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Chow-Friendly Yeshiva?

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SimonF Oct 19, 2011 07:50 AM

Are there any yeshivot in Israel known for good, or at least decent, food? Or is that a silly question?

  1. a
    Arinoam Oct 26, 2011 04:23 PM

    Don't under-estimate the power of good food to keep your son's head on straight while learning in Israel. Teenagers have huge appetites. My son did Shana Aleph and Bet at Reishit in Beit Shemesh recently and didn't have a whole lot of good things to say about the food (which of course was represented by everyone to be "the best". The bills I paid from Burger Bars and the Pizza Shop for his second dinner every other night are proof of the over-inflated hype on the food. Yesterday I visited him at YU and he took me up to the small restaurant in Belfer Hall and I had about the best mushroom and barley soup my Momma could only make.

    1. azcohen Oct 26, 2011 12:38 PM

      I went to Ohr Shamach (kollel) in Jerusalem. What I did, was get a monthly bus pass and went into town for as many cheap meals as I could since I could not live on soy for almost every meal. Also, learned to love chicken necks since meat is pretty scarce in yeshivas. But then again, I was there 25 years ago (man I just aged myself more then I realized with that statement).

      1. p
        PotatoPuff Oct 23, 2011 05:10 PM

        Perhaps another concern is quantity - DH, who is a big, very active guy, told me he was always hungry in yeshiva because there was never enough food.

        19 Replies
        1. re: PotatoPuff
          s
          SoCal Mother Oct 24, 2011 12:56 AM

          Yes, given what I am spending it's annoying. My son tells me that when a meal is served the food is gone within minutes. I could see that a new school would need time to figure out how much food 18 and 19 year old boys eat, but my son's yeshiva has been around for decades. He told me that the food over Rosh Hashana was so awful that he left and spent Shabbat with a friend.

          1. re: SoCal Mother
            c
            cappucino Oct 24, 2011 07:20 AM

            You're giving them too much credit, socal. Bottom line is that these schools in Israel are all about giving the least possible for the money they charge. No one is trying to please the American consumer. Americans don't ask many questions and ship off their kids to these institutions indiscriminately. It's ridiculous. Do many of these kids gain spiritually? I hope so and I think that I've heard enough to decide that they do (my husband included), but at the end of the day, I think the American parents should wise up and demand more for the money they are paying including basics like that their kids should get fed properly and that the doors of the Yeshiva remain open for their children for the days leading up to major holidays and for holidays themselves. Our kids should not have to beg for food on a regular basis throughout Israel. And, my husband will tell you that he met some of the most interesting people in that year of "eating around at people's houses."

            1. re: SoCal Mother
              d
              DebbyT Oct 24, 2011 07:43 AM

              My daughter spent her year there at a Midrasha that also had Israeli students. The Israeli girls got out of class 15 minutes earlier than the Americans, so by the time the Americans got to lunch, all of the protein was gone. I am told this has been an issue for years and nothing will change because the Israeli girls are from needier families and this is their only decent meal of the day.
              My son, on the other hand, went to an American yeshiva that had fabulous food, yet he still bought a deep fryer and made a pretty penny selling to his classmates.
              Sending another daughter next year. She is looking at programs that are mostly Israeli. And she hates shnitzel. She's thin enough already and I am worrying a year in advance...

              1. re: DebbyT
                p
                PotatoPuff Oct 25, 2011 08:33 AM

                Debby- Ironically, a female friend of mine who went to a seminary with bad food said she gained alot of weight because she was always snacking on junk food, because she could buy it at the supermarket to supplement cafeteria food. Also, my husband put on a lot of weight in yeshiva because he was used to doing serious exercise everyday, which he didn't have time for doing yeshiva during the day and volunteering for Magen David Adom at night. And his strongest memory of yeshiva is always being hungry. Thankfully now, he gets good meals, and excercises every day, but he seems to still be affected by that experience.

              2. re: SoCal Mother
                s
                SoCal Mother Oct 24, 2011 08:54 AM

                Well I just give him more money and let him buy extra food. It will be good practice for college. He doesn't seem to mind. His dorm was open during yomtov but he chose not to stay there most of the time. We have relatives and friends in Israel who will happily host him and feed him on Shabbat, so I am not worried that he will starve.

                We should do a college chow thread at some point.

