Bet El High Yeshiva FUNDRAISER

Yeshiva combines studies that focus on Torah knowledge, with advanced programs that enable students to establish their professional paths.

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Beit El Yeshiva
Beit El Yeshiva
Beit El Yeshiva

About

In the winter of 1977, a group of students from Mercaz Harav Yeshiva ascended to Bet El, in the mountains of the Binyamin region, to establish a community and a yeshiva, and to make the wilderness blossom. The group – which had received the blessing of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Hacohen Kook ztz"l – was headed by Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed shlita and Rabbi Yaakov Katz shlita.

The Yeshiva produces scholars who are erudite in all fields of Torah, and healthy in spirit and soul. From its hall of study emanates the voice of the redeeming Torah, the Torah of the Land of Israel, which is seen and heard from afar.

The Yeshiva combines studies that focus on Torah knowledge and understanding, with advanced programs that enable students to establish their professional path based on the world of Torah. Since its establishment, the Yeshiva has been headed by Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed shlita, who is flanked by a team of experienced educator-rabbis that includes rabbinical court judges and rabbis of communities.

The familial and warm atmosphere ensures that every student receives personal attention and contributes to the Yeshiva's high educational level, and its graduates' high rate of success, both in receiving ordination as dayanim and rabbis, and in academe.

Pleased to meet you: Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed

Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed shlita was born in the Hebrew year 5697 (1936-7 CE). He was raised in Tel Aviv and studied at Kfar Haro'eh High School Yeshiva. He was among the founders of Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh, and a year later transferred to Mercaz Harav Yeshiva. Since then, he steadfastly followed his teacher and rabbi, Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah Hacohen Kook ztz"l, who appointed him to be an educator-rabbi in the yeshiva. In the Hebrew year 5738, Rabbi Melamed ascended to the Binyamin Mountains together with several yeshiva students, and established the community and yeshiva of Bet El.

My belief: "The vision of the Yeshiva is to establish a generation of Torah scholars, to spread the redeeming Torah that I received from my rabbis, foremost of whom was Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda ztz"l, who continued the path of his father, Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook ztz"l, to do good in the world and bring peace unto Israel, especially among the Torah scholars and all those who hold the word of G-d in awe. Unity will bring redemption."

A special moment: A watershed event and emotional moment in the history of the Yeshiva was the inauguration of the new Beit Midrash. To give a sense of the importance of the event: In the Yeshiva's early days, four students used to sit together for se'uda shlisheet (the afternoon meal on Shabbat). Nowadays, hundreds of students sit at se'uda shlisheet.

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Over the past few years, the number of students enrolled in the High Yeshiva has grown significantly. Therefore, planning began for a new beit midrash that would hold all of the students and the participants in prayer. The students were also involved in the planning process; they provided excellent advice that was relayed to the professionals. With G-d's grace, the new beit midrash was inaugurated last year with pomp and circumstance.

"To this day I cannot grasp the miracle that made it possible for all of us to squeeze into the old beit midrash. It was a wonder," recalls Roee Margalit, Director of the Yeshiva Campus in Bet El. "When I arrived at the yeshiva, 27 years ago, there were only 80 students in it. From then to now, the yeshiva has grown in quantity but mainly in quality – and all of this happened under the leadership and guidance of the Yeshiva Head, Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed shlita. Over the years, the campus grew and additional institutes were established and developed. The Yeshiva's alumni are spread all over Israel now, and 'all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed' (Isaiah 61:9)."

The next plan being implemented these days is the construction of a new dormitory that will provide a solution for the Yeshiva's needs in the next few years. "Due to the growth in the number of students, we have received the merit of adding another bed in each room this year, and all of the dormitory's rooms, as well as the dining room, are completely full. We sped up the processes right after the new school year began and we are also working on plans for enlarging the dining room."

Beside the standard yeshiva studies, the training tracks include:

Kolel for Rabbinical Judges: This program trains the students to become dayanim, as well as educator-rabbis in high yeshivas and high school yeshivas. The intensive studies include tractates from Mishna Orders Nashim and Nezikin, along with Shulkhan Arukh, Hoshen Mishpat and Even Ha'ezer. Upon completion of studies, the students undergo the ordination examinations of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. The high success rate of yeshiva graduates is well above the national average.

Kolel for Jewish Law: A national program for a future role as community rabbis in Israel and abroad. At the end of the studies, the students are tested in the ordination (smicha) tests of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, for a "Yoreh Yoreh" certificate that allows them to serve as community and neighborhood rabbis.

Teaching Institute: The Teaching Institute that operates within the Yeshiva combines Judaic studies with knowledge and training in the field of education. Upon completion of studies, the students receive a B. Ed. degree and a Teaching Certificate, which enable them to be employed in a variety of educational institutes.

The Shiluvim program for academic degrees: As part of the educational vision, the Yeshiva sees great value in combining Torah with lay learning. This is the basis for the Shiluvim program, which enables participants to create a learning program for themselves, which combines Torah studies in the Yeshiva with academic studies. The program includes unique lessons in several tracks, and its participants receive a special stipend.

