, however on the other hand i have been numerous times to Israel & have seen these american girls who supposedly are going to Seminary & they sit around in every Pizza shop & restaurent & are having a great time while you parents buckle under & you call it on accomplishment.

    All i can say something is very wrong in our education system that we feel inferior if we dont send our children abroad & what happened to good old fashioned values.

  39. The overriding issue and concern is not just the drain of “seminaries” on family finances, but also the the obscenely high cost of yeshivah tuition in the US and the general movement of “orthodox” Judaism to the extreme right. It’s obvious from both educational phenomena that the the purpose of such institutions is mercenary rather than educational. The previously mainstream orthodox Jewish focus has gravitated sharply and almost to cultist observance, rather than to spiritual religiosity. Several decades ago, the summer “YU tour” to Israel was considered an adequate and appropriate Zionist-religious fulfillment, foods and restaurants were not swamped with a multitude of hekshers and kashrut “supervisors” (often a mercenary intent as well), and children were infused with adequate midot and truly religious instruction. The brainwashing utilized by certain communities and organizations to have children spend year/s in the seminaries, marry very young (before even socially maturing), wearing sheitels, permanent “learning” in local yeshivahs rather than seeking employment, etc., produces large families with shaky foundations. I applaud anyone with the courage to openly challenge a political/social status quo that may not be in a Klal Yisrael’s best interests.

  40. First of all, can anybody explain to me why a girl has to learn the subjects they teach in seminary? And the girls who want to be Lemudei Kodesh teachers, why do they have to learn how to do it in EY? (the model lessons sometimes have to be in Hebrew when chances are they’ll be teaching to Americans).
    I know it’s hard to start having issues with the seminaries that have been around for a long time, and had no one complaining about them 20 years ago, but what about the seminaries that opened in the last 5-10 years? They are BUSINESSES! While on one hand, a noted mechanech like Rabbi Kramer started Bnos Chava a while back, on the other you have ba’alei ba’atim (ironically from Flatbush) with no experience who are opening seminaries just to make $$. One even said to me that he loves going to EY (who doesn’t?) and the seminary he started gives him the reason$ to visit once a month!
    Once girls perceive it as the “in” thing to do, it will be difficult for a parent to say no. Rabbanim should say publicly (they definitely say it privately) that seminary is unnecessary, and a waste of yiddishe gelt.
    Also, are the parents who sent the girls to Sem all happy with the results? How many come back with ridiculous ideas that fade within a couple of months? Or come back mostly the same, aside from a nice photo album? I don’t know the statistics of what % of people are “satisfied customers” with seminary, but I assure you it isn’t one that would encourage repeat business in the average business.
    I’d appreciate any answers to the questions I asked above (before my rant)

  41. For the second time, can anyone please write up the daily schedule for us so we can see what we are paying 25K for?

    Besides for one answer of “they teach the same Chumash as here” I didn’t see anything.

    I have a feeling that it is a total load of hot air, and we are led to believe that they come back knowing all typed of hilchos kshrus and hilchos shabbos; when in fact they know nothing more then the “nebach girl” who stays in the US and gets married, or goes to work etc.

    But please. We are all anxiously awaiting the schedule from someone. All the limudim please.

  42. To BMG Hocker at 11:15, I did not bring up the issue of FUN. Rather, I was echoing what poster 15 had to say. BTW, I understand that there is a very good sem in Lakewood.

    rebbitzen hockstein, thanks for ruining my day even more.

    FUN?! Did you just say F-U-N????!!!

    25K for “FUN”???????!!!!

    Oh my lord. have mercy. my daughter thinks she’s going next year.

  43. The Seminary in Gateshead is a very good one and there is a choice between two. Believe me, the standard and quality of those who get accepted there are as high as any other and probably less costly!

  44. Since flatbush has taken a front seat in this conversation, has anyone asked any rav, rebbe or rosh hayeshiva in brooklyn whether seminary in E”Y is important or not? Who endorses these decisions? What do people ask their rabbanim? What does Torah Umesorah have to say about this?
    Hello?! Is anyone home? Help!

  45. You have no complaint,except on yourself.I am making a bar mitzvah only with a kiddush in shul(no cholent)and an in house seudah for 40 people.You educate your children and they live by your example.What type of bar mitzvah-chasunah do you make for your children?So dont complain about the 25k for seminary.And the tuition isnt 25k either.Also ever think how your daughter eats at other people’s house that they themselves dont have what to eat.This is not a rare incident,it is happening every week
    Finally with regard to scholastic level,like all yeshivos and colleges,there are many geared to different people,some very good seminaries geared for the weaker student,why do you insist BJJ?As far as application fees,how much does it cost to go 3 times to the states to interview?
    While I dont work for a seminary and dont send any daughter to Israel I feel to see the merit of the whining.A seminary with under 70 girls is a money losing operation.Some are raking it in,but not all.Dont send your kid as the Israeli olam is suffering from the bad influence,but many girls come back with alot of chizuk.
    BTW,my neice actually made money going to seminary after all the grants she received
    Tuition to high ?whom do you expect should pick up the bill?I dont see the rebeeim getting rich

  46. I would just like to add a couple of thoughts to this very important discussion. Having sent a daughter to Seminary last year in E”Y, I can say that there really is NOTHING like that experience of spending a complete year living in Eretz Yisroel. A girl that has her eyes open & her head on straight will develop a love for Eretz Yisroel and an appreciation for the people and the life there. She will also develop tremendously being away from the normal day to day happenings back at home in the U.S. She will develop an independence and confidence she could not get being spoon fed at home & being handed the keys to the family car the day she graduates high school. Watch how all the girls cry when they leave for the first couple of weeks because they are homesick & then they ALL cry TWICE as hard when it’s time to walk away from Yerushalayim in June. Something clearly happens inside them during that year. Something that gives them feelings that last a lifetime. That is what our daughter got.
    Having said all those wonderful and heartwarming things, it is plain to see from many of the comments here that there is a major problem here. The cost is prohibitive! We made a decision to send our oldest daughter & we are happy we did so. It does come with a financial sacrifice though. And not everyone is able to do so.
    So, here’s my question and suggestion about this topic. I have thought about this numerous times and have wondered why this can’t be done. I would even get behind it & help with the setup and planning.(And yes, I am busy & really have no spare time). With all the complaining and griping about the cost and expense of the year in E”Y, why can’t we do something PROACTIVE? Why can’t we give more girls that very special opportunity to be in Eretz Yisroel? Why can’t we start a quality, frum seminary that charges only half the amount currently being charged? Today that would be about $8000 plus airfare etc. Not much more than you’d pay to send to a local seminary. Instead of opening a seminary in E”Y to become a millionaire & support all the kids in Lakewood, let’s open one to give a couple of quality mechanchim & mechanchos a respectable living in Yerushalayim & to just pay the expenses. And maybe (heaven forbid!!) we would even fundraise a little. I think that I might be able convince a prominent mechanech, mechaneches or two to get on board for this. It could be done in a quality first class way too.
    Now, this is just my opinion. I am not in Chinuch. I am a regular Baal Habayis. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a while. Just do something for a change instead of arguing about whether seminary is good for you or not. Or knocking the seminaries in E”Y BECAUSE we can’t afford it. Let the seminaries there do & charge as they please. We could do something positive and make many girls happy at the same time.
    I’d like to hear some quality feedback on this. I don’t profess to know all the angles on this. I’d like to hear them because I care & would like to help rather than complain.

    Let’s get some feedback and do something for a change! K’siva Vachasima Tova to all!!

  47. #12 Hard Working Man,
    May I join you? Perhaps all us financially-strained-to-the-gills fathers can get together and have one big communal corranary (Chas V’Shalom).
    I have a suggestion:
    Let each Day School, Mesivta, Beis Medrash, Seminary, install a blood pressure machine. Upon signing registration, there should be a line called: “Father’s Blood Pressure.”
    Tuition should be determined based on how high the father’s blood pressure is. The higher the blood pressure, the lower the tuition gets.
    Hey, pass the salt!!!!

  48. My father became acquainted to a principle in a girls’ high school through business. The principle told my father that so many parents cry their way out of paying tuition or pay the bare minimum and then send their daughters off to seminary in Israel! My father honestly paid every cent of tuition (I am not sure if he paid fully or whatever, but did not pay less than he could) and sent us to seminary in New York (Bais Yaakov Intensive). I think that is a better lesson in Chinuch than any other.

    Also, even if the money would not at all be an issue, he would not have sent us on principle.

    (There are some girls that seminary does a LOT of good for, but they are the exceptions in my opinion.)

  49. Ad Kaan – you raise a valid point.
    If a seminary/any institution charges an interview fee for everyone who applies, but realistically does not even consider certain candidates because of their school/ neighborhood/ which may only require a cursory 5 minute glance at the application, is the money that is charged really done with yashruskeit, since from the onset, this candidate had no chance?

    This applies to high schools/yeshivas/seminaries as well, of which certain popular ones only have a handful of ‘outside’ slots to fill, of which siblings of former graduates get priority.

