Watch: At Midwest Agudah Convention, Rav Shmuel Fuerst Decries Exorbitantly-Priced Seminaries in Israel

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      • He’s only the most respected rav in Chicago as well as nationally recognized. He is a talmid of R’ Moshe and runs a massive chessed organization in chicago. He gets involved in sticky situations that nobody else wants to touch.

  1. The boys out of town Yeshiva’s tuition are almost just as expensive and your paying that for 7-8 years. I would take 1 year of the seminary anyday over my Boys yeshiva tuition bill.

    • R’ YID,
      In Boro Park/Monsey/Lakewood type Yeshivos, the boys post 12th Grade Yeshivos charge little tuition if not affordable.

      Better said, you find a plethora of “good” Yeshivos that will accommodate your inability to afford tuition.

      I do know that if you want to send your child to RIETS, it can cost 150K for Three years.

      • I don’t know what you’re talking about. My son in a yeshiva in Lakewood asks for close to $18k a year. The difference may be that almost no body pays this amount and the seminaries ask for a fortune and if you can’t pay, don’t send.

    • 1:20pm

      Non sense

      Im paying now $12,000 for my bais midrash bochur dorming in NJ.

      I paid $14400 for another son last year in Israel

      My daughter this year in seminary in israel is $26,000, plus airfare, plus aprox 4000 spending money, plus misc expenses.

      95% of her classmates went to israel. The peer pressure was enormous

    • No comparison whatsoever between a boy in Yeshiva where Talmud Torah K’Neged Kulum and it is a zchus to support his learning and a girl in seminary.

      I also doubt the principle of “Kol Mezonosov shel Ketizuvos lo chutz m…” would apply to seminary in Eretz Yisroel in most cases. It always applies to a boy in Yeshiva

  2. במחילת כבודו, this pitch will never work. I may agree with him. But he is using his brilliance in halacha to address a situation that is not related to halacha at all. There is no mitzvah for a girl to attend seminary. Torah mandated chinuch for boys is truly supposed to be done without cost, and the rebbe is not supposed to take a wage. There are built in workarounds. Meanwhile, the venture of running a large majority of mosdos today is hardly a non-profit business. The fact that they are not making money is diurectly attributable to working in a deffilut marketplace. There is competition. Staff often get their jobs due to their identity, not by merit. Classrooms are large, making the task of managing them harder than teaching. The percentage of faculty who are trained for their positions, while improved, is still dismal. Parents often have large families, and their ability to pay is limited. Many parents of young children have been encouraged to stay away fromt he workforce and remain in kollel. Even if they were to leave that environment to pursue a career, they get a late start, and may have not climbed the ladder to better income when their kids are young. So the candle is burned on both ends.

    Girls have no halachic obligation to be schooled at all. Seminary is a luxury. If you want it, pay for it. That’s the market. This Rav and his colleagues will never succeed in changing that dynamic, as correct as they may be that the current matzav is intolerable. What makes the situation so dire is that the girls schools have pushed the agenda that it is the “norm” to do 1-2 years of seminary in Eretz Yisroel. There is no such halacha based “norm”. But we are victim to trends in a way similar to the goyishe velt, and that makes these things huge problems.

    • I must object to the way you speak. Firstly, when someone starts off by saying “no offense” you know he is about to say something offending. Similarly, “במחילת כבודו”…
      As for כבוד תורתו, I know the Rav personally, and I can say that he is not only a גאון in פסק, but also in every area of learning and also an absolute גאון in חסד. His Chicago Chesed Fund helps out the Chicago community in countless ways, and I think that he was speaking mostly from that perspective, not Halachic.
      Additonally, part of his CCF organization is SimchaLink which helps with shidduchim, and a girl that does not go to seminary will often have more difficulty finding a shidduch.
      Lastly, a lot of what you wrote in the last paragraph is probably correct, but since this became the sad norm, we need to deal with it, and I believe that that was the Rav’s intention.

      • I happen to know the Rav, as well, and I hold him in high esteem. And I do agree with him. My point is that he was making a statement that will not be accepted, though I do wish it would be. The Rav does not need my haskomoh. The Klal either believes he possesses Ruach Hakodesh, and will jump at his beck and call. Or they will not, and see him as the Talmid Chochom that he is (not that everyone can adequately assess him) but frown on opinions outside of his recognized domain.

