Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Help!!! I hate decisions

 I finally have a minute to breath and write.

I have this thing on my mind I decided I would share and listen to what you guys have to say about it.

I'm aware you may not know much about me so here is some background. I grew up in a Yeshivish family, brothers and brother-in-laws mostly learn but because I grew up in Paris, it isn't quite the Lakewood Yeshivish you might picture. I'm in grad school and yes, in good standings with my family, even though I am the first of my siblings to go on to College. I went to seminary here in the States so no year in Israel (which by the way, is not so popular in France so it's no statement). However, after seminary, I took a path that most girls with similar backgrounds don't take. Let's just say, I finally started exploring the world the way I wanted to do it. Obviously from all my previous posts, you can gather I'm still observant but let's just say more... complex. Not quite Yeshivish, not quite Modern (ok maybe Modern Orthodox but I still don't fit in), still in process.

About a month ago, I decided to apply to the Neve Yerushalayim program and thought it may be a good idea to perhaps go spend a month in Israel learning. My motivation was a few things. First of all, I am only taking an online class so I do not need to be on campus. Second of all, I haven't been to Israel in five years. Third and probably most relevant, I went to a Shiur (the first in many years) recently and realized how much I used to know and how much I used to enjoy the intellectual exercise of Mefarshim, back in the day. I generally have a very hard time sitting through lectures, classes and speeches, no matter my level of interest or the quality of the speaker. Therefore,  my disinterest in Shiurim is not necessarily a rebellious thing, I just can't do it. But I decided i'd try it, and of course, it will be different.

Now, I hesitate. The cost of the trip/learning is not an issue. I mean it's an expense but not one that weighs in my decision (or lack of). Here are my doubts. First of all, I am moving at the end of the month and I would just like to settle (definitely not good enough of a con, I know). Being away for five weeks is long, way too long. I need my home and stability. But, and I guess second, I have not been home in the past two years on vacation. The only two breaks I've had, I spent in France, by my parents. Not that I am complaining about it, I just think that there is something to being home and on vacation, with more time for others, to do stuff etc... Then what happens if no one is around? I'm not too worried about that, museums and Barnes and Nobles are good enough for me. So third is probably my main concern. I scarcely work throughout the year. I only have time for 12 hours a week average and lately I've been doing 20 hours ( I work retail, so evening shifts are great for the student life). if I stay in July, I could be making decent amounts and that would certainly  help me out for the year to come.

So you heard it all. My parents are supportive and understand my dilemma but offer no answer. They ask what about the program attracts me and do I want to go that badly. Well, I don't doubt what's there and if I do go, I will have an enjoyable time. I know that. But should I go?

Will I regret staying?

And if you think the answer is that simple, then you may not understand that living here alone supporting myself comes with a huge responsibility.

Help me out here, ask me things I haven't thought about yet...


  1. It sounds like you're more of an independent learner... my vote is for you to stay here. As great as Israel sounds, you have responsibilities and for some reason when I started reading your post I misunderstood and said Omg, she went off to Israel and now she's cutting classes and regretting it! (C"V- if you go then I'd wish you tons of hatzlacha and cheer you on)

    I've downloaded many great shiurim from and listen to them on the go (when I have the mental endurance during the semester), like you I also went to a "domestic" seminary and believe in the worth of learning on your own if you have the diligence. Or if you wanted to learn something by phone from time to time I'd be happy to do it with you, there are a lot of spiritual blogger gals here it seems so maybe we could get something together.

    I really admire that you support yourself while being in school btw... I feel so spoiled not working. I guess I "work" for my family by taking care of the kids.

    Anyway these are my thoughts, but I'm sure everyone else will vote for you to go to Israel :) There's always Birthright during winter break if you're not engaged by then!

  2. Oh my, i love your answer because no it's not the typical of course go, one time opportunity, bla bla bla....
    If it makes you feel better, my dad is helping me out this year for the first time in 4 years because it got too much. But to each their own, if you live at home, its less of an issue I guess.
    Hmm, phone learning, not sure how that would go...

  3. There is no right answer since every option has its pros and cons. Instead of writing out answer, I'll direct you to a post that I dedicated to a friend who was making a big decision and asked me to write about decision making:

    May Hashem give you the clarity to make the right choices! And most importantly, after you make a decision, it will be the best one, because you will MAKE it the best!

    p.s. I attended Shalhevet (the post-seminary program of Neve) for a few months and can tell you more about it if you are interested.

    1. Great post. I had to sleep on it.
      Ive been saying too that whatever I decide will be best because I will make it best :)

  4. Like ZP said, there is no right answer, and like corti said, that is very admirable that you're supporting yourself! Wish I could say the same...

    However, having learned in EY and in chuts laaretz, I have to say that I think it's much more special in Yerushalayim. When im there (especially in a seminary environment), I feel the kedusha in the air, and my learning is of a different quality (not intellectually but in a way which makes me internalize it more). However, I know that not everyone is as 'mushy' as me and I always feel my surroundings more acutely than others...

    I also get your point about being home for the holidays - that's a really nice feeling!

    Either way, my advice: arrange a skype chevrutas with a disciplined girl once a week and whether you go to seminary or not, you'll have that!

    P.s. Shearim (another seminary in har nof where a few of my Friends went) also has a winter progam and if you don't go to nevei in the summer you could always go in the winter if you have a break...

    1. That sounds like a better idea to me, going away during school year to take a real break

  5. You know yourself; you crave stability right now, which isn't a terrible thing. One doesn't have to be in Israel to learn. Just while you stay home you make a point to seek out speakers or subjects you enjoy; maybe take a course. It certainly won't cost as much as staying in Israel for a month.

    Look around online and listen to some shiurim, pinpointing a speaker that you like.

    I didn't go to seminary so I can't give an opinion on that, but my belief is that if one has the drive, one can learn anywhere.

    And Neve Yerushalyim is not going anywhere. If you feel differently later on, that can still be an option to take advantage of.

    1. True true Neve isn't going anywhere, but this is a summer when I can go. But yes, you're right, I do crave stability and that takes it all

  6. First of all there are many ways to get Financial Help if you are interested to go to learn at Neve so that will take care of the money aspect.
    What I read here is that you are observant, but still "in process". You went to a class and realized how much you used to enjoy learning.
    Then you wrote all the reasons that it might be better for you to stay. But in the the end you wrote that you think you would have an enjoyable time.
    You started off talking about your aspirations and goals in life and then switched gears. You spoke from your heart and soul then challenged yourself whether this is right to think like this.
    If you are "in process", I suggest you explore that more. Staying home or working will not give you answers or change you for a lifetime. Who do you want to be in five or ten years from now?
    Going and searching out answers to your questions while you are still young (I assume you are) is the "right" thing.
    You mentioned you are in Grad School. When do you finish? After you will have the same questions. "Should I work now or search for my answeres?"
    Grad Schools do give a leave of absence and France is not far away from Israel.