Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Beis Miriam Yerushalayim Seminary and Indoctrination Center

This morning I was perusing Shmais.com and I noticed an advertisement for a brand new seminary called Beis Miriam Yerushalayim Seminary. My first thought was that these people must be really desperate, because as everyone knows, people kill their best friends to get into seminary, and here this place is spending money to beg people to attend? Crazy. I clicked on their ad because it offered some reasons to attend the seminary, and since as everyone knows I'm looking to attend.... So the first item on the list of reasons to attend was that they are going to teach girls how to teach JLI courses. This sounds like a look good thing, because if a shliach can get his wife to teach his courses for him, then he can do more important shtuff, like lekk his baalebaatim.
The next item on the list is about farbrengens. Now, everyone knows that I'm a massive fan of farbrengens. What would I write without them? Where else would I get supper from? Regardless, it's a great pity that there's no copy and paste on the iPod, because I would dearly love to tear their description apart line by line.
They start off by saying that "The art of Farbrengen requires apprenticeship", and this is taught by the Rebbeim in their Sichos. Can someone please explain to me what this line means? Are they referring to the art of talking or the art of listening? As far as I know, it's not that difficult to listen. Just shut up and eat something that isn't crunchy. And giving over a farbrengen? Again, you sit down and start talking. Hopefully you've prepared something to say. But it's not like your a plumber; they throw you off into the deep end and hope you swim. Because it's not something you can teach; either you got it or you don't.
It then says that back in the day, older mashpiim would sit down with teenage students and tell them lessons and tales of the past. Please tell me, is that what we're teaching our students? Lessons and tales of the past? Is Judaism a religion of the past? I sure don't want my daughters to think that. The lessons must be for today; the tales must speak for all time. Otherwise the whole thing is a waste of time.
The administration then informs us that, in addition to having a bunch of people who will come and speak, they will also have traditional farbrengens at which they will teach lubavitch dveikus niggunim and create an atmosphere of warmth and kedusha that will be difficult to leave. But wait, there's more! Except there's not. When I first saw this paragraph it promised to teach girls how to say lchaim responsibly and in a chassidish manner. But it doesn't say that anymore. Why not? Did they hear my lambasting hear in Morristown, even before I had a chance to put it down in writing on this here blog?
We had this argument a couple of weeks ago, and I guess the hanhala of Beis Miriam was thinking the same thing: it's not a good thing to advertise that girls are drinking. Does it happen? Of course. Is it an attractive thing? Is a woman smoking, a chassidishe woman smoking, an attractive thing? I think not.
Moving right along, we come to the part of the description of the seminary which really made my blood boil. It seems that nowadays women are not happy with merely being adjuncts to their husbands on shlichus, but must now be CEO Shluchas! Whatever that means. Oh, they're going to get a certificate proclaiming to the world that they're a professional shlucha, which will enable them to get future shlichus employment. Now please explain to me how the 4000 shluchos out there are managing? They don't have a certificate! Besides, what are these girls going to do, hang their certificate up next to their husband's smicha document? This is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever read.
I know that every seminary pushes shlichus like the only alternative is garbage collection, and I know that snag seminarys push marrying a ben Torah and slaving to the bone while he goofs off in kollel as the only valid lifestyle, but to make a certificate? That's just crazy. Are girls really coming out of school knowing so little that now they have to have a certificate to prove that they know something? And anyways, what exactly will they be teaching these girls? How to cook, clean, and have kids? All right, that's a little unfair, but what are you supposed to teach our future shluchos? And are the qualities that make a good shlucha really tangible enough to merit a document attesting to their having gotten those skills?
The only reason I would ever consider this school is because they offer trips every week to tour the holy land. That is cool. Every school should do that. I have friends who went to Yeshiva in Israel for three years who saw less than I did in ten days. So kudos to Beis Miriam for this aspect of their program.

81 comments:

Nemo said...

Traditional lambastes have links.

Nemo said...

And are the qualities that make a good shlucha really tangible enough to merit a document attesting to their having gotten those skills?

Are the Rabbis signing on to your smicha really so sure of your great communal leadership abilities and thoroughness in all matters of halacha? I guess your degree/certificate won't either be worth the paper it's written on.

But don't feel bad, because the same applies to just about any diploma from any university or education program. In reality, it's practical experience that really hones your abilities.

Nemo said...

I have friends who went to Yeshiva in Israel for three years who saw less than I did in ten days.

When I was in yeshiva, I saw more of Israel, and only learned for ten days.

Nemo said...

They don't have a certificate! Besides, what are these girls going to do, hang their certificate up next to their husband's smicha document?

It's chauvinist ego-centrist old-world male pigs like yourself that prevent real progress from ever happening in Lubavitch. Are you going to use the same cynical remarks when your daughters come home with "Good Middos Certificates." You'll probably tell them to hang it on the fridge to symbolize that a woman's place will forever be in the kitchen.

