Several weeks ago, ds13 spent a day doing pyschometric testing at the yeshiva we decided is our top choice. (All of the yeshivos we were looking into require this testing, so you only have to do it once and you can send the results to other yeshivos if you need to.) After these results were received, all students they were interested in a follow-up interview with were invited on the same day. Ds was in the hospital then and obviously couldn’t make it for the interview, so once he got out we rescheduled for today. However, the head of the yeshiva called this morning to say he wasn’t going to be able to make it due to the weather; though ds had already left and the call came three minutes after his bus was scheduled to arrive, fortunately the bus was late and ds got the message in time.
It’s funny how it didn’t occur to me to ask about the results of the testing, which was performed by an independent organization and I could have called to check how he scored. No one in our family thought of it; to us it was something that had to be done but once the test was taken that was the end of it. We still wouldn’t know his score if not for a student at that yeshiva who lives locally. He saw ds at shul on Friday night and said, “I heard you did okay on your test.” The friend who was with him nudged him and said, “Tell him what the rebbi said.” So boy #1 told him, ds got the top score of all the applicants to the yeshiva. That was nice to hear and though I’ve been telling ds all along that he’ll do fine with the testing and not to worry about it, it was good for him to have outside validation.
Around the same time he went for the testing at this yeshiva, he also interviewed for the new high school that will be opening in the coming year here in Karmiel; the plan is it will be a charedi yeshiva that offers the bagrut at the 5 point level. Right now all the yeshivos like this are in the center of the country and it would be amazing to have something suitable right here in our city. If it gets off the ground and the plans for the school continue to be in line with what we’re looking for, I assume this is where ds will attend since I feel very, very strongly that 14 year olds should be living at home. But we’re making backup plans for attendance at a dorming yeshiva, the one that I mentioned he tested at (assuming he’s accepted) if the local one doesn’t work out.
We decided against testing at Maarava mainly because most of their graduates seem to go with the long term kollel plan. My husband was in kollel for ten years, so I’m obviously not anti-kollel. But I am opposed to the idea that kollel is the right choice for everyone, and I’m bothered by the idea that it’s a negative value for men to support their families. I don’t want ds to be in an institution in which he’ll get messages that push only this path.
Some Anglo parents have told me that although they’re sending their boys to charedi elementary schools, they think that their sons will go to a yeshiva high school that offers secular studies and eventually will enter the professional world just as their husbands did. I think they’re underestimating the messages their sons will be internalizing, messages that will make it unlikely that they’ll value an education apart from the traditional charedi model.
There are a lot of ways that I feel we’re walking our own path since moving to Israel, and this is one of them. It may sound like the high school choice I’ve shared about is logical but we know hardly anyone who is making the choices we’re making. But as I’ve said for years, if you want what everyone else has, then do what everyone else does. If you want something else, you have to find your own path.