"All of the seminaries united in the Seminary Union must adhere to the regulations for the conduct of a Bais Yaakov girl," read one of the key declarations issued during a conference of the Beis Yaakov Seminaries Union held in Bnei Brak.
According to the consensus, the seminaries must maintain the walls separating students from the dangers of modern technology (referring to the Internet and other modern media), which pose a threat to the individual's spirituality, and from publications not monitored by gedolei Yisroel shlita, which also pose a real danger.
The conference was opened by Rav Zeev Wolf, principal of the Rav Wolf Seminary in Bnei Brak and chairman of the Seminaries Union. He spoke about the spiritual challenges that threaten to encroach on every Jewish home and on the Beis Yaakov network, which is the gatekeeper of the Jewish home today and for generations to come. "We must safeguard our generation from the afflictions wrought by technology," he said.
According to a statement prepared during the course of the conference, if admissions guidelines are imposed on the seminaries based on formal, technical criteria (as the Israeli government and court system are seeking to do), rather than the spiritual guidelines the seminaries are founded on, they will be unable to open the school year next year. Under such circumstances some 30,000 students around the country, representing various types of background, would not be going to classes.
The Seminary Union reiterated that the seminaries are run in accordance with a set of binding regulations formulated under the guidance of gedolei Yisroel shlita, which determine the proper conduct to be followed by a Torah-true bas Yisroel — such as abstaining from unsuitable attire, permissiveness and Internet and cell phones without rabbinical approval. Accepting a student whose lifestyle does not accord with the way of life at the seminary would be liable to harm other girls spiritually and irreversibly.
"Those entities battling the seminaries try to foment and divert the debate to an issue of ethnic background," read a Seminary Union statement. "When an Ashkenazi girl is not accepted to a seminary, clearly it is for spiritual-ideological reasons, whereas if a Sephardic girl is not accepted to a seminar, they try to attribute it to her parents' ethnic background. The State Comptroller, in his report on the seminaries, seeks to set a new rule that seminary admissions regulations should not reflect any aspect of the student's conduct or her family's conduct beyond the walls of the seminary. This approach shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the Bais Yaakov educational system."