Chapter #7: Ramat Shlomo

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The summer that was the second half of 12th grade, I finally switched yeshivas. My friend had moved to this place a year before, and my parents “had heard good things”. This was a place that studid “iyun” in depth, but had a respect for breadth.
They didn’t want to accept me at first, but they finally acquiesced.

It was to be my first time in a dorm, and I have never experienced worse accommodations in my life.

The entire yeshiva was tiny, about 15 guys. About 6 were total bums, and the rest were total nerds. The dorms were a prefabricated “caravan” structure a block away from the yeshiva. The bums had taken over the bigger dorm room and stayed up late smoking and talking with the lights on. This forced the rest of us nerds into a tiny room, where we basically slept one on top of each other.

The guy below me would sleep with all his clothes on, minus his socks. He never cut his toenails, to prevent them from becoming ingrown. Do you know what happens to toenails when you never cut them? Google it. No man should ever see what I saw.

We shared one bathroom amongst all of us. It smelled of shit and mold, and there were these little flies that kind of lived on the walls. They never flew, but they never went away either. The floor was broken, unattached tiles. The door didn’t lock, to keep it closed you dragged a pile of plastic chairs in front of it. The sewage, apparently, dumped itself unceremoniously right outside our caravan, and the most luxuriant foliage was growing in that spot.

At some point, the yeshiva made a feeble attempt at building a better bathroom. They took down the old sinks and started building two new shower stalls. But they never completed them, and now the living area was a bunch of cinderblocks and drywall, and the sinks were more like troughs, balanced on some cinderblocks a few inches from the floor. You had to bend over double to brush your teeth.

Every day I’d study with a tutor to bring me up to the snuff that everyone had from years of “iyun” study. I would constantly fight exhaustion, which would magically disappear the moment the studying was over. My fellow classmates were weird and unrelatable, they could barely hold a conversation and it was like we were from a different universe.

There was some rabbi who would come every day and give a class on what we had learned. He was supposedly a genius, and, once again, I got to experience someone saying words without understanding a word of what they meant.

After just three months of this, as the term was coming to a close, it became apparent that because of some sort of inner politics the school, which had been an experiment to begin with, was shutting down. This was why they hadn’t wanted me to attend in the first place, apparently. It would have been nice of them to actually say so.

Either way, it was time to find another school.

Full chapter list (Available in eBook Form)

  1. Kindergarten
  2. Cheder
  3. Mishna
  4. Good and Evil
  5. Gemara
  6. Yeshiva Gedola
  7. Ramat Shlomo
  8. Beitar
  9. More of That
  10. The IDF
  11. Mitzpeh
  12. Darkness
  13. Independence
  14. Shitting on the Parade
  15. Light
  16. Detox
  17. Spreading Wings
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