Ponevezh Yeshiva

Ponevezh Yeshiva

Ponevezh Yeshiva, often pronounced Ponevitch Yeshiva, ( _he. ישיבת פוניבז) is a world renowned yeshiva located in Bnei Brak, Israel. It was originally established in the town of Panevėžys, Lithuania. The yeshiva has over one thousand students, and is the leading Lithuanian-style yeshiva in Israel today and arguably the leading yeshiva world-wide.

As of January 2007 the Roshei Yeshiva are Rabbi Gershon Eidelstein, Rabbi Boruch Dov Povarski and Rabbi Shmuel Markovitz.


Prior to the Holocaust the yeshiva was led by Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman, the "Ponovezher Rov", who functioned more as the president and chief fundraiser. He selected and appointed Rabbi Elazar Shach to be the academic head and full-time rosh yeshiva who became arguably the most significant leader of Haredi Judaism in the latter half of the twentieth century.


Many other important scholars joined the faculty of Ponovezh, such as Rabbi Shmuel Rozovsky, Rabbi Elazar Shach and Rabbi Dovid Povarsky. The Kahneman fraction of the yeshiva is presently led by Rabbi Gershon Eidelstein and Rabbi Berl Povarsky, in addition to Rabbi Chaim Shlomo Leibovitch and Rabbi Chaim Peretz Berman. The Markovitz fraction of the yeshiva is led by Rabbi Shmuel Markovitz, Rabbi Asher Deutch and Rabbi Desler.
Based on an earlier arbitration ruling, the very appointment of Rabbi Chaim Shlomo Leibovitch and Rabbi Chaim Peretz Berman was disputed by followers of Rabbi Shmuel Markovitz, and the first shiurim (public discourses) given by these rabbis was disturbed by various means, a part of the disputes detailed below.

Internal disputes

During the 1990s the yeshiva was subject to a public disagreement between two of its leaders, Rabbi Shmuel Markovitz (married to a granddaughter of the yeshiva's founder) and Rabbi Eliezer Kahaneman (a grandson of the founder) over the management of the yeshiva, that resulted in heated and even violent confrontations between students of the yeshiva.
There was a process of arbitration, but the Kahaneman camp - supported by some rabbis - ignored the decision. Since then the yeshiva has practically split, resulting in two yeshivos in the same building, in other words the students occupy different dormitories but learn in the same learning hall and eat in the same dining room.
On Friday evening, Oct. 20th, a dispute arose over which side's representative should lead the evening services. A member of the Markovitz camp ran up to the cantor's place and began the services seconds before the appointed cantor of the Kahaneman camp arrived. A scuffle then arose, disrupting the decorum of the chamber.

Famous teachers

* Rabbi Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler (1892-1953), Mashgiach ruchani, "Michtav me-Eliyahu"/"Strive for Truth"
* Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein (1895-1974), Mashgiach ruchani, author of "Or Yechezkel"
* Rabbi Elazar Menachem Man Shach (1898-2001), Rosh Yeshiva

Famous alumni

* Rabbi Yitzchok Halberstadt zt"l (1922-2002), former deputy mayor of Bnei Brak co-founder of Rav Wolf Seminary
* Rabbi Dr. Mordechai Halperin, Chief Officer of Medical Ethics for the Israeli Ministry of Health, director of the Dr. Falk Schlesinger Institute
* Rabbi Avrohom Yitzchok Ulman, rabbi of Ner Yisroel in Jerusalem, on Jerusalem's council of Charedi communities hEdah HaChareidis)
* Rabbi Yoel Schwartz, Torah scholar and author, senior lecturer at Yeshivas Dvar Yerushalayim

Institutions affiliated to Ponevezh Yeshiva

*Kollel Avreichim — located on the grounds of the yeshiva in the Ohel Kedoshim building; intended for married students who have graduated from the yeshiva.
*Yeshivat Ponevezh Le’zeirim — a division for 200 high school students headed by Rabbi Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz, and was formerly co-headed by Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman.
*Batei Avot — sheltered accommodation established by Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman for children rescued form the holocaust, orphans and children from broken homes donated by Henry Krausher.
*Grodno Yeshiva - Beer Yaakov — an additional yeshiva located in Beer Yaakov.
*Grodno Yeshiva - Ashdod, also known as Ponevezh Ashdod — an additional yeshiva located in Ashdod.

External links

* [http://www.famousrabbis.com/pon.htm Rabbis of Ponevezh: Itzele Ponevezher and Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman]
* [http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/lita/Lit1403.html The Jewish Panevezhys]
* [http://www.shtetlinks.jewishgen.org/Panevezys/pon2.html During the Period of Independent Lithuania]

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