MAILBAG: Parent Slams Seminaries in Israel Over “Rejection Process”

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Dear YWN,

I write this as a father in pain. In pain because I love my daughter, I feel for her and when a parent is put in to a situation where their hands are tied and there is nothing they can do to help it makes something difficult that much worse.

Let me preface by saying I am not a new parent, this is not my oldest child I am writing about, I have BH been a parent for close to thirty years. In addition, I am not a parent who is convinced my child is perfect, the smartest or the best at everything she does, close but not perfect.

My daughter is in the 12th grade and is now going through the grueling, unfair ridiculous process of seminary applications and interviews. I am well aware that a year in seminary in Eretz Yisroel is not mandatory, tell that to her teachers that convinced her otherwise, but that is a conversation for another day.

We found out this week that none of the seminaries she applied for is willing to accept her. I have “no doubt” that they gave it serious consideration after all they gladly took her application fee. She is either too yeshivish, or not as scholastically achieved as they are looking for, or to use the politically correct term just simply not “a good fit”.

What have we come to that a good girl, who for all her years in school has never missed a homework assignment, never had an unexcused absence, never had a discipline problem, has taken school seriously, no cell phone, no internet, nothing. She has followed all the rules to perfection. Now she stands with a half year left to high school knowing she just doesn’t cut it.

I wonder how many girls over the years have been turned off from this process. How many girls have said to themselves, if after all these years of hard work the very system I have worked to be part of is now rejecting me? Well I will reject it as well.

When will those “in charge” wake up and realize they are not serving a purpose whatsoever, they are personally responsible for damaging the future mothers of Klal Yisroel. I don’t know what the percentages are but clearly more girls get rejected than get accepted, and what percentage of those rejected are damaged from the experience. A fool I am not, rejection and an application process are a necessity, but rejection has to be for a good reason.

When a seminary that demands application fees and tremendous amounts of money in tuition can not even give you a straight answer about anything, then one begs to wonder what their real motive of operation really is.

It is time for change!

I am from the lucky parents my daughter says whatever Hahem wants is what will happen.

Will you be?

Name withheld upon request.

[READ – Was Posting the Seminary Letter from the Father Lashon HaRah? – By Rabbi Yair Hoffman]

[READ MAILBAG ROUNDUP: Seminary Feelings – Batch 1]

[READ MAILBAG ROUNDUP: Seminary Feelings – Batch 2]

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69 COMMENTS

  1. rejection is so hard to deal with and truly causes years if not a lifetime of psychological hurt.
    mesivta, seminary, friends, dating – there is always a chance of rejection and learning to deal with rejection is only for super special humans. not bearing a grudge is divine. hatzlacha to you and your family – hopefully in the very near future the events will show you why you’re so happy they never accepted you and you can’t imagine how lucky you are that the seminaries you chose didn’t work out

  2. Ask them to refund your application fees at least, If they don’t want to give you straight answers. Tell them they are legally bound to do so since they haven’t properly processed your application. as application fees are to process an application.

  3. Did you every stop to think that maybe your daughter is the cream of the crop and these seminaries are for the birds? Don’t stress out over the fact that you are not being accepted by a bunch of yahoos who are beneath you.

  4. I have no words of wisdom …. Just wanted to tell you how much pain and tears I have reading this. Kol Hakovod for saying this out loud. Your pain is so many parents’ pain. And what about 5 year olds rejected by chedorim… There is no end to this nonsense. Your daughter is right, it is all in Hshem’s hands and He will help her of course!! This kind of rejection happens to the best families in klal Yisroel. I have seen it over and over. No advice except that the only ONE to hold on to is HKBH. It is all a test of emunah. I know that all true Yidden are with you and the rest do not matter. I do not want to say anymore on a public forum.

  5. I feel your pain. My oldest daughter applied to 3 seminaries and got 3 cold rejection letters. The heartaches is still too painful to talk about. For my next daughter I got smarter. I convinced her to go to a local seminary and it was the best thing ever. She had an amazing year while working on her degree at the same time.

    Eretz Yisroel is way overrated for seminary. More parents should band together and just not apply

  6. all girl schools and seminaries (except those that belong to a kehilla
    are private enterprises money making enterprises and private businesses
    thats why i pay my full tuition but never a penny more
    no mitzvah here

  7. If I were to put this poor Fathers feelings re seminaries into my own words, it wouldn’t be fit to print on this website. Don’t even get me started! It will keep on going until parents here in America wake up and smell the Chutzpah these seminaries in Israel operate with.

  8. “When a seminary that demands application fees and tremendous amounts of money in tuition can not even give you a straight answer about anything, then one begs to wonder what their real motive”

    What don’t you understand??
    These are businesses!
    They have investors that make nice returns off these seminaries .
    Some of them are part of family conglomerates that have different lines of business, seminaries being one of them.

    I am talking about the “shensta und di besta ”

    I have sent 4 daughters already and I told each one before they went “I am sending you because of the experience, do not for one second believe whatever mesiras nefesh or sacrifice they tell you to endure after marriage etc. it isn’t possible that they even mean what they preach if your father has to spend $30k+ for this”

    I wish I had the guts to buck the trend and not send to eretz yisroel but I didn’t want my daughters to be the guinea pigs”

  9. Perhaps the blame should be with the teachers and peers who push for something totally unnecessary and often beyond the means of parents.
    You will also appreciate that most likely, Israeli american seminaries are oversubscribed and a NO is not a rejection but a choice for girl they perceive a better fit (which obviously does not need to turn out to be correct…) and you can safely ignore the flashy “excuses”.
    No doubt your daughter deserves the best and I am sure she will find it in the US even better!
    Wishing you much hatzlocho

  10. Is it possible that most girls get in but this time each seminary thought your daughter was going elsewhere and therefore didn’t take her. Every seminary gets more applicants then spots. Perhaps a spot will open up after girls make their decisions. In the meantime try to comfort your daughter that this was probably not personal. It is possible that your daughter is a victime of circumstance and not a case of discrimination. Wishing you and your daughter only simcha, hatzlacha, an nachas.

  11. chaim flatbush great points
    the pure nonsense that they teach this immpressionable girls
    my daughter went to a top seminary and the teacher told the class that when she goes shopping she has no idea where the money is going to come from and all of a sudden hashem sends it to her!!!!
    and thta only learning full time is a good boy nothing else
    what nonsense
    and we pay for this!!

  12. To ChaimFlatbush:
    What you said is on the mark. Don’t give me that baloney how everyone is going for the spiritual, looking to grow etc. Much of the time, the girls from the run of the mill frum homes are going to a year long 30k party. I have found that those from more modern homes who are looking to truly grow, take it more to heart. But the flip can be true as well. When I was a high schooler, I was a star student, got into a great seminary but did not go, as my parents felt it was just a year of partying.

