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Can You Tell Me Anything About Bnos Sara Seminary?
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amother




OP
 

Post  Thu, Nov 19 2020, 1:17 pm
I’m looking into Bnos Sara seminary, but don’t really know anyone personally who I can ask. All I’ve heard is that it is very intellectual, but not extremely “farfrumt”.

Can you confirm if this is accurate and/or give me any other information about the type of crowd it attracts, the staff, the schedule, etc?

Thanks!
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amother




Wheat
 

Post  Thu, Nov 19 2020, 1:38 pm
I went 15 years ago, so I don’t think my experience would necessarily be the same.

We were from many locations throughout USA and Europe, not materialistic or “jappy” in terms of clothing styles or going out to eat all the time, many daughters of baalei teshuva or working parents as well as daughters of teachers and rabbis.

But yes, quite “intellectual”, I’d say. So much textual analysis!! It was exhilarating, and unlike anything I’d ever experienced. It really made me appreciate the genius of Rashi and meforshim.

Teachers taught in Ivrit and expected all tests and term papers to be written in Hebrew. This was a shock to some students coming in, but the teachers are excellent and understanding in this regard.

Definitely pro-Kollel (one Shabbaton in particular had many girls with working parents practically screaming at the panelists and madrichot, I believe there was, um, some culture gap between American and Israeli people) and I was nudged to become a limudei kodesh teacher rather than go to college.
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amother




Bisque
 

Post  Thu, Nov 19 2020, 1:44 pm
My sister is there now and loves it. I'd say that description is accurate. They attract a really nice group of girls, year after year. They have many girls who are in towners (or from the fringes of "in town") but more "out of town" type.

They are highly academic and have many big reports, which my future sister-in-law didn't like when she was there (and she is brilliant).
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bsy




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Nov 19 2020, 1:45 pm
I was there a while ago. Very intellectual. Fantastic well rounded crowd. Amazing teachers. I will say they were not that pro kollel. They didn't discourage it but we did have a full class speaking only about the hardships and they clearly said it isnt for everyone.
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amother




OP
 

Post  Thu, Nov 19 2020, 1:51 pm
Thanks for the info, it’s very helpful!

Bisque, do they still teach and expect papers mostly in Ivrit?
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cookies6




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Nov 19 2020, 2:17 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Thanks for the info, it’s very helpful!

Bisque, do they still teach and expect papers mostly in Ivrit?


My daughter was there two years ago and yes, this is still the case.
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amother




OP
 

Post  Thu, Nov 19 2020, 2:38 pm
Are the girls expected to have prior Hebrew skills? Do they teach them Ivrit? Or are they just expected to pick it up...?
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bigsis144




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Nov 19 2020, 2:48 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Are the girls expected to have prior Hebrew skills? Do they teach them Ivrit? Or are they just expected to pick it up...?


There are no Ivrit/Ulpan classes, you get thrown right in on the first day. The teachers will repeat themselves or speak slower, or allow a particularly difficult word to be translated by a classmate, but they generally do NOT double-teach in Hebrew and English. I took notes in both languages - lots of direct quotes in Hebrew if they seemed very important, with English paraphrasing to make sure I could go back and study.

I BH came in with pretty fluent in Hebrew (or at least fluent enough that from context I could quickly understand things in real-time, and could write longer papers with the occasional use of a Hebrew-English dictionary), but I really don’t know what the experience of the girls without that background knowledge/fluency was like.

ETA: I was there the second year of Bnos Sarah ever


Last edited by bigsis144 on Thu, Nov 19 2020, 3:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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mpf