Despicable.

chamuli said...

www.beismiriam.com

I am enrolling my daughters--thanks for the great promotional piece! (all that matters to us is the touring.)

p.s. and the occasional lchaim

Nemo said...

More gems from the site:

Why You Should Attend Our Seminary ... In addition to the regular seminary courses

Why not an explanation about what those regular courses are before telling us about the "extras?"

In addition to the regular seminary courses, Beis Miriam is different from other Chabad seminaries in its special programs ... Traditional Farbrenges

So they are claiming that other Chabad sems in Israel don't have farbrengens? I find that somewhat difficult to believe.

at Beis Miriam we train our students in the traditional ways of the farbrengen

Some chassidim might take issue with being "trained" for a farbrengen. Farbrengens are supposed to be spontaneous and from the heart.

It’s associated with the established Jerusalem Chabad Higher Educational School. The success of the institution enhances the seminary’s stability.

I suppose that this is as opposed to other Lubavitch seminaries which are unstable and don't last more than a few years.

There is an Anash community in the locale of the seminary. Our students will benefit from these families and also do chesed with these families.

Did someone say the Babysitters Club?

For in-Shabbos weekends the girls dine with local Anash families selected by the school administration with individual needs in mind.

What sorts of individual needs? Is there a vegetarian option? Or is it the families' individual needs for someone to make salads and clear the tables?

we will present a code of behaviors and guidelines which will make it easy for you to implement the Rebbetzin’s style of fashion.

So the girls have to dress up like the 1950's?


GENERALLY, the entire web site is written atrociously. Shocking for people representing themselves as excellent educators...

The Real Shliach said...

Nemo, excellent points all. Or maybe not.
Re: smicha: no one ever claimed that by getting a certificate certifying my knowledge of yoreh deah that I was therefore ready to lead the masses.
Re: Rebbitzen Fashion: better than the way girls currently dress, no?
Chamuli: for fifteen grand you can do a lot more touring with your whole family.

Nemo said...

My smicha reads (free translation):

"... he is fit to be a renderer of the law and leader of Israel, and we are sure that he will not produce anything unfit and that any community that accepts him as a Rov will be satisfied with him in every regard."

Yours won't be much different. In Lubavitch, the certificates pretty much come in boiler-plate.

The Real Shliach said...

Oh, I'm sure it will say much the same thing. Still, at least on the smicha certificate it's printed in Hebrew, so that when you make a bone-headed move in front of your congregants they won't be able to use it as additional ammunition. However, when your wife does something un-shluchasdik...

LE7 said...

Wow that place sounds like a party school. Sign me up!

(Actually it doesn't sound that much different from Machon Alte except they weren't paying anyone to come, they we're chasing girls down for money and they weren't pushing shlichus or giving out certificates for obvious reasons).

The Real Shliach said...

This is a party school? So where are the real schools?

LE7 said...

Joke. A joke. Sort of.

The Real Shliach said...

So these are our future wives, mothers, daughters-in-law...how reassuring.

mhz said...

un-shluchasdik...

Care to define that?

The Real Shliach said...

Something which is pas nisht for a shlucha. VD"L.

Nemo said...

As a student of Beis Miriam Seminary, you are a living example of tznius to all those you meet. Whether in conduct, reading material, dress or conversation, you have a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate who a bas Chabad is.

LE7 said...

Yeah I guess so.

Cheerio said...

so who's miriam?

The Real Shliach said...

Ask Chaim Dalfin.

Cheerio said...

i know, i know, completely ridiculous comment. and it's such a juicy post.

idea - perhaps "traditional farbrengen" is refering to the alcohol being served? like, they're gonna train the girls to farbreng like the boys? d--m, wish they'd had this place when I was applying for sem...

Cheerio said...

also - 1950s fashion ROCKED. and was not neccessarily all that tznius. the Rebbetzin was, but not the 1950s!

The Real Shliach said...

Well, as you read, originally they promised to train the girls to say lchaim in a chassidish and responsible manner, but then that mysteriously disappeared.

In general, what I'm hearing from my sources is that if you're interested in drinking in sem, you'll have lots of girls right along with you.

Bichlal, what's with you and alcohol?

The Real Shliach said...

Perhaps a post on CHFashion about it?

Cheerio said...

alcohol or 1950s fashion?

The Real Shliach said...

I was referring to fashion, alcohol would go better on questing. That reminds me, when is the post inspired by yours truly going up?

Cheerio said...

yeah, that's what i was thinking. it's coming. it's one of my "why do people do things" posts. so it's not as urgent as others. but it'll pop up eventually. i'll credit you, if you'd like. if i remember.
as for me and my fascination with alcohol - it's yummy, it makes you feel good, it's something i do that removes me from the box of "good lubie girl", which for some reason i don't want to be in. and did i mention that it's yummy?

