Racheli Frenkel is not your typical national leader. Usually, a leader develops gradually, gaining in stature and prominence with the passage of time. But occasionally, seemingly ordinary people are thrust by extraordinary circumstances onto the national stage, to be universally recognized for their leadership qualities, despite their previous anonymity. Racheli Frenkel is such a leader.
|YBA students handing out free Israeli flags in Jerusalem|
This week, YBA high school students fanned out all across Israel to help bolster the resilience of Israel's citizens. They filled traffic intersections in all the major cities waving flags, dancing and singling while handing out 20,000 Israeli flags and bumper stickers saying, "Be strong and we will be strengthened" and "An eternal nation has no fear of the long road ahead."
Students volunteered their free time for these activities out of a sense of social responsibility. "Raising the flag of Israel in these times sends a message to our enemies that we are not bowing to terror," said one student, "we are never going to leave Eretz Yisrael, and we are not afraid."
"Lots of drivers sound their car horns in support; others roll down their windows and yell 'kol hakavod!' ('Good job!') and many thank us," said another participant. "That's the proof that 'Am Yisrael Chai'."
|Rabbi Eliyahu Avichail, z"l|
In 1975, at the urging of his mentor, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, of blessed memory, he founded the non-profit organization, Amishav – for the Dispersed of Israel.
Rabbi Avichail has lectured widely in Israel and abroad, published numerous articles and the Hebrew books HaOvdim B’Eretz Ashur and Shitei Yisrael, the latter of which has been translated into English and French.
In order to assist in aliya and conversion, he wrote and published the booklet Judaism (Hebrew) which has been translated into numerous languages.
Rabbi Avichail was a member of the Rabbinical Court which converted the Belmonte community in Portugal. He facilitated aliya of the BaDerej L’Yerushalayim group from Mexico and the Bnei Menashe group from Peru. He continues to assist the aliya of Bnei Menashe from northeast India (some 1,000 souls to date). Rabbi Avichail has travelled the world, from India, Burma, China, Thailand and Japan to Europe and South America, in order to research, encourage and guide the dispersed of Israel.
Rabbi Avichail was born in Jerusalem in 1932. His parents came from Lithuania and Ukraine. At 16 he was drafted by the Israel Defense Forces during the War of Independence; he completed his service with the rank of sergeant in the Nahal brigade at Kibbutz Yavne. Afterwards he joined Kibbutz Saad, where he lived and worked for five years, and then studied at Yeshivat Kerem BeYavneh and Merkaz HaRav Kook. He received his rabbinical ordination and completed a teaching certificate for Bible studies and Mishna. He has held the positions of community rabbi, students’ rabbi at the Hebrew University, and teacher of Bible and Judaism for all ages. He received the equivalent of a Doctorate in Jewish Professions for his rabbinical studies and publications.
Rabbi Eliyahu Avichail and his wife Rivka were jointly awarded the Yakir Yerushalayim prize [annual citizenship prize in Jerusalem] in 2012. They have six children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Their home was open at all times to the Bnei Menashe, new converts and all those who wish to study Judaism.
Thousands of citizens of Israel from the Bnei Menashe community will mourn this modest and saintly man, who paved the way for them to begin new lives as Jews in the state of Israel.
Ron was conscripted to the IDF in 1981 and joined the Paratroopers Brigade. He went on the serve as a commander of the brigade's Engineer Company and as deputy-commander of the 50th battalion of the Nahal Brigade.
Alsheich left the army in 1988 with the rank of Major, and joined the Shabak, Israel's equivalent to the FBI, where he rose through the ranks until being appointed deputy director in September 2014. He was expected to be tapped to be the next head of the Shabak before being picked by Erdan to lead the Israel Police.
Alsheich's nomination is expected to sail through the approval process, as praise for his talent and appropriateness for the position pours in from sources all across Israeli society. Israel's last Chief of Police, Yohanan Danino, a graduate of YBA Or Etzion, retired from the position three months ago.
