MAILBAG ROUNDUP: Seminary Feelings – Batch 2

4

EDITOR’S NOTE: Following the publishing of a letter from a father of a girl rejected from every seminary she applied to, YWN has received well over one hundred letters about seminaries – both pro and con. They have not been edited in any way. We will be publishing them in batches over the next few days.

Here is the second batch:

LETTER #1

I’m not going into the excepting process. Really it’s not fair to judge them. It’s limited space and it’s a business like all business. You may say that it’s unfortunate that our chinuch institution became businesses, however seminary isn’t a requirement so it may be permissible for them to select who’s best for them.

Look at brisk, Slabodka and on and on they are all very selective and how many just feel rejected and go to the Mir and feel like rejects.

So I’m personally on a school board and know that it’s not a pleasant task to go through the excepting process. However, the real problem is that the girls are brainwashed into this seminary system that parents can even afford. But must do it for them and if they don’t go it’ll be a blemish on them for life and every Shadchanim will ask the first question why she didn’t go to seminary.

Why are they brainwashed into this? Is this daas Torah to send girls away for a year from their homes? Where was this ever heard of till the last ten fifteen years?

Yes they might grow spiritually but if it’s at the cost of the parents to shell out 25k for this and then a chasana when they come back a support the eidim.

Maybe the first takana for all the takana chasanas should be to save 25k from the seminary. Meanwhile  I’m also in this same mess and sending my daughters to Israel but I feel it’s not right and I might be giving a Din v’cheshbon why I did it. But for now I’m in this mess with everyone else.

Name withheld upon request.

LETTER #2

Of course we all have similar experiences. Great daughters, wonderful students, 4 years in high school – doing the right thing, following the rules etc. then comes seminary season as so well explained in the letter-writers essay.

There are a few added points i would like to share which are frustrating, but if recognized, may offer a path toward a solution.

1- understand for yourself as your daughter already knows that there are only a handful of seminaries she really is interested in and that if she is accepted to those you would be willing to undertake the extraordinary financial obligation. Tuition, clothing, airfare, spending money [roughly 30K for the year].
2-If she isn’t accepted to the ones she wants to go to she should not settle on a second choice for the 30k premium- you will give it to her to jump start her future. Be it school or whatever she is interested in.
3-Recognize that the number of applicants versus available slots is stacked heavily against a student who isn’t in the top 5%.
4-Recognize schools are often powerless and sometimes even a hindrance.
5-Get a group of like minded parents to stop the craziness by REFUSING to apply to begin with we do not need it.
6-Ee bring this on ourselves.
7-We are responsible for our actions and inactions.
8-The hardest part of rejection is being left back home alone when her friends are in sem.
9-Finally the fear regarding shidduchim…. don’t go and you wont get a shidduch. Again this is brought upon us by us.
10-The ones who go to sem aren’t automatically guaranteed an easier shidduch.

So finally, the way forward is for the trend to change …  this resolves much of the stigma. It’s an uphill battle, but it begins with the parents, and students with schools to follow.

Name withheld upon request.

LETTER #3

Like your other parent contributor, I too am a parent in pain. A parent of an outstanding girl with gorgeous middos, who is not an academic, but certainly no behavioral problem. A girl who already dresses b’tznius and doesn’t post on social media. A girl who was not good enough, and seemingly not ‘bad enough’ to be accepted to any seminary of her choosing.

But what we need to address here first is the financial tircha of the ignored application fee.

When a girl applies to two schools and is rejected for being too parve, and then coerced into applying to more schools, that amounts to MORE application fees. These $150 flashes in the pan add up when your baby who worked so hard to be a bas Torah and a yiras shamayim is told ‘no’ over and over again. No- we have no more beds, waitlist-we aren’t ready to commit, no-it’s not the exact fit, waitlist-she used the word ‘cute’ during an interview.

Big money-maker for the seminary institution, this $150.

And then who’s to answer for the schools that simply NEVER circle back after a waitlist letter? When one is waitlisted, doesn’t that mean one is placed on hold? Because it seems that one can call and email hundreds of times inquiring, but not receive the common courtesy of a reply, let alone a final answer.

So, the question remains, once we all get our daughters where they belong next year, who will repair the damage that was done to them?

Name withheld upon request.