    And to comment on exorbitant costs..
    Perhaps the Wal-Mart approach is due — how about a few well meaning askanim to run a low-cost, open-book (finances), no-name brand seminary — where they don’t charge extras for specific cell phone carrier X, charter flight Y, type of clothing Z. In fact, maybe even some teachers from US would live a sabbatical year in EY teaching the kids — would be cheaper (think (lehavdil) all camp related jobs that go virtually unpaid, but room & board are payment enough.) — how many young girls and newlyweds would love to live on campus in ey!

  50. A yeshiva rebbe told me that the tuition structure at the Seminaries in Eretz Yisroel in effect has “rich” Americans subsidizing the Israeli students . . . and as government subsiidies to the Charedi schools has been dropping, the tuition that we Americans pay has been going up disproportianately.

  51. In 21 years of marriage b’ah I never asked my wife to say over a Ramban – and I highly doubt that any husband has asked his wife to do so. It is all a bunch of hooey. Unless your family is rich and $25,000 means nothing, save the money for when you’re married -when you really need it.

    Moreover, instead of wasting 25,000 on seminary, use the money to address the tuition crisis. If 10% of every seminary tuition went to local Yeshivas, maybe tuition costs would stabilize.

  52. The biggest problem here is that refraining from sending your daughter to E’Y will cause the “establishment” will brand you as a cheapskate who cannot afford to give their darling best boy in (fill in your favorite yeshiva) a luxurious existence as he embarks on a five years to life duration of “learning”. People are scared to death of having their daughter become a spinster-more scared than the financial reprecussions of sending her away for a year that is a waste of time.
    if this describes you, be a man and have some emuna that all will work out; it might be a good idea to also not be so “American” and instead: if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. And keep in mind that you may not want to do a shidduch with someone who only looks at your financial statements instead of your ruchnious returns.
    This all leads to whether alot of boys are better off learning and earning a parnasa and not having a pipe dream about learning for years. But we will save that for a different time.

  53. Wishful way you can make a seminary at 8000 dollars,noone will come to a new name,you likewise are clueless to the efforts it takes to open a seminary.i tried to get involved strictly for financial reasons,and i did not because the risk reward wasnt you know what a building costs to buy or rent?believe me with 8k you aint got anything.maybe cut your daughter’s cellphone.i have had several relative sin seminary none whom had cell phones.and why are they all going home for pesach?
    answers are not so simple and while i can understand your frustrations,i have been fighting the battle against simchas,and gey red tzun vaint.i has a close relative complain that due to the timing and orgin of the chasan they only had 250 people for the chasunah,neibech.and what is wrong with 250 people for the seudah?so till we ourselves decide to do something in our everyday life,dont expect the changes to come from seminary

  54. B’H I have one daughter who is still young. I have read through most of these comments and I daven that moshiach will come before I have to send my daughter to school.

  55. if you dont want to support a boy in learning dont,cant find a shidduch?maybe take a baal teshuvah chas vesholam or someone from an interesting family situation.dont blame it on someone else all the time,take responsibility.the girls i know age 40 plus without a shidduch has nothing to do with money

  56. To # 53 Ayin Tov.

    Good question.

    As a matter of fact , I have asked two different Flatbush rabbonim about it. They were both ambivalent at best.

    But you see, your question helps reveal a sad truth in the seminary diacussion which applies to many other issues in today’s Brooklyn form of frumkeit. And that is: these things are not really about frumkeit, they are about fashion, peer pressure, and status.

    There is a reason most people don’t ask shailos about these things, and that is because the answers might deflate their self-importance.

  57. I read this and don’t whether to laugh or cry. Probably both. B’H we have such wealth and access to Torah in E’Y. And nebach families feel compelled to strip themselves bare and mortgage their souls to send their children.

    When I finished high school the luxury of learning in yeshiva was reserved for the super-spectacular boys or the wealthy. I was of modest intellectual and financial means so I went to City College and chapped a seder in the shtiebl each night. Nu, I wasn’t making siyums or delving into the rishonim like some of my friends, but learned a few blatt gemorah along the way and established a kesher with the rov and the ba’al ha’batim.

    My wife? No such thing as seminary then, at least not like today. She was a book-keeper by day, obtained her teaching certificate at night school, and her father and Zaide learned with her and fa’hered her before every yom tov – quite novel and revolutionary in those days, but she learned hilchos Tefillah and Shabbos with her father and most of TaNach with her Zeide – they motivated her with “yom tov” gifts, a new dress or shoes.

    The result? 47 yars later five children all shomrai Torah u’Mitzvos – our children were permitted two years post-high school learning, after which they were required to choose a yeshiva/sem + college arrangement or Touro or YU – bonim v’vnai bonim, b’chasdei HaShem we have seen, erliche childern of whom we are proud with children-in-law to match –

    We lived leanly, no luxuries, often a new necktie for yom tov, not a suit –

    It takes hard work and mazel and perseverance and I wish everyone success, and urge all to remember that it’s OK to limit the full-time learning to pursue parnosoh – if no one did, who would pay the bills?

  58. 50. I wonder how much 2 or 3 years of Gateshead, with all the transportation fees back and forth to the states adds up to.

    For out of town parents with no seminary option in town, who just missed qualifying for any kind of aid, sem will still run cost a lot. Maybe half of Israel, but it will still cost.

    We feel our investments in Israeli sems have paid off. There were no other options for our girls. And that year was basically it for them. Further schooling means they take out student loans, we offer minimal, short term help after marriage. We’ll pay for a modest chasuna and setting up a home (very minimal furniture, like beds, not a set).

    Now that our boys are getting older, we’ll have to deal with the realities of keeping them in learning post high school for several years at least beyond the one their sisters get.

    And BTW, I do think that seminary is really important for most Litvish/BY girls. Don’t know how the other half lives. If we lived in NY night sem would be just great for some of the kids, but I wouldn’t let my daughter live in an unsupervised setting at that age.

  59. #66, telegrok,
    YWN has people of all ages reading. It’s good to get a perspective from all ages.
    You are a straight thinking guy with life experience and i’m just wondering if you would share what youre screen name means. I understand if you can’t.
    Ayin tov.

  60. It’s just amazing that there are tens of thousand of people reading this website, and not ONE person can tell everyone WHAT they teach these girls in seminary!

    Someone asked for that info like 5 hours ago, and he must be talking to deaf people.

    Just amazing.

  61. I have a dughter who was chalishing to go, and we simply told her “either we pay for your wedding, or for seminary”.
    She understood…..

  62. Let the Aguda make another Takana like the wedding takanna joke thingi.

    “Guidlines For Seminary”

    1-You can only send your child to seminary if she is from a family of Rabbonis, Askonis, and wealthy”.

    That will be the the first, and last rule.

    Remember the chasunah takanna? What a joke: You were excluded from the rules if you were one of the above.

    Total joke.

  63. To #66 and many others
    As the many anti kollel feelings are scoming to surface,I would like to remind you of countless chazal that tell us what is our zechus kiyum,I am a working man as well as a kollel yungerman,that is the best way to describe it 22 years into this.I support myself and tens of other yungerliett and realize the absolute zecus i have to do that.If your son or son in law wasnt zoceh to be from the real shevet levi,do not berate the real ones.I am with you on those who learn in Lakewood and vacation in Cancun,that i sdisgusting.Bli AyinHara my children are learning shas,dont k now th edifference between bain hazamanim or a friday afternoonI dont know what I did to deserve this,but hashem out it in my lap and there are thousands who shar e this feelings with banim u’vnaaiy bonim oskim batorah,but to limit it to 2 years?let me ask you do you limit your kids to how much maney they can make?Say once you made 300k you devote all time to learning?Maybe you do,but you get the idea.Kiyum Haolam is ruchnayus and limud hatora which if i wasnt so ill i would do more,unfortunately i am presently severly handicapped and do more support for torah than actual learning,but mitzvah bo yoser meshilocho.Please give the authentic bearers of torah leading spartan lifestyles and dressing in tzinyus,the credit they deserve.And ye syou should and can critize those who use it to take advantage,allthough why would somone want to loaf around not learning and not getting ahead financially?

  64. Well this letter is rather disturbing to me- why is everyone complaining about the price of seminary and not the price of college when ppl first send their daughters off to seminary and then they send them to college- hello if you can’t afford sem then don’t send them to college.

  65. Maybe make your daughter pay with the money she has earned over the years, atleast half the tuition.

    I have not gone to Israel for sem, however I was there for a week and to all you dear parents you are all waisting your money, because if you think your daug. is sitting and learning all day-think again.

  66. i will not mention any name-however there is someone in bayit vegan who owns THREE sems…………..dy lchakimah b’remiza….

  67. Dear Bloggers:
    No comment or view on #46? The truly religious and spiritual should be honored and respected as they are surely so seen by Hashem. Politically or socially expedient extreme observants should be viewed skeptically and understood for waht they are.

  68. # 75 misterzee.