  13. As long as there are thousands of suckers out there who feel the need to send their daughter to seminary in Israel then you all deserve to be rejected and go through trouble. Seminary in Israel is one of the biggest scams against hardworking people and the follow the herd mentality will only fill the coffers of the seminaries and empty your wallet in the process. Do what I did for my daughters , I sent them to a wonderful seminary in the USA and i didnt need to suffer and guess what , they are happy. I dont feel sorry for you one bit. People need to learn the hard way and stop this craze.
    People shouldn’t complain if they willingly go along with the herd. Have guts and do what I did. You will save yourself money, anguish, and you will be proud of what you did

  14. @yossier4731 “what nonsense
    and we pay for this!!” such a hardworking balebuste thing to say, you probably tell your kids ” you better eat every bite of that dad worked very hard to pay for it” “we didnt have it easy growing up like you guys ” give me a break,will you! how are you supposed to make money if you have this metzumtim approach on life? malchusdike people dont get all caught up in this mishegas to give over how hard you work to put “bread on the table’ .they just have a hardworking ethic and meimila that gets transmitted to the children. genuk already!and no need to knock yourself out to go to seminary you all end up in the same makom anyway (lakewood) driving an honda accord and married in one of the atereses just to be able to hold onto being miktzas balebatish. genuk!very few people are upper class and they dont think 2x about paying. Time for the middle oo the road to #changethetrend

  15. there are good students whose achievements are far less than their efforts. they have to choose a more realistic path. there are seminaries where yichus and less relevant factors play too large a role. generalities are what are likely incorrect. too many above.

  16. Sorry that your daughter has to deal with “rejection” but I’m not sure this is really much different than most high school seniors have to deal with on college admissions where most schools don’t provide much if any explanation of why someone was not admitted. As several posters noted, it really is traumatic for both the kids and the parents (who feel helpless). However, there are multiple other options available both in EY and back home in the U.S. for her to consider which offer a wide range of both secular and religious experiences. You correctly note that she has been pressured into thinking that going to seminary in EY was “mandatory” and she probably has friends going too but in the long term she will hopefully rebound from this experience and grown in her emunah and hashkafah. With best wishes for her future.

  17. The point is a very true and painful one, but I don’t think everyone means bad. For example, The writer wrote: “I don’t know what the percentages are but clearly more girls get rejected than get accepted”. So for example, the seminary I know of, on Shamgar Street in Yerushalayim has accepted let’s say about 100 girls for next year, so it has declined more then 100 other girls, according to the writer. So according to the writer, they should not have done this but rather accepted the over 100 other girls as well. So may I ask the writer, where exactly is the seminary supposed to dump those other girls??? This seminary building is a tiny 3 floor narrow building that is overcrowded the way it is already!!! And you want the administration to accept double then what they did already??? So you see, it is inevitable that certain girls will have to be rejected as there is no room for them, plain and simple. Why it was your girl that was chosen to be part of those who get the “no” instead of the girl down the block? Ok, for that we need to work on our emuna and bitachon.

  18. My daughter’s high school works very closely with the girls and the seminaries to help the girls find seminaries that will be a good fit. To the OP, I don’t know how involved your daughter’s school is in helping students select seminaries but it seems to me that if a girl has not been accepted to ANY of her choices then the high school has not done a good job helping her find the right seminary.
    I know it’s late in the “season” but I wonder if you know anyone who knows your daughter and is familiar with schools, who can possibly help you find another option that you weren’t aware of?

  19. There has been lately many that strongly oppose the ingrained concept that “must go to Seminary in Israel” in order to marry the right Ben-Torah.

    The Pros are self evident.
    The Cons;
    The huge expense that most can’t afford.
    That $20,000.00 plus [saved] can help the new young couple.
    Training for a parnosah delayed by at least a year.
    They don’t receive the tools needed to prepare for a Torah marriage, etc.
    Delaying marriage by at least a year.
    A girl should be under the supervision of their parents (enough said!)
    We have heard of the tragic experiences in some Israel seminaries.
    If we are talking about hashkofah, yahdus, etc in order to go into chinuch? Gateshead is more geared to that element.

  20. As a girl post seminary, from experienc, i could tell you the way i felt in seminary is that it is a factory, one shipment of students come and and one goes out, and its all about making sure the seminary has a good name, the students, well that is second priority.

    But that being said i did have a great year in seminary and a year of growth. I will admit that a lot of the growth has very little to do with the classroom and a lot to do with growing socially, gaining life experience and independence.
    I agree all the way that seminary is over rated and its not for every one, but if one duz go, i feel that she sold go open minded and leave room for a chance to grow.

  21. Most of these “seminaries” are a joke. They do little to make these young women better people or Jews. For the most part what they teach is childish. If you want your daughter to learn send them to a midrasha otherwise save your money and send your daughter to college or a trade school. They will be better off.

  22. There is a myth that dominates seminaries, yeshivos, even high schools. Claiming that you have a highly selective process of admission gives the image that the institution is high quality, and that the competitiveness to get in testifies to this. In reality, the most eager-to-grow student will do that in seminaries and yeshivos that are not top tier. And those who are looking to take pride in their admission that lack the self motivation will return after a year or two of partying. So far, the determinants that are used for admission are based more on grades, admission exams, and other ways of showing fund of knowledge, more RAM in computer lingo. Perhaps more useful info can come from recommendations (often of dubious accuracy) and from interviews, but the ability to obtain what is really sought is limited.

    Bottom line is that the ability to reject is seen as a mark of quality, and gives zero regard to the effect on the applicants. Conversely, the acceptance vs, rejection is given far too much value.

    The system is badly broken. And I have not even a single suggestion on how to fix it. As noted earlier, seminaries are private enterprises, and it is believed that the image of higher quality converts into more donations and the ability to levy higher tuitions. Is it all about money? Maybe kavod?

  23. Here’s the deal… (in my opinion)

    Seminary problems are a continuation of the corrupt high school system we have.

    The same game is played when applying to high schools and there it is mandatory. We all know the stories which go on with our esteemed mechanchos and administrators.

    The seminaries are a business and like any good business owner they want to make sure they have their fair share of the market. In order to do this they need to carve out their niche.

    It starts with high school principals who take their annual trips to Israel and make deals with the seminaries. (Same with boys yeshivas like Brisk). Seminary A agreed to go take 2 girls from Mesoras and 2 girls for Lev etc. The principals need to make sure that the next year they can get the same slot so they tell the seminaries which girls to take.

    This process which involves allot of people’s livelihood has very little Leshem Shamayin attached to it (unless you count Parnasa as Lshem Shamayim).

    Nothing will change to soon because if you don’t send your daughter she will be left out and have trouble finding a shidduch.

    The only way to address this issue is have complete bitachon in Hashem and understand that as Chazal tell us Elyonim Lmaala Tachtonim Lmata.

    Those individuals who are responsible for these games have their own din vcheshbon.

    Hatzlacha.

  24. The seminaries in Israel are indeed 75% business and maybe 25% an educational institution. when the main goal of an institution is how much profit it will generate and your girls are just a side issue, its by no means a place anyone should send their precious daughters. A few years back a friend told me her daughter got an acceptance letter from a seminary, how exciting!! however the very next email was a detailed break down of the astronomical costs and with the same breath proceeded to mention tissues, toilet paper and laundry not included.
    When it comes to a shiddduch we all look for red flags. well this is no different. This is a very bad shidduch for your daughter. Huge RED FLAG is being waved in front of you. Run for the hills.

