When Riva Goldwasser was rejected from a Chabad girls seminary in Israel she was floored. But her year turned out just fine (in Florida).

By Riva Goldwasser

For years I assumed I was going to israel for Seminary just like everyone else. However, when I got the rejection letter due to (space limitation), I was floored (to put it mildly.) Now what? I had to rethink my future.

After a lot of research my parents and I looked into Chaya Aydel Seminary in Hallandale Beach, Florida. Even though I heard great things about it, deep in my heart I felt how could anything be better than Seminary in Israel? And guess what? Chaya Aydel Seminary is not Israel, but let me tell you what it is.

From the minute I stepped off the plane Rabbi Lebovics was waiting at the airport, to pick up the girls. We were all virtual strangers. Before I knew it school started. The teachers were truly amazing. Whether it was Chumash, Jewish history, educational phsycology, art, Halacha, Chassidic philosophy, gym, and many other fascinating subjects, each teacher without exaggeration was better than the next.

I had very good teachers in high school Baruch Hashem, but I felt that this year's learning was intensive yet relaxing, and gave me tremendous tools for life. 

The administration worked very hard to make sure every detail was as wonderful as possible. Whether it was breakfast on a boat, taking us to a concert, going to Key West, Orlando, the Everglades, spending Shabbos in a hotel, or just going out to eat.

The school is smaller than other bigger Israeli seminaries, and because of its size the staff is able to work with each student, to help them reach higher goals. I would venture to say I've seen every girl change in one way or another for the better. We had a great opportunity to interact with the wonderful community in Hallandale. It was truly a give and take relationship.

The girls have had learning sessions, visited old age homes and preschools, and really tried to help out whenever they could. Some really nice relationships have blossomed. The community has lovingly accepted and looked out for each girl.

What really made the seminary the best it could be possible was the staff. The Lebovics, Tennenhauses, Schwartzes and the Feiners I believe will leave an indelible spot on everyone's heart. The girls came from literally all over the world France, England, Canada, and across the United States, yet we became a tight cohesive group and gave each other a lot of support.

It's hard to believe this amazing year is over. What started out as "Oh no, what am I going to do this year?!" turned out to be the most beautiful experience I ever had.