Category Archives: Archives 5763

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Adar II 5763 – College Issues

Dear Jemsem Readers,

Here are 3 letters that I have received concerning college issues. Please read them as they apply to many of you. It is always good to think and re-evaluate your current situation, and make sure that you are on target. My response follows afterward.

Mrs. Chana Silver

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Dear Chana,

It recently occurred to me that I might be able to start my career without spending three to four extra years in college. It would be possible for me to go to a specified program and learn the skills for my potential career. If I went to college, I would still have to study for another few years afterwards! I would probably end up spending five or more years in school! I brought up this idea to my parents and they said that off the bat – this was not an option. They say that I need a college degree to assure that in 20 years from now, just in case my career choice is obsolete, the college degree will come in handy! To me it just seems like wasting three years or more of my life. A lot of the information that you learn in college is just
not practical and the fact that it is often not the proper hashkofos. So is college a waste of time, or is it worth the long amount of time for that piece of paper? Should I fight my parents or just go? Is it something worth
fighting for?

Thank you for your help,
Name Withheld

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Dear Chana,

I am 20 years old. I work full time as a teacher, and I recently started going to Touro. I find it very hard to keep up with all the work and my job and it is also very expensive. I don’t think I’ll every really get a degree because I am hoping to get married in the next few years and I don’t want to go to college once I am married. I also don’t plan to work when I have young children at home, even if money is tight, because I feel that children need to have their mother at home when they are little. Therefore, I don’t feel that I’m gaining that much from college even if I do finish.

I don’t want to continue going there next semester, but when I tell friends and family that, they all say I should continue, because have no way of knowing that I’ll find a shidduch so soon, and when I do get married, I may need to work even if I don’t want to, so then I’d be happy to have finished college. I just don’t think that it’s worth the expense and effort for these things that probably won’t even happen. And if I do remain single for another few years, or if I have to work when I have kids, I can work without a college degree like I am doing now. Should I continue going to college or not? I would really like to quit, but I’m just afraid that everyone else may be right, and it would be a mistake to quit now.

Thank you,
Name withheld

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Dear Chana,

I have been accepted to Brooklyn College along with three other friends on the same hashkafic level as I am. I have also applied to Touro College and am waiting a response. Touro is FOUR times the amount per year than Brooklyn. I will aready be working full time to help my parents pay for the tuition! What chances am I taking if I go to Brooklyn College? If I get accepted to Touro College should I go despite the money? If I don’t get
accepted to Touro I’ll have to go to Brooklyn anyways….

Can you give me some insight into how to make my decision – if I do get accepted to Touro?

Thanks!
Name withheld.

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Dear College-Concerned Readers,

First and foremost I must state that I cannot possibly give any one of you a specific answer over email. Each case is quite individual, and there are many factors and situations that would warrant different answers. The best thing that you can do for yourselves would be to go and consult with a Rav and get an answer to your particular circumstances.

I will however talk a bit about the idea of college and some things that you should be considering.

The issue of college is no different than any other concept that we deal with in our lives. The basic bottom line thing that we have to remember is that we were put here to be an Eved Hashem. I must train myself so that
every single thing that I do concurs with that. The very profession that I choose must be in conjunction with the modes of Halacha and Tznius that I live my life by, as well as the environment in which I get my training. College is as much my Avodas Hashem as anything else. I’m a Jew 24 hours a day. If I would have to compromise my Jewishness on any level because I am in a particular school or program, well, then that place wouldn’t be for me. Coed issues and information in certain classes that are antithetical to Torah Ideals are two areas to take into consideration. There are many tests that lurk in many situations. The question is – if I am aware of some of them, why would I put myself in this type of Makom Sakana? We don’t ask for isyonos.

All of you spent what I hope was an amazing year in seminary where you were able to sensitize yourselves to what is Emes in this world and what is not. What I must bring out from the potential to the actual, what it means to live as a servant of Hashem — this IS the essence — it never changes. The problem is that we get caught up in the glitz and glamour of society – “stuck in the mud” if you will. Our path gets obscured, our vision blurred. We must be able to see clearly – what will help our Avdus and what is dangerous for us. There are certain schools and programs, which are better or worse for our spiritual health. We owe it to ourselves to research it and make a decision based on the right tings. Choosing an environment / setting the proper Gedarim / and hanging around with the right people are all important aspects of this idea. A wrong decision in these areas can unfortunately yield serious consequences.

