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Seminary Education

Rabbi Jonathan Blass30 Cheshvan 5763
529
Question
My wife and I live in Monsey New York and hope to make Aliyah when our youngest finishes high school (about 6 years from now). We have a daughter in a Bais Yaakov who is a senior and is now trying to choose a seminary to attend next year. Her preference, and that of her parents, is that she go to Israel. Recently, we attended a "seminary night" at her high school where about 8 different seminaries were represented and gave presentations. My wife and I were appalled to find out that only one seminary,"BJJ", teaches in Hebrew. All the others teach in English. When we asked why, we were told that forcing the girls to learn in hebrew would be an impediment to learning because they would be too busy trying to translate the hebrew. Now my wife and I are wondering what the point would be of sending our daughter to Israel, just to live in an "American enclave" at her seminary. Do you think that it would be preferable for a girl to learn in english and perhaps absorb more material, or to learn in hebrew and develop a working knowledge and fluency in the language, even at the expense learning some material.
Answer
You are correct in seeing integration into an Israeli environment as important. Also important is the general atmosphere and the guidance and supervision given a newcomer to a different country (even when it is her own). An institution that enjoys a good reputation, that teaches both in Hebrew and in English and that has students both from Israel and abroad is: Michlalah - Jerusalem College for Women P.O. BOX 16078, Bayit Vegan, Jerusalem 91160 Tel.972-2-6750911 Fax 972-2-6750917 Another well-regarded institution that has classes for both Israelis and foreign students is Michlelet Orot, Elkana 44814 tel.972-3-9361274 headed by HaRav Yehuda Feliks. As in all issues regarding education - one can only do the best he can, pray for Divine assistance, and recognize that most decisions are reversible if it turns out a mistake was made.
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