The Real Shliach said...

Yes, of course you should credit me. That'll be an extra fifteen hits at least!

Yummy? What are you drinking girl?
Makes you feel good? Alcohol is a depressant. Yeah, it can accomplish some amazing things, but...
What's wrong with being a good Lubavitcher girl?
Have you ever made kiddush on smirnoff? I promise you'll never drink again.
The Rebbeim stressed that mashke is a davar maos, a disgusting substance. Once people start drinking because they like it they have problems.

Cheerio said...

1. scotch, whiskey, tequila, wiine, a variety of mixed drinks...
2. not in the amounts i drink it.
3. i don't know. and i want to be one. and i don't, at the same time. i'm trying to figure it out.
4. no. but i did make havdalah on rum, once.
5. i drink alcohol in general for the same reasons and on the same occasions as wine. i don't usually drink to excess, i usually drink on shabbos or at a simcha, and i do it for taanug. no worse than eating for taanug. (ok, it's 3 am, i'll be honest. it is worse than eating, and i know it. it's exciting to drink. but - the ever present but - i'm not talking about drinking at bars, and frankly, i find getting drunk entirely not worth it, and ruining the point of the alcohol. because mainly i drink cuz it's yummy. (and also because i think it's cool that a little person like me can actually hold (some) of her liqour.))

The Real Shliach said...

(Here's TRS pretending to be gangsta)

1. Girl? Respect. If you can honestly say that you enjoy drinking any of those, and I'm not talking about what happens after, I'm talking about the guzzling part, then I've got to hand it to you. I can't stand the stuff. (Notice how serious I am here, I didn't say "shtuff")
3. Yeah, all Jews have this battle, it's called YH vs. YT.
4. Oh man, rum is the worst of the worst. I know some guys who would love to marry you though.
5. I don't get you one bit.

Cheerio said...

1. remember, no guzzling. that ruins it. sip or shoot, then stop.
4. yeah, it was one of those emergency situations where we had nothing else in the house.
5. no?

The Real Shliach said...

1. So you're really just tasting. That hardly counts as anything.

4. And no men either?
5. no.

Cheerio said...

4. um, no. there usually aren't men in my apt on a saturday night.

The Real Shliach said...

But you had rum.

Did you enjoy the experience?

Cheerio said...

not in havdalah form. but in others.

The Real Shliach said...

WARNING! MEAN SARCASM AHEAD!

You're gonna love the weeks and months after childbirth-all those lovely prescription pain medications.

Cheerio said...

really? how many prescription pain meds did YOU take?

The Real Shliach said...

I had an epidural.

Cheerio said...

you're a traitor to your womanhood.

The Real Shliach said...

Excuse you-don't judge your fellow until you too are having contractions for the first time.

LE7 said...

That was the most hilarious conversation. Yes, the most.

The Real Shliach said...

Always happy to oblige.

chanie said...

Question: Is a chassidishe man smoking better than a chassidishe woman smoking? I think not.

Re the farbrengens- yeah, I laughed too.

Re the shlichus- I wish they would push some of the better girls to educate the CH'ers, but no....if you say you don't want to go on shlichus, then you're second class in the shidduch world [which is, of course, the most important thing- not that I care, thus my being second-class], and so everyone wants to go on shlichus....

chanie said...

TRS- re the fashions- I don't dress 1950's, nor do I dress so horribly. But I do fit more into the Chareidi crowd than the Chabad one, just based on my dress.

And Cheerio- I always wanted to be a good Lubavitcher girl, but on the other hand, marrying someone who would turn me into one would suffocate my personality...I think I'll stick with being a dor hashishinik/chareidi/mix of whatever...and hopefully my chassan will agree...

The Real Shliach said...

Re: cigarettes: it may be no better, but it's much more understandable.

Re: Dor Hashishi: so what are you saying no? Take us back to 1950? There can only be one king at a time...

Re: everythin else: too many comments, too much apathy.

chanie said...

Re: cigarettes: No, it's not. Why kill yourself and everyone around you? Is that the way of a chassid?

Re: Dor hashishi: I'm saying you don't need to be 1950's to learn some boundaries. One king at a time- perhaps...but now there is none.

Re: everything else: Why, thank you. So next time I'll comment less.

The Real Shliach said...

A: the question is one of social expectation.
B: chas v'shalom!
C: ditto. I love comments. Just sometimes I'm too laztto formulate an intelligent response.

chanie said...

A: Okay. But still....
B: Chas veshalom what?
C: Okay, but don't blame that on my 'apathy'.

The Real Shliach said...

