BMG is #1

The chart lists the universities that produced the highest pass rate for those taking CPA exam for the first time. Ostensibly, this reflects both the quality of student an educational experience that positions candidates to get it right from the beginning. Outside of our circles, many must be scratching their heads. Is Beth Medrash Govoha a branch of Princeton? Rutgers?

It says more than that there are bright guys in Lakewood, and that more and more career opportunities are being made available to those who are transitioning to the workplace. We knew all that.

What it may tell educators outside of our circles – if they can get past the teachers’ unions – is that it might pay to rethink educational strategy altogether, at least for some students. If motivated people in their 20’s with practically no secular education at all can compete effectively with products of conventional educational systems, what can we learn about all the drill and reinforcement that is part of elementary education? Are some kids wasting years of time because they could learn material much more quickly when a bit older?

In Israel as well, haredi successes produce challenges to the educational system. Motivated haredim with no secular background at all successfully earn the equivalent of bagrut in 12-18 months in special programs, and then take their places in regular academic study at Israeli universities. Twelve years of education in 18 months? There are some questions that need answering – and may help everyone streamline children’s education

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49 Responses

  1. larry says:

    Congratulations to all the BMG students who passed the CPA.  Does BMG offer CPA classes?  Or do BMG graduates take independent classes at local schools or online?

    • BMG remains kulo Torah. There are a number of options available to students, including career counseling and independent programs that work in the Lakewood community.

      • mycroft says:

        I’d be shocked if Princeton grads were even offered an accounting major-all that this shows that BMG students are relatively smart-certainly compared to the average college student who studies accounting.

      • shmuel says:

        Princeton does not offer an accounting major. Neither do the rest of the Ivies outside of Cornell. It’s beneath them. Not scholarly. Too pedestrian.

      • mycroft says:

        When I went to YU I don’t believe there was even an accounting course offered. Dean Bacon in his yearly Shabbos visits to the dorm used to always speak against accounting.

      • larry says:

        The candidates received their CPA training outside of BMG.  It would seems that whoever taught these candidates accounting deserves some credit.

        Before one draws any conclusions from these statistics, it would be inciteful to know how BMG graduates performed relative to candidates from other universities who took the same CPA prepatory classes.  It would be helpful to know if a statistically significant number of BMG graduates took the test in both asbolute numbers and as a percent of BMG graduates.  If hypothetically, 30 of the 6,500 students at BMG took the CPA test, it would hardly be a reason to overhall a system.  It would be helpful to know how BMG students did on the CPA test over a number of years and not make conclusions based on one year.  The headline, “only once in 50 years do BMG students perform best in the state on the CPA,” is hardly impressive.

        I imagine one could make a counter argument.   Given the success of many ba’al teshuva Yeshivot where young men from excellent secular colleges become tremendous lamdanim in a relatively short period of time, perhaps the yeshiva high school system needs to be rethought.  However, I am not going to make that argument because Torah is lishma and accouting is a job.

        Data presented on this site deserves  to be held to scrutiny before conclusions are made.  If the data stands to scrutiny I fully support your conclusions.  That relates to the data.  I am of course very proud of all the candidates who passed the exam and wish them every success in learning and in business.  Their strong scores brought a headline that is a kiddush hashem.

      • Chochom b'mah nishtanah says:


        I wonder if your use of the term “inciteful” was intentional or Freudian.

      • larry says:

        Despite the urge, the I am restraining myself from further comment.  I leave it to you to ponder the pedagogical ramifications of 14 of 24 BMG graduates, average age 32, passing a standard test on the first try, when the average pass rate nationally is 50%.

  2. Shlomo says:

    Do BMG students generally have a K-12 education under their belt?

  3. asher lovy says:

    The average BMG guy does have some sort of k-12 secular education. The quality and commitment varies between schools and individual students. Most litvish yeshivos give a decent enough baseline education.


