Yeshivat Sha'alvim

Yeshivat Sha'alvim

Yeshivat Sha'alvim is a hesder yeshiva located near Kibbutz Sha'alvim.


Yeshivat Sha'alvim was founded in 1961 by Rabbi Meir Schlesinger, the rabbi of Kibbutz Sha'alvim. The yeshiva, like the kibbutz, was originally affiliated with Poalei Agudat Israel ("Agudat Israel Workers"), whose ideology can be described as somewhere between that of Agudat Israel and that of the Mizrachi.

Rabbi Schlesinger served as the rosh yeshiva for over 30 years. For over 20 years, the highest class was taught by Rabbi Shimon Zelaznik, a student of Rabbi Isser Zalman Meltzer of Etz Chaim Yeshiva in Jerusalem. A weekly lecture ("shiur klali") was delivered by Rabbi Yitzchak Dzimtrovski, one of the foremost students of Rabbi Shmuel Rozowski at Ponevezh yeshiva and maggid shiur [lecturer] at Yeshivat Kol Yaakov in Jerusalem. The first mashgiach was Rabbi Yitzchak Gittelman who had been a student of Rabbi Yeruchom Levovitz at Mir yeshiva. A subsequent mashgiach was Rabbi Moshe Yechiel Tzuriel (Weiss), a prolific author. The period between circa 1970-circa 1985, during which time these rabbis served at Yeshivat Sha'alvim, may be regarded as the yeshiva's golden age. The current heads of the yeshiva (see below) all studied at Yeshivat Sha'alvom during this period.

In the early to mid-1980s many of the yeshiva's original rabbis began to retire and their positions were filled by graduates of the yeshiva and of other, more strictly Religious Zionist yeshivas. This change coincided with the demise of the Poalei Agudat Israel movement and with the growing divide between the National Religious and Haredi movements in Israel. In the following years the yeshiva grew significantly and became the center of a large and flourishing educational campus which includes a kollel (rabbanut and dayanut), a teachers college, a yeshiva high-school for boys, an ulpana high school for girls, an elementary school and a Talmud Torah. In the early 1990's a National Religious yishuv named Nof Ayalon was built around the Sha'alvim educational campus. Over 400 families live in the yishuv including many graduates of the yeshiva.

Graduates of the yeshiva have founded Hesder yeshivas in Karnei Shomron and in Sderot. In recent years the yeshiva has also opened a post-high-school seminary for girls from the United States and other countries in Jerusalem.

Today, the yeshiva is headed by Rabbi Yechezkel Yaakovson and Rabbi Aryeh Hendler and the kollel is headed by Rabbi Gidon Binyamin, all graduates of the yeshiva. Other senior rabbis are Rabbi Moshe Ganz, a graduate of Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav and a close personal student of Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, and Rabbi Yoel Amital, a graduate of Yeshivat Har Etzion and a close personal student of his father Rabbi Yehuda Amital.

Overseas program

Yeshivat Sha'alvim has a program for students from the United States and other countries. This program was headed for many years by Rabbi Mallen Galinsky and is headed today by Rabbi Ari Waxman. In recent years the program has grown significantly and over 100 students attend it annually.


Yeshivat Sha'alvim has had some affinity for the Torah im Derekh Eretz philosophy of German Jewry. Both founding rosh yeshiva Rabbi Schlesinger and current rosh yeshiva Rabbi Yaakovson studied in the Kol Torah yeshiva founded by Rabbi Dr. Yechiel Michel Schlesinger, Rabbi Schlesinger's uncle (headed subsequently, for many years, by Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, of whom they were both students. Both Rabbi Schlesinger and Rabbi Yaakovson are scions of prominent German-Jewish families. Rabbi Schlesinger is the son of Dr. Falk Schlesinger, former director of Sha'arey Tzedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

Other ties to German Jewry, include the phenomenon that many of the students, particularly in the high school, are associated with the German-Jewish founded youth movement Ezra (formerly affiliated with Poalei Agudat Israel). In addition, in 2006 Yeshivat Sha'alvim assumed the control of the Isaac Breuer Institute (also formerly affiliated with Poalei Agudat Israel, founded in memory of the movement's German-Jewish ideologue of that name), which issues the scholarly quarterly HaMa'ayan.


Well known alumni of Yeshivat Shaalvim include Rabbi Kenneth Brander, Dean of the Center for the Jewish Future at Yeshiva University and Rabbi David Fendel, rosh yeshiva of the hesder yeshiva in Sderot.
*Rabbi Dovid Hirsch, YU Rosh Yeshiva

External links

* [ Yeshiva website] (Hebrew version)
* [ Yeshiva website] (English version)
* [ Photo of the dais at the Yeshiva's opening]

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