    Sentiments like your have been expressed many times and I think all true b’nei torah share your perspective that there is obviously a place in our society for klei kodesh.

    However, the point that you and others miss is that what you call “anti-kollel feelings” isn’t so much an opposition to kollel, per se, it is an opposition to the releatvely recent (last 20 years) phenomenon wherein the overwhelming majority of young men are being encouraged to learn – and seek out support to learn – indefinitely.

    It is this unrestricted promotion of kollel as being for EVERYONE , all the time, that us “anti-kolle” people believe is casusing a great deal of distress within our community.

    If you want to keep the kollel discussion relevant and productive then whenever you make a comment about kollel, ask yourself if it justifies the current trend, or whether it merely justifies having a sincere group of yechidei segulah supported to learn indefinitely.

  69. I went to a prominent Bais Yaakov high school, where almost every single one of my friends went to E”Y for seminary. I decided to stay home and I attended BY Intensive and it was the most beautiful year!! From the mechanchos, to the learning…and the girls-I gained a tremendous amount from being around such a special group of girls, in terms of tznius especially. I look back at the year with such fond memories-it really was an unbelievable experience! And it was an added bonus knowing that my parents didnt have to spend so much extra $ for sem..I’ll admit that it was hard sometimes, I missed my friends and I was constantly hearing about their tiyulim and Shabbos experiences, but I never regretted my decision for a minute. My daughters are still young K”H, but BY sem is definitely a place where I would send them. This decision to stay home was something that was discussed in great depth. My father had a nice heart to heart talk with me and I was very comfortable with my decision. So, if for whatever reason, you don’t want to send your daughter to E”Y, be it financial or because you don’t agree with the whole idea, talk to your daughter and be honest. You don’t always have to do something because the whole world is doing it. Be strong in your beliefs. Seminary in E”Y is a beautiful experience and there are girls who gain tremendously and come home changed forever. But there are also girls that will benefit just as much by staying local and attending seminary. I did.

  70. Let the whiners stop whining and find something more productive to do. You don’t want to send your daughter to EY, don’t. If she kvetches and cries, either ignore her, or promise her a prize, or do whatever your parenting skills tell you to do. But don’t do this: Don’t trash something which is of value and makes a difference to so many people just b/c it’s not for you. You don’t have the gumption to tell your daughter no? That’s your shortcoming, not the system’s. So stop blaming your problems on everyone else.

  71. #76, you make a good point.

    I guess it must be because people justify the exorbitant cost of college with the fact that most people will use their degree and will make back the $ and more when they land a good job.

  72. miriamlu (#15) wrote:

    “I am a teacher in Israel and taught and am involved in the seminary system. I know enough about it to speak. Mr. D.G. IT IS ABSOLUTELY NOT IMPORTANT FOR YOU OR ANY OF THE TZIBUR TO SEND YOUR DAUGHTER TO LEARN IN ERETZ YISROEL FOR A YEAR.”

    Hmm, so you’re biting the hand that feeds you. Such hakoras hatov! Are these the values you inculcate in your students? Honestly, with you as the teacher, I agree it would be best to keep the girls home.

  73. #84 actually, college in the US is very cheap for a typical frum family since even with a moderate income, they take into account large family size. If you stick to local public schools and/or distance education, one can get a reputable degree
    from a public university without going broke (and with most or all the out of pocket costs covered by interest-free or low interest government loans).

  74. #77-LGBG-sounds like someones jealous…Don’t give assumptions based on what you saw in one week.
    There is plenty that i learned and gained while in sem in isreal.You are right that there were girls who did not belong there, who just came to party, but those girls would’ve partyd if they stayed home too.As always, there are exceptions to every rule, but dont go bash all seminarys based on your 1 week you were there.

  75. #46/#79 – YWN613,

    Quite bold, though somewhat off the topic. Many of us, in the Yeshivashe velt, who prescribe to the Yeshivish/Litvish derech, do see things a bit different then you do. I’m not sure this is the forum to debate that, though in many cases we’re likely in agreement.

    Why don;t you submit another article expressing your thoughts?

  76. I didn’t realize that getting “paid on the books” like most honest people are is a significant deterrent for seminary.

    Guess that’s the price for being honest.

  77. freezer

    very jealous…not!

    When a boy or girl go to Israel they never stay on the same level of yiddeshkiet they either grow, or fall. I’m now saying everyone only parties all day, but most aren’t to serious in sem.

  78. #68 – my screen name is roshei teivos, “Torah Lomadnu v’Gehinom Rachok” – not the best acronym, but it is an inside family joke – my daughter many years ago was chalishing that we should get cable TV – we have a TV in the house, we watch the news and some programs, but to pay for the shmutz on cable I would not do – and one night I said “Television? Torah Lomadnu – olam ha’boh will be in the learning, not in the TV” – and it grew from there.

    #75 – I am not telling anyone to stay out of kollel – I am not telling anyone to go into kollel – rather, I told my sons and my daughters, you must equip yourself with a trade or profession and be in a position to support yourself and your family – not for fancy cars and vacations, but to pay the bills for food and clothing and tuition. And we, as much as we could, guided the girls toward college, because one never knows, a mother could find herself alone with children, nebach rachmonoh litzlan, lo aleinu, things happen. In retrospect, I do not know how they would pay tuition on just the husband’s salary.

    I am not anti-kollel – I thrill to the sound of the beis medresh and kol Torah, and applaud those who live modestly while learning. I know guys who hustle and earn a few extra bucks leining on Shabbos or tutoring while they’re shteiging their guts out in the beis medresh – and they’re wives deserve medals for holding down the fort at home and doing double duty. But, consideration should be paid to how thin the community might be stretching itself to support wide-spread adoption of this – in other words, some should learn, and some should work – but what is the proper balance?

  79. I live in Israel across the street from one of the biggest seminaries & I never understood where is the responsibity of the parents. I see day and night coming and going up and down. I would never send my children to any of them, even for free.

  80. Okay….
    I just came back from seminary about a year ago. I agree with most of what everyone is saying. YES, seminary is overpriced. YES, we could learn the same chumash in chutz la’aretz. YES, people take out second mortgages on their home to send their daughters to E’Y.
    But honestly, this sounds like group therapy. I like that word that I saw up there in one of the comments- PROACTIVE. If you actually want to make a difference, and change the situation, do something for heaven’s sake, instead of complaining about these big, evil people out there committing highway robbery.

    Think about it for a second. It’s simple economics. It’s called the law of supply and demand. No-one is forcing you to send your daughters to seminary. if you have an issue with the cost, then simple. Don’t send your daughter. The only reason there is pressure is because “everyone” goes. So don’t go. Then there won’t be any pressure.

    It’s easy to complain about the hanhalas in EY who are making a killing. But if any of you were in their situation, you would do exactly the same. Why shouldn’t they charge a fortune if suckers like you are willing to pay? Why should they lower their prices and charge $8000 if they could charge double that and make some nice money? Why shouldn’t they only accept the smartest if there are 400 girls clamoring for 100 spots? Why shouldn’t they charge $100 for an interview if we’re willing to pay it? We can hardly blame them!!
    It is unfortunate that parents are unable to say no to their daughters. It’s really quite simple. If you can’t afford it- DON’T PAY THROUGH YOUR NOSE! Or better yet, have your daughter learn that if something is really important to her, she can work for it. Have her pay for it herself like I did. My parent paid for my ticket and about $3000 of my tuition. The rest of it and my spending money came from my own hard-earned dollars and scholarships.
    Things are not going to change until WE change. We need to change our actions, and more importantly, we need to change our attitudes. It’s easy to sit around and complain about the system and how corrupt it is. It is another to take a stand and actually do something. We are victims of our own stupidity

  81. the HS told our girl that if she doesn’t apply ($100 plus) to at least 3 places, she is not serious and they will not “help her get in/advise her”–of course she was accepted to each and didnt even have interest in 2/3

  82. I do not really know much about this issue, and maybe should not comment on it. However….

    If this is such a financial burden, there are a few questions that can (or must) be asked.
    1. Will the girl really be more “mushlemes” if she goes for that year to Eretz Yisroel v.s. staying at a seminary here?
    2. Why does she want to go, is it for the right reasons, kedusha, or gaivah?
    3. Every individual, parents and students, can come up with additional similar questions, and answers.

  83. I went to not so long ago seminary and i have mixed feelings. i went to one of the more prominent and famous seminaries and i was not so impressed. on the one hand i made friends to last me a life time and i experienced so much just from being in e”y.i grew biruchniyus from the excellent tiyulim we were taken on and from just experiencing the way ppl live there. i did not grow from what we learned in sem. we did have some nice classes such as shmiras halashon and halacha on very important topics but some of the subjects that were focused on is a big mistake. i know most of u wont believe me but we learned REAL gemara! we had a few page test on it and hard is an understatement! i did not focus on my work because i thought that it was such a waste to work myself to the bone! i took some great notes on the classes that i thought were important but i just didnt care about the unimportant ones. also, the teachers and principal basically drained it into our brains to sacrifice everything for torah-very good thing to do but dont walk aroung with gorgeous shaitels and expensive diamonds!that really bothered me. if someone were to ask me if they should send their daughter to seminary i would say definitely. do they really have to? my answer would be NO!