  25. Unfortunately 99% of Yeshives & girl schools are opened by private individuals for money and/or Kovod or both.
    All businessmen run their business, in the best way they think it will bring them the money and/or Kovod they want to get out of it. Unfortunately the above mentioned businesses are dealing with Yiddishe Neshomos, given over these business people.

  26. You are learning that Israel is a sick place. It’s Zionism. It creates a culture of meanness and even the frum society suffers from it. Save your money.

  27. I’m so sorry for your painful rejection. It must be so hurtful. To all those telling him not to follow the herd and send, if this is what’s done in her school and circles and this is what her teachers and principals encourage and this is what’s considered acceptable, then it’s painful and feels second best even if deep down they know she can live a great life without it.
    My personal experience: I attended a top seminary over 20 years ago and had a great and inspiring year. That being said I wouldn’t fully credit the seminary for that and there were definitely plenty of chisronos such as extreme loneliness and homesickness and no one really taking an interest in me. I can also say all these years later that those girls who stayed locally are living just as much a fulfilling torahdik kollel life as those of us who attended Eretz Yisroel and weren’t at all impacted negatively. I really hope you can find the best possible option for her and wish you much hatzlacha.

  28. There are many different types of yeshivas and seminaries.

    Some are simply put, businesses. The students are often well cared for, but it’s a business. There are others that are entirely about the warmth and students, but may have less impressive buildings or campuses, may not have the same names, etc. If you talk to a seminary girl and she refers to a Rav or Rebbetsin as the owner, it’s likely somewhere on the spectrum.

    Having been involved in this space, the application fees help cover the frequent recruiting trips and interview trips. Staff must visit America and possibly the UK, hitting a dozen cities for a week or more at a time, often staying in basic hotels and driving rather than flying when possible to save money.

    That said, rejection needs to be a humane and caring process. If it isn’t, then this is not a mossad you want educating your children. It’s hard for a teen to understand, but the brand name is less important than the warmth and neshamasdic elements.

    Learning another Seder can change someone. But experiencing the warmth of a true, Torah community and starting life off on the right foot, that’s what it’s really about.

  29. 2 of my daughters went to Seminary in Europe. One went to sem in USA. One DIL didn’t go to seminary at all, she started working for the Klal & she is an AMAZING wife & mother, raising a beautiful, Torah-dik family.

    I really wish parents & their daughters would get off this ” I gotta go to Israel or I won’t make a good shidduch” mentality. WHO CARES??? Why do you have to spend tens of thousands of dollars only to have your daughters search every other week for a place for Shabbos? Have them wander around Jerusalem like lost sheep & hanging out on Ben Yehuda on Motsash? I have seen them behaving like 6 year olds, shrieking & generally being silly & being eyed up by their male equivalents. They don’t seem happy.

    I understand that rejection hurts. It’s horrible, but it will happen in the workplace, in friendships, and possibly in shidduchim. It’s life. The problem is, these seminaries are just after $$ and they keep every application fee, with no intention of accepting most applicants. And then they send out cold, unfeeling letters to nice girls. It’s easy money, it’s disgusting they do it; it happened to us too. Fortunately, my daughter just shrugged it off, went to Europe & stayed 2 years, she loved it so much! Hopefully, your daughters will be happy wherever they go.

  30. This racket has gone too far. Parents need to start standing up to the pressure from the schools and from their kids. People need to stop sending their girls to Israel for a year of fun and hefkeirus. No, their shidduchim will not suffer. Hashem is the Mezaveg Zivugim, not the seminaries, and not even the shadchanim.

  31. The majority (though not all) of the posters seem to believe that the role of seminaries has evolved over the past several decades (my knowledge is admittedly circa 1980s) and most have become profit-driven business ventures versus the original model of a caring, torah/spiritually focused “finishing school” for high school grads moving on towards a shiduch or wanting some time off before college and/or learning a parnassah. The reality is that the number of desks and beds at the top schools is relatively fixed and there are ‘b’h more and more girls seeking admission. Normally, the laws of supply and demand would lead to an expansion of the supply but in this case, it doesn’t seem to work that way for a variety of financial and cultural factors and the same seminaries will continue to be in demand. What is needed is a new model of post-high school chinuch which de-emphasizes the months in EY seminary model and some chashuvah rabbonim and askanim collectively promoting this new model which might combine limud torah, some applied secular parnassah skills and perhaps a shorter term stay in EY.

  32. thank you for coming out and writing your letter, having a few teenage girls at home i know exactly what your going thru. though id like to address this topic from a different side
    THE COST FACTOR ‘”$$,$$$”
    THE AVERAGE COST FOR SENDING A DAUGHTER TO SEM IN ERETZ YISROEL can run you $20,000-$25,000 K
    after factoring in airfare x’s2 (of course they now all expect to come home for pesach (though they come home in june) as the thought of going to someone else for the sedorim is a non starter)this is all before the shopping starts!!!
    ive been their done ,that . please dont try arguing or correcting me as ive already sent 2 daughters their these #’s are real and conservative if anything they only increase each year
    taking into account that you hope they will come home and youll soon need to be making a chasuna iyh where does one justify the cost or get the money ???
    this is an ongoing discussion in my home, i see seminary as a year away in sleep away camp
    as the hashkofos and yedioes can be learnt and absorbed just as well here at home, their are plenty of choices and more being added each year (as people see the $$$$$ potential of opening a seminary)
    ITS about time that girls who choose to stay in the USA work 1/2 a day and attend seminary 1/2 a day, arent looked down upon and asked ,”HOW COME SHE DIDNT GO TO ERETZ YISROEL TO SEMINARY? is their some issues WITH HER ? AND THE ANSWER SHOULD BE yes, her parents are practical and so is she,if she wants to marry a serious ben torah who will learn in kollel a few years not a 1or 2 she wants to further her education to be in a position to support that life style thats why she chose to stay home .
    kudos to such a family and such a girl who is smart and practical at the same time .good for her .
    trends or trendy or what everyone else is doing arent necessarily correct hashkofo wise
    in this case putting the strain on a whole family when you have a bunch of girls lined up. its prudent to take a step back and ask oneself is this what daas torah would tell me to do adaraba go ask your rav or rosh yeshiva or whom ever else you ask your halachik or hashkofic questions to id be very surprised if any of them would argue with my view point

  33. I have the solution.
    I am opening a new seminary. It will NOT be run like a business. It will lose money and be unable to pay its teachers, provide inadequate facilities and programming because it is unable to make ends meet, because it is not run like a business. Acceptance policy. All applicants will be accepted so that no feelings will be hurt. We can’t promise exactly what kind of girls there will be, because we don’t want to have to reject anyone who isn’t going to fit in, but we love all Jews whoever they may be, so it will be OK. There is no risk of the talmidos coming to have fun, roam the streets or do anything other than shteig because we will keep them locked in 24 hours a day. We even have a name. It will be called Bnos CR.
    Who would like to sign their daughther up?

