Yeshivas Bein HaSemesterim
This winter vacation, many students chose to vacation in warm locales or visit Israel after completing a difficult finals season. Some students, however, chose to enroll in the Bein HaSemesterim (lit. between the semesters) program over the winter break, opting for Torah study instead of fun in the sun. The daily schedule of the program was reminiscent of a daily Israel-Yeshiva format, combining a morning seder, shiur, afternoon seder, and night seder into a daily schedule. The program also featured open gym hours during the nighttime. For over 70 students, this program was a welcome chance to immerse in religious study in between the difficult college semesters. Additionally, for a nominal fee, students were provided with free meals for entire two week span. On top of the daily learning program, students were also taken on a trip to Yeshivat Torah V’Daat in Brooklyn, where they heard a speech from a Rosh Yeshiva there.
Many students feel the need to visit the yeshivot in Israel where they spent a year or more learning Torah, but for the members of the Bein HaSemesterim program, religious growth could be found even in Washington Heights. Elisha Hagler, a sophomore, was adamant about the benefits of the program. “There was a lot of chill time, with a great group of guys,” he said. “Plus, the food was much better than Shaalvim’s!” Hagler was also confident with the effectiveness of the program’s leadership, especially Rabbi Elisha Bacon. “Rabbi Bacon ran everything. Rabbi Bacon is the man!”
While Yeshiva University does offer learning programs during the day, many students are overwhelmed by the stresses of YU’s dual curriculum, and find it difficult to maintain levels of spirituality that were easier to preserve in Israel. Hagler, for one, felt that the program was a welcome chance to spend his entire vacation on religious matters. “Coming off my first semester, it was definitely to adjust to the dual curriculum and it was nice to be able to learn full time again. I really appreciated the efforts put in by the Yeshiva to make Yeshivat Bein HaSemesterim a truly enjoyable experience”.
Due to the popularity of this year’s edition of Yeshivat Bein Hasemesterim, YU may look to offer a similar program for the next extended break, or to expand the program next year and offer even more attractive options for its students.