Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Letting Somebody Else Rant For a Change...

There's a very interesting piece over at Matzav.com about parents who cannot seem to manage regular school tuition, suddenly being able to lay out exorbitant sums for Israeli seminary fees.

The writer makes a cogent point, though my objections go even earlier in the "game". Why are we letting these seminaries bilk us for usurious application fees, never mind the ridiculously steep tuitions, all the while subtly perpetrating the myth that only girls who go to Israel for seminary will get the "good" shidduchim (if the others get a guy at all)?

I've often joked that I was going to start up a new "seminary" of my own. I'll charge upwards of $100 in non-refundable application fees, collect vast sums of money and reject every single girl who applies (I'll be the most selective and therefore the most sought after institution!). I'll live from year to year on the application fees alone.

While I fully understand that seminaries feel the need to charge application fees to limit the number of girls who apply and choose not to attend, I say that some countermeasures would be fair. Supposing we say that all application fees from students who are subsequently accepted are non-refundable, regardless of which institution they end out attending. But girls who are rejected, should have their checks refunded.

In addition, the perpetration of the myth that the Israeli year is the only way to ensure a "suitable" shidduch for a girl and equally as offensive that this is a girl's "right" (the same feeling of entitlement causes parents to literally go broke outfitting their young kollel couple's apartments with all sorts of luxuries) is what keeps all these seminaries in the booming (apparently recession-proof) business that they are in, while bankrupting parents and creating ridiculous amounts of stress on our girls (Have you ever seen these girls when the seminary acceptance envelopes begin arriving in the mail??!?).

When do we stand up and say enough is enough?


8 comments:

Gavi said...

Not to mention the fact that the "gap-year-in-Israel" business does not seem to effect lasting change on its clients!!

I think that there is a lot to be said for sending a child to a yeshiva or seminary not so far away from home, instead of what often amounts to a year's vacation in a place with no de facto legal drinking age...

tesyaa said...

They could even charge a higher fee if they follow your suggestion; say $200 instead of $100. The girls who are accepted will not mind paying, and the rejected girls won't be quite as pained.

BLD. said...

Seminaries are a money making business like Safrus.

FBB said...

You took MBB's idea for a seminary. Right down to the people flocking to it BECAUSE it's so picky!!!

daughtersintheparsha said...

For at LEAST ten years this has been an "idea" accept application fees and accept no girls. We all get the point, and it is no one's original idea anymore.

I have not heard anyone say anywhere that they will not accept a shidduch based on whether or not the girl went to israel, this is one of those things that everyone complains about but no one can name an individual who has actually stated so.

I think the fees are quite high. However, I don't think it makes hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in profit. The teachers in these seminaries get paid a decent teaching salary which doesn't exactly have them rolling in the dough. Rents are exorbitant, or mortgage fees for buildings, insurance, food, trips, etc.

having defended the whole system, I have a real issue with the year in israel. (even though the DIP's both went and loved their year). I think it should be for girls who like to learn, or want to grow spiritually. It should not be for girls who hate israelis, hate israeli food, need to talk to mommy every night, only go for shabbos to american relatives, and spend the first three months crying. Know your daughter before you send her.
Otherwise, I think a year in israel for any jew or jewess can only be rewarding if they allow themselves all the opportunities of traveling the country, learning from inspiring teachers, and growing in ruchnius and personal development

G6 said...

DIP -

Just because you haven't experienced something, doesn't make it a myth. My daughter (who is happily married) went to a highly respected seminary in America and I will tell you that people asked me WHY when it came to Shidduchim - and frankly, your tone surprises me when you describe which girls should not go to Israel... Just like your daughters, my daughter too "likes to learn, wants to grow spiritually" and certainly doesn't need to "talk to Mommy" every night! In your judgment, she should have gone to Israel, but we found her seminary to be a very high caliber without a lot of the distractions. And believe it or not, SHE TOO, had inspiring teachers and grew in ruchnius and personal development.
I never said that the Israeli experience is not VALUABLE, but I do question why an Israeli seminary is de rigueur and is twice the price of it's American counterpart.
In these financial times, I think we need to examine why this particular expense is "untouchable".

Shosh said...

I paid $400 just in seminary application fees. That was twice as much as I paid to apply to 6 colleges.

DIP said...

woah, g6, think you misunderstood me. or more likely, I wasn't clear enough. I know the sem your daughter went to, and it is a great sem. I IN NO WAY MEANT AT ALL that a a girl who stays in the US is NOT into learning and growing. I was talking about they type of girl whom I think should NOT go to Israel. Save her parents the money, because the type I am talking about doesn't always seem to reap all the benefits a year in Israel can provide. sorry