Again, every situation is different, and I stress that a Rav should be consulted about these very big decisions.

Make sure to make all of your decisions L’sheim Shamayim, with college and everything else in your life, and may this be a Zechus for you – just as you keep Hashem in mind may He keep you in mind and shower you with endless Brachos.

With Warmest Wishes,
Mrs. Chana Silver

Archives

Adar I 5763 – The Other Side of the Fence

Dear Chana addresses the many social issues that come up in daily life. The questions will be answered by Mrs. Chana Silver, a renowned educator and crisis counselor in Yerushalayim.

1 Adar I 5763

Dear Chana,

You get a lot of letters from single girls about shidduchim. Myself and many of my friends have a question from the opposite side of the fence. I have been out of Sem. for several years and B’H I am married and have a young baby. I put a lot of effort into maintaining contact with my old friends, but I never know if I should bring up the dating topic or not. I feel it may be awkward or seem like I am prying. Should I bring it up anyway? I want to keep up these friendships and I am truly interested and I care about what is going on in their lives.

Also, I wish that I could explain to single girls that their married friends need them too!!!!! Getting married is a huge change! Personally I found that the first few months of marriage and pregnancy were the hardest because suddenly the topics most on my mind were off limits.

Any advice for the newly married crowd?

Name withheld

Michlala 5758

Dear Jemsem Reader,

These are two very important topics. Firstly, how to continue the friendships you have with you single friends. Please know that just as you said that the married girls still need their single friends, it is exactly the same for the single ones, they very much need their married friends. There is of course a bit of adjustment that goes on with a friendship when one of the parties goes through the process of engagement and marriage, but it is manageable. If the situation is one that feels a bit sticky because you know how very much your friend wants to get married as well, I feel that it is important to have a frank and earnest talk with her [the advice is the same if you are already married and it is a bit uncomfortable.] Many people think that to avoid the whole issue is the best way. I think that it can be quite painful for the single friend. The situation is what it is – you are engaged or married and she is not. Why not share with her your honest feelings about how much you care about her and want her to find her bashert soon and that you are davening for her. It might be initially awkward, but in the long run she will see that she does mean a lot to you and you very much want to keep up the friendship. All things don’t come to full stop because you are engaged or married.

So if you are engaged, make it a point to include your friend in your plans. Take her with you for gown fittings or to go pick out stuff for your wedding or home. Obviously use your Sechel. She doesn’t have to hear ALL of your plans with you babbling about them morning noon and night – but you can let her in on some of it. She needs to feel included at this time, but tread carefully, it is an issue of sensitivity. The same goes if you are married, or married with a baby. Some things you can speak about with her and some things you will save for other married young women. You will still want to connect with her, be it in your home or going on outings with her. The specifics of what, when, and how is up to you, come on, you have a lot of Binah – use it!!

As to the question that you specifically asked, well, the answer should be clearer for you now. Of course you should ask her what is going on with her dating and see if she feels comfortable to talk with you about it. Even if she doesn’t, at least you can it express it to her in a way that will show her how much you care. Do take an active interest and try to set her up, [doesn’t your husband have any friends?] This is all an issue of Bein Adam L’chaveiro. Again, sweeping this under the carpet will do no one any good. Try to think of ways that you can be helpful and caring towards her.

As for you, being married and now you are up to the stage with a child, there are many issues that you have, questions of dealing with husbands and children etc. Do find someone who is older than you that you can confide in and discuss the many things that come up with. This is unchartered territory – so how in the world are you supposed to have all the answers? You need someone to talk to and share things with as well, it is very important. For some it will be perhaps their Kallah Teacher that they developed a close and special kesher with, for others, someone in the community perhaps. A word of caution: Don’t necessarily bring up points of concern or issues about your husband, or even really great aspects about him, with your married peers. Both of these perspectives can lead to adverse reactions within the marriages of your friends. That is why I stress that it should be someone who is older than you and not in your social or age dimension.

With your single friends, hopefully soon, they will be married as well, and you will have more commonality with them once again.

And for you in your marriage, may you continuously progress in your relationship with your husband growing ever closer and brick by brick build that Bayis Ne’eman.

With warmest wishes,
Chana