  84. Thank you #93 Mean Nurse (Scary name!), for reading my post (#55) and agreeing with me. I wish some more people would read it and maybe we could make a positive change! Enough of this whining and negativity! Let’s DO something to change it. Let’s change the Economics. Let’s change the Dynamics. We should not be here to knock ANYONE! Not the girls going to seminary. Not their parents. And not the seminaries themselves. Everyone can do as they please. Simple laws of supply & demand & freedom. Does anyone want to do something? Watch the laws of supply & demand change here if there are quality alternatives….My proposal is in Post #55…

  85. #84

    No, # 76 does not make a good point.

    The comparison is completely flawed. If we assume that a college degree has always had and continues to have necessary value, then we need to wrestle with aaffording it’s cost.

    However, the premise immediately fails when we extend the comparison to seminary, because as a historical matter of fact, attending seminary in EY has not been considered a necessary value until very recently.

    It would be a valid comparison if we had recently gotten a bug in our heads that our daughters have to attend ivy league colleges for $50,000 dollars a year. Then we could question when that became so important and why we should pay for it. But that is not the case.

    We could, however, question when and why it became necessary to send our kids to Touro College where you pay twice the tuition for an education half as good as that provided in a CUNY college. This ridiculous trend has been fueled by nothing other than the “frum” police who decided that the outrageously succesful approach of the prior generation who did just fine going to Brooklyn College and Queens college, was no longer good enough for them. In the 80’s it was still acceptable for a yeshivahj boy/girl to choose between the speed and convnience of Touro vs. the extra year and less money for CUNY. Now it is no longer a choice. If you go to CUNY, you are second rate.

    Sigh….same old …same old.

  86. Seminary is crucial for the independence and maturity of our young daughters. If you can’t afford it look for a scholarship or student loan. In my city ( not Brooklyn or Lakewood) every mechanech finds a way to send his daughter to seminary.
    If your daughter gets into Harvard you find a way to make it work. A year at Stern College is close to 40,000 so seminary is not so outrageous.
    Also seminary does not count if its in Brooklyn or outside Israel. Taking a navi class or a chumash class then going to your parents house is no different to high school.

  87. #80-probably mid point.all serious people that want to learn should be encouraged if you are of litvishe orientation,the overkill is a negative and i think we all agree on that
    i had a discussion this evening with a friend who had explored the lshem shamayim idea,it cost over 11k to break even,now remember even if they charge 18k,what is the averege tuition,there are breaks thta you cant disclose,if you are a quality girl from a low income,so yess the avg.may be in the 15k range and a 100 girl seminar may bring in 400k,perhaps,i dont know,but without that you wont have people risking the fortune it takes to open a seminary
    i am sur eif people were serious u could open for 12k no exception,but as i said you wont get girls

  88. Just amazing…. not one person can actually tell us all what in heaven’s name they are teaching our girls in these seminaries!

    What a total farce!

    I have made up my mind to go on a crusade, and start hounding the rabonim to take the lead on this issue, and once and for all forbid anyone from sending their girls to these years of “fun”.

    It’s beyond believable. Who ever heard of such a madness? $20,000 – $25,000 for what? For what? Can anyone tell me?
    Is the best thing you can tell me is that they “mature” in Eretz Yisroel?

    Please. Sell that bridge to someone else.

    We can ban anything and everything, but ignore a serious madness like this. Letters on a shaitel store in Flatbush were no problem, but when thousands of people are GOING INTO DEBT THERE IS SILENCE???????????????


  89. nfgo; r u nuts…..noone will show you their books! why would they want you to know that the owners of these seminarys are making 300+K a year?

  90. What ever happened to a girl graduating high school and getting a job so she can have a bucks in the bank to get her started as soon as she gets married?

  91. What about a 5 month seminary option for $8000-$10,000? This will enable more girls to get accepted and this won’t hurt the wallet as much. This will also force the girls to get serious earlier in the year instead of waiting until Pesach.

  92. 105, what about our boys working in the summers, Fridays, other times, to put money away to get them started as soon as THEY get married?

    Let’s not stiff and undersell our girls!

  93. i also have/had seminary age daughters and I was wondering if the seminaries would consider ending the year Pesach time. this alleviates the added expense of Pesach travel. Even staying in Israel for Pesach is expensive. That way, the girls could look into ideas for the future year, look into jobs etc… This past year, I brought my daughter home for Pesach because I have no close relatives for her to go to, and she went back for just 4 weeks! Then she came back in June looking for a teaching job along with the other 500 girls who came back. It’s too late to give model lessons because the schools are over… That was a thought that I had that I thought would alleviate some of the expenses.

  94. It is well known that during the first Gulf war, Rav Shach Z’tzl was asked if the girls studying in seminary should go home. He responded that he ‘didnt know what they were doing here in the first place’

    Rabosai here’s an idea it seems so simple that it must be laughably wrong.
    Our girls cant get married at 17, after 12th grade right?
    So I ask you…
    Why not just have our high schools have a grade 13?
    Think about it….

  95. By the very fact that there are certain expectations from a girl who came back from seminary, means that indeed something does change in seminary. When a girl comes back from seminary, everyone is looking at her differently, seeing what she has changed, if she has changed, how she acts, how she matures, and by the very fact that that is the immediate reaction, shows just how very much students change in Israel. I think its very important for girls, and boys as well, to have a year before college to find out whats important. Ive seen it make or break my very own friends. So of course, I do agree, that is extremely expensive. But lets not pretend like nothing gets done in Israel. I myself just got back from a very productive year in Israel, and am studying now in Stern College, and I dont think this year would’ve been the same if I came straight here with my high school ideals. And if your child is going to an accredited school, DG, then it counts as a full year of college, and through the S Daniel Aberhams program at Stern College they can actually recieve credit for their year, through which Stern transfers the credits to Stern College credits. So Israel, in all its expensiveness, was actually cheaper for me then going straight to college.

  96. Just amazing…. not one person can actually tell us all what in heaven’s name they are teaching our girls in these seminaries!

    Stop being a naar. They teach chumash & ramban; sifrei mussar; historia; yahadus; hashkafah. The serious seminaries have a full curriculum, and much is taught. You don’t think such things are necessary. That’s your problem. But don’t pretend there’s no tachlis.

    Aside from the academic studies, this is an opportunity to prepare a girl for life after marriage, and to help her to acquire the values she will need for a Torah’dike life. Any number of parents and girls will tell you how much benefit they have seen in this regard. Your tactic, and those of others posting here, is to take the minority of girls who treat the year in EY as a year of camp. That’s like saying that b/c some bochurim in yeshiva don’t learn, there’s no value in yeshiva. The fact is that what really concerns you is money; you resent having to pay it, so you pretend there’s nothing of value.

    I have made up my mind to go on a crusade, and start hounding the rabonim

    I have a better idea: Get a job; use your time constructively. Let the rabbonim alone. It’s really not their fault that you are fixated on money, and don’t know how to say “no” to your daughters when they ask for something you cannot afford.

  97. It is well known that during the first Gulf war, Rav Shach Z’tzl was asked if the girls studying in seminary should go home. He responded that he ‘didnt know what they were doing here in the first place’

    Another one of these supposedly “well-known” מימרות from R’ Shach. When I see it in his handwriting, I’ll believe it.

    It’s interesting the way people cherry-pick the things they want to listen to. There are any number of things R’ Shach wrote about that people pay no attention to. But as soon as it’s something that you’re interested in, you’re suddenly concerned with daas Torah.

  98. mean nurse,

    You just came back from sem so you should speak belashon nekiah and not tell people who pay that they “sucker” for paying. Please don’t give bad impressions about seminary. Thanks

    I’m still waiting to know of a local Rav that endorses seminary and says that it’s in general the right thing to do.

    Mr. yeshiva guy,

    What is the goal of the seminaries teaching all the hashkafa and chumash ramban. Is there a specific skill they are teaching or are they just chaping arein as much torah as they can before these girls ever again know what the parshas hashavuah is! Hey, maybe it’s important!

  99. Im a gut starting shiduchim hwich again is something else to rant about as well but i went to yeshiva in eretzyisroel for 2 years and have been back now fo r alittle over 2 years. I am in a yeshiva and take college classes at night. Im telling you this just so you can get my prespective. Girls as well as boyz are not being told that in order to live it costs money recently a married friend who came back from eretz yisroel and just had his first kid was telling me how no one ever told him how much life costs. He is paying rent- over 15000 a year utility bills- slap another couple, helath insurabnce for himself wife and kid another 15000 food car and clothing holy cow close to 50000 he needs post taxes! Are parents really supporting their kid while they learn in lakewood etc, as well as paying for seminary? Where is the money coming from people have to use their brains!!!!