LETTER #4

Your seminary topic really got me thinking. I am from the midwest and in the Bais Yaakov that I went to just about every single girl went to seminary in Israel. The same you go from 11th grade to 12th grade you go from 12th grade to seminary in Israel. All the girls in my class with the exception of one got into one of the seminaries that they applied to and the remaining girl got into a different seminary than she had originally applied to one week later. I actually got into my first choice seminary.

I do believe a “gap year” is important between 12th grade and working or being in college full time but I think that Israel is completely not necessary and I have no plans of sending my girls there. I currently live in NY and I think that half-day seminary is the smartest thing. It is a good transition from highschool to the real world. In the morning you learn limudei kodesh and in the afternoon you work go to college or both. When my brothers were in shidduchim my parents could care less if the girl went to seminary full time half time Israel England or Baltimore – but yes they did care that she did something.

In a society that puts such pressure on the girls to have all it together so young, money, a degree etc, – I think that seminary is just pushing off a life a year and is silly especially for girls that want learning boys.

Name withheld upon request.

LETTER #5

To anybody who is feeling pressured about sending their daughter to seminary-when i was in 12th grade (not too long ago), I was one of the only girls in my in-town NY high school not to go to seminary. I felt that in 13 years of Bais Yaakov education, I had come out quite solid BH, and had no real need for it. I also knew my parents could not easily afford such a large expense. My teachers and principals were HORRIFIED, explaining to me that I could ch”v be ruining my future, my shidduchim, etc etc.

Despite the enormous pressure put on me (a natural straight A student and all around perfect sem candidate), I did not cave. When my classmates went off to seminary i stayed home and got started on getting my degree. I did not go to a local seminary, instead I went to local shiurim at night whenever I could (just like when “real life” begins). Thanks to my teachers and principals, my parents were terrified about my shidduch prospects.

Well guess what?

I was one of the first in my grade to get engaged, right when i turned 20. Despite the fact that my parents had no real money, I have no yichus, and I didnt go to seminary, I got engaged to an amazing boy-in fact, a full time learner who learned in kolel for the first 5 years. And because i got a head start on my degree, I finished sooner and was able to support ourselves.

I should add, I experienced no issues during shidduchim because of my lack of sem, and I was “redt” to a couple of great guys. BH I really had no problem with shidduchim. And my parents got to save an enormous amount of money.

Meanwhile, if you line up all the girls from my grade now-you absolutely can not tell who went and who didn’t! Fast forward…some are still unmarried, some are divorced, some are happily married, some are frummer, some are less so. But whether or not they went to seminary has ABSOLUTELY NO impact on any of it.

Its ok. If you don’t feel it’s necessary…just don’t do it!

Name withheld upon request.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you have a similar story, please send it to YWN.

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

[READ MAILBAG ROUNDUP: Seminary Feelings – Batch 1]

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.

DO YOU HAVE AN OPINION YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE POSTED ON YWN? SEND IT TO US FOR REVIEW.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)




4 COMMENTS

  1. One thing I don’t understand…. All these people writing letters with their proud points. If you are so sure you are right, why are you afraid to say your name. Stand up for what you believe in!

  2. I understand the pain of trying to get a child into the desired school as I have been through similar myself.

    I would like to point out a few things, while trying to avoid repeating those which have already been mentioned.

    1. In terms of shidduchim, society as it is tends to prefer girls who have gone to seminary overseas. Right or wrong, that is the reality.
    2. The girls that are stuck at home tend to feel rejected, not good enough, and may have a hard year with most of her friends away overseas having a good time.
    3. I happen to believe that girls who spend a year away from Mommy and Daddy learn to adapt, mature and learn how to live and manage on their own without Mommy holding their hand or doing everything for her.
    4. Schools are under no obligation to take any particular girl. 99% of the girls are from overseas, and they do not have an achrayos to any particular town, shul, or group.
    5. Supply and Demand. There are not enough seminaries for the number of girls that would like to attend, at least not enough within a particular type of seminary or for a certain demographic.
    6. Girls apply to several seminaries as backup plans, leading to the seminaries receiving hundreds of applications that need to be processed, hence the slightly justified reason for the application fee.
    7. Due to the above, most seminaries have the luxury of being selective. This is unfortunate, but what do you expect them to do? What would you do if you were in their shoes? You have 200 applicants for 80 spots, 120 girls will feel rejected, but they dont have a choice. …

  3. Apparently, a working knowledge of English by the young women or their parents is not required by Bais Yaakov schools or seminaries.
    It is also apparent that the average frum family fears only one being; not The Almighty, but rather the almighty shadchan