                1. re: SoCal Mother
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                  DeisCane Oct 24, 2011 09:00 AM

                  The conversation starts and ends with Brandeis, socal. :-)

                  /yes, I'm biased

                  1. re: DeisCane
                    d
                    DebbyT Oct 24, 2011 09:06 AM

                    I think YU beats Brandeis...

                    1. re: DebbyT
                      d
                      DeisCane Oct 24, 2011 09:18 AM

                      While bigger is not necessarily better, at one time (and maybe still) Brandeis had the largest kosher catering facilities on the eastern seaboard.

                      1. re: DeisCane
                        n
                        njkosher Oct 24, 2011 10:18 AM

                        I don't think anything has really changed in 30 years or more. Back then BMT had the best meal in town, and now it is places like Reishit for the boys, not sure for the girls. In general though, I believe that with the exception of a very few, most places are probably very similar with respect to food.
                        My daughter was at M. Moriah in 2008/9 and they had to make their own dinner (I believe it is changed now), so how nutritious, quantity and quality depending on your willingness to do it.

                        1. re: njkosher
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                          DebbyT Oct 24, 2011 10:22 AM

                          My son was at Reishit 8 years ago, and the food was great then, but the boys still managed to eat out quite a bit. Im told that for girls, HaRovah is the place to be for the food.
                          But really, is this why we choose a school for our children?

                          1. re: DebbyT
                            s
                            SoCal Mother Oct 24, 2011 11:19 AM

                            No, but it's useful info for our kids to have when they call up their friends at other yeshivas and ask them to sign them up for a Shabbat visit.

                            1. re: DebbyT
                              n
                              njkosher Oct 24, 2011 04:58 PM

                              Absolutely not. I was just commenting back to the original poster. When we were looking for my daughter, it was all based on Hashkafa, and where we beleived she would grow spiritually.
                              Also, for all those who appear to be bashing the Israeli Yeshivot, no one is forcing you to send your kids, there are plenty of Yeshivot in the USA.

                              1. re: njkosher
                                c
                                cappucino Oct 24, 2011 06:23 PM

                                Not bashing, NJKosher, merely stating that I think it's sad that they can't actually feed the kids and dorm them during the holiday season. Not all of them have close family to go to and not all of them have the funds to constantly go running to restaurants. I actually would like to send my children to Israel for the year so they can grow spiritually. I also want them to be provided with decent meals because I can't afford to pay both the tuition and the restaurant bills. Sorry. Anyway, it is what it is and what it always will be.

                                1. re: cappucino
                                  n
                                  njkosher Oct 25, 2011 05:54 AM

                                  Cappucino - No need to apologize. I'm in the same boat as you and cannot afford both. I gave my daughter a monthly budget and told her she had to stick to it. If I am not eating out then I dont think I should be paying for my kids to eat out, and if they choose to do so, it's on their dime. Did the same for her when she came back and went to Queens College.
                                  I think the issue is the same as it has always been, the food in most places is not great, and some schools do a better job than others at taking care of the kids during chagim and shabbatot. Maybe I just got lucky with MM, because my daughter never had an issue. Working on daughter #2 for 2012/13 now.

                                2. re: njkosher
                                  m
                                  mrmoose Oct 25, 2011 07:50 AM

                                  While food should not be the sole reason to choose a yeshiva, it is worth looking at. Many years ago I went to a yeshiva in Israel that had bad food and accommodations and it was in a remote area without access to resturaunts. While I had a great experience, me and many of my classmates were sick a great deal of the time which definitely cut into our learning. I just read a biography of the Satmer Rebbe, ZTL. He was insistent that the food in his yeshivas be of good quality and that their should be more then enough, because he felt in our generation the students could not learn without that.

                            2. re: DeisCane
                              a
                              asf78 Oct 25, 2011 06:08 AM

                              Was at Brandeis in the late 90s, and while the food could get repetitive, I agree, it was some of the best dining hall food out there. Always felt fresh (except shabbos afternoons for the "dinner hour," when it was usually pb&j and cold cuts), with many items made to order. Some of my best college memories include whiling away the lunch hour at Sherman. Sigh.

                              DebbyT, back in the late 90s, I had the opportunity to eat at YU a couple of times. At least back then, it definitely did not beat Brandeis, if you go by what the actual university served (as opposed to access to restaurants and other off-campus food choices). 10-15 years later, it could be different.

                            3. re: DebbyT
                              s
                              SoCal Mother Oct 24, 2011 11:17 AM

                              DS2 spent Shabbat at YU a few weeks ago and was not impressed by the food.

