Shidduch Crisis Letter: How About We Get Rid of Seminary?

It is well known that TLS is a driving force in bringing awareness of and finding solutions to the shidduch crisis.

That being the case, I am hoping that my post on this venue will yield positive results in the form of meaningful dialogue and productive ideas.

I have to be honest, there is a very large aspect of the shidduch crisis that I fail to understand why it isn’t addressed more.

Why are we so OK with girls going to seminary overseas, especially for a year. During that entire year, they could have stayed home and found a job, especially a unique job which requires schooling and/or training, but ultimately pays well. There is usually less competition as well as better pay in those fields than being a secretary, teacher or a sub. This would give them an advantage of being able to actually have some money saved up when they get married, as well as having a steady and decent paying job. That is obviously very attractive to many people in shidduchim. In addition, they would not  automatically and arbitrarily lose an entire year of dating in case they wanted to start. Another drawback to a year overseas in seminary, is that their parents are spending $20,000 or more for the “seminary experience”. To be honest, that money could easily have been set aside to pay for rent and other expenses for the first year or two when the girl gets married.

Obviously, I do understand that for many girls they need to have time to mature, and also they do learn valuable lessons, but any capable institution (as well as parents) are able to do that same job in much much less time, and it does not have to be overseas. Yes, everyone wants their wife to be able to run the house Al pi Halacha and raise their children with clear and proper hashkafos, but again, that does not require a full year away where the girl comes back with a payis and beard! Why are we right away, jumping to only take away time from the development of bochurim but no one is looking at the seminaries?

I know, it is a “big business” somewhat like esrogim. There is a lot of influence and “Yichus” involved not to mention peer pressure and of course a ton of money for the people who run the seminaries. Yes, that being the case, it will be very hard to change anything, but I do think it is worth discussing and  trying!

To sum it up, there are definitely positives to what is being accomplished in seminary, BUT, the downsides seem to be:

  • One full year of the girls (getting one year older) with zero chance of even talking about dating experience
  • One year less of job experience and training which sets them back in time as well as finances. Less chance of a girl having a well paid profession, let alone having savings, both of which can hurt her chances of getting a shidduch
  • Parents are pressured to spend money they can barely afford to spend, which takes away from the money that they would have been able to give toward the chosson and kallah (which can only make things harder for a girl)

Again, we all know that this is a very touchy subject, especially big money seminaries, but I think it is at least worth having an open and honest dialogue to see if perhaps it is time to rethink how necessary seminaries like this are.

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62 COMMENTS

  1. GREAT Idea no need to attach to the shidduch crisis. Of course every situation has some sort of benefit and I’m sure seminary does benefit some but on the whole for all the effort I I think as a community we need to take a very hard look at what there is to gain and of course the downsides, like having your daughter run the streets of geulah….. Spending time in cafes, all in the name of absorbing avira deretz yisroel…….

  2. so so true!! look at the chassidishe world
    they dont send their girls to seminary and their just fine! and they dont have a shidduch crises either! the girls just get brainwashed in seminary that you can only marry a long term learner or else your a failure. again of course thats beautiful but its not for everyone. it just creates problems down the line…im talking from experience

  3. Seminary is the elephant in the room.

    Its where girls have a great time spending their parents $$ and are exposed to the highest levels of gashmius with a frummer spin. BTW its not 20k anymore, its over 30k. Let the girls stay home and go to half a day seminary. They can also male $30k working part time, save on the “ice coffee” and they can save their parents a boat load of $$.

  4. Put the money towards a degree or let the girl use it to start a business. There’s nothing more torahdik for a girl than for her to be able to support her husbands learning.

    • Wrong. Go back and look at the kesubah. The man has all the financial responsibility of the family. It’s a deoraisa. With a kinyan and eidim. I guess all your years in yeshiva you still don’t know the aleph bais.

      • Go back and learn some more. Kesubos 5-5. A woman is also responsible to provide. The mishna talks about her responsibility to weave and make some money. It’s actually a big Machlokes if kesuba is D’oraysa. Sefardim don’t write D’oraysa in their kesuba. Your logic is also flawed. Just because a man is responsible to provide financially for his family doesn’t mean a woman cannot. It also doesn’t mean she cannot get zechusim for doing so while her husband learns Torah. Nashim Bmai Zachyan!

  5. Seminary is a joke and everyone knows it. Local and overseas. The only people who won’t admit this are the people making all the money on it. It’s a waste of time money and effort.

  6. Yes agreed a ludicrous expense and the unnecessary sense of entitlement.
    In addition to the tuition it costs another 10k for tickets, trips and more…

  7. It would be advisable to think a bit before submitting letters like this. Your points are all interesting but phrasing this as a way to help the shidduch crisis is absurd. Actually if they didn’t go to seminary they may start dating even earlier making the crisis even worse. Actually from a shidduch crisis perspective it would be ideal for all girls to go to 2 or even 3 years of seminary to make the ages that they start dating to be closer to the boys. And of course the guys must date at 21.