  100. Yavne Seminary in Cleveland run by Reb. Ausband tlit”a has been around for many years and besides for being in the US and expenses being cheaper, their tuition is much cheaper (less than 10,000). Their seminary is on par with the best in EY. You could go there for two years and there is an option to be part of an independent program culmiating with a B.A.
    Time for people to start waking up and looking for new options

  101. my dream would be to do away with seminaries altogether.the purpose of seminaries is to teach girls how to become teachers. most girls today are going to college to become therapists.if high schools would focus on the seminary subjects the girls would learn something useful and would eliminate the need for seminaries. today many schools are nothing more than a private business that is nicely supporting the owners and administrators. if we cut out seminaries some of them might have to get real jobs at a real salary.while we are at it how about doing away with long time learning for everyone. our socity has become a joke with no leadership to get us out of this insane matziv we are all in

  102. I am amazed that everyone is focusing on that seminary is only “full of fun”. Thats a side point and no one can deny that the girls dont learn anything in Israel. The concept of seminary would never be successful if there was not a lot of good to it. But that doesnt make it right. Aside from all the factors of that everyone mentioned, in addition to the selfish attitude that the year in Israel breeds and the inherent dangers involved, what kind of concept is it to send our daughters, who are meant to be tzanua, away to Israel for a year???

    *******Is there something so fundamentally wrong with the education that we provide our daughters in high school and in our jewish homes that seminary in Israel is an absolute necessity that a girl is incomplete without??????? Are we doing such an awful job back here that we just need to send our daughters for rehabilitation?********

  103. 110, 111, thanks for saying it so well.

    115, I don’t understand either.

    116, a girl can get a college degree in 2 years but how much does the private college Yavneh works with (from what I’d last heard) cost? What if you don’t qualify for Pell, etc.? Personally, the girls can take out a student loan but why should they have to pay for a pricey private college?

    119, I know the unplugged discussions my girls had in their sems. They could never have had it in high school without there being repercussions on the school. An independent mossad just for that age is the best vehicle.
    And if our girls are going to go on to advanced degrees, shouldn’t they get some consistent learning on a more mature level too? I’m not saying it has to be Israel, or even a day sem., but I like the idea of them having consistent classes with mechanchim and mechanchos of a high caliber with whom they can build lasting relationships.

  104. To all you girls out there who can’t go to sem in EY this year for whatever reason and to all of the parents of girls who are going but are lamenting the high cost, consider this:

    My daughter would have graduated this year and gone on to seminary in EY. But she can’t because she died during high school.

    Now my wife and I look on (or try not to) as her friends start their adult lives.

    Decisions. Choices. They can only be made by the living.

  105. #120 you are right the degree is not so cheap but bthat is a side issue. Focus on the seminary itself compared to ey.
    thanks #121

  106. im a bais yaakov girl going into 12th. my mother gave me this to read to ckeck out the other side. my parents will send me if i really want to go. if they told me a flat no i would listen. my friends and i were discussing however where we would go if not to ey. yes theres intensive in bb and yavneh but these are not places for everyone. i for one cant see myself there. and its out of the question for me to go straight to college as i dont think im ready for the real world. most girls my age need a year to grow and mature. there are not many girls my age that are really mature enough after 12th grade to go straight into the real world. if there would be more seminarys here to go to then thats a dif. story but now at this point theres not much out there thats suited for everyone. i would love to grow and if there was a place here that was cheaper and effective i would definately run there. but for the majority of girls its not realistic to go from 12th to college or to work. it disturbs me also to see all this lashon hara about groups of people whether its true or not. it would be great if ppl could start seminarys here that teach the great things that are taught in seminary in ey. i feel bad about making my parents spend so much money on me so what should i do?

  107. I agree with the idea of not sending girls to seminary.

    There is another idea that I would like to bring up on this topic.

    We as parents have created a messed up system. In Europe before the war when great rabbanim were born, boys would go off to yeshiva at the age or 12 or 13, their parents gave them some money to survive and these boys worked in the yeshiva or elsewhere to make the sacrifice needed to turn themselves into the next gadol hador.

    Mothers made the sacrifice to send their sons away knowing that they may never see them again, or only once in the next 10 years. They saw their sons again at the chasuna, assuming they were rich enough to make the trip.

    Now at days we send our boys off to yeshiva. If they are local enough they fly home or drive home on an off shabbos because we tell them to do so. Some of them go to yeshiva with cars. The boys in EY come home for a chasuna or Pesach. We send our sons with American cereal. What has become of us? What has become of our priorities?

    I dont blame the children, I blame the parents, the mothers that cant make the sacrifice for the chance of their sons being something great. If you cant make the sacrifice to send your son away for a year and talking once or maybe even 5 times a week, maybe you shouldn’t send your son.

    All I see around me are weak parents. My children are young and I have years to make the decision for myself. However, when I say no to my children in public and they have a tantrum people look at me like I’m abusing my children, like i’m the mean one. I dont let their stares bother me becuase I know I am doing the right thing. I ask for advice to decide if I’m too harsh of a parent.

    But all I see are weak weak parents of all ages.

  108. I suggest everyone here go to an Al-Anon meeting. That is a meeting for friends/relatives of alcoholics. Because all of you who kvetch about it yet succumb to the pressure are what is known in 12-step speak as classic “Enablers.”

  109. I just graduated high school and I’m leaving soon for sem. Just wanted to “thank” everyone for all the positivity about sem. I feel like i’m some villian going to some worthless place. I was excited but…

  110. The issues brought forth in response to the original article are exceedingly important. The issue extends well well beyond SEM, as pointed out by many respondants. BUT, let me write a few words about my experience with our daughter and SEM in E.Y. She is a wonderful girl, a real baalas derech eretz. We live in a somewhat wealthy Torah community, and she received Torah true hashpo’ose as well as “the good life” hashpo’ose, also from very frum girls from very frum families. Let us call this a sort of “baalabatish” outlook on life. I leaned in Kollel full time for 13 years, entered “klei kodesh” and still learn a seder in Kollel daily.
    I was somewhat disappointed, but far from heart-broken, at what I perceived was our daughter’s outlook on her future life’s pursuits.
    She went to a SEM in E.Y., a new one to boot, and there she had a turnabout. I don’t totally credit the school, as she was exposed to numerous relatives whoare destitute, but happy, and very involvrd in torah pursuits only.
    The experience in E.Y. is not limited to SEM, but to being exposed to very happy families who have no gashmiush. the girls have to be exposed to this to appreciate it. This might even have been the greater component of her education there.
    She is now B”H married to a true ben-Torah, lives in E.Y. and her husband learns in kollel.
    No money can pay for this. It was worth every cent.

  111. What is the goal of the seminaries teaching all the hashkafa and chumash ramban. Is there a specific skill they are teaching

    I don’t even know where to begin, but I’ll say this: If you’re of the old school, and don’t recognize the importance of speaking to the intellect of women nowadays, then I have nothing to say to you, and nothing I would say will make any impression.

    If, on the other hand, you have sufficient seichel to understand that women nowadays must be offered serious ruchniyasdike intellectual opportunity, and must be given a serious grounding in the whys and wherefores of Torah life, then you understand why seminary (in EY or the States) is important.

    Im ein gediim ein teyashim, and without women willing to sacrifice for Torah, there will be neither. And without institutions that inspire a girl toward these goals, there will be no such women. This is why women need to learn Ramban, hashkafa, yahadus etc. etc. These foolish questions about specific skills (which is code for “money-making skills”) are the work of short-sighted, narrow-minded, money-fixated technocrats, who know and care nothing about the future of Am Yisrael and limud haTorah.

  112. To justacomment:

    You haven’t told us why intensive and yavne won’t work for you, so it’s difficult to suggest an eitzah. There are other seminaries to choose from, however; Baltimore, for example.

  113. I’m all for boys and girls going to Seminary and Yeshiva in Israel for one year to get a better sense of themselves and perhaps get some insight into their futures. Perhaps if our children came home with a clear sense of direction the tuition could be looked at as an investment. I am sure that the seminary curriculum is full of important topics, but must our daughters really be able to quote a malbim? Not every girl has designs on becoming a teacher or mechaneches. Why can’t a small amount of time be devoted to teaching vocational skills. Would the seminary experience be any less rewarding if 5 hours a week were devoted to teaching basic business accounting or computer skills? At the very least your daughter will come home with the basic skills needed for an entry level job in order to help support her husband learning in kollel should that be the life direction she and her husband choose to take.

    what about the yeshivos? It is time for the Roshei Yeshiva to take a stand and tell bochurim that perhaps they are not cut out to learn full time. Use the first year out of High school to learn full time (either in EY or closer to home) as an evaluation period. Let a Rosh Hayeshiva or Mashgiach tell a bochur at the end of a zman that he may not be best serving himself or the klal by learning full time. Klal Yisroel has needs for Doctors, Lawyers, Bankers, and even plumbers and electricians. Let the boy who truly has the potential to be a Rov or mechanech stay in Yeshiva for as long as it takes, but do not allow the boy who is not as committed to learning to stay in the yeshiva just so he can find a shidduch. Let these boys learn part time while also allowing them to learn a skill or profession.