  34. So sad to see so many people who can’t recognize their self worth aside from being accepted to a school or recognize that their value isn’t based off what someone else says or does. Thank g-d your daughter can understand this is from Hashem and that this isn’t the most important factor of life. Many times you may be rejected, from college, a spouse, buying a home etc, many many things and it can but may not have anything to do with the person rejecting you. Firstly you may have chosen the wrong schools to apply to for your daughter and that may be the reason she didn’t get accepted. Either way how is it all of a sudden the seminaries fault that she wasn’t the right fit, if they had to give an in depth explanation to every parent that would take forever. Also on the flip side you’d be very upset if you sent your child to a school where they accepted everyone since thats what your asking them to do, have zero rejection. You dont want your daughter in a school with the person you feel your child shouldnt associate with. So really the issue is a lot larger and based on multiple facets, not just on a seminary. Yes the system is flawed and yes it hurts to be rejected but to lay blame soley on a seminary is not right. Problem also lies in parents that we lay so much emphasis on whether our child gets accepted to such and such school. And then on parents of boys who say oh I’m only choosing a girl who went to such and such seminary. What is that?!? how does that hold any importance, how is a girl who went to a certain seminary any better than another!?! I wish you lots of luck in figuring out this game called life, but I don’t think its fair to throw all hate on seminaries!

  35. Rejection is painful. It has led people to do drastic things, some of which have hurt Klal Yisrael tremendously.
    I do think that it is a mistake, however, to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Just because the acceptance system is not perfect, does that mean seminary in E”Y is bad or worthless? If your daughter did get accepted, would the seminaries still be greedy, nasty institutions?
    I don’t see how it’s possible that more girls are being rejected than accepted, because most girls who apply do go to seminary, right? And once a girl receives an acceptance from one seminary, if the other two she applied to turn her down, it doesn’t really hurt much.
    The problem with application systems and young people being rejected is not limited to seminaries. Large communities have this in high school as well.
    For your daughter, I have no words. She must feel terribly hopeless and despairing, singled out and cast away for no good reason. The only thing you can do is encourage her with divrei emunah and bitachon. As big as this is in her world now, it is not life and death and does not have to ruin the trajectory of her life. It may not even be the most crushing situation she ever faces, and it is an opportunity to help her develop resilience for future challenges.
    For your own faith in humanity, I recommend you read the following article in which a seminary administrator frankly discusses the limitations of the interviewing and acceptance system.
    I attended Rabbi Greenwald’s seminary and I still recall the stress that was visible on him during interviewing and acceptance season. I remember him telling us that he personally signs each rejection letter rather than having it simply stamped by the office. As he sings, he pausese to feel the pain that he will be causing that girl. If he is helpless to avoid causing it, at least he wants to be nosei ol in her anguish.
    http://www.mishpacha.com/Browse/Article/12065/Seminary-Applications

  36. As someone who went to seminary, I can say i will never forget the image of my seminary principal during the month that he had to decide to to accept. the acceptance process is a difficult one, not only for the girls but also for the schools. I know that if my principal could accept all the “good girls” he would!
    I think it’s important to look at the situation logically, most schools typically have between 200 and 400 applicants, and since size wise almost every seminary has less than 100 girls, does it make sense that they can accept everyone they want? Principals are forced to reject hundreds of girls for absolutely no reason! I pity everyone in that awful position.
    WE NEED A NEW SYSTEM.
    We need a system where the seminaries work together, so that every girl will be accepted into 1 school only. This way no girl feels rejected because going in they know they will only be receiving one acceptance letter. What’s stopping everyone?

  37. I understand that the seminary process can be very painful, and because I did get into seminary I understand that takes away some of my credibility in that area. However, because I did attend seminary I can vouch for why some people choose to go, and the vitality in going. I come from a torah home, my parents are both in chinuch, I didn’t grow up with a TV, listening to non-jewish music, or internet access in my house. You can say I was in the right setting to have gained all that I needed to build a Torah home of my own. Seminary though is not just a year of spiritual growth. It is a year, if used correctly, to learn who you are- your strengths and weaknesses, values, what makes you tick, what makes you happy. When put in a new setting, with new people, you are challenged in these areas and hopefully because of it, develop your middos. It forces you to discover you. What is more important in life than knowing oneself? Thinking you want to marry a boy who is going to sit and learn for 10 years is great, but if you don’t know what your capabilities are then the boy, girl, and family could suffer.
    You are surrounded by the kedusha of Eretz Yisroel, not Avenue J or Main Street. You are listening to Torah ideals from some of the most holy Jews. How could this not be different than staying in America? For some, this may not be the path for them, and that is okay. But to think that much of the seminary world is perverse and money hungry, is wrong. Do research, ask girls who went to seminary, ask them if they are different people because of their experience. We cannot just make an assumption that people go to seminary for a year to take a break off of life.
    I was fortunate to attend a seminary that nurtured its people. Every Principal, every teacher, every office employee, even the kitchen staff cared about our growth as baatei yisrael, not our money.

  38. Speaking with friends and neighbors who work in yeshivos and seminaries, this post found it’s way to at least a few Roshei Yeshiva and seminaries. I also know that in response to this letter that are people re-evaluating the manner in which they handle acceptances and rejections.

    Some people may not care. But please know that a good many people here in EY were very upset to hear about this letter and are working to improve the situation for next year.

  39. The pain of rejection is so hard and I hope your special daughter has the strength to recognize that it does not define her worth. That being said, I B”H did go to seminary, and it is so far from how it is being described here. Seminary is a life-changing experience that can open up a whole world of rich and deep yiddishkeit that a girl did not have until then. I can not talk for all seminaries, but in my seminary, the teachers work very hard and care deeply about each student’s growth and success. It is an embarrassment to say that these genuine special leaders in klal Yisrael, who actually get minimal (if any) financial gain from it, are doing it for any reason other than to give. I remember hearing the pain in my principal’s voice when talking about the acceptance/rejection process. The principal said there are many great girls who are a good fit for the school, but there is simply no room in the building to have even one more girl. Seminary is a very worthwhile investment. It shaped the person I am. My hashkafos, my connection with Hashem, my ability to talk to rabbanim when needed, and my appreciation for Torah all come largely from my seminary year. I hope the rejection process does not cause people to think that seminary is anything less than what it is.