        I apologize for my opening line sounding condescending. It wasn’t meant that way at all.

        • One point left out- this very chosheve Rov (-any Rov worth their salt across the USA knows this Rov) is also very involved in Tzedokah and helping many families with their tuition and wedding costs. He’s has his finger in the pulse.
          Not afraid to speak his mind. Kol hakavod!

  3. Agree 100%.

    But, what about camps, even AGMW camps, who charge well over $2000/month. Closer to 2500. If you break that down, that is around the same amount per month as seminary. And Seminary is one child at a time, while camp costs is for each child at the same time. Camps are just as much as a necessity, if not more, than seminary.

    Agav, for those of us who have sent both boys and girls to Eretz Yisroel, we experienced that even though the boys don’t have the high tuition cost, they are much more on their own and have to spend a lot of extra money. Most of those expenses are usually covered by the Seminaries. At the end of the year, it costs around the same to send the boys and girls in Eretz Yisroel.

  4. Attending a seminary in Mexico is 1/20th the cost. Why u send girls to the israeil. The rabbi is correto. Seminary in Mexico, much less, better education and the girls will learn Spanish a useful language/idioma for todo americanos.
    Te veo el Mexico.

  5. I walked out of a Jaguar dealership because I refuse to pay $110k for a car. The Tesla dealership agreed to work with me but still, I refused their offer. I’ll settle for a simple Range Rover – a much cheaper choice: only $85.

  6. What about the fact that all the girls MUST get the Covid vaccines before coming (even though they’ve already had Covid and have natural antibodies), even though they know very well the negative effects it has on young women that age? The girls menstrual period gets completely upended and has a detrimental affect once they get married and are trying to become pregnant be”h. You can deny this well known fact from today till tommorow but it won’t change the metzios.

    • Where did you get your data? There was refereed studies published that found zero correlation between vaccines and pregnancy or fertility. I will ignore your baseless comment. If you want to spew such claims, provide references in the scientific research to support them. Otherwise, you are simply barking like a stray canine, and creating a narrative. That is disgraceful.

      • the girls talk. People are finding out from girls, rabbanim, kallah teachers, some brave doctors are speaking out. There are not enough good studies done on this and if you wait until you have all the data studied PROPERLY, it may be too late since the anecdotal evidence is there.

    • I totally agree! The fact that girls and their mothers are so desperate to send their daughter to seminary in EY at all costs – money they likely can’t afford which cause terrible stress on the family, and now they are even willing to take the risk of the adverse effects of this experimental jab which may affect fertility and cause other serious health risk down the line shows something extremely concerning is going on in our communities. MOTHERS! You must stand up and not allow this to happen to your daughters! Keep them in a local seminary, or help them get a job in a good atmosphere with night seminary/shiruim. Hashem is the one in charge of shidduchim and your daughter will survive not doing what everyone else is doing. Have bitachon and the more mothers that do this and band together, the less of an issue it will be anymore.

  7. R’ YID,
    In Boro Park/Monsey/Lakewood type Yeshivos, the boys post 12th Grade Yeshivos charge little tuition if not affordable.

    Better said, you find a plethora of “good” Yeshivos that will accommodate your inability to afford tuition.

    I do know that if you want to send your child to RIETS, it can cost 150K for Three years.

    • I don’t think that is true. I have a son in twelfth grade who is thinking of going to YU next year so I attended their open house where they said “nobody decides against going to YU because of the unaffordability”

  8. To Maskim
    having sent 6 boys to EY , brisk and Mir and 3 girls – BJJ , MR , Nachlas , there is absolutely no comparison in the cost
    boys are much much less after everything — girls also spend money ! if u put the seminary equation into the comparison the cost of a girl is approx 200% more than a boy even if the boy goes to sfas off shabbos once a month
    ( i am not sure what panet maskim is from , but my 200% is a understatement)

    • that’s because you sent to high maintenance seminaries. these places don’t offer breaks as freely as your average sem AND the girls spend a looott more money than in most other places. the cost in my case was definitely not more then a yeshiva, and i had a great year even without having katzefet all the time…

  9. I would feel justified in paying the $29,000 seminary tuition if i would know that they pay their teachers higher salaries as their husbands are all learning and many are literally young gedolim !! and really holding up the world with a lot less gashmius than those here — i would love someone to find out if the reason for the exurbanite tuition is that they are paying theor teachers more because than it would not bother me .

    also rabbi furst is correct if a group of Chicago givirm would get together they can change the system and bring down the tuition they have immense power in that way

  10. Does the high tuition cost for seminary in Israel include ALL meals? Or are they so money hungry greedy that they make the girls shnor meals from paupers in Meah Shiarim so they can get the feel of what it means to live so heilig a lifestyle? Greedy greedy greedy. Let them all go out of business. Sara Shnieur must be turning over in her grave.