    Seminaries need to also impart on the girls that not every boy is going to learn full time and they are not lowering their standards by marrying (chas v’sholom) a working boy. Remind them of Yissacher and Zevulan and that in order for klal yisroel to survive we must have people with the resources to support those who need it. Marrying someone who learned in yeshiva and now will work to help support yeshivos and learning families should be just as prestigous as marrying a full time learner.

  114. Having attended seminary in e”y a few years ago for two years, I definitely see many advantages. The year in e”y is a year for girls to get to know themselves and become closer to Hkb”H in a makom kadosh. There is NO comparison of a seminary in chutz la’aretz to one in e”y. The girls have a year to learn how to live with others, to see live being surrounded by examples of mesiras nefesh, to get brachos from gedolei hador, to visit the kosel etc etc etc. Post high school/pre-shidduchim is a very important developmental stage for these young women. To be able to be in e”y and cry at the kosel and speak with known mechanchim in such a holy environment, all tremendously aid girls who are getting to know themselves better. Also, some girls (even girls in a BY school) do not have families who are holding religiously where the girls want to be holding. Going far away for a year helps the girls learn, chose, and solidy their OWN religious path. In addition, being far away for a year (really nine months, which is not that long) helps the girls become more independent. Of course in a healthy parent-child relationship parents and daughtes in e”y will be in contact on a regular basis-mommy wont be able to call every hour (on the hour) as she would be able were her daughter to be in seminary in america. The point of this post is that perhaps seminary is not for every girl out there but there are PLENTY that benefit and appreciate everything our seminaries did for us to help us grow and become closer to hkb”H in the holy land e”y. Wishing all the girls who go and dont go to e”y for seminary much hatzlacha and bracha with their choice!

  115. My 2 1/2 cents

    The problem is that the only ones in our society that can be successful without being extravagant is the people that can afford to be extravagant

    For example if someone who is very comfortable chooses not to send his daughter to sem that would not be a problem. His daughter would be fine with it because she would not be embarrassed that they can’t afford it she would not worry that it will affect a shiduch etc. etc.

    However someone who is tight (living on credit cards etc.) can’t do it. His daughter will feel like a nebach, she will be worried that she wont do a shiduch, his wife will be totally ashamed and it will be terrible for shalom bayis.

    This is not only with Sem’s its with weddings and cars and house’s and vacations etc. etc.

    Now we say “just say no” which does not address the above mentioned problem.

    The solution is that people that DO have money who can afford the cost of sem have to think about others and make the sacrifice so that when they say NO the friend that does not have money can also say no

  116. To ajewishmother613:

    While it’s true that we need to learn to say “no”, I disagree with your notion of sacrifice.

    Firstly, R’ Berel Wein and others have explicitly advised against sending young boys (under 18) away from home; parents should not “sacrifice” the privilege and the necessity of raising their children to be mentschen in all matters by sending them away at a young age to grow up in a dormitory.

    You are referring to times past (way past) when there was no yehiva in the shtetl and those who wanted a yeshiva were forced to travel. That is no longer the case.

    You take the concept of sacrifice quite literally. You do remember that Hashem was only testing Avrohom with the Akeida.

    But don’t let me stop you. If you’re determined to send your boys into exile at 10 so that they become “Gedolei Hador” you go right ahead. And don’t even think about sending cereal along. They may misinterpret that as a sign of “weakness” or worse chas v’sholom, love.

  117. #133-exactly what i am trying to do,with much resisitance.having suffered teremendously the past two years,i would be able to justify a nice simcha at least kiminhag youngerliett chashuvim,and bli ayin hara i can afford it and as i have a large family we can make it very cheap while looking first class.however i look at others who have less than nothing and pray that they will look upon me and say if he can do it so can my son’s cheder most of the parents signed that all they will do for a bar mitzvah is a simple kiddush and a bo bayom limited to family only.when the kiddush became problematic and we wanted to do something during the week,my son said that we cant do that as all his freinds agreed to a kidush addition at the end of second seder we will make a siyum on mesechta rosh hashana and serve kugel and cake and spare the 150 chaverim in th ekollel from schlepping on shabbos,so maybe you can call it a double kiddush,total expense under 400 dollars for both siyum and kiddush
    but trying to get a tzibbur involved,is like fighting city hall,everyone has an excuse why they need to make something bigger.i also would love a proper affair,and i deserve a break after all the pain and suffering that i have undergone an ddeal with daily due to my illness.yes i deserve a break but i dont want others to feel they have to make something they cant afford.
    btw,when chaverim engage a child i offer each one 5000 dollars,of course they are thrilled then i explain what i mean is i will show them how to save 5k,just keep the vort to cake and drinks nothing fancy and use the cheaper hall and limit the guests,and you will be amazed at my zero yes zero response rate,with every excuse such as my daughter doesnt agree etc.etc. well if you cant rais eyour children to be considerate maybe you arent considerate yourself,kids learn from example

  118. simple solution: move to EY, and you won’t have to send your girl to sem. We did it, and our seminar (in Israel that’s what high school is called) costs are a whopping 285 NIS a month (about $80 / month)

  119. to # 96 your comment is not really so proper. when one goes to ey are you sure it matters what the intent was. 1 can gain immensley from ey whether the intent was holy or not. you do not get the same thing from america no matter what. it is not about what seminaery teaches as much as it is about seeing life in ey over an extended period of time. how many people(myself included)went “just to try it” and ended up spending many years there.

  120. #133 you are 100% on target

    Lets all stop going back and forth on this and let us come up with some practical applications to help make a difference

    I know someone who made a wedding in Bais Faiga even though he can afford more so that other people that can’t will follow suite

  121. a jewish reality tv show!

    yes. let each girl live in the same house.

    give her a job w/ a specific allowance.

    she must always be within budget to do the following:

    buy/ cook/ prepare meals, and shabbos
    launder/ iron /mend clothing
    clean house
    keep an accurate checking account w/ debits/ credits
    take care of herself/ hygiene/ gym
    spend the day earning a living
    deal w/ people she doesn’t necessarily like
    live w/ people amicably

    hmmm…is this a preparation for the REAL world?

  122. to comment #134.

    Sorry that I was unclear (dont read any sarcasm into it because there is none there.)

    I agree with you, I would NEVER send my son away from my house before the age of 17 unless I sat with my rav and he told me to do so. The ages from 10-20 are the most influential and I can not trust a dorm counselor to raise my child correctly.

    I was just trying to make a point about sacrifice and torah. Many times they come together. Couples deciding to live on a Kollel salary with or without the wife supplementing need to understand their decision. They need to realize that it is a sacrifice and a $2000 sheitle is not in the picture, because you need to pay tuition before you buy yourself a $2000 sheitle.

    In general our children are lucky that they dont know what it means to be STARVING or to not know if they’ll see their parents again. I am thankful to Hashem for that. But that doesnt mean that chinuch goes in the trash because life is so good.

    The same way our parents told us “when i was your age I walked to school in the one pair of shoes that i owed in the snow” we need to teach our children about priorities in terms of money and sacrifice and most importantly hashkafa.

    The example I use a lot is growing up I was allowed one school school, and one winter and one summer shabbos shoes. Children now at days own 5 pairs of shoes for each six months from the time their 5. What are we teaching our children? is yiddishkeit about shoes? Even if you have the money, especially if you have the money, you should be teaching your child I can buy it for you but I’m not because its not important, let us invest that money so when you do need it you have it (i.e. seminary, yeshiva, marriage, etc)

  123. “136. simple solution: move to EY, and you won’t have to send your girl to sem. We did it, and our seminar (in Israel that’s what high school is called) costs are a whopping 285 NIS a month (about $80 / month) ”

    But then when it’s time for your daughter to get married, you’ll have to buy her an apartment which more than makes up for not having to spend $25k on sem.

  124. @mom18, #139:

    Why limit this brilliant idea to seminary-age girls? Why not start at elementary school? They don’t need all that unnecessary learning anyway! It’s not a marketeable skill. Put them straight to work. Let them find out about the real world right away. It’s better for the parents too, b/c there will be more income coming in! Too bad they have those silly child labor laws. Bunch of anti-Semites.

  125. 127, (lev) say hi to my daughter for me.
    128, you learned in kollel 13 years. Now your children are in kollel, in E”Y no less. What is your secret? How are you and your kids managing? I for one would love to know.
    I would never be disappointed in a child who knew s/he wasn’t cut out for kollel (no safety net from this side at least) but was determined to build a true bayis neeman b’Yisrael.

  126. The example I use a lot is growing up I was allowed one school school, and one winter and one summer shabbos shoes.

    Ah, but when I was growing up, I had only one pair of shoes, for Shabbos and weekday, winter and summer. You sound spoiled!