  40. It’s a tough challenge for both you and your daughter. I wish her much siyata dishmaya next year- wherever she goes and whatever she does. While seminaries in Eretz Yisroel do cost a lot of money- i can say (with my husband in agreement) – that i received a tremendous amount from my year and continue to receive even now -2o years later. The seminary that i went to hires teachers and rabeyim that are smart, caring, devoted, inspiring and role models in middos and more and are available to their talmidos for years down the line. It was certainly not a factory. We had nice accomodations, very good food, amazing classes, exciting and inspiring trips, help to find placement for shabbos as well as accommodations to stay in whenever we wanted to for shabbos. We had beautiful in- shabbasim, teachers/rabbeyim’s families moving in for some shabbosim and yomim tovim to give us a real family feel . We had an aim habayis who checked in with every girl almost every night- making the rounds to each room and making herself available for anything that any girl needed to talk about. We had good supervision – just as a parent would worry about their own child. We were not on our own to fend for ourselves in a foreign land in any way. All of the above does cost money and it certainly adds up. I was fortunate that my parents could afford it. For those that can’t – i’m sure there are other wonderful options. However, to say that nothing is gained from the sem. year in Israel except for some people making a lot of money, is not accurate at all. Aside from all that we received on a regular day in sem.- we were given tools and inspiration for life. We learned about the chashivus of each and every person and how whatever decisions they make affect both them and others. Everything we say, do , wear etc. are important. We learned about raising healthy children in today’s challenging times. We learned about the most important role of a Jewish woman, daughter, mother, wife. We learned about shalom bayis. We learned about how the lives of our avos and imahos pertain to us today. We learned about our relationship with Hashem, and emunah and bitachon- that guide our lives through our different situations and challenges. We learned about our individual chesronos and maalos that can lead us to greatness. We left sem. – each girl with a different teacher , rebbi or aim habayis that knew us and could guide us from afar if we just pick up the phone to call. We are always welcome back to sit in any classes and we do!! Just this year my son was on the phone the day of his bar mitzva receiving a bracha and advice from my sem. principal. And it was a personalized bracha because he actually knows about my son and has guided us in the past in his chinuch. Like i said, this was not a factory, and if someone can afford it then it is a priceless gift/experience. Much hatzlacha in finding the appropriate place for your daughter where she will hopefully gain many lessons and experiences for life!

  41. I’m really sorry for your daughter, it is very hard to not be accepted anywhere, but the comments posted here are diametrically opposite to my experience with seminary girls.
    I B”H have the privilege to teach in seminary in israel and without a doubt can say that 90% of the girls grow tremendously in middos!!! , self worth, self esteem, a huge appreciation for a Torah geared home (kollel or not) and many important life tools they did not have before they came. We try be”h to imbue them with a love for the mitzvos they keep (but till now did not appreciate), understand what gedolei torah are and why a Torah based life is not luxury. I cannot talk for other seminaries, I don’t know what goes on there, but I can talk for the seminary that I am involved with.
    Our sem is not a business!!!!!! it is a makom gidul for yiddishkeit!!! and unfortunately there is just so much room. We try give individual attention to EVERY girl and help every girl become a better person and a better Jew. If we would accept more girls, they would all lose out.
    I’m writing this so that girls who would benefit from sem in Israel, will still come to the right place where they should be going and not be turned off from people poisoning all the seminaries.
    I direct you to an article written in Mishpacha magazine by Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald, to see the other side of the coin.
    May Hashem bless all of B’nos Yisroel

  42. People have to have emunah . a girl can apply to a seminary of their dreams and not get accepted. Hashem knows exactly what each person needs and sometimes a girl , her parents her family , school etc can think a certain seminary is the ideal place for them but hashem says no because he knows better.
    People have to understand the no is from hashem not from the menahel.
    We have to daven and trust hashem.

    And for whoever says seminary is a waste that’s ridiculous. Yes it’s a waste if your daughter is a spoiled brat and thinks she has to spend all your money in isreal .
    But it’s not a waste to a girl who goes for the right reasons. A girl who is focused on growth a girl who is discovering herself a girl who makes a kesher with teachers and rabanim and is not losing focus by trying to get a ton of friends or dress up for other people or hang out with guys.

    In actuality I think parents should have this conversation with thier girls before they apply
    Do you trust in hashem ?
    Do you believe everything he does for you is the best ?
    You’ll be applying to seminary and you may or may not get expected but remember it’s all from hashem.

    And about girls crying in interviews
    Someone can be scared ,nervous ,shaking but crying really? I think parents should teach thier girls Not too be so sensitive when a rabbi asks a question they didn’t prepare for.

    Personally I just winged the interview went with the flow. when you over think it messes up your mind and thought process that’s probably where the crying comes from.

    Seminary has changed my life
    I look at Judaism in such a beautiful light now I learnt so many amazing things about myself my strength my weaknesses.
    I took so many lessons with me

    I’ve been out of seminary for two years now and I still feel the same way.
    And still have a kesher with my rabbi

  43. To those that think seminary outside Israel is the perfect solution ie. gateshead and manchester, I want to point out that they reject girls also. European seminaries aren’t perfect either!

  44. wow all of those comments are making me overwhelmed. rejection IS painful , I to applied to seminary and did not get in at first. it was very hard for me and it was an emotionally draining 2 weeks till I got an answer and I did feel hurt and sad. my parents kept on saying this to shall pass and were there for me . I appreciate the response my parents had towards the situation because I cant imagine if my parents would start to blame the seminarys and the system how much worse I would have felt feeling confused because even though I was on edge with not knowing if I was actually going to seminary or staying in America I still wanted to go to seminary. I don’t think my parents being angry with the system would have helped matters. because i would still be in the same predicament . they would just be adults trying to get other adults to cause commotion and it wont actually solve any problem because the child is still hurting.

    I bH did end up going to seminary and made a hole knew life for myself based on the hashkafah I learnt. ” a waste of time” ?? I wouldn’t call gaining a new life a waste of time or going to the kosel once a week a waste of time , or seeing how people really live Torah and knowing I want to be a part of that “a waste of time” .
    I bH did not feel like seminary was seminary for other reasons then wanting to help the talmidos of klall yisroel . and wanting to show me that there is more to life then my American lifestyle . other motives?…. I don’t think these seminarys get paid enough for that . they teach because they love to give and share and they love when a girl can turn to them on the last day and say thank you for giving me lessons that ill carry threw the ups and downs .

  45. The most frequently asked question is why. Why did this happen to me? Why not me? etc. When one is going through a hardship, the questions that circle their minds are numerous but can be extreme. The problem resides in the fact that most of us live inside of ourselves, inside of our own worlds. Unfortunately, when going through something difficult or personal, we forget that there is usually another side to the story. There is always at least one other side to the story. I think it is important for people to take a step back, outside of themselves and view the situation from the other person’s side or even as a bystander. The clarity from such views will allow one to see that the situation is hard, if not impossible for both parties. There is no easy solution and there is no comfort that can make it all okay. I apologize for this hard truth. I have just one question: Do you believe that G-d is so weak and incapable of running the world that if a menahel does not accept your daughter to his/her school then that menahel has ruined G-d’s plans?

