This is in response to two articles, the most recent being “From the Desk of an 18-Year-Old Yeshiva Student” (February 9, 2017), by Ezra Epstein, regarding post high school study in Israel, which he challenges and questions and of which he is critical. His contention is that students go “because they feel that their 18 years of Jewish education has not given them sufficient reason to stick with the program.”
Dozens of research papers by psychologists and neuropsychiatrists in the last 20 years have concluded that the emotional and intellectual mental functioning of adolescents is far less developed than in adults 20-25 years of age. A vast change and growth in the more sophisticated reasoning and decision-making areas of the brain occur during this period. It may well be that a 17-year-old is not ready to confront the non-Orthodox Jewish world, with all of its temptations and secular values and ideas, both within universities and in the workplace.
So, parents and teens, take advantage of that additional year of more sophisticated Torah study in Israel.