  127. The letter left out the gimmick these rip off seminary perpetuate. They do not provide meals for Shabbos. There is no program for Shabbos. The girls must find a “baal habas” to eat buy. Most of these people are in kollel and the girls are litery taking food out of the moves of these poor families.

  128. #136-seminary,post 12th grade costs 12,000 shekel,while not crazy like usa sending overseas,it is w/o room and board are talking about high school
    to the girl who is coming to ey and feels like a villan-that is exactly the point,u are a villan if your parents cant afford it or because of your actions others are pressurized to do it,that i swhat kol yisroel areivim is all about.i had a similar incident with my daughters.while seminary is 12000 shekel a year they allow 4 hours a week to tutor and receive a deduction to 8000 shekel,this is only offered to the excellent daughter who is aware of the hardship limiting herself by thi sundertaking nonetheless was happy to offer to do it,the other daughter said she would never do it,i used this as a situation to explain taking responsibility and similar to previous suggestions of girls saving up for seminary

  129. To #127 lev
    I am a seminary teacher and just had my faculty meeting today. Although I don’t know which seminary you will be attending chances are that you are about to embark on an experience that has the potential to affect the rest of your life, your future husband’s life, your future childrens’ lives, and so on for generations to come, for the good. Most seminaries reinforce and strengthen all the ideals and positive goals that girls have for their future and give them the inspiration to make it happen. I could go on and on about what seminary does for the girls who come, but last time I tried to present a case FOR seminary I was accused of not being a credible source because I am “nogeiah b’davar”. (I have never figured out why I am more n.b. than all the bitter fathers who feel they’ve been swindled, or than someone whose sister spent the year bumming out in Israel and so is anti-seminary etc. Are they perhaps NOT n.b.? The only real difference between them and me, is that I know what goes on here, they clearly don’t)
    Come with hatzlacha – use your year to the fullest, take it back with you and stop following this thread!

  130. The letter left out the gimmick these rip off seminary perpetuate. They do not provide meals for Shabbos. There is no program for Shabbos.

    Excuse me, but you are tarring everyone with the same brush. I am not an expert on all seminaries, but the one my daughter attended provides Shabbos meals and a Shabbos program for any girl on any Shabbos. No girl is ever forced to find a place for Shabbos. It is one of the cheaper sems too (less than 15K), and is liberal with scholarships on top of that. (So much for the 25K numbers people have been throwing about.) I get the impression that most of the shrill commenters here don’t know what they’re talking about.

  131. to mr yeshiva guy:(#143)

    If you would have carefully read my post you (perhaps) would not have such a sarcastic, knee jerk reaction.

    My point is to teach both girls and boys life skills — and living within ones’ means is an integral part —

    crying to mommy/tatty/shviggie at the end of the month for help with

    rent etc

    should be a once-in-a-hardship-time, not a constantly held open hand with the expectation that your parents/in laws should be working to support you, and that it is their privlege, and they should be honored to do so.

    When children who

    a) have not acquired bookkeeping skills(#1 fight in marriages statistically is money),

    b) have not learned to take responsibility for themselves,

    c) have not honed their business practices / ethics(buying/ returning),

    d) have not learned to hone their social interactions with strangers such as landlords, neighbors, strangers,

    e) have not learned correct middos when dealing tactfully with family and in laws, and others..

    ….when these kids decide to marry, the results are disastrous unless there is someone with a spit-up cloth cleaning up all their messes.

    Not everyone is born with these skills.

    Look at the number of people with foreclosures, chapter 11, credit card debts, and those who forego having health insurance because of money.

    Wouldn’t you rather these kids learn how to ‘swim’ in the tide instead of learning how to put on a lifesaver, BEFORE they fall into the water?

  132. Sem im EY is overrated. It’s wonderful, but not anything necessary or important. The girls should be going on summer tours and not overrun Geula and other neighbourhoods all year long. Our boys belong there.
    The cost for bochurim is much less. EY sem is big business today. Don’t be fooled into thinking it will “make” your daughter. It’s not what it was 25 years ago when BY schools were much smaller and we were all much more impressionable. The girls today are too savvy and should be closer to home. It is a big waste of money for most girls.

  133. 153, I know just what you mean. My kids would never get out of New York what I did a generation ago. Yet we need more dorm seminaries in America. Yavneh, Maalot, Lakewood, Montreal and BYBP are not sufficient options.

  134. My fellow yidden. I dont know where to begin…
    Is idealism dead? Why is there NOT A SINGLE comment on why girls DO go to seminary? For the girls and parents who think its about a year of fun, they have got it all wrong. If that’s the viewpoint, your all right. Its not worth the money. Haven’t you had the opportunity to visit Israel? Did you notice that the avira and kedusha are tangibly palpable. Did you notice how much easier it is to feel Hashem’s presence. Did you notice how cool it is to feel in closer contact with your neshama and your being Jewish? Did that move you, amaze you or mean anything? Imagine that trip extended for a year. Imagine working on yourself, your goals and evaluating your life and goals in this environment. Its PRICELESS. The concept of going to seminary in EY for the RIGHT reasons is pretty lofty. For whatever reasons, it has become de riguer for many – and thus many lose sight of the REAl purpose in going. Seminary/Yeshiva doesn’t make you. You make yourself, you create yourself. That said, the chinuch in one’s home is HUGELY important to their development. With the right kavanas, going to a seminary can only help bring out more good things.I don’t know the source, but its brought down “Ain Torah k’Toras Eretz Yisrael.” While Torah learning can take place and impact the learner anywhere in the unverse, learning and living Torah in EY is INCOMPARABLE! I was in a seminary in Yerushalayim 5 years ago. I know that I was yearning to go to have a year of independence from my wonderful family and to be “on my own” spiritually. It was a real eye opener. The school itself wasnt the be all and end all. It was BEING in EY for the year that opened my eyes to spiritual options, that showed me awesome role models living idealistic lives, that deepened my LOVE and connection to EY and to my peopl. It gives you chiyus and puts the wind in your spiritual sails. If I could replicate a fraction of what I saw there, I’d be happy. For someone who wants to go to seminary, there are financial options. Schools give discounts on tuition (small but significant), If you go through an accredited american college program (i.e. Touro Israel Option), you may be eligible for TAP or PELL grants. I know a family where the grandparents contribute some money over the year.
    The bottom line is – anything can be distorted when the kavan is lost. With the right kavanos, a year in EY can be unbeleivably powerful.

  135. @classofTASHAM (#153):

    You are exhibiting a syndrome common to many of advancing years, who are certain that nothing is as good as it once was, that the younger generation are just not what we once were, and that everything is heading straight to hell on a handbasket. But of course, it’s not that way. The fears of the oldsters are not generally well-founded. Young girls are still impressionable, even if they seem a bit more savvy on the outside, and they need a good chinuch more than ever.

  136. @mom18:

    Your post was intended to denigrate the year in seminary as a waste of time better spent learning real-life skills, was it not? If yes, I read you correctly, and meant every sarcastic (but not knee-jerk!) word I wrote. If not, I have no idea what you were driving at, and so offer you a half-hearted, lackluster apology.

  137. Wow! Seminary is a really hot issue out there!
    I am leaving for seminary in a week, and I am really looking forward to the experience. Not the fun. Not the eating out and the shopping. The experience. The experience of being in a true eretz kadosh, seeing all the mimomos kedoshim, visiting kevorim of tzaddikim, the kosel… I am looking forward. Yes, there will be fun. I am looking forward to that also (I know I contradicted myself), but that is not the reason that I am going.
    To all those that are hocking 25k, stop fooling yourself. Either don’t send your kids to E”Y (more than 2/3 of my grade are staying), or give your kids guidelines. Tell them they can’t eat out for every kid’s birthday. Tell them they can cut school to go shopping. Tell them to make a list of all money that they spend in E”Y and review it afterwards. If there is something that you don’t approve of, MAKE THEM PAY FOR IT. That’s what my mother told me. (Not the writing down idea, the me-paying-for-what-they-don’t-want idea). And if you can come up with ONE seminary that charges 25k, prove it. Or send your kids to a cheaper seminary. I got a scholarship.
    Guess what. I am not getting a cell phone. Why you ask? Because IT COSTS TOO MUCH MONEY (and because the seminary doesn’t require it). Guess what. I am not going out every day for lunch. Why you ask? Because the seminary that I am attending serves good food. Guess what. I am not going away for Shabbos. Why you ask? Because my seminary is open every Shabbos with madrichos there, plus (don’t faint) they even provide meals!! Guess what. I (BE”H) am not going to be spending an exhorbitant amount of money this year. Why you ask? Because I don’t want to pay for it out of my own pocket.
    Guess what. I am excited for seminary. Why you ask? For the experience.

  138. #130 – lovelakewood – Kudos! Thats was VERY well-said.

    In short, “Ain davar omed bifnei haratzon.” If there is a will, there is a way. If there is a deep ratzon to grow and develop into a better eved Hashem, it can naturally be done anywhere. Building a foundation in EY is a booster though and one that is well worth the expenditure. It all depends how you look at it and what your kavanos are.