The chairman of the Yeshivot Bnei Akiva educational network, Rabbi Haim Drukman, called Alsheich to congratulate him and wish him well. "It is a very important and demanding position," said Rabbi Drukman; "Your appointment is a source of pride for the entire religious Zionist sector in general, and for YBA in particular, because it demonstrates our commitment to educating toward the values of Torat Eretz Yisrael, which incorporates dedication to mitzvot between man and G-d, man and his fellow man, and man and his country."
Read more about Ron Alsheich and how his appointment reflects the growing trend of religious Zionist leadership in all sectors of Israeli society in the following links:
|Elchanan Glatt addressing crowd at |
YBA Ma'arav Shomron
Last week, over 3,000 people joined YBA in Elkana to dedicate a new campus for the YBA Ma'arav Shomron boy's yeshiva high school. The event was attended by the mayor of Elkana, Asaf Mintzer, and featured a love performance by singer Avraham Fried.
This week, the opening week of the 5776 school year, featured many other dedication ceremonies:
At the same time, in the presence of the Minister Uri Ariel and YBA officials, a new dormitory facility was being dedicated at the UBA Shirat Hayam Ulpana High School of the Arts for girls in Neve Tzuf.
Meanwhile, the YBA Sussya Yeshiva High School for Environmental Studies was not satisfied with dedicating a new dormitory last week, so it broke ground immediately afterward for the construction of an additional dormitory building there.
Finally, later in the week YBA Mateh Binyamin in Beit El also dedicated a new dormitory building for its many students in the residential track.
Elchanan Glatt: "Yeshivot Bnei Akiva has taken off on a period of unprecedented growth, expansion and excellence. We are proud of our educational path, and proud to be part of the continuing settlement movement throughout the entire Land of Israel."
Yossi Dagan, the mayor of the Shomron Regional Council welcomed the building boom and said: "Naturally, the communal and spiritual atmosphere in the Shomron is conducive for educating students toward Jewish values and connection to the Land of Israel. We congratulate YBA on this building boom, and wish all the schools much success in training our children toward excellence and Jewish values."
There are 74 educational institutions in the YBA network in Israel, including 15 in Yehuda and Shomron ensuring high quality education in Israel's heartland.
CLICK HERE to view an interactive map of YBA schools in Israel.
Yeshivot Bnei Akiva: Training Israel's Future.
|YBA Givat Shmuel Beit Midrash|
|Rabbi Shraga Fruchter|
The Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Shraga Fruchter, himself a graduate of YBA Pirchei Aharon near Haifa, attributes the success to love: “When a boy comes to our school and sees how important he is to his teachers, and how the entire staff does everything it can to help him achieve success, it gives him the drive to apply himself with all his abilities.”
When YBA Givat Shmuel was founded in 1972 as a middle school, it was intended to serve as a "feeder school" for boys in the central part of Israel to the 16 residential high schools in the YBA network at that time spread out in rural settlements throughout Israel.
However, in 1978, following requests from the parent association, it was decided to expand the school into - the network's first non-residential comprehensive yeshiva high school. Today, the school serves over 750 students, half of whom from Givat Shmuel and the other half from other cities in the Dan (greater Tel Aviv) urban district. The school offers a residential option for students who live too far to travel by bus each day to the school.
“Our girls come to the ulpana with a lot of positive attributes,” said the project’s coordinator at the ulpana, Mrs. Michal Kinnerti, “I’m proud that our school succeeds in bringing out their inner potential for excellence.”
UBA Kfar Pines was established in 1960 as the first ulpana girl's high school in the YBA educational network. The school was unique at that time for its combination of high-level Torah and secular studies for girls in a residential framework, modeled after the YBA yeshiva high schools for boys. Today the school serves over 450 students from all parts of the state.
Ruchama Hazut, the ulpana’s principal, said, “It inspires pride and admiration to see our students achieve so much academically, while maintaining their humility, good nature and religious beliefs.”