  8. Starting thr girls dating a year earlier at 18 would compound the problem leading to a far greater imbalance between boys and girls- a disaster!

    If anything, two years in seminary or two years without dating for that matter would be a help.

  9. Agree 100%. Actually 1000% . Not to mention that girls come back on a “high” that they must marry a learning ONLY guy. It sometimes takes years for a girl to realize that she wants to marry a worker/ learner. that’s the “shidduch crisis”.

    • That was their thought process when they started high school. Nothing what so ever having to do with seminary. The brainwashing of our children starts in high school.

  10. Say we put a clause in girls high school tuition contract. Send your daughter to seminary in Israel and we can back bill you for 4 years of FULL tuition. I think that will work.

    • Yes, my daughter actually gained so much hashkafically and a deeper understanding of yahadus, with terrific rabbeim and teachers and speakers, not to mention the various inspiring people they were introduced to, all of which she would never have gained by skipping seminary. True the financial aspect is expensive and a significant consideration, but to say nothing is gained is broad brushing and often incorrect.

  11. Oh no!
    That would be devastating!
    Expect the the girls not to go to seminary?
    Think of the Bittul Torah!
    The boys should change the yeshiva schedule instead.

  12. there are pros and cons about seminary as you write in your article and i am sure other points can be added to the list…
    if the girls do not go to EY will seminaries here go up in price?
    i would like to address one point
    you write about
    one year less of job experience…less chance of a girl having a well paid profession …
    i was at a very big gadols ztl apartment with my sons and a relative came along
    the relative (in kolell) was getting ready to come back to America and asked the gadol for a bracha that his wife should be matzliach in parnassa. the gadol answered the chiyuv of parnassa is on you….
    something in the way the author expressed himself i think that it is important to make clear chiyuv parnassa is on the boys
    what the girls do is special if they can afford manage etc but the sound here is a bit of reversal of roles…i know what your goal is…
    let alone not having savings which can hurt her chance of getting a shidduch …
    maybe the financial requests have to be addressed and spoken about openly

  13. I think seminary is contributing to the shidduch crisis and the divorce crisis by having girls come home with unrealistic expectations and by having girls come home assuming that their seminary teachers know more about them than their parents.

    • As I said a few times in this thread already, your daughter started getting brainwashed on her first day of high school. Nothing changed in seminary. BTW, parents don’t know their children either. If you want what’s best for your children, get a rav who can talk to each child individually and see where each one is holding in ruchniyos. They will be more honest with the rav than with you. They will tell what they believe you want to hear, not what they are actually doing.

  14. I’m not sure how much it would help shidduchim although it would have a positive affect. But I do believe the seminary hype is a severe stress on frum families.

    I think it is just a product of “good branding” in that you need to go in order to find a good shidduch;total fallacy of-course.

    • No different than which yeshiva a guy goes to. How many fathers will run after a guy that was in Torah Ohr for 2 years? But the Mir or Brisk, the line is out the door. Same branding, just for some idiotic reason, more accepted.

  15. If girls don’t go to seminary, then there’ll be less girls that want learning boys, especially if they go for a degree.
    That’ll solve the shidduch crises.

  16. Why don’t we tell all the boys to stop going to Israel at all?
    They can all learn in America.
    This would save money and they can start shidduchim earlier.
    Girls need an extra year in a sheltered environment and seminary in America is not so much cheaper.

  17. I think boys should do one year less of Bais Medrash and girls should wait one more year, get a job and some savings or college for those who do that. That will bridge the gap.

  18. Maybe just get rid of all education. Including and particularly bachurim going to EY. If you cut out those 2-3 years you save money and time. BTW, seminary is where the girls learn about educating. Since they’ve been told all through high school that a true bas yisroel should be a klei kodesh, what could be better. Maybe we should start kids in shidduchim like lev tahor, in their mid teens. I know everyone is going to scream, their to young, to immature etc. It makes as much sense as the opine that wants to trim girls education. But chas v’shalom a boy shouldn’t learn or warm a chair in a bais medrash for life, on the girls slave labor. Stop with the nonsensical ideas, and follow what the gedolim have been saying for 25+ years. Get rid of the freezer and start in shidduchim at a younger age.

    • Part of emunah in hashem is emunas chachamim. The gedolei yisroel have said for over 20 years that the freezer needs to go, and that our style is all wrong in America. Are you ready to follow the gedolei yisroel, or just talk about it?

  19. I do believe if we give a girl an extra year early to start dating, it will give them more time to find their mate.
    On the other side of the coin some girls do develop in Israel if they didn’t do good in high school.
    Most girls are solid after high school and the whole isreal party give them bad ideas of looking for a boy charmer who happens to have a good name.

