'Married yeshiva students are an inspiration for all of us'

US donor praises married yeshiva students' modest lifestyle, positive outlook, says he wants to bring his children to observe and learn.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Religious Zionist yeshiva students
Religious Zionist yeshiva students
Nati Shohat/FLASH90

Echad L'echad's Henn Guterman spoke about the lifestyle married Religious Zionist yeshiva students lead, telling a story about how one American donor was so impressed by the modesty and simplicity that he wanted to bring his children to Israel.

"He's a really nice person, a Zionist, who lives in the US and often comes to Israel," Guterman said. "He joined one of our meetings, when we were discussing how much money a certain yeshiva's married students receive for the holidays. When the yeshiva dean walked out of the room, the donor said, 'How does a couple live off 1,800 NIS ($514) a month? How can they be happy and not complain?'"

"'I need to bring my children here, to see it and learn, so they can learn to live modestly and be happy with what they have. I won't stand for them complaining about money. I see how married yeshiva students live here in Israel, and it is a life lesson for all of us.'

"As you know, the yeshivas do their best to help their married students. But they themselves are in need of funds. It's a wonder the students manage to pay for rent, basic food, and other necessities. It's not clear where the money comes from, but it is clear that they sacrifice much in order to learn Torah.

"The general public isn't aware of how much these families struggle. But it's important to understand that these students aren't needy because they are lazy or don't want to work. They don't feel pitiable, and we should not see them that way."

There's a story that years ago, someone asked the dean of one of the hesder yeshivas how many first year students he had.

"I don't raise sheep!" the yeshiva dean said. "Why does the number matter?"

The message of this story is that each Jew is important. And yet, numbers still help us put things in perspective.

Echad L'echad helps students in nearly 120 Torah institutions, where nearly 1,200 first year students begin each year. The largest yeshivas are those in the southern cities of Sderot and Mitzpe Ramon, as well as the Jerusalem yeshivas of Merkaz Harav and Har Hamor, and Hevron's Shavei Hevron.

Though the heart of every yeshiva is made of of its unmarried students, the best learning is done by those who are married.

"The haredi world doesn't have married students learning with unmarried students," said Dvir, who volunteers with Echad L'echad. "When a student gets married, he finds himself a 'kollel' (yeshiva for married students). Every Religious Zionist yeshiva has a section for married students, and every yeshiva dean knows that the married students are an important educational influence for the younger students."

"For this reason, we believe it is of utmost importance to strengthen the best married yeshiva students, thus strengthening the entire Torah world.

"We support 3,000 married Religious Zionist yeshiva students, who study in yeshivas all over Israel. All of them have one thing in common: The financial difficulties involved in extended Torah study. The amount they earn per person is below the poverty line. The yeshivas try to help by providing stipends, but it's not enough.

"We call on everyone to support our program for excellent yeshiva students, and to help young Religious Zionist Torah scholars grow. They need us to provide the financial security necessary to allow them to succeed."

"Public support is very important to our mission," Echad L'echad Director Rabbi Yitschak Neriya said. "We encourage the public to support Torah. Through the support of Torah, G-d will bless Israel."

Click here to support Religious Zionism's future Torah scholars.

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