  139. to mr yeshiva guy –
    cuz I and a few others made that mistake last time there was a seminary lynching thread. The consensus was that anybody who thinks there might be value to a year in seminary in EY, is nogeiah b’davar – i.e. – they are either a girl who went to seminary who is obviously too n.b. to describe it’s value, or is on the staff of a seminary enjoying a luxurious lifestyle on the broken backs of the poor fathers in America and so is obviously too n.b. to describe its value.
    Chazal always know what they’re talking about but yw talkbacks are sometimes paradigmatic l’hidura of “leitzonus achas doche….”. Any intelligent point that you make will probably be countered – not by an intelligent counter point- but by sarcasm. In a competition between intelligence and sarcasm, sarcasm always wins. Best don’t compete.

  140. ATTN: mr yeshiva guy
    Girls DO go to seminary so that they can grow in their yiddishkeit, become independent, establish a kesher with a teacher/principal/someone else who they can always ask questions to, to connect with the land of our ancestors… I can give you more. It depends on why you want to know

  141. Plonis (158), you say hi to my daughter for me too.
    About the cell phone – many sems do require it so they can contact the girls to let them know about warnings (e.g. which bus not to use, etc.) and to be able to contact them if ch”v there is an incident and they need to account for all the girls ASAP. So just be very careful.
    Hatzlacha. You’re not the only one going with a good attitude.

  142. I really don’t know what the issue is here. Its a simple equation for each parent. In your opinion do you have the means and if you do, do you think its something that you want to spend it on?
    Peer pressure or your daughter being sad for a couple of weeks is not a reason a responsible adult can’t make a decision that affects his entire family.
    Stop whining, show some guts, and do what you believe is the right thing to do. No one’s forcing you to do anything.

    Yes, its that simple.

  143. A friend of mine who is associate with a BY high school told me the following story.

    A few years ago at a meeting of the parents of the senior class he pointed out that it was not necessary for every girl to go to EY for seminary after graduation. He said that some parents can’t afford it. Also, some girls are not mature enough to be on their own right after graduation. He urged parents to consider other acceptable alternatives to a year of seminary in EY.

    “It did not take long,” he said, “for me to get calls from those associated with seminaries in EY. They pointed out that if I continued to talk against sending girls to study for a year in seminary in EY, then it might turn out that our graduates would find that they are not accepted to seminary in EY. Do you know what that would mean to our school?” he asked me.

    I replied, “It could lead to the end of your school.” He nodded in agreement and told me that he had stopped talking about not sending girls to EY for a year of seminary!


  144. crgo & plonis:

    You’re preaching to the choir. I’m on your side (as I wrote above), and was simply responding to an earlier question. The italics represent the question posed earlier by someone or other.

  145. I have a big problem with people sending their kids to seminary when they cannot afford it. Why are you trying to raise kids who have no understanding of living in the real world?

    The real world is that you need money for things you need to live. Priorities go towards food and shelter (the basic needs for life). Only after that can you start thinking about your wants. Your daughter might “want” to go to seminary, but if you cannot afford it, and she didnt earn the money to, then its a hard but useful lesson. If she wants to marry a kollel guy, but you (and her inlaws) cannot afford to support her, and she cant handle living on her income to raise her family, then she shouldnt do it.

    I am young (25) and I did not grow up with this sense of entitelement! I work hard for everything I have. My family has helped me out with college tuition so I could earn a living myself. My husband and I both work hard to provide a stable life for our family. We dont live extravagantly in large part because we cannot afford to. But I do not begrudge someone what I cannot have if they can afford it! Why shouldnt people with money send their kids to Israel for the year? Even if its only for a fun experience, or if its for a serious year of learning…its immaterial. The point is you need to teach your kids the value of money and that not everyone has everything they want in life.

    (I’m SJSinNYC but I come up as anonymous)

  146. Typical Seminery in E”Y time scedule

    25% eating out in every single eatery in the country. 25% Swimming in every single frum(we hope so!)beach in the country. 25% Demonstrating in Gush Katif and the like. 25% Crying to the mothers on the phone friday minutes before the zman about not having where to eat shabbos. KEEP THEM HOME A PRINCESS BELONGS IN HER OWN PALACE!!! SURELY NOT IN THE STREETS OF GEULAH AND I DONT WANT TO MENTION MORE ETC. ETC.

  147. Plonis which sem servs meals every shabbos???? soory none one Rebbitzin even said they want the girls to experince it with Isreali families to see the kedusha how in the future to make shabbos in there own home! they get away cheap with it at our expense!!!! When will this end!!!!!!!!!!!

  148. I see not a single comment pro seminary (only one by a girl herself sure they themselfs love it!) so thats it lets shut them all down! Why fool yourselfs Chassidshe girls dont go to seminary at all they get a job and could even help help pay for there wedding expenses etc. 12 years of schooling is over enough, when a girl gets out of a BY school she knows even more than a long time yeshiva buchor!! They learn so so much. This is not what Reb. Sarah Shnierer had in mind!!!

  149. # 167 llevine,

    If your story is true (I’m not suggesting you’re lying. It’s just that as a third hand story it’s entirely possible that some details are being muddled.) it is a devastating confirmation of the worst of all of our suspicions. Even though I am no fan of the seminaries, even I would like to believe that they have not sunk to such thuggery.

    Even if your story is partially true, even if it is just true enough to have somehow promted one mechanech to no longer feel free to express the simple opinion that seminary in EY is not a necessity, it is a very sad reflection on the current situation.

    Hashem yeracheim.

  150. Bike:
    Maybe all of the fine girls who went to seminary and would have pro-seminary things to say about it are not wasting their time arguing on this website to people who don’t want to listen, just want to babble, and will discount anything and everything they say anyway, and that would be the biggest pro-seminary statement to make!

  151. Bike #176
    Thank you for proving my point exactly, I could not have asked for someone to do it better, if I had hired someone.
    “arguing on this website to people who don’t want to listen, just want to babble, and will discount anything and everything they say anyway”-which is exactly what you did so nicely. You did not want to listen to what I said, you just wanted to babble, and you discounted everything I said.
    Now if you will look back at what I wrote, you will notice that I did not say they would not touch a computer(although I am sure there are some that won’t and to each their own, there is certainly nothing intrinsically wrong with not touching a computer). I said, that they are not WASTING their time “arguing on this website to people who don’t want to listen, just want to babble, and will discount anything and everything they say anyway”, because doing so is surely a waste of time, which is why I will now stop arguing with you!

  152. re 178: that relationship edge can’t be underestimated, and people are starting to talk about it.
    With the girls though, they definitely can and do build relationships. The school as a whole is smaller than many yeshivos, and many classes are more discussion oriented than lecture. You are building and continuing a relationship that you started, maybe, in high school but that definitely changed as you matured post-high school. While many girls are fortunate to have and maintain a relationship with high school teachers and principals, they really grow and change after h.s. graduation.

  153. to all you parents out there, before you start worrying about the money…do you really know what ur sending ur children in to… as much as israel is a holy country it unfourtunly has a lot of shmutz to i.e town,ben yehuda,tel aviv, eilat etc. where they could and do pick up alot of bad influnce.
    i work at a very poupular resturant in the center of town and we get a lot of sem girls (most of our buissnes). a lot of them return often and we can see the changes in them thru out the year some for the good but most for the bad.for example many of the girls become very flirty with the waiters thru out the year and even leave there cell nums on the napkens with msgs to call them and they are from some of the top sems!!!
    i could go on all day with stories about children of famous rabbonim and mechanchim who when they came to israel acted like pera adam…..

  154. We frequently host seminary and yeshiva bochrim here in EY. I thought it might help some to learn about this wonderful girl that we feel zoche to have had as a guest. She took her classes very seriously and went out of her way to visit and create relationships with her teachers and the wives of gedolei hador here. She spoke glowingly of her meetings with inspiring women. She was a mechayeh to host and an example of a truly refined girl. She offered to help serve the meals and clean up after Shabbos every time she came. I was pleasantly surprised when her parents called us from the USA to say thank you for hosting their daughter on the subsequent Sunday evening! A truly refined girl from obviously very refined parents. We learned that this girl had saved $11,000 from her earnings as a babysitter and camp counselor for her seminary year. She began a “seminary fund’ in seventh grade and worked diligently in school in order to get great grades to be able to get into a good sem. She researched all the seminaries herself, found out which girls were applying to the one she picked and from where, and learned about the educators. She applied to only this ONE seminary and impressed the rav with her knowledgeable research in the interview.
    I credit the parents for instilling the knowledge that it takes serious work to get what you want and the girl for deciding that she would make the greatest effort she could. They obviously explained to her that seminary is for growing bruchniyus-and how to go about it. They also instilled her with the middah of hakaras hatov. This girl did not have any experience resembling #180’s comment. She invested in her goal of learning in EY and thus came here with the proper mindset, middot, and preparation.

Leave a Reply

Popular Posts