    This is good, but I wonder what percentage of the students are actually taking higher level exams. If you’ve got a school with 2000 students and 25 of them take the CPA exam per year, and most of them pass the first time, that’s not quite the same as a school with 2000 students of which 200 take the exam and 100 fail.


    Also, what’s the source for that image?

  4. dr. bill says:

    if israeli chareidim received the secular education of BMG students currently leaving the yeshiva, Lapid would celebrate and Gafni would need to be taken off the ceiling. (given current trends, i am not as certain of the future.)  except for a few top-rated state schools, the students did not attend elite schools.  i have little doubt that a small group of BMG students, of unclear background and training, will outperform a large group from an average university.

    • joel rich says:

      As long as folks understand that we’re dealing with anecdotal, undifferentiated  data which is not a guarantee for any particular BMG talmid, this is good information.  If it leads to the M. Jordan/L. James syndrome (they succeeded without focusing on their secular studies, so will I) for a middle aged avreich with a large family and no outside support, I fear for a rude awakening.  And BTW CPA’s  without other skill sets have somewhat more limited opportunities (not necessarily a bad trade off for time spent elsewhere but worth noting in realistic career planning)


    • Eli Blum says:

      Fully agree. BMG is Litvish, which usually means they have a decent K-12 education, and many if not most have taken the NY regents at some point. Others have gone to Touro, but don’t take exams until they are ready to work. Combine that with a prep class for the CPA, and they should be in the top passers.

      Very different than someone who can’t speak English, or has no basic math or reading skills. Satmar doesn’t send to BMG, and certainly in Israel there is no such system.

      • I wasn’t comparing the US to Israel. Nor for that matter was I advocating anything other than studying why certain professional skill sets can be developed in a shorter period of time that conventionally assumed.

        For the record, however, I take strong issue about the value of K-12 education in haredi schools in the US. Twenty years ago, the level of instruction was generally abysmal. Today it is far worse. The trend in the more exclusive schools is to stop offering secular subjects altogether; in the other schools, what they offer is only marginally better than nothing. Bright, motivated students become autodidacts. Yes, what is offered may be better than what is offered in Israel (which is why many of us don’t hide our hope that the Core Curriculum will be picked up by haredi schools there), particularly in basic math and English, but we should be looking at absolute value, not comparative.

      • Shades of Gray says:

        There is a trend to improve things.   Mishpacha wrote in  Dec. 2015(“Hitting The Books”) about Richard Altabe’s efforts, which R. Belsky zt’l  was also involved in. About R. Belsky himself, R. Daniel Eidensohn wrote(Daas Torah Blog, “Rav S. R. Hirsch & his contemporary incarnation – Rabbi Slifkin”, 11/6/11, Comments) :

        I had a discussion a number of years ago with Rav Belsky in which I asked him about his knowledge of Science. He said when he went to high school the sciences were taken seriously. He noted that because secular subjects have become marginalized the rabbis have become increasing ignorant of these fields – even when it applies to fields such as medicine and kashrus.

        Compare with what R.  Hershel Schachter wrote(“Rav Belsky ztl – An Appreciation”):

        The Netziv explains that the Holy One, Blessed is He will give these bodies of knowledge to the tzadik as an inheritance, i.e. without the necessity to toil; he will acquire them as a gift… Although Rav Belsky never went to college or had any formal technical training, he truly mastered all areas of technical expertise and was thus able to uniquely rule in fields that are closed to many others.

  5. Aaron Ross says:

    The purpose of a liberal arts education is not to be able to pass the CPA exam.  The headline is nice clickbait, but is besides the point.  Note that Harvard and Yale did not make the list either.

  6. YbhM says:

    <i>. If motivated people in their 20’s with practically no secular education at all can compete effectively with products of conventional educational systems, …… </i>

    The same thing is true if you compare motivated BTs who spend a few years in a good yeshiva after college with products of the conventional yeshiva system.

