| Words Unspoken |

Dear (Some) Seminary Interviewers

These beautiful girls shouldn’t come out of interviews sobbing, feeling degraded


Dear (Some) Seminary Interviewers,

Let me start off by saying that my daughter is in a wonderful seminary in Eretz Yisrael and is thriving. But as I reflect back on the application process for getting into seminary, I’d like to comment on the interview process.

Last year, when my daughter and her friends went to interviews, they returned from some of them feeling bad about themselves, inadequate, and at times, even in tears. The common theme that upset them were some of the questions they were asked, which were inappropriate, irrelevant, or focused on things entirely out of the control of a potential future seminary student, such as why an older sibling wasn’t yet married. Not only is that irrelevant, it’s likely to make a sibling feel worse about what can often be a complicated and difficult situation.

Other girls were asked questions like why their grandparents lived in certain places. Is that an appropriate question to pose to a 12th grader trying to get into seminary? Why is a girl being asked if her father was in kollel 20 or 30 or 40 years ago, when her parents first got married? Why are girls being asked what shuls their relatives daven in? Or even what seminary their older sister attended?  Each girl is an individual and should be treated as such, evaluated on her own credentials.

Some interviews were cut very short, leaving girls with the feeling they weren’t given a fair opportunity to express themselves. Other girls felt they’d been criticized during the interviews.

These beautiful girls shouldn’t come out of interviews sobbing, feeling degraded. Each girl is a gem. Each girl is special. An interview, in my opinion, should be about the person herself, what she has learned, what she has accomplished, and how she’d like to grow during her year in Eretz Yisrael.

I’d like to clarify that this, by all means, didn’t reflect all or even the majority of the interviewers and interviews. But it was more than just a few interviewers who acted this way.

I understand that a seminary can’t accept every girl and that there needs to be a selection process.

At the same time, please remember to treat each girl with dignity. Please let each girl come out of the interview feeling like you listened to her, that you gave her a fair chance to be heard, and that you considered her qualities and achievements as an individual.

A Mom Concerned about Future Generations


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 870)

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