As a further sign I’m getting older, my sister is currently looking into seminaries for next year. (A different topic, but seriously, I remember dunking her in the laundry basket to make her giggle, and now she’s off to sem!?) The one she’s currently almost decided on happens to be the sister school to the Yeshiva I went to, so naturally I checked out the brochures she had to see how they differ.
Now guys are naturally a bit rougher so I was expecting their creature comforts to be a bit more flowered up, but seriously, this place sounds like a hotel: ” The apartments are pleasant and cozy, heated and air-conditioned” Air-conditioned!? I used to freeze a two liter bottle of Coke and put it under my pillow just to try and feel some semblance of cool. We had a fan that we hung from the ceiling using duct-tape. And they get bloody air-conditioning!?
“With American-style mattresses, living room suites, and full kitchen facilities (stove top, microwave, toaster oven, sandwich maker and hot water urn).” We had three American mattresses in yeshiva, and they were well fought over, with seniority or coolness usually managing to clinch them. You know what the rest of us had? Foam. Foam covered in some Israeli sandpaper sheets. If you were really lucky, you might get a second foam to make it a bit more comfortable. Living room suites? The closest we got to a living room suite was throwing some pillows on someones bed, ten guys squeezing on it so we could all watch a downloaded movie on someones laptop. Kitchen facilities? Maybe if you bought them yourself. Even then you might not be allowed to keep them (fire hazard).
“Well balanced nutritious meals are provided; vegetarian and other special needs can be met by prior arrangement”. We had nutritious meals too. Chicken-based substances are nutritious, right? Basically, we had whatever came out of a big bag, or the cook could easily make. Forget nutritious, it was of questionable edibility. And I can’t imagine the response to requesting special needs meals. Actually, I can. Laughter?
I could go on about creature comforts, but that would take all day, and I’m anxious to move on. Recreation. They have a choice of extra-curricular activities, including Art, Choir, Kickboxing, Aerobics, Pilates, Karate, Dancing, Choir (yes, they listed it twice), Challah Baking, Scrap-booking, Cake Decorating, Sewing, Jewelry making, and Basketball at an indoor gym. I can’t complain, we had activities too, like basketball a couple of times a week. And learning, you could always have extra-curricular learning. Basically, I’m jealous. How awesome would it have been to be able to do kickboxing in Yeshiva? This is why guys go to town at night, there’s nothing to do in Yeshiva to keep them there. And it annoys me how guys are all assumed to be sports and fitness obsessed. When we had reps scouting us in 12th grade we asked what amenities the Yeshivas offered, and almost all of them had nothing to offer but gym and a basketball court. I’m not exactly pushing for Yeshivas to offer challah making, but they could make an effort to take care of the guys as much as they do the girls.
I’ve also got the brochures accompaniment here, a course catalog. I’d like to review it but I can’t, its just too thick. They may not learn Gemorah, but to their benefit, as they get a course on almost everything else, in almost every area of interest. From hashgafa to history, from halachos in every practical area to more esoteric stuff. This is why girls tend to know more practical stuff than guys. They get the straight scoop. While Yeshvos are obsessed with plowing through mesechtos, one size fits all, the sems are offering the girls a choice of interests and they get to hear what to do while guys are pretty much trying to learn aramaic.
All I can say is, I’m going drag and enrolling in sem. Seems like a better post-high school experience.