  46. I would like to respond, not to the published letter, but, rather to the various comments that I have read in this feed. I received a link to this letter from someone who knows that I care about the subject.
    Why do I care?
    I was b”H raised by incredible, Torah-oriented parents. I had a wonderful, loving high-school experience. I am from NY and there are a few solid sem programs not far from my house. I am b”H academically strong and it would not be difficult for me to balance a half-day program with college or a job. So why did I go to seminary in E”Y?
    I went because I wanted to strengthen the values I have. I wanted to make sure they were my own. This would be difficult to achieve while living in my parents’ home, or even while living in the same society in which I was raised.
    Would I call the seminary that I attended a money-hungry business? I do remember my parents requesting a larger scholarship than I was already offered from before I came. I know that they could not grant it to my parents, but you know what? My parents made it work even though they are not financially well-off. Because they understood how important this would be for my ruchnius. I am so grateful to my parents for having such foresight and generosity.
    Here’s just some of what I gained in seminary:
    I gained a level of self-awareness and an appreciation for myself that I didn’t imagine I could reach. Being removed from everything that I knew (the comforts and the struggles) and transplanted to a different country, language, and culture, to be roommates with people I had never met in my life and to be part of a tzibur of girls from all over the world forced me to get to know….. me. I do not know where Hashem will put me in my lifetime, but I do know that wherever he does, I will have myself.
    I gained an appreciation for daas torah because my rabbeim told us stories about the day-to-day lives of their rabbeim who were the gedolei hador. I built a connection with a posek to whom I can ask more personal questions. I created relationships with mentors from whom I will ask advice for years to come be”H.
    E”Y is a beautiful country. For those who have never been, I would like to describe Yerushalaim in a few words: Imagine walking down the narrow cobblestone roads seeing only frum yidden around. Frum yidden who are not steeped in secular society, rather, all they have ever known is Torah. Think of the possibility of residing in the same city as the Kotel. Having a hard day? You can get on a bus or light rail or even walk to place where the shechina is closest to us and pour out your heart to Hashem. Now contemplate having that possibility for 9-10 months and what an opportunity it is to build your relationship with Hashem. I, and thousands of seminary girls, can testify to this experience.
    I had a year free of distraction, packed with shiurim and uplifting experiences, to focus on working on my middos and mitzvos bein adam l’chavero and bein adam l’makom. I came to bitachon from being a part of a land and people that truly depends on Hkb”h’s hand for everything. That bitachon has served me through hard times.
    I learned lessons and tools for marriage, shalom bayis, and parenting.
    I am happier, more confident, and have lots more room in my heart for others
    Again, I am not responding to the letter written by a loving and caring father. I am responding to the idea that girls should not go to E”Y seminary.
    If our goal is to be accepted by the “system” or find a shidduch, then making it more “socially accepted” to stay in the U.S. the year after high school is an excellent solution. But if we care about our children’s’ relationship with Hashem, the future of klal yisroel. If we care about right and wrong and doing what Hashem asks of us, then perhaps we should examine what is the best way for each individual girl to grow in her ruchnius. If we trust teachers with our daughter’s chinuch for four years, then maybe we should consider whether they know our daughters’ learning styles well enough to suggest that they go to E”Y for seminary.
    I feel pain for a girl and for her parents to have to go through her non-acceptance to seminary. Especially if they have been fed the idea that non-acceptance makes someone not good. I do not know if it is my place to speak, because I have not been through this particular experience; I was blessed to be accepted to seminary. However, I am human and so I know how bad rejection feels, but I also know what an incredibly important experience seminary was for me. I am a changed person because of it. I am writing this because if even one parent sees, chooses not to boycott the “system,” and decides to allow his/her daughter to go to seminary it will be worth it. I want any girl who can to get what I got.

  47. [Hey OP, I’m hoping your daughter is not reading this page, but I write this next paragraph for her. Please consider printing it so she can ready it. The rest is not for her, not at all. It’s for us pathetic miscreants who’ve allowed and even built this poisonous world in which she now finds herself.]

    Dearest Jewish Daughter, the situation in which you now find yourself is in no way your “fault”. You are truly perfect. This I know without any doubt because I know your Maker. He never has, and never will, make mistakes. You are an exquisite masterpiece, hand crafted by the Master of all. If you ever feel anything less, shame on us, the “grownups” in your world, for contributing to or allowing that to happen. Practically speaking, to address your present crisis (aka growth opportunity) I’d like to make a suggestion that is both radical and ancient. If you truly, deeply in your heart of hearts want to spend next year in a seminary in Eretz Yisrael, find a quiet private place and talk to G*d. Use your own words, use the words of Zeidy Dovid Hamelech in Tehillim. More than words though, let yourself cry. Let yourself cry until you feel the very essence of your being flowing out in rivers of tears. Hold nothing back. Become your prayers. Plead, beg, argue and even demand of Hashem that he grant you this chance to fulfill your holy, beautiful yearning to live in His land and dwell in His palace. And, if I may request, let one of those tears be for all of us – all of us wandering, yearning Jews who so desperately long and need to come home. Perhaps, with your help, the scales will finally tilt and we’ll all very soon be together in Yerushalayim Hab’nuya. You likely already know that your prayers and tears are that powerful. Don’t be afraid to use them. And who knows, as Mordechai said to Esther, if it is not for this very moment that you have been graced with Malchus. Now go. Make it rain.

    And on to the fun part… Oh boy (and girl). Can’t believe I actually read all of this trash. 95% of it is not even fertilizer – just toxic trash.
    TL;DR? Put up or shut up.

    With all of the beautiful and nice things people have said here, not to mention the pure rot and evil, with all of the huffing and puffing and frantic efforts of all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, not one single person here has done or is planning or committing to anything of even the slightest consequence to help. Absolutely nothing.

    Nobody here, and sure, I’m implicating myself too, actually gives a genuine damn. (Go head and censor me MODS if you must. We must, above all else, always be polite, event when throwing our kids under the bus.) At least those who’ve commented have lifted fingers on behalf of this precious Bas Yisrael, but best I can tell banging at our keyboards is as far as it will go. Armchair villains and armchair heros are in essence exactly the same thing.

    We vilify, we deify, we support and encourage, we criticize and rebuke – but we do nothing. Kudos to you, Reb OP, for at least writing a letter, but tell me – is your pain honestly about the general state of affairs, born of love and concern for all Our People, or is it your individual, personal experience alone? Are you seeking only to ameliorate your daughter’s pain, and your own, or do you care enough to take action in a way that might help others? Other than banging at a keyboard (or tapping on a screen), what are you prepared to do to make a change for the good? What are you willing to sacrifice?

    These comment threads, at least the way we nearly always use them, are bandaids on cancer. We blow our frustration and fears, and passion and empathy out into the ether, and sleep peacefully despite having done exactly nothing.

    Tell ya’ll what – ready to dance with the big boys (and girls, separately of course)? Post here what you’re willing to give, sacrifice, change, risk, share… DO(!) in order to take care of the most precious, vulnerable and essential of our National Treasures – our daughters. If you’ve got nothing, comment as much. Go ahead, be honest with yourself and others. Post the truth: “I don’t actually give a damn.” Then eff of and go watch videos on Youtube. You’ll be in good company there.

  48. I can’t fully feel what you and your daughter are going through, because I have never been in your place. But I can relate to pain, and sometimes when we are in it its hard to see the source, where it’s coming from. Seminary teachers and principals, whoever is in charge of the process, are the messengers playing out Hashem’s plan. They do the best they can, and clearly if a seminary has been around long enough, they’re not making any decisions without reasons or with negative bias. It might seems right to voice your opinion, but it just spreads negativity like wildfire and might be causing more pain to your daughter. Yes, seminary is not necessary, but people who go do gain a lot from it, and the hanhala of the seminary does try their hardest. The only reason someone wouldn’t get accepted is if in Shomayim they are NOT meant to go. Maybe something dangerous Ch’v should have happened, maybe it would have been a downfall instead of a growth experience, who knows? I hope you stay strong and hold on to your Emunah in this hard time and realize Hashem has a much better plan for your daughter.