  7. DF says:

    If the point of this is that yeshivah students are generally bright, I don’t think there is any argument whatsoever. כולי עלמא לא פליגי. But the knock on the bachurim has never been lack of intelligence, but rather, lack of work ethic. They come into a regimented work environment from a world with no deadlines, no tests, no oversight, and (obviously) no problems with Shabbos, yomtov, or late arrivals prompted by a bris or a long davening. That’s the problem that has to be overcome, not lack of smarts. Additionally, one frum accountant firm hiring partner I spoke with this weekend (and she comes from a kollel/rosh yeshivah background herself) told me that the bachurim she interviews have no clue how to describe what they’ve been doing their whole life prior to taking the test. They have great GPAs and test scores, and that gets them the interview, but, at least in her experience, they don’t perform well on the interview itself.

    Concerning the specific test results above, fairness requires us to recognize a few things:

    1. The CPA is one of the very few career paths available – or thought to be available – for yeshiva students going to college. For many bachurim, especially the Lakewood variety, that and the bar exam are the only options possible. And only a tiny percentage of those entering yeshivah go to college at all. So it’s a very small self-selected sample here. You cant compare it to the general population, where hundreds of different professions are available, and everyone takes one of them. If every single guy in Lakewood had to choose a profession, it is all but guaranteed that the passage rate would not be so high.

    2. A lot of the general population sitting for these exams are working full time jobs when they take them. That is rarely the case for the bachurim or the guys temporarily in kollel, who have all the time in the world to study.

    3. We, as a society, have a “masorah” of what to study, how to study, what review courses to take, etc. We’re not coming in blind, as so many in the general population are.

    4. The CPA plays to our strength, like the bar exam. I don’t know if there are comparable statistics or tests for (eg) engineers or scientists, but that would be something interesting to look at.


  8. Shades of Gray says:

    In previous years,  Touro ranked  first  or among the best in the nation on the Regulation portion (Taxation and Law) of the CPA exam, now it’s BMG, and Satmar may be next.

    In other news, Rabbi Moshe David Niederman of Satmar spoke of the community’s “solemn responsibility … of educating every student and giving him or her the foundation for success….We continually strive to provide students with the tools they need to become productive citizens that contribute to society.”

    Some may be skeptical, but I think its the Messianic era 🙂

  9. mb says:

    I’m not sure that this is good publicity.

    Our enemies will say it proves Jews like counting money, especially other peoples!

    • Chochom b'mah nishtanah says:


      One School listed is Jewish and that is your takeaway?

      And it only one school out of thousand in whole country.


  10. Dr. E says:

    (1) All real colleges have a Career Center or an Accounting Department that would track such data.  I suspect that BMG does not have either entity.  So, one has to wonder what askan furnished the numbers.

    (2) Even if true, this just shows that Yeshiva guys can memorize books and pass a test.  Perhaps some studied and took the test merely as a kiyyum of Kibbud Av and as a “tennai” for continued support.  How does this transfer to being competitive in the labor market where the CEO is not a father- or brother-in-law?  Does the Yeshiva track job placement rates of its graduates?

    (3) This stat merely reinforces the prevalent myth long-held by the Yeshiva world that real college degrees are irrelevant (or even useless) and that when someone is ready to leave Kollel and “make parnassa”, he can get any job he chooses (at any salary level or hours-per week).  The exceptions do not prove the rule.  And for this, there is likely empirical data out there.

    (4) It’s interesting that this outcome is being touted from an outside source on Cross-Currents.  While it might be a good stat for a BMG fundraiser visiting prospects in Manhattan to have in his back pocket, would this be something that the Yeshiva would be proud enough of to print in its newsletter or official promotional literature?


    • Chochom b'mah nishtanah says:

      1)  The information comes from NASBA, the entity that administers the uniform CPA exam.  The information is provided by candidates sitting for the exam.  It is not provided by the school.

      2) The CPA exam is considered one of the most difficult exams to pass, certainly on the first time.  It much more than rote memorization.  I guess you are conceding at a minimum that Yeshiva Guys are more adept at applying information they’ve learned to examples than other students.