UBA Segula in Kiryat Motzkin was founded in 1965 as the YBA network's third ulpana high school for girls. Today the school serves over 525 students from the Haifa region and entire northern half of Israel.
|YBA Chairman, Rabbi Haim Drukman|
Rabbi Drukman headed the Conversion Authority within the Prime Minister's office for many years, and is critical of the way conversion is being conducted today by the Haredi-dominated Chief Rabbinate. Neverthe less, Rabbi Drukman is opposed to the recent move by other religious Zionist rabbis to establish alternative conversion courts outside the Israel Chief Rabbinate.
Read more about Rabbi Drukman's position on the current controversy shaking the religious Zionist community in Israel:
|YBA Educational Network Chairman, Rabbi Haim Drikman|
On Friday, in response to two terrible incidents that took place the day before, Rabbi Haim Drukman, the Chairman of the YBA Educational Network in Israel spoke out yet again against all forms of extremism and violence, whether against Arabs or Gay Jews.
YBA is all about teaching moderation, which is according to Rambam, 'the golden path.'
|YBA Nachal Yitzchak, Nechalim|
YBA Nachal Yitzchak, established in 1955, is one of the oldest schools in the YBA educational network. Today the school serves 485 students in both residential and non-residential tracks.
|YBA yeshiva high school students in the Beit Midrash|
|The Talmud consists of the Mishna, Gemara and commentaries|
Following the success of the initiative, YBA wants to expand to an even higher level. "We want to eventually include another measure of success – we hope to have our students writing term papers on the Talmudic issues they dealt with during the year."
|Ulpanat Neve Ruchama founder,|
Cissie was born in Chicago, Illinois and from the age of 15 was active in the religious Zionist Bnei Akiva youth movement. She immigrated to Israel in 1958 and studied sociology and education at the Hebrew University, and worked as the original dorm counselor at the first Ulpanat Bnei Akiva in Kfar Pines.
After graduating she established the religious studies track at the Beer Sheva Comprehensive High School, and later became the first dormitory director at Ulpanat "Horev" in Jerusalem. In 1983 she founded Ulpanat Neve Ruhama in Jerusalem, which became the address for teen girls who suffered from severe learning disabilities. Cissie ran the school until her retirement in 2011, and over the years the school earned the nickname "Ulpanat Cissie."
In 2008, in preparation for her retirement, Cissie asked the YBA educational network to take over the educational and financial management of the school, to assure that her life's work would continue to thrive. Today, UBA Neve Ruchama serves 266 girls in grades 7-12 from Jerusalem and the surrounding area. Since retiring Cissie has engaged in voluntary educational activities in the various sectors.
|WZO Chairman |
"Duvduv" was born and raised in Jerusalem and as a Paratrooper in the IDF, took part in the battles to reunify the divided city during the Six Day War. After receiving BA and MA degrees from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and serving as the Jewish Agency's emissary in France, Duvdevani was appointed the General Secretary of the World Bnei Akiva youth movement, a position he remained in for 15 years. He continued holding positions of leadership in the JNF, Jewish Agency and WZO throughout his career.
How do you define Zionism?
"Zionism is commitment - it is the feeling of responsibility that drives someone to forego his personal interests and contribute everything he can for the sake of the public interest."
What are the goals of the WZO today?
"Strengthening Jewish education in the Diaspora, particularly towards the Zionist values and teaching the Hebrew language. We also have to strengthen traditional Zionist values in Israel, such as tolerance, and social justice, so that Israel will become a light unto the nations. Finally, encouraging Aliyah. We have to convince Jews living a comfortable life in the Diaspora that Eretz Yisrael is their homeland and that living in Israel is a real possibility for them."
Are you optimistic about achieving those goals?
"As a religious Zionist, I see the founding of State of Israel as the first sign of our national redemption. But the full redemption won't come all by itself. We must help it along. If the nation of Israel remains steadfast in its quest to fulfill the Zionist mission and vision, I have no doubt that the full redemption will surely come."
|UBA Segula graduate,|
Lt. Shaked Ben-Shoshan
One of the 120 this year was Lt. Shaked Ben-Shoshan (22), from Kiryat Bialik and a graduate of Ulpanat Bnei Akiva Segula in Kiryat Motzkin.
