This past week, I enjoyed a whirlwind trip to Eretz Yisrael. After a very successful fundraising venture in Lakewood, NJ over Purim and a quick seudah, my wife and I boarded our flight to Eretz Yisrael, arriving just in time for a second Purim seudah in Yerushalayim.
During the remainder of the school week, I had the opportunity to enjoy my niece’s wedding and to visit the following seminaries: Bnos Sarah, Kesser Chaya, Tomer Devorah, Sharfmans, Midreshet Tehilla, Maor Bais Yaakov and Ateres Bais Yaakov. I selected to visit these seminaries based on two criteria: our alumni currently attend them (in either Shana Alef or Bais programs) or our seniors applied to them. In each of these seminaries, I reviewed the course offerings, met with the administration and visited with our students to see how they are faring. I was thus able to ascertain the strengths and weaknesses of each school. The administrators in all of the seminaries I visited had the highest praise for our students’ middos, seriousness and readiness for their programs. All of our students, without exception, reported being well-prepared educationally for their Israel experience, and they appreciated the pre-counseling that they had received from the NEAT administration. I was also able to discuss with each girl her options for the future; it was especially gratifying to see the high level of achievement, personal growth and maturity of the girls who chose to return for a second year. In recent years, the two-year Israel option has become very popular, and based on the credits earned, the universities with whom the seminaries are affiliated often offer graduates of these custom seminary programs a full bachelors degree.
I also had the opportunity to host an alumni reunion on behalf of the school, which was attended by twelve alumni of the school and organized by Aviva Rotbard. The girls have asked me to express their tremendous appreciation to the school for all of the efforts and care that we offered them while here in Providence, as well as the ongoing chizuk that they receive from their former boarding parents, community members, local rabbanim and the administration. While there was tremendous diversity among the girls at the reunion, there was great respect for each and every young lady and her accomplishments.
The special relationships that we have fostered with the seminaries through these visits allow us the opportunity to place our students in the schools of their choice, maximize their year in Eretz Yisrael and address any concerns and suggestions in a most meaningful way.
Rabbi Peretz Scheinerman