Jan 8, 2007

how bad is the one year yeshiva in Israel program?

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach pens a frightening analysis about the problems with the guys and girls who come to Israel for yeshiva and seminary in the one year post high-school programs.

What do you think? Is it as bad as he says?

In my day, when I was in yeshiva (post highschool), it was limited to a few select yeshivas that had these problems. The average yeshiva did not have these problems (or if they did it was individuals in the yeshiva/sem and not widespread).

I have heard from some people that the problems are more prevalent now, though usually it is smoking a hookah and some drinking. Rabbi Boteach is describing something much worse than what I have heard.

Is it as bad as he says?


  1. It's hard to say, though I don't think so from my two years there. Are there a number of people like that? Sure. But there are times where you'd see a couple of drunk guys, and maybe they never normally drank, or something similar. Is it a good thing? Obviously not. But is it a culture of something terrible? No.

    I also know way too many people who started off the year like that, enjoying their "freedom" etc., and then completely turned around.

  2. I hope you are right and it is still just a few guys here and there.. Boteach seems to say it is much worse than that. It might just be the people he knows! Maybe the community he is involved in is sending their boys and girls to those yeshivas that have such issues.

    I do know from word of mouth though that even many of the standard yeshivas have more such incidents of smoking (hookah) and drinking alcohol than they used to...

  3. The problem of going to Ben Yehuda, as Shmuley did, is that the kids that do that all descend there. If you want to understand all of the culture of the late 60's don't only go to Woodstock.

    Sure he's right, but he's only presenting part of the picture. The year in Israel is an extremely important year for the maturation of the students. Some will for the first time allow their taivos to manifest themselves but after the fact they'll come back and realize that it's not who they want to be.
    Others will go out on the town see a movie and get a meal.

    Should Yeshivot prevent students from leaving on Thursday nights? No way. Learning all week is hard enough for the average joe that without the break it wouldn't be possible.

    What should happen is instead of Yeshivot sending Rabbeim to BY to spy/check on the kids (they do have lives too) there needs to be some sort of check in policy when they return - "Hi, how are you? Just making sure you're okay". And off to bed. Any student who's been out all night drinking or smoking will be apparent. The Yeshiva can set their own standards for discipline.

    Yes, he's right but don't attempt to take away the most important year for many of these students.

  4. interesting natan. good points. Their getting drunk on Ben Yehuda is not the only aspect to being in Israel. Many more grow from their freedom and new environment than those who fall at the curbs of Ben Yehuda...

  5. In some ways, it's just as bad (or even worse) as described. It does depend which program, time and location in Israel, and type of kids one is observing, but it seems that these issues are found just about everywhere. It's my personal theory that some things will happen everywhere, and one has deal as best as one can. Even Shemeshfest, a family event, is known for "sketchiness", unfortunately. It's too complicated to go into changes in policies (or parenting), but there are some changes that can be made on all fronts.

  6. The sex rabbi has spoken. Just ignore the fact that kids drink and "do drugs" (i.e. smoke a plant that the IandI has created but the Babylonians illegalized) precisely BECAUSE of the nature of the Yeshiva system, "year in Israel" inclusive?

    I'll spare Boteach a critical rant for now.

  7. I don't think that the situation is nearly as bad as Boteach portrays it. There is drinking and drugs everywhere, and that type of behavior is only exacerbated by the newfound freedom of a year thousands of miles away from parents.

  8. This could be a long discussion. But i will say that when i arrived 10 years ago i was shocked and dumbfounded by the amount og drinking and smoking. Did guys start smoking becuase of it? yes. But to this day I've never gotten drunk and I've never stated the cold end of a lit cigarette.
    But thats not really the main gist of it. What i really think is the truth is parents dont know where they are sending them. We will spend 4 years researching Colleges, but 1 week working on yeshivas? Dont let your children go to a place where he can wash through!!

  9. Annie - I agree with you. Also it might be as bad as he says in the mnore "party" oriented places.. maybe those are the yeshivas he is familair with..

    whats- that is an interesting comparison..


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