Friday, August 29, 2008

You Can Come To Israel... But Don't Bring The Family

My sister, her husband and their family recently returned from Israel. Their oldest son was studying in Israel for the year and wanted to stay another year. Arrangements were being made and what I recently found out was, the yeshiva where my nephew was studying was putting pressure on him telling him according to halachah (Jewish Law), he was not allowed to return to the States. With finances being an issue, the Yeshiva was willing to help with financial aid.

The fact that my sister and the whole family went to Israel complicates this. This is the first time they have been to Israel as a family although both my sister and brother-in-law were there over 20 years ago. Due to the settling of my father’s estate, they were all able to go and my youngest nephew got an aliyah at the Kotel in honor of his Bar Mitzvah.

While traveling the Holy Land, my sister and brother-in-law received a call that the head of my nephew’s yeshiva wanted to talk with them and it was important. Apparently it is policy, as best my sister could determine, that they do not offer any financial aid to people if their family comes to Israel. I guess the thinking is, if they can afford a trip, they can afford the ridiculously expensive tuition of such institutions.

When my brother-in-law got in touch with the head of the yeshiva, they basically told him that if he interrupted, they would simply end the conversation. After listening to them go on for awhile, telling him that they no longer would accept my nephew because they were in Israel, my brother-in-law said, “But,”.

I assume the next step was to tell them how my father had recently passed away, it was the first trip they had taken since they were married, etc. He never got a chance to say any of it. As soon as he said, “But,” the person on the other end of the phone, the head of the yeshiva, hung up.

Personally, I think this is ridiculous and unscrupulous. First, trying to convince him that according to Jewish law he needed to stay, I think is unethical. Beyond that, instead of being willing to engage in a dialogue and hear what others have to say, the approach is to hang up, that they can have their say but no one else is allowed.

I think it is unfortunate that my nephew is caught in the middle and he is trying to find a way he can get back there. Personally, I think the yeshiva should be told exactly what they can do with it. By the way, my sister agrees but respects the wishes of her son and will allow him (as if she really has a choice) to try and find another way to pay for the schooling.

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