      One cannot “just” take the test.  They must first complete specific credits , including accounting, tax business law, auditing and other business topics, at accredited colleges or universities.

      I know you will say  that this is just anecdotal.  I have worked with a significant number of individuals who have gone the BMG  to CPA route and as a whole they out performed most of their coworkers who were at the same position with the same experience. And not by a small margin.

      There is a placement office (Like any college) that the program has that helps place the graduates and they have complete statistics, including who was placed, where and whether they have completed their CPA exams.  And the graduates have been placed at all of the Big Four and next tier accounting firms in addition to regional firms.

      3) What are you talking about?  I think this comment talks much more about your biases than anything else.

    • R.B. says:

      Frankly, your skepticism is sad. Even successes are being pooh-poohed by you? Why just not leave the yeshivishe world (which in the past you confirmed you affiliate with) if you view these things with such jaundice? Does our velt have issues? Yes, many. That means even good things are problems? No.

      • Dr. E says:


        To your point, I applaud anyone who passes a difficult test like the CPA.  However, I have met too many people over the years who have been explicitly and implicitly oversold on the value of passing that test and the credential alone–and regret that.  A Bachelor’s in Accounting with work experience (even without a CPA) will be a more valuable resume for employers.

        To address your parenthetical point, with the exception of my really Modern friends, very few people who know me would consider me “Yeshivish” 😉  FYI, I did attend a mainstream Yeshiva in my formative years of the 80’s and have remained faithful to those principles and that worldview.  I have just let the ever-moving Rightward shifts pass me by.  So, I’m really in the same place.


      • Chochom b'mah nishtanah says:

        ” I have met too many people over the years who have been explicitly and implicitly oversold on the value of passing that test and the credential alone–and regret that.”

        A person who pursued a career in accounting or related financial position regretted taking the CPA exams? (assuming they passed it.  I can imagine someone who could not pass would regret taking the exam)  Your comment seems to me to be less than truthful.

        Most states require work experience in addition to passing the exam in order to be licensed.

        Like everything else in life, experience, in any job, is important.

        And this is say as in immutable fact, for someone pursuing a career in accountancy or related fields, having passed the exam is a huge plus in obtaining a position.  Even a first position

      • Dr. E says:


        What I said is that some have regretted having relied on just having taken the exam (and passing it) without a legitimate Bachelor’s degree in Accounting.

        Yes, your are correct that most States require work experience in order to have the CPA activated, but not to take the test (which is the topic of discussion in this post).

        I’m not sure where you are getting your “immutable fact” from without providing corroborating data.  Have you spoke to employers and recruiters outside of Lakewood or Brooklyn?  Someone having passed the exam alone after having taken preqs without a Bachelors degree in Accounting and work experience will not be competitive relative to someone with the Accounting degree and some experience, even for a first position.

  11. mycroft says:

    ‘many ba’al teshuva Yeshivot where young men from excellent secular colleges become tremendous lamdanim in a relatively short period of time, perhaps the yeshiva high school system needs to be rethought”


    • dr. bill says:

      i would disagree.  people like Rabbi twersky ztl or perhaps more remarkably christine hayes are few and far between.  i do believe that the methods of talmud study in elementary and high schools need a serious look.  also rabbi twersky undoubtedly had some home schooling

  12. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    The CPA exam is a very specific test. Not all intelligent students are number crunchers with those specific skills. There are other yeshiva guys who have skills appropriate to practical rabbinics, teaching or counseling. A handful of students who kill the CPA exams don’t say anything about the rest.

  13. Shaya Mandel says:

    The reason BMG is mentioned is because many students of the Professional Career Services accounting program through Fairleigh Dickinson University, take the CPA exam before they graduate the Masters in Accounting program. Thus, when they take the CPA exam, they have to list the  last college they graduated, which is BMG, where they receive a Bachelors in Talmudic Law. BMG does not offer any accounting classes. But it is amazing to see how our young men perform. BMG was second for a number of years. Nice to see them number 1.