Among the fruits that have sprung forth from the Yeshiva are the Torah seed groups of Tel Aviv, which run "HaMakom," a center for culture and spirituality in the city center. "When I was pondering whether I should go on a mission in Tel Aviv or in Bet She'an, Rabbi Zalman encouraged and helped me to choose Tel Aviv," recalls Ariel Dorfman, who founded HaMakom after 11 years of study in the High Yeshiva, along with his partners, Noam Klein and Manny Klekheim, who are also Yeshiva alumni. "The Yeshiva helped us a lot in establishing HaMakom, spiritually as well as practically and financially," says Dorfman. "To this day, Rabbi Hanoch Pyutrkovsky's support and accompaniment help us greatly in advancing this large project, in which more than 500 Tel Aviv residents study every week, with G-d's help."

"When we had just gotten started, when it appeared like a distant and unrealistic dream, Ketzaleh and Yoel Tzur helped us place the dream on practical tracks and become a reality," he remembers. "Rabbi Zalman used to always tell us that only a person who is confident enough in himself can truly be open, and also accept things from people who are different from him. Of course, in Tel Aviv, this mission is very challenging. I feel that studying in the Yeshiva gave us the strength to deal with both the spiritual and the financial challenges."

"We first came out here 14 years ago with one more family – Eitan HaCohen, a roommate. We came for a two-year mission," he smiles. "Bless G-d, the project grew and we needed more and more strength, and we still did not have the option of leaving. Additional families followed, with Rabbi Zalman Melamed's encouragement. The Kleins, the Diksteins, the Sheindovitzes, the Tabachniks, the Hershkops, the Mendlesons, the Blochs and others," he enumerates his partners. "It was no coincidence that there were very many Yeshiva graduates among them."

There are currently two large projects in central Tel Aviv that are headed by Yeshiva alumni: HaMakom is situated in the nightlife area, and is more oriented toward unmarried men and women, whereas the second project is a old Hapoel Mizrachi synagogue on Kikar Hamedina, where Rabbi Melamed used to pray when he was child. It is run by the Dikstein and Sheindovitz families. The Torah seed group runs a children's nursery at the synagogue and conducts activities with the general public on holidays, as well as providing lessons, lectures, community and family activity.

"The fact that so many Tel Aviv residents meet Judaism and Torah through the windows that we open up for them at HaMakom is simply revolutionary," declares Dorfman with satisfaction. "Just this year, we accepted more than 400 new students into the system, and next year's plan calls for even greater growth. Connecting with people whose lifestyle is the opposite of mine requires great strength of faith, love and humility. Over the years in Tel Aviv, I have learned that even if things appear different and strange outwardly, once you remove the outside layers, the partitions and stigmas, you discover great and good souls."

Dorfman recounts a story that illustrates the character of the activity, and the difficulties he encountered in the initial years. "We had to break the ice with the neighbors who lived right next to us. We did not know how to do this. Even when we said hi to them on the street or when they came out of the elevator, there was some embarrassment since they are not used to people entering their lives. Even saying hello is considered an unwelcome intervention. We had come to a new building and we did not want to live in such an atmosphere. We decided to hold a birthday party for our son, who had turned one, and instead of inviting other parents – to invite the neighbors. We put up a big sign downstairs: 'Everyone is invited'. This was not enough, so we went door to door, sat down for long talks and invited people to the birthday. To our surprise, 60 percent of the tenants showed up. We were very pleasantly surprised. We gave a quality Tel Aviv meal with cheeses and wine and this led to many good things. The neighbors also got to know each other and we made two new friends – my wife became friends with a female DJ from Army Radio, and I got to know a TV producer. The distance is not in the essence of things, one just needs to know how to break it. When we open a small opening, the size of a needle's point, G-d assists us and opens an opening the size of a hall."

The alumnus' corner

Gael Grunewald, who heads the Settlement Division of the World Zionist Organization, was previously Deputy Director of Keren Kayemet and Secretary General of World Bnei Akiva. While he only studied in the Bet El High Yeshiva for one year, it was a very meaningful one for him. "It was my first year in Israel. I had made aliyah from France, as part of the group that came with Rabbi Haim Sultan. Thank G-d we studied seriously. That gave me the foundations," he says, with appreciation.

"I studied with Rabbi Danny Isaac and was very close to Rabbi Melamed. In the course of that year, we were exposed to many things. We had arrived at the Land of Israel, at the community [of Bet El], and we had to slowly get to know a new mentality. Everything was new to us. We were successfully acclimatized in Israel. Afterwards, I enlisted in the army and went on to other things in life."

The fundraising corner:

As part of the general movement of development that includes moving into the new beit midrash (study hall), the new yeshiva will build a new dormitory for its students, with your help. Many new students joined the yeshiva as it grew, and the current dormitory cannot hold the number of students.


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