The Yeshiva High School for Israel's future leaders

Meet "Bnei Tzvi Yeshiva High School", where the future leaders of the Land of Israel are studying and building their future.

Tags: Bet El
Arutz Sheva ,

Yeshivat Bnei Tzv
Yeshivat Bnei Tzv
Courtesy of Yeshivat Bnei Tzv

Click here to strengthen and support Yeshivat Bnei Tzvi

The desire to create an educational and value-based influence on youths from an early age led the heads of the yeshiva campus in Bet El to establish a "yeshiva ketana" (high school yeshiva for ages 14-17). Yeshivat Bnei Tzvi, named after Rabbi Tzvi Yehudah HaCohen Kook ztz"l, is now considered to be a leader among high school yeshivas, and currently serves about 200 students.

The yeshiva is headed by Rabbi Aharon Trop and a team of top-rank educators, with the spiritual guidance of Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed shlita. The yeshiva's goal is the raising of young Torah scholars who see their future in the world of Torah, but who also possess the necessary knowledge in the lay subjects. Accordingly, most of the school day is devoted to the highest level of Torah study, but the students also study general subjects and take the matriculation exams.

Besides the emphasis on scholastic excellence, the yeshiva carries out a wide range of social activities, in order to enhance social cohesion and enrich the students' emotional world and their values. This makes for a very familial atmosphere.

"So many special moments"

"The curriculum at the yeshiva is built around devoting most of the day to high level Gemara studies", explains Rabbi Aharon Trop who has headed the Bnei Tzvi Yeshiva for 19 years almost since its founding' "while imparting basic knowledge in general studies, out of an understanding that at these ages, one can develop very strongly in Torah learning, both in range and in depth."

"There are numerous special moments in Bnei Tzvi Yeshiva that come together to create an entire mosaic", says Rabbi Trop, " Every holiday or completion of a tractate is a special moment. The most exciting ones are the events at the beginning of the school year, in which students celebrate completion of tracts that they studied over the summer. It is moving to see how the students understand the value of Torah study in the course of the year, and utilize the summer vacation for study and repetition."

Bnei Tzvi Yeshiva - the next stage

Following the expansion of Bnei Tzvi Yeshiva and the meaningful growth in the number of students, a new project has been launched: the building of a second floor for the dormitory building. The project will also memorialize two of the yeshiva alumni, David Golovensitz, who was killed during operational activity in Hevron, and Shalom Yochai Sherki, who was murdered in a car ramming terror attack in Jerusalem. This serves to deepen the feeling, among students and graduates, that they are all part of a large extended family.

Shalom Yochai Sherki Hy"d was murdered when he was waiting at a bus station on his way back to Bet El, where he served as an instructor at Bnei Tzvi Yeshiva – the school where he himself had studied. "It was interesting that he went back to be an instructor there," remarks his brother, journalist Yair Sherki. "It was the same with the Morasha Talmud Torah in Jerusalem. He attended it as an elementary school pupil and went back to instruct there in his last year, while also instructing at Bnei Tzvi. This has meaning: a person who grew up and was educated in certain places, goes back there as an educator and comes full circle."

"Shalom was a very special personality, he did not always get along with these frameworks, but that is why I find his decision to come full circle and live in peace with the places where he studied to be so interesting," explains the brother. "A student sometimes has all kinds of things he is angry about or critical of, but suddenly when you are part of the team, you can understand the considerations and see things differently. You can be more at peace with yourself, fix what needs fixing or what you would have liked to be fixed when you were a student. In that sense Shalom was a very whole individual. It affected his personality. On the one hand – to see something that you think needs fixing, and come do it yourself. On the other – to understand things you did not when you were younger."

"For us as a family, this memorialization is very important," Yair Sherki emphasizes. "Over his last year, Shalom devoted all of his time to his students in Bnei Tzvi. Even those who were no longer at the yeshiva were in touch with him. Undoubtedly, a central resource in his soul was devoted to them. He thought about them, he spoke about them, he consulted others about them and prayed for them. It is more than right to memorialize him in the yeshiva where he studied and taught, and where other generations who did not know him now study. We hope that the students are influenced by the good things he left behind."