                              At the moment Brandeis is not on his list.

                              1. re: SoCal Mother
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                                DeisCane Oct 26, 2011 07:21 AM

                                So not only does chow STILL not offer a private messaging feature, it deletes the few posts that serve that purpose. SMH

                                1. re: DeisCane
                                  k
                                  Kosher Critic Oct 26, 2011 09:36 AM

                                  Having had both, Brandeis certainly wins in the food category. Fortunately, my metabolism back then was good enough to allow me to fully partake of three all-I-could eat (no small amount) meals every day. BTW, I did not choose Brandeis over YU for the food.

                    2. g
                      ganeden Oct 19, 2011 11:01 AM

                      My oldest son learned at the Mir, and he said he had some good meals, some bad meals. My oldest daughter learned at Ateres Bnos Yerushalayim, and gained 10 lbs while in Israel, so the food, or at least that which she ate, must have been either pretty good or pretty caloric. That son, though, had been in away yeshivas since 8th grade, and yeshivos are know for pretty bad food, so for him to say he got some good meals at the Mir is really saying a lot, unfortunately.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ganeden
                        d
                        DeisCane Oct 19, 2011 11:43 AM

                        Nice to see you on the board, Craig! Good yomtov!

                      2. a
                        AdinaA Oct 19, 2011 09:29 AM

                        Yes. I have known of wonderful yeshiva food. The ones I knew of are immigrants form Morocco. Like many people form the old country (any old country) they knew how to cook a few wonderful dishes. And the menus consisted those dishes served in rotation (If it's Tuesday, this must be harira).

                        The best source of such info is the usual, the kids who graduated from your kid's school last year.

                        1. s
                          SoCal Mother Oct 19, 2011 09:10 AM

                          Lev HaTorah in Bet Shemesh is known for its great food. I met the cook when I visited there. He told me that it is his holy mission to feed the boys well. I believe that his brother works at Mevaserret and that their food is good as well but not 100% sure on that.

                          My son decided to go to a different yeshiva and he is constantly complaining that the food is awful and they don't give them enough to eat. He has a makolet (small grocery) nearby and a few fast food places and he eats out frequently. Fortunately he understands nutrition and tries to eat well.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: SoCal Mother
                            c
                            cappucino Oct 19, 2011 01:21 PM

                            "fortunately, he understands nutrition and tries to eat well." Boys around 19 away from home for an entire year usually do all kinds of things differently than they do at home. But, hey, yours may be different. From what I understand about the year in Israel, man CAN live on bread alone (and fast food).

                          2. s
                            SimonF Oct 19, 2011 08:59 AM

                            Pirke Avot 3:21. Without Bread, there is no Torah.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: SimonF
                              bagelman01 Oct 19, 2011 09:06 AM

                              That's why Yeshivot have vacation for Pesach....................................

                              1. re: bagelman01
                                r
                                rockycat Oct 19, 2011 11:00 AM

                                ::rimshot::

                                1. re: rockycat
                                  a
                                  AdinaA Oct 19, 2011 11:05 AM

                                  True. In some schools they survive on bread and hummus.

                            2. v
                              vallevin Oct 19, 2011 08:02 AM

                              Isn't that kind of like picking a US college for it's food, or a car for it's cup holder?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: vallevin
                                bagelman01 Oct 19, 2011 08:14 AM

                                NO,
                                Bochrim are often captive to the Yeshiva cook when it comnes to getting fed. They may not be in an area where they can escape to the pizza shop during free time, or where there are generous baal batim with loaded groaning boards eager to feed these away from home young men.
                                I have daughters, so this was never an issue, but I have two nephews who detested their yeshiva stays in Isarel because of the food situation (It's been more than 10 years and I don't remember the names of the schools). The boys were always begging for food packages from home, and when any relative visited to be taken away from Yeshiva and fed really good food. Not junk food, but good food in terms of quality and nutrition. They were really tired of lack of meat and fresh vegetables. There is only so much kugel, overcooked carrots and bread one can eat.

                                1. re: bagelman01
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                                  ferret Oct 19, 2011 08:42 AM

                                  My son and his friends were scattered throughout the yeshiva/college system there and they were consistently mediocre. That's why you see hordes of teens roving the fast food joints at every opportunity. My son had a chinese takeout and shawarma stand within sight of his dorm so those were visited frequently.

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