  20. Oh Boy Holy Cannoli, this is getting crazy I need to RAP:

    (TTTO RAP)
    it’s not the seminary
    Nor the age gap
    not Primary
    or the freezer trap
    blaming all these things
    is just will be showin
    that ya gotta lack of Emuna
    and dont know where ya goin?

    It aint no balabatim
    or TLS Posters
    gonna solve this problem
    with all of these boasters
    Just have Emunah
    and rely on your creator

    He’s runnin the show,
    and HE is much greater,
    so do all ur histadlus
    and strengthen all your prayers

    sit back and relax
    Cause HE wont Betraya

  21. Of course we have to Daven. We have to have emunah. At the same time we should try to find a solution. If we are sick we go to the doctor and try to remedy the problem. If we can’t make ends meet we try to find a source of income. Earn more. Spend less. Same thing here. As long as population is growing and most boys marry girls younger than them, some girls will be left without a match. That’s why I suggested that the boys simply do not date girls that are younger. Regardless of WHEN any of them start dating. And also keep davening and have emunah. There is still plenty of need for that!

  22. If everyone would use even half of their energy davening for moshiach instead of pouring it out responding to every person’s thoughts- He would probably be here by now!

  23. Why so much negativity? You can agree or disagree without all the snide remarks, exclamation points, and sarcasm. Why is it when someone says something you dont like you feel the need to attack them?

  24. I say that we have so much faith and trust and belief in Hashem that he will solve the shidduch crisis that no one even goes out anymore. Hashem can do anything so let Him make them married. The best reason for all this, because this is what most boys and girls want these days. They want someone or somethings else to take car of everything for them. Also, they don’t really want to be married and create a home and work on themselves to be the best version of themselves and therefore the best husband or wife they can possibly be. They just don’t want to not be unmarried if they want to be married at all, tav lemeitan tan doo melemitav armelo, but that doesn’t be they will be faithful and true as the gemara in kesuvos tells us. So this way Hashem will make these marriages happen if He wants and if He doesn’t want then He won’t which lines up perfectly with what the boys and girls actually want (because they are so lost and and misguided and disconnected from themselves and are only being told they must marry by their parents and teachers) because they won’t ever date all- boom shidduch crisis solved. This doesn’t work out great for the parents who pursue marriage for their children to get grandchildren and have their children’s marriages be a barometer of their own success of how they made it in life but if Hashem is really concerned about that He will make the marriages happen to satisfy their selfish needs, maybe despite the fact the boy and girl can’t stand each other. He has allowed the parents to ruin the first 20 years of their lives but telling who they must be so they reflect well upon the parents why not condem the next 100 years of their lives and just prop it up with marriage counselors and individual therapists and lots of pills and money for rent and food all for the glory of the parents’ egos? The parents will still be able to ruin potential matches as they do now if it doesn’t meet up to their standards that make they feel chashuv enough, so they get to keep their bechira chafshis and will work with Him in planning out their mentally and emotionally stunted and underdeveloped childrens’ futures, same as now. However, shidduch crisis still solved as no more shaddachnim as parents deal directly with the ultimate shadchan and He can’t lie and when it comes to shidduchim parents feel they have no peer or equal to discuss their children or their potential marriage with other than Him, which of course justifies all their arrogance and passive aggressiveness and nastiness… because they are such infallible and supreme beings, unless of course they are desperate for a child to get married then they temporarily put on some display of humility to facilitate an interaction but still retain all the same arrogance and obnoxiouses because they hold in regards to this yesh shtei reshuyos.

  25. If we want to solve any problems, we can’t mock other people in online blog.
    The facts are there are many singles in our society and every type of community including modern orthodox.
    We must say our opinions in a respectful way, that people could even Lisen what you’re saying. Many of you have good ideas, but you are expressing it by mocking other people.

  26. the only way to solve the shidduch crisis is to comment online as aggressively as possible with absolute confidence and certainty that the author of the article is 1,000% wrong AND that the person who just posted a comment is 10,000% wrong and that some magical solution that forces somebody to do or not do something is going to magically make everyone’s problems disappear and that nothing that the girls or boys could possibly do on their own, with their own choices or decisions or attitudes could possibly get them married.

  27. This very letter just exemplifies how desensitized we have become. Shabbos, tznius, parnasa… we have become an orthodox culture, void of the spiritual experiences of connecting with Hashem. There never was and will never be a holier place for us to connect with Him. All the “businesses” got in the way of this once upon a time genuinely growing and life changing experience.

  28. The crisis begins and ends with chilling out, keeping it simple, and believing in Him. Lets just try to really be good people and see how that helps.

  29. seminary is at 18 the crisis hits in the 20’s so what’s the difference seminary or stay at home a 18?

    also the cause of the crisis is the flaw that has developed in the boys track and it is hurting some boys as well as many girls so the solution lies in the boys court and if they will date earlier it will help both boys and girls in ruchniyos and in gashmiyos

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