According to Rabbi Trop, the Yeshiva Head, "Shalom was a radiant person, a person with joy who sees the good and the positive in everything. That is what was prominent about him, from the moment one met him." Rabbi Trop describes Shalom Sherki as a natural educator who does not need pedagogic workshops and courses in education in order to reach his students' hearts: "He was industrious. He could talk to the students forever. He understood the soul, and was very knowledgeable in every subject. He had very clear insights."

First Lieutenant David Golovensitz was killed by a bullet that was accidentally discharged in the course of a military exercise in Hevron, 10 months ago. His father, Shimon Golovensitz, told Arutz Sheva about his son, and about the feeling that every one of the family members had taken one characteristic from David's unique persona, and his special strength. "We are taking this with us in order to win, and we know that we will be victorious. We are in a wonderful country, in a wonderful place, surrounded by good people, and we will make the world a good place, for him, for us and for the Nation of Israel. There is no going back. We will reach the top of the mountain with his strength."

Recalling the day on which his son was killed, Shimon said that a few days earlier, he flew to the US to escort a planeload of Olim – new immigrants – in honor of the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem. "I wanted David to come with me and bring the Olim, because he was a Zionist leader who was imbued with a sense of mission, and I wanted him to come and talk to them about Zionism. It seems that my heart told me that something was about to happen, and so I 'fought' with him and asked that he join me on this flight, but David said he had new soldiers [under his command] and he could not leave them.

"I went to the US and returned a few hours before this happened, and in a few hours, our lives turned upside down," he related. "We turned from a regular family that lives regular lives to people who live in a parallel world, people whose former lives bear no connection to their current lives. It was like dying and waking up in another world, a world in which the only meaning is the connection to the most basic things in life; to tikkun olam."

Shimon spoke of David's leadership qualities, which were already apparent when he was in kindergarten and elementary school. "He led all of the school's programs. They had a program for studying a page of Gemara in the morning and he led that program. He would wake up in the morning, go to the mikveh [ritual bath]; I would go with him since I did not want him to go alone, then he would go to school an hour before everyone else, and lead the program, as he did with other amazing programs. He was the Excellent Student in the school that is now named after him. A program about the vision of the Prophets was named after him."

"We try to walk in David's footsteps, in the path of tikkun olam. David went to Bnei Tzvi and he turned into a man and a strong, powerful leader there. We named David after King David and indeed, he was like King David, he looked like King David, big and powerful and possessing delicateness and sensitivity like King David. He completed Bnei Tzvi and went to Shavei Hevron."

Meet one of our graduates

Kuti Yeger, 35, an educational counselor at Zeitlin High School in Tel Aviv, completed his studies at Bnei Tzvi Yeshiva around 17 years ago. "Because I work in education, I took quite a few role models from the yeshiva," he tells us. "But even if I had not gone into education, I took a lot of belief in my abilities and in my values from there. They deepened my faith and my connection to the Nation of Israel, to Torah, to prayer and happiness. It was done in a balanced way, without coercion on the one hand, but also with clear borders."

One of the events that were etched into his memory, and which he regards as a climactic moment in his time at the yeshiva, is the play the yeshiva put on for Purim. "The play was on a very high level. The educators and their families as well as the instructors, all took part. It was a collaboration with the staff, we all worked together on a project that imparted values but was also quite an experience, and that is something that stays with you for life. The world of values is not contrary to the natural will of youths to have fun. The yeshiva has the naturalness of Torah and of a life full of content."

Fundraising project:

In the course of the last few years, following the meaningful expansion of the yeshiva, a critical need has formed for expanding the dormitory and making the necessary changes for accommodating the growing student body. As part of the expansion, which includes the addition of another floor to the dormitory building, we will be memorializing two alumni whom we hold dear, David Golovensitz who was killed during operational action in Hevron, and Shalom Yochai Sherki, who was murdered in a car ramming terror attack in Jerusalem.

Click here to strengthen and support Yeshivat Bnei Tzvi