  14. Mark says:

    It’s really remarkable that people here (and on other own blogs) are critiquing Rabbi Adlerstein for saying that we need to examine whether the classic dual curriculum education system works for everyone; perhaps some are better off with a different secular studies trajectory/mix. No, say the MO! It must be our way – for everyone! Irony of ironic ironies…..

    • larry says:

      Are we reading the same comments?  I think everyone here wants to better understand the data before reaching a conclusion.  And why would you come here to criticize comments on other blogs.

      • Mark says:

        Eh, no. Some people want to discredit the achievement. “No, no, its meaningless. Nothing to examine. Move along.” The defensiveness is tangible.

        Why would I not comment here on criticism of this post on other blogs? Have no posters here ever posted responses to criticism on other blogs?

  15. lacosta says:


    page 254—–  BMG=== 23  candidates,  60%  pass rate.  avg age 32



  16. Shades of Gray says:

    The opposite point  is the value of  girsa d’yankusa (Shabbos 21b)  ; also, cramming  may not work for the average person.  Ezra Friedlander, an opponent of Yaffed, distinguished  last August in Mishpacha between types of  skills:

    Math and English-language skills, in particular, are crucial nowadays to practically any area of employment. Other subjects – science, history – can often be mastered later in life if necessary, but weaknesses in reading, writing, and verbal expression are not easily rectifiable in adulthood.

    Similarly, Dov Lipman wrote in the Baltimore Jewish Life(May, 2013):

    Adina Bar Shalom, Rav Ovadiah Yosef’s daughter appeared before the Knesset task force to help Haredim enter the work force which I founded and begged us to implement math and English because 50 percent of the boys in her chareidi college drop out due to their lack of math and English.  I meet regularly with chareidi young men who are still completely in the chareidi world and they tell me that the one thing which is necessary is some basic math and English.

    Rabbi Dr. Aaron Hirsch Fried said of students in Machon L’Parnasah (Touro) for Chasidim(2007 interview with Steve Savitsky on  OU website, 18:00):

    many of those young men are very angry now that when they were children or bachurim, when they were teenagers, they were not given the skills that they now have to learn when they already have a house of 2-3 kids to support

    Apparently, the newly formed  PEARLS organization  recognizes this.

    • Shades of Gray says:

      I was mechavein to part of  today’s Haaertz article(“Does Studying the Talmud Make You Smarter? Data Dispels Old Myth”):

      “There is no doubt that the Haredi elite, who study in the elite yeshivas [such as ] Mir, Hebron or Ponevezh are brilliant,” says Dr. Neri Horowitz, a scholar of Haredi society. “They are the scholars of Haredi society and they do study at a high level – but they are an elitist minority.”The average Haredi is much less successful than the elites.” The other prospective quoted there is, ““Everything you learn in 12 years of school, we make up in six months of a preparatory program,” says Avraham Kadosh, a Haredi man who has a law degree and is a CPA, as well as being a licensed tax and financial adviser. “The way in which Haredim study allows them to succeed in life, because we teach how to learn,” he says.

      See also Jonathan Rosenblum’s “Talmud Study and the Liberal Arts”(11/11),  “Are yeshiva students dumb?”(1/98”) , and “Israel’s greatest untapped source of brainpower”(8/08), the latter quoting, “A 1994 study by a team of Israeli and American researchers, headed by Prof. Robert Sigler of Carnegie-Mellon University, found that yeshiva students surpassed secular students in their ability to solve geometry and mathematical problems”.

      • This is precisely the kind of thinking that is helpful. It presents different parts of the issue. No one is suggesting that because BMG guys can do well on the CPA exam (and apparently, from rich anecdotal evidence, in the workplace as well) that we will be well served by eliminating all secular studies. To the contrary, we will find out which parts of it are necessary for whom, at what ages. What comes up will, like life, be nuanced. At this point it does look like those in Israel, at least at the moment, do need math and English as components of a core curriculum or most will not be able to catch up. With more study, we should be able to fine-tune this, and discover just how much of what.