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Nov 19 2020, 3:13 pm
I went the year of 2017-2018 and loved it! I would describe myself as an OOT type but from Brooklyn.
The girls are a huge mix ranging all types, but everyone is serious about their yidishkeit.
Everyone is from all over the world- we had girls from many states in the US, England, France, Austria, South Africa, Panama, Toronto, and Montreal.
I’m smart, but not super studious and did totally fine with basic studying for tests. Reports are big but completely doable and you don’t have to make yourself crazy to do well. There’s no pressure in that regard. We had one report that we had the option to do in English if I remember correctly. You aren’t expected to have perfect grammar or Hebrew in your reports.
The dorms are great and set up in groups of rooms aka “apartments” where there was a hallway, 4-6 rooms of 3 girls, a kitchen area with a fridge/freezer, sink, table, and cabinets and counters. Many people brought plug in toasters, burners, etc. and pots/pans. Each apt also had a few bathrooms and showers.
All meals are served in Neve’s main dining room and theres also basics kept in the dorm like milk, biscuits, cereal, peanut butter...
The campus is really nice and there’s lots of space to walk around and you also get a chance to meet ppl from other seminaries on campus since your meals are all together, shared laundry room, and library. Bnos Sarah shares a computer room with Bnos avigayil.
We had an in shabbos once a month and also did a bunch of other shabbosim That we went away.
Hashkafa wise- they don’t push any specific agenda. We had a shabbaton in tifrach which obv had a big impact and encouraged ppl to think about living a kollel lifestyle, but we also had a panel about the challenges of a kollel life and how it ISN’T for everyone. We had classes about what a Ben torah means and how it doesn’t only include someone who is learning full time. I felt like the hashkafa was extremely balanced and down to earth.
We had classes about internet and smart phones, and how to navigate the challenge- not only how it’s bad and don’t ever get one.
We had a the most amazing yemei iyun for yomim tovim, tznius, personal challenges and more. We always had really good speakers. We went on lots of trips that were always well planned and organized.
All the staff is very approachable, warm, and helpful. We had va’ads at teachers houses which were extremely interesting.
Most of of our classes were intellectual which gave us an appreciation for in depth learning but we also had a lot of hashkafa interspersed and it was nice to see where we learn things from.
There isn’t really any peer pressure and everyone is generally nice and friendly. Frum, solid girls, but know how to have fun and enjoy life.
What I think really stands out about Bnos Sarah is the balance, in all areas.
I’m sure I left out things, so feel free to pm me or post questions here.
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mpf




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Nov 19 2020, 3:17 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
Are the girls expected to have prior Hebrew skills? Do they teach them Ivrit? Or are they just expected to pick it up...?


I didn’t have any more than what I learnt in school and did fine. Some people came in with even less and were fine too... it takes some getting used to but many of our teachers have picked up English over the years and are happy to explain (or try to explain) what they’re saying. Many teachers try to speak in English and mix in Hebrew when they don’t know how to say things. There are 2/3 teachers that spoke straight Hebrew that were harder to follow in the beginning of the year, but they speak slowly and clearly so you can understand. One teacher spoke fast and it took longer to get used to.
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amother




OP
 

Post  Thu, Nov 19 2020, 3:45 pm
Thanks for the detailed answer, mpf!

So far, it’s really sounding like a great fit, just slightly worried about the Ivrit thing. I may be back with some more questions soon...
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Rappel




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Nov 19 2020, 4:02 pm
I went to seminary on the same campusa few years ago, though I attended a different Neve seminary.

Bnos Sara is definitely on the Bais Yaakov end of the seminary spectrum - they locked the girls in at night, kosher phones required, the dress code conforms to Bais Yaakov standards, etc.

Several of my friends did attend BS, and the girls whom I met there seemed happy, curious, friendly and intelligent, which told me a lot about the school dynamic.
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cat81




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Dec 03 2020, 10:53 pm
How are the girls when they come out?

This seminary was suggested by a number of people to my daughter, along with Chemdas and Machon Raya.

Background: my DD is a frum out of towner (most classmates go to michlala or similar), that is interested in college/career and not a Kollel lifestyle at all. She is looking to grow both socially and academically, but not worked to death.

I am not locked into the above 3 options, so feel free to mention any others. Seminar and Bnos Avigayil have been mentioned as well to her.

Thanks for everyone’s advice


Last edited by cat81 on Thu, Dec 03 2020, 11:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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mpf




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Dec 03 2020, 11:25 pm
cat81 wrote:
How are the girls when they come out?

This seminary was suggested by a number of people to my daughter, along with Chemdas and Machon Raya.

Background: my DD is a frum out of towner, that is interested in college/career and not a Kollel lifestyle at all. She is looking to grow both socially and academically, but not worked to death.

I am not locked into the above 3 options, so feel free to mention any others. Seminar and Bnos Avigayil have been mentioned as well to her.