Shaked serves in the physically challenging IDF Field Intelligence Unit.
|IDF Field Intelligence soldiers in full field camouflage|
The IDF Spokesman's Office related that Shaked was chosen for the honor due to the long record of citations of excellence she has earned from her commanding officers throughout her army career. "I was surprised to be chosen," she said, "because most of the soldiers chosen had fought in last summer's Operation Protective Edge or for an exceptional act of bravery. I didn't participate in the operation, so I didn't expect to be chosen."
Kiryat Bialik Mayor Eli Dokorski called Shaked to congratulate her on being chosen and thanked her for the honor she brought to the city of Kiryat Bialik, saying that she was "an exemplary and significant product of religious Zionism, imbued with a sense of purpose and determination."
Shaked is in line to be promoted to the Deputy Commander of her unit in August. YBA and AFYBA salute you, Shaked!
Read the entire article by Avi Strauss, The Commentator, April 29, 2015
"This honor belongs above all to my friends in the army and to my commanders, who accept me as an equal. They don't make any assumptions, they simply listen and help me," says Cpl. Ori Cohen, 20, who had always dreamed of serving in the IDF.
|Cpl. Ori Cohen with his parents|
|IDF Yom Hazikaron Opening Ceremony at the Kotel|
In the past 67 years since the founding of the State of Israel, 407 YBA Torah Warriors fell in the line of duty in the IDF, and 76 more YBA students and graduates were murdered in terror actions against Israeli civilians.
|Victims of||Fallen IDF|
|YBA Kfar Haroeh||6||82||88|
|YBA Yavneh, Haifa||1||43||44|
|YBA Or Etzion, Merkaz Shapira||8||35||43|
|YBA Netiv Meir, Jerusalem||2||39||41|
|YBA Nachal Yitzchak, Nechalim||8||26||34|
|YBA Givat Shmuel||-||23||23|
|YBA Yad Avraham, Netanya||3||17||20|
|YBA Pirchei Aharon, Kiryat Shmuel||1||18||19|
|Yeshivat Hesder Hagolan, Hispin||7||9||16|
|YBA Beit Shmuel, Hadera||2||13||15|
|Yeshivat Hesder Or Etzion, Kiryat Shmuel||7||8||15|
|YBA Hadarom, Rehovot
YBA Neve Herzog, Nir Galim
|YBA Hashomron, Karnei Shomron||8||4||12|
|YBA Ohel Shlomo, Beer Sheva||-||10||10|
|YBA Beit Yehuda, Kfar Maimon||2||7||9|
|Yeshivat Hesder Hakotel, Jerusalem||-||9||9|
|YBA Mateh Binyamin, Beit El||-||6||6|
|YBA Bar Yochai, Meron||2||3||5|
|UBA Tzfira, Tzafaria||5||-||5|
|Yeshivat Hesder Maale Yitzchak, Maalot||2||3||5|
|YBA TO"M, Herev Le'et||-||4||4|
|YBA Kiryat Herzog, Bnei Brak||1||3||4|
|Orot Israel College of Education||3||-||3|
|Yeshivat Hesder Neve Dekalim, Ashdod||2||1||3|
|UBA Neot Avraham, Arad||2||-||2|
|YBA Tikvat Yaakov, Sde Yaakov||-||1||1|
|YBA Aderet, Bat Yam||-||1||1|
|YBA Ner Tamid, Hashmonaim||1||-||1|
|YBA Beit Shean||-||1||1|
|UBA Amana, Kfar Saba||1||-||1|
|UBA Even Shmuel
Yeshivat Hesder Akko
In the early 1990s, ... Orthodox men accounted for 2.5 percent of graduates of infantry officer training courses; since then, it’s grown to more than 25 percent... In some combat units, they make up as much as 50 percent of new officers – roughly quadruple their share of Israel’s population. The upward trend, coupled with a parallel decline in the number of combat soldiers and officers coming from secular families, is dramatically changing the face of the IDF. Read entire article