Monday, November 16, 2009

A shining example of Ahavat Yisrael (NOT!)

The following post rant isn’t exactly my usual blogging fare. But I think it’s a must-read for Diaspora parents of daughters who are thinking about coming to seminary in Israel next year I”YH:

As those of you who know us in real life can attest, YZG and I try to raise our kids to be yirei Shamayim, bnei Torah, and ohavei Yisrael.

But apparently, that’s not enough.

After all, a certain seminary for American girls here in Israel has ruled that its students may not visit us on Shabbat.

Why? Because, according to this seminary, TRLEOOB* isn’t located in a “charedi community” [sic].

And in a stunning display of what can only be described as extreme sinat chinam (baseless hatred), the seminary’s administration prohibits their students from spending Shabbat in any place which has been anachronistically labeled by the school as a “Mizrachi community” [sic]. (Hint: The Mizrachi party was submerged into the National Religious Party way back in 1956.)

Note that this draconian decree applies to many fine, upstanding neighborhoods, villages, towns, and cities throughout the country.

Oddly enough, the seminary’s students are allowed to come here during the week, because – the school explained - that’s an appropriate time to visit one’s “not frum” [sic] relatives…

What’s the administration afraid of? What evil things do they think we do here in our den of iniquity neighborhood?

I have no idea.

But either way, if your daughter is planning on spending a year in an American seminary in Israel, please make sure to check out the school’s Shabbat policy before she arrives.

Because speaking from personal experience, I’m certain that your Israeli friends and relatives will be dismayed to learn that their homes and chosen communities have been deemed unacceptable and not up to proper standards…smile_sad


*TRLEOOB=the real life equivalent of our blog


  1. Wow...that is pretty sucky! (sucky is a technical term, you know) I'm pretty shocked, but I guess I shouldn't be... It is just a warning whom not to invite to begin with!

  2. Ah yes, welcome to the world of charedi seminaries. My inlaws in katamon have been dealing with this for years when their nieces and cousins have come for the year.

    What I don't get is why Americans send their daughters to these places.Truly unbelievable. I've heard shocking stories of seminaries that lock the girls in after a certain time and shut of electricity for "lights out"!!!

  3. If you live in a place that the school has never heard of than visits are allowed. So the problem with where you live is the fame, which says a lot for the school.

  4. I would like my daughter (who is only 7) to go to Midreshet Netofa. Guaranteed she would be able to visit relatives, since my cousins live on that Yishuv (Mitzpeh Netofa).

    That does sound awfully nasty.

  5. I have been insulted on your behalf since I found out about this policy. Absolutely ridiculous, but, unfortunately, not at all surprising.

  6. I think parents need to be very careful about where they are sending their kids for the year. The school has to be a good fit for the kid and for the family's hashkafah. I see parents sending their sons and daughters to chareidi or chareidi-type schools and then are surprised when their kids come back frummer than the pope and want to be supported indefinitely because they want to get married before they are able to support themselves.

    What you describe is totally insulting to me, but if the parents don't like the policy, their daughters shouldn't be in the school. And if they didn't know of the policy--well that's something they should have asked beforehand.

  7. Safra-knit - sucky is a technical term, you know - LOL!:-)

    Abbi - What I don't get is why Americans send their daughters to these places. I think that most parents aren't aware of these schools' crazy rules. Or else, they just shrug and say, "Well, you know, that's how they do things in Eretz YisrOel." (Note the "o" in the last word...)

    Miriam - which says a lot for the school.
    Very true... :-(

  8. Leora - It's very disturbing, on so many levels...

    Yaffa - IMHO, the fact that it's "unfortunately, not at all surprising is probably the saddest part of all...

    Baila - Part of the problem is that in certain circles, some of the less chareidi schools (such as the institution which I was privileged to have attended) are no longer considered to be viable options for girls today. It's all about the holy shidduch resume, you see, and apparently the less chareidi schools don't have the same cachet.

  9. So, an address like mine (Shiloh) would probably be double-banned. Over thirty years ago, when Neve Yerushaliym was new and in Bayit V'Gan, we used to host girls every Shabbat. Someone onced asked me how they permitted the girls in our very Zionist home. "Simple," I'd say, "They were desparate; I never refused."

  10. Batya - So, an address like mine (Shiloh) would probably be double-banned.
    Sadly, you're probably right...

  11. Wow - I just saw this now. How upsetting! Having us (in Efrat) technically being on the politically incorrect side of the green line has made this kind of thing an issue before, but I'd never heard of a policy as patently awful as that one! Sheesh. Here's hoping for Achdut YisrAel bimhera beyamenu.

  12. Sad and sad. Also not very considerate towards the friends and relatives who might be concerned. But I suppose thse schools don't care. Not shaming other people is not on their agenda.
    I agree that parents in the States should be warned and check beforehand that the school matches their hashkafah.

  13. Toby - Amen!
    (And I like the way you capitalized the "A"...)

    Ilana-Davita - Exactly. Because I'm sure that it doesn't occur to most parents to inquire if their daughters will be allowed to visit their relatives...

  14. Can anyone publish a list of "normal" seminaries?

  15. tesyaa - Great idea. But until someone publishes such a list, parents just have to know which questions to ask the schools.

  16. Well, if where you are is merely not allowed, where I am is Sodom in comparison!

    I guess this excuses me from hosting seminary girls, although our shul is recruiting to host chayalim from Nativ Hagiur. Maybe next year when my Hebrew is better.

  17. I doubt it has much to do with the green line. I highly doubt they would *forbid* their girls from going to Beitar for Shabbat.

    IMHO, the worst part of this sickening piece of news is that I'm sure that some of the parents of these girls would support such policies. They don't want to *pollute* their girls with your Zionist MOdox hashkafah.

    (BTW - I get called "Mizrachi" all the time in my charedi neighborhood. As in "oh, you're not charedi? so you're Mizrachi?")

  18. OneTiredEma - "Well, if where you are is merely not allowed, where I am is Sodom in comparison!"
    LOL! Yes, your community is well known for its orgies. You really MUST invite me to the next one...

    Anonymous - "I highly doubt they would *forbid* their girls from going to Beitar for Shabbat."
    I agree with you. And I'm pretty sure that Kiryat Sefer (aka Modiin Illit) is fine too.

  19. Mrs. S., the size of the mall alone...and it has like five cafes. (oh, and a movie theater)

  20. OneTiredEma - I'm shocked, shocked...

  21. I agree; really disturbing, but by no means universal. Last year I had 4 girls from four different ultra-charedi seminaries visit our "mizrachi" community. They loved it and did not seem to have had any issues from their sems.

  22. Lauram - Very good point. This post is only about one very specific school and should certainly not be taken as a generalization about all haredi seminaries.


Feel free to leave a comment.