Thanks for everyone’s advice


Very normal.
Bnos Sarah really doesn’t push any specific lifestyle but give a solid background for being a frum mom in whichever lifestyle you choose- whether it’s being a kollel wife, going to college, or wtvr.
I have tonz of seminary friends who married guys who will learn forever and many who married solid working guys. Many of us are in school/went to school and many are teachers or receptionists.
The workload is technically a lot but it shouldn’t be a deciding factor. I didn’t want to work hard in sem, went to Bnos Sarah, and just didn’t work hard. No one is sitting over you to do the work or study or anything.
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amother




Beige
 

Post  Fri, Dec 04 2020, 1:19 am
cat81 wrote:
How are the girls when they come out?

This seminary was suggested by a number of people to my daughter, along with Chemdas and Machon Raya.

Background: my DD is a frum out of towner (most classmates go to michlala or similar), that is interested in college/career and not a Kollel lifestyle at all. She is looking to grow both socially and academically, but not worked to death.

I am not locked into the above 3 options, so feel free to mention any others. Seminar and Bnos Avigayil have been mentioned as well to her.

Thanks for everyone’s advice


Bnos sarah is more to the right than both Seminar And Bnos Aviygayil. It’s also more academic than the other ones you have mentioned. If she doesn’t want a lot of work I am not sure I would recommend. I went about 15 years ago (hi fellow alumnus)
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amother




Linen
 

Post  Fri, Dec 04 2020, 6:30 am
All of my daughters went there. I think it's a great seminary, with a consistently nice group of girls. The work is hard, one of my girls worked her head off and loved it, one slept through the classes and ran out on trips whenever she could, another blew off most of the work. You do you!
The admin is lovely, and there's just the right balance of independence and supervision.
Only one negative, in my opinion: the food is vile.
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notshanarishona




 
 
 
 

Post  Fri, Dec 04 2020, 7:06 am
amother [ Linen ] wrote:
All of my daughters went there. I think it's a great seminary, with a consistently nice group of girls. The work is hard, one of my girls worked her head off and loved it, one slept through the classes and ran out on trips whenever she could, another blew off most of the work. You do you!
The admin is lovely, and there's just the right balance of independence and supervision.
Only one negative, in my opinion: the food is vile.


The food is bad but is the same at every Nevey seminary. If you are not picky eventually you get used to it.
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cat81




 
 
 
 

Post  Fri, Dec 04 2020, 8:18 am
amother [ Beige ] wrote:
Bnos sarah is more to the right than both Seminar And Bnos Aviygayil. It’s also more academic than the other ones you have mentioned. If she doesn’t want a lot of work I am not sure I would recommend. I went about 15 years ago (hi fellow alumnus)


amother [ Linen ] wrote:
All of my daughters went there. I think it's a great seminary, with a consistently nice group of girls. The work is hard, one of my girls worked her head off and loved it, one slept through the classes and ran out on trips whenever she could, another blew off most of the work. You do you!
The admin is lovely, and there's just the right balance of independence and supervision.
Only one negative, in my opinion: the food is vile.


The work won’t scare her off, and while it’s more to the Right then we are (DD watches occasional movie and listens to non jewish music), we can live with it.
But what happens to the girls when they come out —— college? Career? Interest in Kollel life?
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amother




Linen
 

Post  Fri, Dec 04 2020, 9:15 am
cat81 wrote:
The work won’t scare her off, and while it’s more to the Right then we are (DD watches occasional movie and listens to non jewish music), we can live with it.
But what happens to the girls when they come out —— college? Career? Interest in Kollel life?

All of my daughters went to college afterwards. One married a kollel guy, the others married learner/earners.
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amother




Fuchsia
 

Post  Fri, Dec 04 2020, 9:44 am
As a Neve alum, I disagree with the food comment. Neve breakfast is good - leben, cereal, vegetables, fruit, oatmeal. Lunch is the main meal of the day and is hot and plentiful. It's heavy on starches of course, like any place that's serving lots of people on a budget. Suppers were lighter, and some weren't my taste but I would hardly call them vile!!! We had toranut to help in the kitchen and it was amazing to be involved in all the behind the scenes work involved in feeding so many girls. I felt so grateful to merit living in Yerushalayim and to be helping feed all these girls who were busy learning and growing. So...I think the Neve food is holy, about as far from vile as you can get!!!

But, I can understand that a mom who's paying a fortune to send her dds to seminary would wish for them to have better food. Seminary is crazy expensive! So of course it's a different feeling if they don't like the food. For me, I was cleaning houses during the afternoons to pay partial tuition, and the rest was subsidized by the school, so my expectations were different.
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