    • My daughter was in seminary last year. Her seminary charged less overall than other sems, plus one of their main talking points was that they prefer if the girls stayed in sem over shabbos. They made shabbos into a highlight, not a stress, plus when they had to stay in EY for pesach, they made sure that everyone had a beautiful yom tov- having some seudos in seminary and offering to pay families to host girls when that was not possible.
      The hanhalah is very against this practice of shnorring meals from poor families.

  11. 1. My son goes to an out of town yeshiva and full tuition is $15,500
    2.No yeshiva covers the budget with tuition alone, so there is no comparison to seminaries that are businesses that are established for profit and will charge the most they feel the public will pay
    3.The seminary year in Israel for the regular B.Y. girl is a product that is stale and has not changed with the American Torah community.It’s not the 70’s or early 80’s when there were very few kolel families in America,and yeshivush Balai Batim that had learned in Kollel for years and are talmidai chachimim, was like looking for a needle in a haystack.Today BH there are thousands of kollel families, and many thousands more of yeshivish ballai battim.This community of tens of thousands of families raised their children with Torah and yiras sh’mayim and don’t need what the previous generation needed.They were raised in a world where there was very little passion for Torah and mitzvos, it was done put of habit and almost everyone worked or went to college with very few dedicating years to Torah.In that environment there was a need to send a girl to EY for a year to soak up the passion of Torah and mitzvos exposing her to many people that lived with those ideals, with the hope some of the lessons would stick, and she would have chipped away a little of her Anerican approach to Yiddishkeit.Contrast that to a girl who grows up today in Lakewood, monsey, or many other communities that have shulls, kollelim, that are over flowing with Bnai Torah in kollel, and ballad batim that are exceptional.The schools overflow with countless children that come from homes that are exceptional, ( being exceptional isn’t enough it seems…) .Being that this is the case, it would seem the reason to send to seminary in Israel is no longer applicable.Because the reason was never so that the girl matures away from home and gets independent, or to give her an opportunity to broaden her friendships with girls from other continents, nor was it so they could eat in as many restaurants as possible. It was so that they could get some of the TV culture out of their system( disclaimer,I had one in my home growing up In the 80’s and so did many frum homes that produced a generation that changed the state of America) .It would seem that $30,000 per child is an obscene amount of money to spend on an idea that has long outlived it’s shelf life.Growing up as a child of baby boomers my family had 5 children, and that was the higher end of families that weren’t chassidush or considered very yeshivish.Yes, there were exceptions, but the norm was 3-5. Compare that to the average family size of 8 more, and $30,000 per seminary year is unsustainable. Grandparents see their children struggling and feel they need to help with this burden, but that isn’t what is supposed to happen when people are in their golden years and past the pressures of supporting a family. It shouldn’t be that a system has built in an expectation for that generation to pay for this outdated and increasingingly exorbitant price tag.
    There will always be those that need the year in Israel for various reasons.Let them go, but the average girl should not.With about 80% less girls going to Israel, the prices will come down as seminaries compete for girls.It is absurd that a year that’s supposed to ingrain in our girls the importance of a life without the pursuit of the almighty American dollar, has a price tag of $30,000 which is beyond the grasp of those that actually have chosen to live according to those ideals.If the current crop of girls choose to follow the teachings of the $30,000 program, and marry and build a home based on a non materialistic focus, how will they send their children to get the same exposure they got?By not marrying professionals, nor into wealth, and their husband didn’t speculate and make it big in real estate, they have an income that shuts them out of this experience.
    It is high time the American
    Torah community state clearly that “the emperor has no clothes”. The seminary year has morphed into an exorbitantly expensive item that serves very little purpose.It is pushed by schools in America to proove their excellence to future customers that would consider coming to them because of the track to certain seminaries.Also, it is pushed by their hidden business relationships with the seminaries, paid in unusual ways( free tuition to all their children and serious discounts for relatives, employment for relatives in Israel ,and the feeling of power by having many influential people call them to beg them to use their clout to get them in, a favor that enhances prestige, and also Is something to trade for in return).
    The world has changed. Girls are not absorbing a non materialistic life away from the gaseous of America. Cheap phone plans, emails, texting, FaceTime, have created a way to be connected 24/6. Add that to the explosion of upscale eateries, and exposure to American kollel that fly to Eutope for periodic long weekends, and the picture emerges of a system that has run amok, and time to come to an end.
    While many will comment that it’s not fair to lump the good ruchniyis oriented girls,passionate teachers, and pure young couples in the same boat as the others, and point to specific stories that good resulted from a relative that changed course after the seminary experience, it still remains, that for the
    ” majority” this is a waste of money, and a money grab by a few savy individuals.

