People have a misconception of what the Lechu V’Nelcha program is. I have heard people say that it is a place for girls who are not married and have no place to go. This is absolutely wrong. It is a sophisticated learning program for girls who are out of school in order to stay connected to their roots and to Torah. We have workshops and shiurim; there is an open exchange between lecturer and students, and camaraderie among the girls. Harav Mattisyahu Salomon, shlita, greatly encouraged me to develop and promote this program. He was adamant that girls have to continue learning after graduation, saying, “Once a girl finishes school, it’s not over.”
Girls leaving school have a lot of pressures, without the security and Torah environment they had in school to keep them rooted and connected. Many go to college in order to secure a parnassah, which presents unanticipated challenges and temptations. Their social circle changes, their friends change, their whole environment changes. The same holds true for girls who go to work.
So there is a tremendous gap between the two worlds. Lechu V’Nelcha bridges that gap for a girl, to keep her close to herself, to her roots, her whole chinuch. Yes, some say you can listen to shiurim or read books, but nothing compares to sitting together and learning with girls who share the same values and goals. It is a continuation of the benefits of school, but without the tests. The girls come to Lechu V’Nelcha just like they go to a seminary; there is a warm vibe and the girls are proud that they belong to a special group of elite girls. Wherever they go in the world, they can find Lechu V’Nelcha girls to connect with.
There is no age limit or academic requirements. Girls come from Boro Park, Manhattan, Monsey, Monroe, Williamsburg, Flatbush, Rhode Island, Baltimore, etc. The only requirement is a commitment to Torah values and standards; our girls are serious girls who are interested in growing and learning. I am indebted to their parents for entrusting me with their daughters and to the girls for their insightful questions that add so much to the program.
I was fortunate to get the haskomos of Hagaon Harav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita; Harav Mattisyahu Salomon, shlita; Harav Elya Ber Wachtfogel, shlita, and l’havdil bein chaim l’chaim, Harav Aharon Leib Shteinman, zt”l.
We just had a huge event in the Tamir with close to 1,000 girls from all the seminaries in Eretz Yisrael to make them aware of what is available to them after they finish seminary. The response was overwhelming. It is heartwarming to see the enthusiasm. It’s basically an Open House to introduce the program for the girls leaving Eretz Yisrael, and to give them the opportunity to sign up in their area for when they are back home in September. In the words of the girls: “It is much easier to leave sem!”