To discuss issues relevant to the large and growing world of young Frum families and singles who are fully engaged in the Olam HaTorah and Olam HaZeh. You take your career, learning, family (or dating) and play seriously (not necessarily in that order.) You are nervous about the anti-intellectual trends that you see in your community while being proud of being part of the Torah renaissance in our generation.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Is College necessary for Parnasah

At a Shalom Zachor this past Friday night the father of the new baby was discussing High School choices for his eldest son with a few of us who where left at the end.

Someone made the point that the choice of High School was probably the most important choice for a frum kid's life as his whole future is dependant on this choice. This person - who is a wonderful man - is a Yeshiva graduate who later went for an MBA. He made the point that while in his youth he felt that it was important for parnasa to have his kids get an education so that they could go to college, he no longer believed it. Based on observation of his friends in the community - most of whom did not go to college right away, he felt that either one does not need college - as business is a fine way to go, or you can always go later.

I made some counterpoints; with the incidents of scandal in our community, could it be the pressure of making a living without skills leads to great temptations for 'shtick' and dishonesty? Also, my experience in Yeshiva was that a whole 'chevra' of guys went to college (at night) at the same time, and one by one decided to stay in learning and/or go into Chinuch. So we see that going to college right away is not me'akeiv staying in learning - just like learning full time right away is not 'me'akeiv' going to college later. But bypassing a true HS education and no college for years will not make it easy to go to college later - unless you are very bright (b'h we have lots of those:)

Who is right? Please respond with lots of non-scientific anectodal information an tidbits - like this one:
The first kid from my grade school and Yeshiva to face jail time (unless his father takes the rap for him) DID go to college AND grad school, as did his dad. So that might refute my point above... (oh, and ironically, his dad did not think that I was a good influence on his son!!! How's that for a laugh!)

I would love for a sociologist to do a study of the Orthodox community to see what correlation there is between education level and income - as has been done in the general population (where the direct correlation is very stark.)


  • At 12/25/2005 7:51 PM, Blogger J said…

    One more anectode to refute my position - heard on the Sunday morning football field. 'Chaim' related to me that in his HS in Brooklyn, the Regents answers where posted before the test - as there was no way for them to pass otherwise - as his shtark yeshiva did not give 'English' a second thought. But this did not prevent him from later on going to Dental School - where he was at tht time (and a good one to boot.)

  • At 1/03/2006 5:42 AM, Blogger maharal said…

    did you know
    Reb Getsl Berger from London....?

  • At 1/03/2006 10:17 AM, Blogger J said…


  • At 2/17/2006 10:44 AM, Blogger Leapa said…

    Firstly, my son is sucessfully doing a (hedge) funds management job for a wealthy family with no college. (College is normally needed for hedge funds management)

    However, he also understands that if he to move forward in his field, he will need formal education.

    On another note, may I request that you link to my blog? (
    Our point of view is similar.
    You list no e-mail address, and that's why I am approaching you here.

  • At 3/07/2006 8:50 AM, Blogger SephardiLady said…

    I think that there is a correlation even in the frum level. Although there are plenty of extremely wealthy people who do not fall on the curve, there are plenty of people without means who do not get talked about.

    One thing that does throw the curve for a loop is probably the fact that people who grew up deep in the frum community have a lot of connections and can get jobs that they may not have gotten in the free market and that pay higher since they came through connections. I know many frum employers pay more when a person has more children. That just doesn't happen in the regular world.

  • At 3/24/2006 1:10 AM, Blogger J said…

    However, he also understands that if he to move forward in his field, he will need formal education. Why can't he move ahead by continuing his success? Or by creating his own hedge fund?

    Sephardi Lady:
    You are giving a reason WHY frum kids might not need college for their parnassa (due to the connections) but you are not disputing the contention. Maybe your point is: it depends for which kids. If the kids come from families who live in communities with lots of connections then they don't need college. but if they live in communities of professionals where connections won't help, then the kids need to go to college.

  • At 9/27/2006 6:41 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    As a multiple college drop-out, with a fairly decent parnose, I can say college isn't "necessary".

    But, having spent an aggragate total of nearly a decade in college, I believe college is necessary - for those with the ability and brains.

    Had I finished college in my chosen field (any one of the three I veered into and then out of), I might make between five and ten K more per year than I currently earn. Or not. Without seichel, no amount of college will help. With, a person can go further. And one will have more open doors and broad vistas.


    In mittn drinnen, sholom reb Maharal - hoe is de oude stad aan de Schelde tegenwoordig? Zijt ge er recentelijk geweest?

  • At 9/28/2006 11:10 AM, Blogger J said…

    sounds like you are not sure about these either - as you seem to have argued both sides of this argument :)

  • At 7/08/2007 8:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thats the thing.Im Now 23 left yeshivah for regular ok job should i go to collage now..?i'm really not in the mood..but will i get a good shidech...?

  • At 7/08/2007 12:19 PM, Blogger J said…

    What do you want to do with your life? Are you passionate about something? Or if you aren't, at least think about what kind of job you think you will be able to be successful at and at the same time make enough money to support a family (iy'h). If the answer requires college, then buckle down and do it.
    As for a shiduch, why should it make a difference? If you are already working, you aren't going to get the girl who wants a guy learning anyways. But if you have a solid plan for your parnassa, and it includes college, why should that cause you not to find your bashert? Do you think that your true bashert (and her parents) will be happier that you have a plan and you are working actively on the plan? Or would they be happier that you are just bumbling along?
    Good luck!

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