      • mycroft says:

        Of course brilliant people can succeed in any field. Most of RIETS came from YU but they will admit those with other bachelors into simcha program. Many have done exceptionally well when they came from elite universities. It simply shows that everything being   Equal brains are crucial to abstract study.

  17. David Ohsie says:

    “What it may tell educators outside of our circles – if they can get past the teachers’ unions – is that it might pay to rethink educational strategy altogether, at least for some students. If motivated people in their 20’s with practically no secular education at all can compete effectively with products of conventional educational systems, what can we learn about all the drill and reinforcement that is part of elementary education”

    While I definitely find it fun to see BMG at the top of that list, the reasoning that goes from there to the sentences above is completely unfounded.   This is classic example of confirmation bias: finding unexpected (to yourself) andecdote that fits one’s preconceptions and using it as evidence for those preconceptions.  I’ll list just a few of the problems here:

    1) Sample size.  I don’t have the sample size from 2015, but the 2013 sample size where BMG was third in NJ in pass rate (behind Princeton and Thomas Edison) was 12.   Yes, twelve.  It is basically impossible to prove much of anything about a group based on a sample size of 12.  (H/T to lacosta for giving the source.  The number 23 which he quotes includes the same person taking the exam(s) multiple times in the same year).

    2) No Randomization: The sample size of twelve are not a random sample of the entire “american chareidi” educational system.  If the sample is not taken randomly, then they prove nothing about the members of the larger group.  Even if we grant arguendo the questionable assumption that the vast majority of “american chareidi” have “practically no secular education”, that says nothing about the characteristics of the self-selected group that attempts an accounting career nor those that do well enough to sit for the exam, nor those that self-select to actually sit for the exam.

    3) No Controls: We have no group of test-takers who are similar in all respects to the BMG folks except that they had better secular educations.   There is no measurement given other than conjecture which would lead us to believe that the only difference between the BMG folks and others were “practically no secular education”.  In fact we have nothing at all except conjecture.

    4) There is no evidence that the measurement given (pass rate) correlates with successful prior preparation or career success as a CPA.   For example, a higher pass rate could indicate better screening of those sitting for the exam.

    If you want a more robust phenomena to study, maybe we should be looking at the poverty rate in Kiryas Yoel which has been highest in the nation.  There are lots of reasons for that, but could complete lack of secular education be one of them?  That seems more deserving of future research than a fun and interesting stat about 12 people, IMO.

    • Excellent point, all of them irrelevant to my point.

      All the ifs, buts, and maybes that you can muster do not detract from the reality that a group of yeshiva-educated men accomplished what in the minds of most requires 12 years of strong primary and secondary education followed by four years of a good college experience. Whatever the makeup of the group that performed well, we should find out what makes them tick. That’s all I said. Learning about their success will not only help others follow or not follow in their footsteps, but it may teach us something about who needs what educational experiences, and when. With or without further study, the similar phenomenon concerning yeshiva men and law school is so well established that it is beyond cavil. (When my oldest son graduated Columbia Law School, he was joined by no fewer than ten others from yeshivos, mostly BMG. The top of the pile was a Brisker with Briser peyos whose position in the ranking allowed him to keep his grooming preferences intact while working for a white-shoe Manhattan firm.)

      I suspect that your bottom line objection is that you think I was secretly advocating relaxing standards on secular education. Nothing could be further from the truth – and I do not disagree about the price paid by communities – chassidic and otherwise – in denying children the basic educational tools they will need as adults.

      • mycroft says:

        Rabbi Adlerstein. Your same logic and more could apply to my parents in reverse. Both knew more Jewishly than most people. My mother A”H born in the US had zero day school education-of course she not only went to Talmud torah , but then Hebrew HS after her regular H S and then after secular college  in evening she went for four years to  a n institution that taught Jewish subjects for about 15 hours a week.