  49. Seminaries care about one thing and thing only money. It’s quite disturbing. I went to Neveh Zion and the Mash would always accept kids into the Yeshiva even if they couldn’t pay a dime.

  50. Just one question about all these wonderful things that the girls are learning in seminary. What exactly are our daughters learning in high school? Isn’t that the point of their chinuch? If they’re not learning about hashkafa, emunah, and how to live a torah’dig life in all their years in elementary and high school, isn’t there a problem?

  51. @Smilethere
    While I am happy you had a growth oriented year/life as a result of seminary in Israel…the seminary of 20 years ago is a far cry from what it is today. Todays girls are not as mature, they like to have a good time and snap photos of their daily burger in Burger Bar. I imagine that you did not go hustling around in the streets, live an American worthy lifestyle, and take out meals 2-3x/day while in sem. Twenty years ago, you didnt really hear too much of girls who went to sem and didnt come back fine. Nowadays, you hear much more of girls coming back to the US more than they started. Apples and oranges.

  52. Rejection is a part of life. And unfortunately, it’s something that every child and every person has to deal with. Whether it’s in elementary school by not winning the spelling bee, In high school by not making it into drama or becoming dance head, or even in shidduch. However a question that comes to mind although, I am very sorry for your daughter for not getting it into any seminary, is whether was she guided by someone in her high school that knows her well enough to apply to places that would be suitable for her. Often times girls apply to places where they think they should go because everyone else is, however someone who is not as academic as you say your daughter isn’t, should be applying to places that are more suitable for her. In the high school that I went to, the principal and menaheles sat with each girl to make sure they were applying to places that were shayich for them. Additionally, I clearly remember a girl in my class not getting accepted to any place that she applied to. The principal then was able to get her into a very suitable place that she could’ve applied to initially. Seminary is not for everyone, however it is very valuable and incredible experience when it’s the right fit for a girl. It’s the one selfish year that a girl has for herself to mature, to develop herself, and live with other girls that are like-minded and growth oriented as her. As for seeing seminaries as a business and asking for a refund for applications, that’s a part of the process. Would a person applying to college or an Ivy League school ever ask for an application refund? I don’t think so. At the end of the day, I think everyone should do what works for them and no one should put down what works for other people. Including talking negatively about ANY school. There are a lot of Rebbeim and teachers that are available and involved in their students lives well after “receiving their seminary check”. Furthermore, I strongly believe that there is a lot more positive that has come out of girls going to seminary then negative. All of this has to be taken into consideration before making such serious allegations. Thank you

  53. It is sad to be rejected but the fact that they all rejected a girl whom you describe as normal. My daughters went through the process, and I love them deeply but they are average bright, average pretty, average in most ways. Maybe something in the way your daughter interviews would shed some light. I would suggest you continue to look–there are many seminaries out there and one is sure to accept her.As for Seminary itself, the ones my daughters attended seemed geared to training teachers, which my daughters were not aiming for, but it was for the experience. I’m glad we were able to afford to send them, even though deep down I think it was a waste of money. They came back happy and got to experience eretz Yisroel for an extended period

  54. I hate to hear that a girl was rejected, now more than ever she needs her family’s support. Getting angry and bashing the seminary system will not get you anywhere. It’s hard to get rejected, but just because of rejection you should not fill yourself with hatred. I sincerely hope that your daughter realizes that she is amazing, and that this rejection does not define her as a reject.
    As for those who have posted that seminary is a scam, let me tell you that i have been there. In high school i was determined not to “fall into the trap” of seminary, save my parents money and getting on with my life. Why would i need another year of high school?
    Needless to say senior year arrived and seminary applications were due. I decided, why not, I’ll apply and see what happens if worse comes to worse i wont go.
    I went to my interviews and became determined to go to seminary, i remember thinking “I am happy that i was just able to meet with this amazing school representative!” the application fee was worth it just for that! I B”H got into the seminary of my choice, but i had no clue what was in store.
    I did not realize how narrow minded I was until i spent a year in seminary. Where those who teach you live and breath the words of Torah. Where you have the Kotel to go to whenever you feel the need, in good times and in bad. Where you can see what a life of Torah entails. Where everyone on the street helps you since you are a fellow Jew… there are so many more aspects to going to seminary in E”Y! It’s a shame that there are those who bash this.
    There is also the aspect of getting out of your shell, going somewhere that you don’t really speak the language, and learning lessons for life along the way. How to manage a budget. How to get from point A to point B with just a phone that calls. How to bargain. How to adapt to different circumstances that can arise.
    I would not be where I am today without that year i spent in Israel, and i pity those who don’t understand its worth. If you had the chance to buy a much needed medication, you would buy it no matter what the cost. Even if you believe that seminary is just a scam, remember it is like that drug, seminary in E”Y gives you a year that you will never forget, never get back and most defiantly NEVER REGRET!

  55. As a father, I am not looking forward to my daughters seminary year. Not after hearing how my brother in law spent the seminary year helping my niece prepare a FIFTY page paper that had to include sources from tanach, shas, halacha, midrash and even contemporary sources.

    They preparing the next roshei chabura for BMG or mothers of the next generation? Who approves seminary curriculum? Its at the top of the list of questions I would ask of any school she is interested in.

    I would encourage my daughter to attend seminary in the US. As for the “e’y experience”, baruch hashem I have family there, I can send her for 2 months to get that experience. I want her to be an “em biyisroel” not a “rosh chaburah”.

  56. Maybe I am in the minority, but what exactly went wrong here? A girl (whom we know nothing about) applied to seminary and was rejected. Rejection happens in every circle of life. What was specific about this case that makes it news?

  57. “Rejection happens in every circle of life.”

    It does, but, when it is done in a convoluted way and people are hurt in the process, people have a right to question the process and those involved in it. Which is what is being done here.

    (I’m not one to give mussar, and this isnt mussar, rather its to point out that transparency is not some pie in the sky theoretical idea.) See the Darash Moshe in last weeks parsha, where Rav Moshe explains why the oil for the menorah must be completely pure (1st drop from olive) compared to the oil used for the menachos which could be strained of impurities.

