Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Seminary: phased out?

Well, I went to seminary. The thought of being away from home for the year gave me goosebumps up until the plane ride. I'm not sure if I truly wanted to go, or if I knew I should... or a combination. But I got into my first choice, and I went.

And I cried. For a bit. I was very homesick, and I missed my family, my mother, my house, my life. But eventually, I got over it and made some great friends. Yes, I learned plenty. Had many experiences. Would I repeat the year? Never. Do I think that it was very good for me? Yes, of course.

But now... Aidel's sister is approaching the age of Seminary. Its a very tough topic. I don't think that she wants to go so much. She does, but she is not one that is dying to go. And my parents do not know where the money will go to pay for her. B'H, my parents are comfortable. But the thought of 25,000 additional dollars necessary for her year in Israel (Oh yes, with the plane tickets, spending cash, phone bills, and food bills that she is bound to have) it is just a LOT of money. And to spend it when she isn't even so enthused about it... they aren't sure.

I was speaking to a few young girls who are the age or soon to be age of going to sem, and it seems that less people are going. Is this true? From my year in HS, EVERYONE went. I mean sure, there were the few that stayed home, and they still get eyebrows for why they did not go. I don't want that to happen to my sister. Plus, I'd love to have her here in E'Y. And I do think that it is good for her. I'm just torn on whether its necessary for her to go.

As is she. What do you think?


chanie said...

My sister also is not sure if she really wants to go.

Should they? Welll.....

Anonymous said...

I definitely do not think your sister NEEDS to go to an Israeli seminary. Yes, it might be good for her, but there are great seminaries in chu"l that may be good for her too. Granted, nothing possibly compares to Israel, and she will not get that anywhere else. But I would agree that your parents should definitely not shell out all that money if she doesn't really want to go, and if she has other viable alternatives.

Dude with hat (aka BTS) said...

WOWWWWWWWW!!!! $25k for one year??? I have a feeling you can go to college here for like twice cheaper or so! And US is not cheaper than EY for sure!

"and it seems that less people are going. Is this true?"
Recession i guess... It's not always much of outcome while these money could go down her future home or wedding at least (partially)..

nmf #7 said...

Sem isn't a necessity, so this is mostly up to her and your family. And yes, less people are going- but there are other alternatives. There are NY sems, sems across the US, Maalot, and so on, that can give a taste of the sem experience.
Also, there are grants out there to fund some of the sem expenses as well.

halfshared said...

Having seen the Israeli seminary experience with one sister and my own and another sister's American seminary experience, I think it is fair to say that you can have an amazing experience in either country. Choosing a seminary depends so much on the kind of experience she wants. Your sister should not do something she doesn't want to do just because she feels pressured to do it. I wish her luck in making a decision that is right for her.

mlevin said...

Aidel -
1. please explain how was Israel good for you?

2. It seems like your sister made her decision. She doesn't want to go, but the whole family, including you are trying to force her into something she doesn't want to do. Why not just give her $25,000 and let her decide what to do with that money? She is an adult. She could find more practical uses for that money.

3. Why do you care if others raise their eyebrows? Raised eyebrows give premature wrinkles. If they want to gossip about other people and their choices, then they would shrivel up prematurely.

Anonymous said...

sorry aidel-
YOU think it's good for her? Because she'll keep YOU complany? and it will cost your parents an additional 25K (added to what they're supporting YOU??)??

This entitlement attitude is nasueating

Anonymous said...

I went to sem here in the US of A, had a great experience, saved my parents 25,000, made new friends, got a year's head start in college, and no - I don't get raised eyebrows. And if I would get raised eyebrows, I wouldn't care - why live my life according to other people's standards?

chanie said...

Year's head start in college is definitely a plus...I wish I'd skipped sem for that reason only. I didn't learn that much, and I'm not one for trips. The extra year could have meant me finishing next year instead of in two years...and many less worries.

Der Shygetz said...


What about a non traditional year in EY, volunteering with a tzedoko like Meir Ponim or the medical assistance organizations and going to shiurim in her spare time?

sararina said...

Dear Aidel,
Lots of girls don't want to go...lots of girls go and are costs a lot of money...why not let her come to Israel for a long trip in the summer? And then go home, be happy, and do something else. Once she gets busy, she'll be happy.

Dry Eyes said...

I couldn't go to seminary is israel, because my parents couldn't afford it. At the time, it was the absolute worse thing that could happen to me. When I found out I wasn't growing, I cried and cried for days.
Having not-gone-to-israel for seminary, and having lived to tell the tail, I must say, that in retrospect it was fine.
I don't see how someone could let their parents spend all that money if they are unsure if they even want it. If people think that they have to go...they don't. Trust me.

AidelKnaidel said...

Just to add on to my original post- I spoke with my sister. She does want to go. She is just afraid to make my parents shell out the money. And I can't tell my parents which way to go either... because to them, she makes it seem as if she does not want to go.

I do think it will be good for her, but I am not sure if it is worth it. I never said that I think she is entitled to go. The fact that I got to go was a privilege.

AidelK said...

Hi there! Interesting blog. Imagine my surprise at finding you--when I googled what I thought was my original name!! If you are so inclined, you can email me at aidelknaidel(at) I always wondered why Aidel Knaidel doesn't work for me when I sign in to make comments--like now.

ValliaLeah said...

I know, seminary isn't for everyone. But how she feels about it now is no indication of whether it is worthwhile for her to go.

I went to seminary, and when I got on the plane I had no idea why I wasn't just going to college. Then after a few weeks in sem, I slowly started to get it. And now, back in chutz la'aretz, I think it was the best decision I ever made, even though I had no idea what I was doing at the time.
The most important parts of my year were not at all connected to the descriptions other people gave me of seminary. There are some things you have to try for yourself. Once there, you can appreciate the value of what you've gotten in a way you never would have been able to understand before.
Unless you think your sister will be hopelessly homesick, tell her not to let her doubts stand in the way. No, I take that back- I thought I would be homesick, and I was, for all of five minutes after the plane took off. The rest of the year I was fine.

It's true there are good sems in America too, but there is something really special about living in E"Y for a year. I had thought it sounded really cliche when people said that to me. But having been there, I can't help saying the cliches because I realized how they touch on a truth that is difficult to put into words. Of course, spending the money is a major concern. But if your parents are willing to spend it on her and she doesn't know of a reason why it wouldn't be good, then she should keep her mind open to trying it. Good luck, whatever the final decision is!

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Anonymous said...

I am one of the girls that didn't go to seminary. In fact, I was the only girl in my entire class that chose to stay home and go to university instead. I have to say that I don't think that seminary is for everyone- i don't think it would have been for me at all. Nothing to do with the learning- that is something I actually wanted to do. But being away from home fro so long.. not everyone is ready. My one confession is that it is hard to be away from all your friends- you really begin to miss them and you always wonder in the back of your mind what they are doing while you are sitting at home. Remind your sister that although it is hard to imagine now, just think about what it's like to say goodbye to people you are so close with and then have them leave for an entire year. It's really hard- and that is really the only thing i can say about the subject. Other than that it is really is an individual decision and she shouldn't let anyone force her to do anything. Peer pressure is really the worst.

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