        My father AH was born in Europe to about 10 went to a day school with about an hour a day of Jewish content the rest was following curriculum of the country- then went to secular schools until a level that when he came to US a US college gave him some credit for that. My father also had at least a reasonable knowledge of Jewish knowledge-he did of course from late teens study intensively Jewish subjects and had no problem with that.

        Basically those with ability can study very quickly, those wo can,t Yamato umazatataamin maybe good mussar – just study harder but not reality.

      • Eli Blum says:

        You have no idea if any or all of those students got a full K-12 education. Even the Brisker. I don’t know why you think that just because someone is in BMG, they didn’t take the Regents or equivalent education.

        You said “If motivated people in their 20’s with practically no secular education at all”. We are all responding “meheichi teisi”. Especially if they went to FDU.

      • Absolutely correct. I have no idea. And neither do you!

        My youngest is in his mid-twenties. When the boys attended East Coast schools – already a while ago – those who went to Shaar haTorah received secular education. Those who went elsewhere received none – sometimes officially, sometimes effectively. Glad to hear that the trend is reversing itself. Please be so kind as to send me the names of fully yeshivish places that offer decent limudei chol. I get inquiries from nervous parents all the time, and would love to offer them some real hope.

      • David Ohsie says:

        Rabbi Adlerstein, my points are completely neutral to the kinds of conclusions you are trying to draw.  You wave away considerations  of sample size, randomization, controls, and proper modeling as “ifs, buts, and maybes”.  On the contrary, they are all essential considerations to drawing any kind of conclusion from statistics.  As a chacham has said before, the plural of anecdote is not data.

        We know little about the CPA pool that you referenced, but we can say something about the graduates of Columbia Law.   The median LSAT score for entering Columbia Law is 172 which is at the 98.6 percentile of all LSAT takers.  And if Columbia Law considered a Yeshiva education substandard for admissions (I don’t know if they do), then the average among the Yeshiva graduates were likely higher.  Thus you are talking here about a population people on right tail of intelligence.  It surprises me not at all that a small self-selected group of super intelligent people who spend an outsized amount of time studying and memorizing ancient and medieval legal texts would be able to succeed in Law School.  And one other thing that we know is that these people read enough in the English language to at least familiarize themselves with the English vocabulary required by the LSAT.

        Thus, while the burden of proof is upon the one proposing a theory, with regard to your law school anecdote, we can state with high confidence that the people involved were not in any way a representative sample of Yeshiva graduates.  And to answer your question of “what makes them tick” you can probably start with the fact that they are really, really smart.

        To summarize, I have no objection to the observation: “Really smart people can take unconventional educational paths”.    There are lots of proofs for that including the following article:   Or even that intense study of halacha might help someone prepare for law school (although that is really just an intuition unsupported by any of the data given here).

        But this generalization about the population remains entirely without support:

        “What it may tell educators outside of our circles – if they can get past the teachers’ unions – is that it might pay to rethink educational strategy altogether, at least for some students. If motivated people in their 20’s with practically no secular education at all can compete effectively with products of conventional educational systems, what can we learn about all the drill and reinforcement that is part of elementary education”

        I would also point out the entire American university system is premised on the notion (correct or incorrect) that the brightest people need the least instruction.   Top level universities grade their professors entirely on their research abilities and the undergraduates aren’t even taught entirely by the professors.   I have read (but can’t prove) that even in law school, the top law schools teach principles and theories, evaluate professors by their scholarly output and leave the study of caselaw and details to the student to learn on their own.  Your son can probably speak better to this than I can.  If that was what you were trying to point out, then it is quite conventional.


  18. mb says:

    “maybe we should be looking at the poverty rate in Kiryas Yoel which has been highest in the nation.”

    And the conundrum is that it has one of the highest average real estate prices. Why would that be?

  19. Michoel says:


    Your comment reads a little unclearly.  The average pass rate for all test takers is a bit under %50.  The average first time pass rate is %20.  BMG’s first time pass rate is 58%.

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