My principal thought we should all go to seminary, and that meant doing all she could to beg and bully seminaries to take her students. Legend has it that, shortly after giving birth, she called a seminary menahel and said, “Mazal tov! I had a boy! Can you give me a baby gift and take Shira for next year?”
This story is from Shevach, a student who also had a passionate principal, but one who took things to the wrong extreme.
I went to very frum bais yaakov type school in Boro Park, Brooklyn in the 90s. I was a pretty good student.
When we were in 12th grade, the principal went around asking the girls what’s our next year plan, which seminaries are we going to. This was before it became the norm for every girl to go. When it came my turn, I simple told her that I’ll be going into the family business, working in the office during the day and taking some relevant classes at night.
My principal was not happy. She launched a personal crusade to convince me that I should go to seminary in Israel. No matter how many times I mentioned that my parents don’t have the money and my parents need my help in the business or that my mother was simply against sending her daughter for the year overseas before getting married, nothing got her off my back.
So I told her to call my parents.
After a lengthy phone call to them, where my father explained to her how we don’t have the money for it, we barely had enough to make ends meet and pay all the bills, she still didn’t back off! The next day she called me into the office and started giving me a whole lecture on how sometimes parents truly don’t know what’s in their child’s best interests and how sometimes kids have to know that you don’t need to listen to all your parents tell you, just like in the Torah it says that if your parents tell you to be mechalel shabbos you should not listen to them, she feels that this situation is the same, that even though my parents were against sending me to Israel for whatever reasons (financing was one and the main….) this time I should not listen to them, and should go against their wishes go to Israel for a year.
She got a visit from my father the next day. He completely lost it on her. The whole school heard the yelling that he did in the office that day. How dare she tell me not to listen to parents! How dare she compare a year in Israel to being mechalel shabbos!
I never heard a word about seminary again.