  12. The real issue is that one lone person (seminary owner) ends up with millions and many parents end up financially strained. The simple correction is to put measures in place whereby a seminary owner cannot earn in excess of $300,000 in any one lone year.

  13. Reb S. Fuerst is a highly respected talmid chochom and posek in Chicago for decades. My husband was a talmid back when he was still known to the bochurim by his nickname, and had tremendous respect for him even then. While the price of the seminaries is ridiculous, the seminary year itself can be, and usually is, enormously beneficial for the young lady. Local seminaries usually are too, but ארץ ישראל is still – ארץ ישראל. Nothing like it. The seminary year itself shouldn’t be eliminated but it something has to change, to make it more affordable. Perhaps a time sharing program, with different American seminaries using the same facilities and staff for different parts of the year, so that the girls experience the אווירה ד’ארעא, the special teachers, see our beloved homeland, but for less time, so the costs are controlled. This will also lower the risks for girls who may stray if they’re unsupervised for the full year, as some parents fear.

  14. Anyone who thinks that sending a boy to israel is expensive as seminary is beyond stupid and shouldn’t be commenting on any forum there is absolutely no comparison is cost.
    This Gav guy wrote 200% , I would say a girl cost at least 1000% more than a boy!
    The price of girls seminary is astronomical and there are no Masa scholarships and No FAFSA anymore for 2022 !! So it’s btw 28-30 k just tuition
    I don’t know if everyone realizes that currently neither Touro or TTI can do FAFSA for girl seminaries next year 2022.
    I hope all parents realize this the 28-30k is real – there is no FAFSA and no Masa with current govt. zero scholarship besides what we the seminary will give off which usually $2000 is max.
    Rabbi Furst approach is critical

  15. The truth is, at least in the NY area, many Mosdos are very top heavy. Deans, Menahalim, Administrators, CEO’s or CFO’s, fundraisers, or whatever else you want to call them, are making very nice salaries. The top is taken care of.

    There is no reason why Seminary owners should not make the same. They are taking care of the girls 24/7, providing meals, dorm, Shabbosim, trips, etc.. They take responsibilities of the safety and health of the girls, arranging doctor visits, etc.. They take care of student visas and the like.

    They deserve to make a lot more than local Administrators. I would hope the salaries of the principals and Menahalos also reflect their 24/7 care for the girls. They definitely deserve a high salary.

    The difference is that since these seminaries are privately owned, they cannot fundraise and make dinners. If our local Yeshivas and schools would not fundraise, tuition would also be much higher. And that is without having dormitories, providing all meals, Shabbosim etc..

    Another huge factor is the amount of money our Mosdos get from Uncle Sam.

    Factor in Uncle Sam, fundraising, dinners and other donations, on top of tuition, local schools are probably bringing in the same amount per student as the Seminaries.

    Besides, I know Lakewood is different, but in many areas of New York, full tuition is not far from what the seminaries are charging. And nobody makes a ruckus about those schools. (True, most parents do not pay full tuition. I have heard that the reason why some schools charge such high tuition is so they can tell people “85% of our parents don’t pay full!” But they still charge a lot.)

    Unless you want Seminaries to start making dinners, raffles, and other fundraisers, there is no way to get the price down.

  16. The real question is why do we need another year of school what are they teaching that cant be taught in 4 years of high school? When seminary started it was not meant for every student


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