  58. Rejection is so hard and can even be crippling. If a person allows it to get to them, it can and it will hit really hard. I just want to say that when I was in high school my thoughts about seminary went along the lines with the father and the first few comments written on this forum.I was also really scared about being rejected, I mean why should the school take me over the other 500 girls that applied to it? After this thought I had to justify myself so I flipped into my “justification mode” (that some people commenting here went into as they responded to the letter). I decided that seminary was a waste of time, pointless, and a money making business. I was going to go straight to college and start my career, I did not need a year of fluff and nonsense. My principal in High school pushed me to apply and she even went as far as to contact my parents to make sure that I would apply. I got into a sem and decided that I would suck it up for a year and then move on to the real world. There arent too many times when people are glad to admit that they were wrong in a struggle (and I fought my principal tooth and nail about not going to sem) but in this case, I am SO happy and grateful that I was wrong. I don’t have the words to express my hakara hatov to my principal for pushing me then, and for all the amazing staff members who have guided me during my TWO years in Seminary. (Read again-TWO) The school I went to for my Shana Alef year did not have a second year program, so I went to a different school for my second year. If I thought my first year was amazing, it did not hold justice to my second.
    In those two years I got to ask questions, learn about myself, and the values that I really hold strongly to. One of the most amazing experiences is going to a teacher’s house for a Shabbos meal, experiencing how they interact with their families, and walking away from it saying “I want that in my future, what can I do to get there?” The beauty about going to sem is that it is the first time that most girls are making decisions on their own and getting in touch with themselves in new ways. I realized so many strengths and weaknesses in myself that I never even realized beforehand just because I was never put in a position to discover them. And in case anyone is wondering, I was always grounded and self aware…but there was so much about myself that I did not know and could not have known unless I went away for a year.I learnt how to think for myself, how to grow in ways that won’t burn me out, and how to ask shailos from Rabbonim (which is something that most girls don’t have a chance to do until they get to sem and they will have to do in the future). Th point of seminary is not to make girls “flip out” or to brainwash them. It is to give girlsthe foundation and tools needed to set up a home that is healthy, full of simchas hachayim, and values Torah. I once overheard one of the Rabbanim telling a girl “Rabbis were not born Rabbis, we were once little boys too.” This was such a wake up call for me because we see the great people that the Seminary staff have become. But from the students side of the desk, we don’t realize how hard they worked to get to where they are today. If they can do it, then so can I. I can get there too, and the best part is, they were there to help me with my questions, analysis, and changing things within myself and taking baby steps to where I am aspiring to be. And even after sem, they still are available. They are jut a phone call, whatsapp or email away. To the parents who are contemplating keeping your children home because of this letter, or money or brainwashing or anything like that…please please please reconsider. Seminary really changed my life (so cliche because it is SO true) and it helped me become a better, more connected, and growth oriented person.
    About the money aspect…this is Jews dealing with Jews. Everyone knows what it means to have a few kids in school at a time, to make Shabbos and YT, Bar Mitzvas and WEDDINGS….and that is why the seminaries across the board are very generous with scholarships and there are many other ways to get funding to come for the year. The number on the tuition bill might seem huge (ok, it is) but what can be gained from a year in sem (if the girls is interested and looking for it) is priceless.
    And lastly, most High schools have a seminary adviser who works with other staff members in the school and the girls to find a good fit for them. Girls don’t just get rejected to all three places that they apply to. (And Ch”V I am not saying that there is anything wrong with the girl in the letter) But I remember my principal telling us not apply to places that are out of out league’s because then we are asking for disappointment. Sometimes what they advise is not what we were hoping to hear…but 99.9% of the time they are right. So when applying, listen to what they say because they know both sides and who they are dealing with in a way that we don’t. It is that simple.
    Tons of Hatzlacha to everyone who is in the throes of the sem process and to those who are going to enter it in the coming years.And to this girl, Be”H, you should be guided to the right place b’karov.

  59. As much as I question the process, I stand in shock at the cultural value system that fuels this entire picture. Now, seminary might be a very nice thing, even though it is a hard sell to claim that it is a need. It is a luxury. But the prevailing message given in virtually all girls schools is that the plan to go to seminary after high school is the indication that the girl is truly “frum”. So is the statement that one seeks to marry a learning boy. Perhaps such aspirations are not bad, and might be quite nice, though I can engage in debate on that. What never ceases to frighten me is that anyone who speaks seriously about being a good, frum girl WITHOUT seminary, or willing to marry a truly frum working boy is frowned upon as if they are some sort of pariah. Making this so revolting is that there is no such inyan to marry a learning boy, nor to attend seminary. Basing one’s life plans on an untruth is seriously unfortunate.

    Just think. Is there anyone you know that is really frum, working boy/yungerman, who is koveyah ittim laTorah? I bet everyone here can come up with several. How about a really frum baalabustah who never attended seminary? Again, quite a few. The attendance in kollel or seminary indicates nothing about one’s frumkeit. In fact, I know quite a few yungerleit whose kollel experience was really terrible, irregular attendance, not serious about the learning. And girls who attended seminary, and returned to social lives that are levels below the truly frum girls who stayed home.

    Both kollelim and seminaries can great places for those who belong there. But these do not determine the values we ascribe to boys or girls who (seek to) attend or not. That image needs to be stamped out. Once we do that, we are not labeling the non-learning boy or the girl who didn’t go top seminary as second rate anything. It requires cultural change, and this can take decades. It also requires leadership from gedolim.

  60. Normally I wouldn’t bother to respond but looking at the overwhelming negativity and pain in the responses I cant keep quiet. The accusation that all seminaries are a money making business is, frankly, painful to hear. I B”H went to seminary, and I know am really lucky for that. I went through a really difficult time after seminary, and my seminary stepped up and helped me. The amount my seminary paid to help me more than covered the amount I paid them… and I know I wasn’t the only one.
    Its easy to spit pain and vitriol over a comment on an online site but you need to understand you are talking about real, thinking, breathing, feeling people! I’ve been to the houses of my teachers, rabbeim and manahel, and NOT ONE of them were living in splendor! You want to talk about pain fine! but don’t make blanket accusations unless you have real verifiable proof. Even using a statement mos instead of all is hurtful for the many people who struggle to make a difference in someones life. Yes these people get paid but I think most of us can tell the difference between a teacher who comes in to get paid, and one who goes over and beyond for their student. Not getting accepted to the school of your chose is painful and disheartening but dont spew vitriol.

  61. For those who wont respond to emotion then heres a logical POV.
    I cant imagine the pain of a parent seeing their daughter in pain over something like this, and if it was in reference to a high school I could get on board with the refection idea… but its not high school, its seminary. I think part of the problem is the places people apply to. Its the same as if you go t a college prep school. You are constantly being told that you should go to college. Then the student has to decide what school to apply to. Do you apply to the Ivy League schools or really great universities that aren’t Ivy League? If all you applied to were the colleges that look good but aren’t a fit, or didn’t have a back up in case your ideal Ivy League school didn’t accept you… Well that could be a problem.
    Its the same with seminaries to some degree. There are seminaries that are considered the Ivy League of Seminaries, (whether those reputations are deserved is a different story.) If you only apply to them then rejection is a high probability considering the applicants to beds ratio. That does not mean that you are any less of a person… just not a good fit. Its better to go to a place you think you could do well in than the place that sounds good. That works both for college and seminary.

  62. “I wonder how many girls over the years have been turned off from this process. How many girls have said to themselves, if after all these years of hard work the very system I have worked to be part of is now rejecting me? Well I will reject it as well.”

    I believe your answer is right there. Many if not most boys and girls yeshivot are nothing but brainwashing machines that do not teach today’s youth how to think independently but teach them to all believe that the only way to hashem is black and white and anyone that does not fit perfectly is rejected and looked down on.

    Look at our greatest leaders during the time of the gemara. They learned tremendous amounts of torah- BUT THEY ALL HAD JOBS.

    Rabbi Gamliel was a BLACKSMITH- a job that gets a person very dirty and covered in grime
    Rabbi hillel was a woodchopper…

    Become your own jew and love hashem. “chinoch lnar al pi darko” we are not all the same. Lets stop pretending all children are