New Yeshiva for Both Hareidi and Religious-Zionist Students

Amidst all the talk and efforts to bridge gaps between religious and secular youth, several rabbis decided that the time had come to bring together national-religious and hareidi-religious youth.

, | updated: 13:06

The result: a high-level post-high school yeshiva where both types of youth study together.

Rabbi Shlomo Kleinman and Rabbi Menachem Solomon jointly run a yeshiva in Petach Tikvah where budding Torah scholars of both the national-religious and hareidi sectors study side by side. "The two camps are united by Torah," Rabbi Kleinman told Yaffa Goldstein of HaTzofeh. "That's the uniting factor, and the time is ripe to find the bridge between the camps."

Rabbi Kleinman himself is a product of both worlds. He studied in the (hareidi) Hevron Yeshiva in Jerusalem, and taught for many years in the (religious-Zionist) Medrashiat Noam yeshiva high school in Pardes Chana. Rabbi Solomon studied in Yeshivat Ateret Yisrael (hareidi) of Bayit Vegan, Jerusalem. The unique yeshiva they decided to form is named Hadrat Moshe.

"In order to adapt ourselves to both sectors," Rabbi Kleinman said, "we decided that the level of study would be very high, and we made sure of this in the interviews and entrance exams. We accepted only those who were very motivated to learn."

At present, the numbers aren't exactly 50-50. Some 20 students from the religious-Zionist sector learn in Hadrat Moshe, together with half that amount from hareidi families. Rabbi Kleinman says that in general, only roughly 15% of yeshiva high school graduates who continue in yeshivot study in hareidi institutions. "I hope that as a result of this joint learning," he added, "the fear and the hesitations will drop. I believe that a yeshiva like this one can 'bring hearts' closer together."

Tzvi, a hareidi student from Jerusalem, said that he and his friends are not "running away" from the framework of the hareidi yeshivot: "Not at all. The learning here is of a very different type. It's fun. The Rosh Yeshiva [dean] is a genius. The students are all sharp and have come to learn. They don't need someone watching over them. Neither do the religious-Zionist students have to worry that they will become 'burnt' [hareidi]. Here no one cares about what you wear; the main thing is the Torah."

Politics takes up a very small part of their time. "I discussed a little with some of the hareidi guys what they would do in the future – learn Torah or go to work," said Yehuda Shapira of Kokhav HaShachar. "And one time, we had a small debate regarding the question of the Prayer for the Welfare of the State. Each of us brought sources backing up his opinion, and at the end, each of us understood the other one's thoughts better. We also realized that at a certain stage, there's no further point in arguing... By the way, these discussions take place calmly and pleasantly – as opposed to the yelling you can hear in our Talmud arguments in the study hall. In fact, it is exactly that enthusiasm for learning that attracted me to this yeshiva in the first place."