Beis Yaakov (literally "the house of Jacob") is a franchise, like Starbucks or IHOP. Except it's a franchise of extremely observant ("yeshivish") Jewish girls' elementary and high schools. The first Beis Yaakov was founded by Sarah Schenirer, a seamstress in Poland in the early 20th century. Hers was the first official Jewish religous girls' school in Eastern Europe. It was founded with the approval of the Chofetz Chayim, a leading rabbi of the day, but it still created a huge controversy, even though she taught the girls almost nothing of Torah, except scattered verses taken out of context. Her school was basically created as an alternative to girls attending secular gymnasiums. There are currently hundreds, perhaps thousands of Beis Yaakovs in America and elsewhere. In some parts of Brooklyn there is one on every Avenue. (I'm not joking, there is a "Beis Yaakov of Avenue J", "Beis Yaakov of Avenue M", etc.). Not to make too sweeping a generalization, but many Beis Yaakovs can be categorized as supplying sub-standard education, in Jewish as well as secular studies, although they do provide a very complete indoctrination curriculum as well a thorough instruction in ritual law ("dinim").

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