Yeshivah and Seminary Students Weigh Travel to Eretz Yisrael

The days before Rosh Chodesh Elul are typically busy ones, not only for those looking to begin reflecting on the past year, but also for airlines and travel agents accommodating the slew of bachurim flying to Eretz Yisrael for yeshivah and girls for seminary.  The continuing torrent of rockets from Gaza has had limited but, nevertheless, noteworthy effects on this yearly routine.

“Most of the boys are flying,” said Tzipporah Gestetner of Monsey’s Main Street Travel. “The flights are booked, though a small number of families said that may reconsider depending on what develops.”

Mrs. Gestetner said that she noted significantly less concern now than when the hostilities began six weeks ago.

“When it all started, we got a lot of calls from people who had booked for Sukkos, asking if they could cancel,” she said.  “Now there are a lot less of those.”

“There are still a lot more bachurim coming than leaving,” said Uri Stern, who handles admissions to Yeshivas Mir Yerushalayim. “All our numbers are normal.”

Chaim Weinstein of High and Low Travel had seen slightly more of an effect.

Bachurim are going,” he said, “but a lot of them are waiting till the last second to book their flights, to see what the situation will be.”

Mr. Weinstein concurred that prospective travelers were less worried than when rocket attacks first began.

“People didn’t know what to expect, then” he said.  “Now, baruch Hashem, nothing has happened to the airport, and people are calmer.”

A prominent Boro Park mechaneches, who asked not to be named, said that, among parents weighing sending a daughter to seminary, the reaction was mixed.  She noted that local seminaries will be significantly fuller than in past years, presumably a sign of reluctance to send girls to Eretz Yisrael in view of the situation.

“There are others who don’t think twice about it,” added the mechaneches.  “They feel that seminaries are increasing security and whatever happens is bashert. If a family or girl asks us, we tell them to consult daas Torah, which is what they do.”

The mechaneches added what she saw as a “silver lining” to the unfortunate situation in Eretz Yisrael.

“I think that many parents are considering their options of seminaries for this coming school year here in America. For this we are grateful. Two new seminaries opened in Brooklyn alone this year.”

“I hope that peace can be restored as soon as possible for everyone’s sake, and we stop getting cancellations!” Mr. Weinstein concluded.