A: now's the time for you to say "touché"
B: no king?! What kind of Lubavitcher are you?
C: first of all, I was talking about my apathy. Second of all, you're not too innocent of that yourself. When was the last time you commented on here exactly?

chanie said...

A: What does that word mean?
B: Guess I'm not one. But try as I might, I can't seem to convince anyone of the truth of that statement.
C: Ah, I see. No, the question is, when was the last time I checked? Blogs not on my sidebar don't get checked. But I just added you, so never fear (and that's a hint...).

The Real Shliach said...

A: Ever heard of Wikipedia or dictionary.com? Even the Rosh knows what this word means.
B: I believe you. With full faith. I'm not even kidding.
C: Hint taken. Bichlal, I never link to girl's blogs. It's a religious thing.

chanie said...

A: Fine, I'll look it up. Humph.
B: You don't have to be. And if you like, you can even believe that I'm not a chassid.
C: I noticed that [kol hakavod]. But if Rabbi Yehoshophot doesn't mind linking to girls, why should you?!

The Real Shliach said...

A: I knew you could do it.
B: Who are you a chassid of? A chassid needs a Rebbe. Without a Rebbe you can't be a chassid. Get my drift?
C: Who is this Rabbi Yehoshophot of whom you speak?

chanie said...

A: Gee, thanks.
2: If I'm not a chassid, why do I need a Rebbe? Then again, if I am a chassid, then I'm a chassid of the Rebbe. Or so we like to think, even though it's not true.
C: author of a-farbrengen.blogspot.com, and quite picky about who he links to.

The Real Shliach said...

A: So are you saying it yet?
B: So essentially, you're fooling yourself. In a major way.
C: Is the dear boy married?

chanie said...

A: Saying what?
B: Um, no. Why would you think that?
C: He's married, and a father several times over.

The Real Shliach said...

A: touché?
B: You're not a chassid, but you think you are, but you tell everyone you aren't, but you think you are, but you're really not, but...you need a good mashpia.
C: Exactly. He's not facing the societal pressures I am, nor is he concerned about the ramifications that I am.

chanie said...

A: I'm not- it's just good to know what it means.
B: No, I don't think I am. Because I'm really not. But most people think I am.
C: I see. So when you get married, you'll link to girls?

The Real Shliach said...

A: Well you should, because I deserve it. But whatever.
B: Since when did you listen to what other people said? Go learn the first Halacha in the Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Oruch, Mahadura Basra.
C: If my wife is a blogger...

chanie said...

A: touche.
B: Okay, so I'm not one. But actually, I only listen to a few people. Not 'everyone'.
C: I see. But that means that it's a societal thing, not a religious one, as you first claimed.

The Real Shliach said...

A: Thank you.
B: OK. Still, you need a mashpia.
C: No, it's both.

chanie said...

A: You're welcome.
B: Thanks for the suggestion.
C: Not if you'd link after marriage.

The Real Shliach said...

B: No problem.
C: Just like intimate relations are forbidden by both societal moor and religious law before marriage, and yet they're encouraged by both after...

chanie said...

B: I was being sarcastic. How do you know that I don't have one?
C: No connection whatsoever.

The Real Shliach said...

B: Well speak to the one you have then, because obviously there's a problem.
C: I beg to differ.

chanie said...

B: Thanks for the compliment. [/sarcastic]
C: And I beg to disagree with your differing.

The Real Shliach said...

C: What don't you understand? They're two peas in a pod.

chanie said...

One is forbidden before marriage, and a mitzva aftewards.

One is something society thinks is 'less chassidish' before marriage, and does not become more okay or less okay aftwards.

The Real Shliach said...

I never said they're the same thing, but rather they're similiar. They both are things which are bad before and acceptable after. The one is sin before, while the other is merely looked down upon. One is a mitzva after, while the other is merely acceptable. So it's merely a matter of degree.

chanie said...

Except that the second one is lav davka a negative thing.

The Real Shliach said...

It is. Without a question.

chanie said...

Since when and says who?

The Real Shliach said...

Since the beginning of time. Me.

chanie said...

You haven't been around since then. Doesn't count.

The Real Shliach said...

I refer to the beginning of j-blogging time, in which case it certainly does count.

chanie said...

No, it doesn't. Glad you realize that.

The Real Shliach said...

Say what?

chanie said...

That you saying somethng since the beginning of J-blogging does not count for peanuts.

The Real Shliach said...

No, I said that my opinion does count. Ok, this is a completely pointless conversation. Either you argue on the issues, and try to prove that it's ok for major boy-girl taaruvos to take place, or forever hold your peace.

chanie said...

Yes, it is pointless. I'm not advocating taaruvot, but I don't think that linking blogs count.

The Real Shliach said...

I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.

chanie said...

Then so be it.