Efrat

YBA dedicates 5 new school buildings in Yehuda and Shomron - Israel's Heartland

Elchanan Glatt addressing crowd at
YBA Ma'arav Shomron
The Yeshivot Bnei Akiva educational network is not willing to even think about a building freeze in Judea and Samaria. In fact, the YBA schools in Yehuda and Shomron are undergoing a construction boom like YBA hasn't known for many years.

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:


The new campus of YBA Orot Yehuda in Efrat was dedicated on Sunday, with videotaped greetings from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and the Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky. On hand were the mayor of Efrat, Oded Ravivi, and the General Director of the YBA Educational Network, Elchanan Glatt, who couldn't contain his excitement as he spoke in front of the thousands of well wishers in attendance.
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 Orot Yehuda Campus Construction Progressing



Sandy Herskowitz withYBA Orot Yehuda  Rosh Yeshiva,
Rabbi Shlomo Kimche, at construction site in Efrat
Sandy Herskowitz from New York visited Efrat last week to see the progress in construction of the YBA Orot Yehuda campus there. The school's Department of Judaic Studies was dedicated at last years' dinner by Sandy & Boondi Herskowitz and Shari & Maurice Gluckstadt, in memory of their parents, AFYBA Founder Marvin and Renee Herskowitz z"l.

YBA Orot Yehuda, which joined the YBA network in 2012, serves over 150 students in its overcrowded temporary quarters today. When the new school building opens next September, there will be ample room for over twice as many students. The school has earned a reputation for excellence over the years, and draws students not only from Efrat and the surrounding Gush Etzion settlements, but even from Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh and Kiryat Arba.




Exterior view of the construction site, March 2015

Interior view of the classroom building central atrium stairway, March 2015

29% of Operation Protective Edge medal winners were religious Zionist soldiers

IDF Medal of Honor Award Ceremony (photo: inn.co.il)
When the IDF Spokesman's Office released the names of the 24 combat soldiers who earned the IDF Chief of Staff Medal of Honor for acts of bravery under fire during Operation Protective Edge, one statistic stood out: seven of the 24 (a disproportional 29.2%) were graduates of religious Zionist educational institutions, including one student and three graduates of Hesder Yeshivot.

This is yet another testimonial to the revolution of leadership in Israeli society that the Yeshivot Bnei Akiva Educational Network has led over the past 75 years, Training Israel's Future

Cpl. Yehuda Wishlitski being congratulated by
IDF Chief of Staff  (photo: walla.co.il)

At YBA, we like to think of our graduates as Torah Warriors™; on the front lines for Israel’s survival, and in the forefront of Jewish Education.

Eitan Ozery, the Director General of the Hesder Yeshiva Association in Israel, expressed it best when he said, "Hesder Yeshivot educate toward the Jewish value of 'mesirut nefesh' (self-sacrifice) in the face of battle. The Beit Midrash (study hall) is their source of fortitude; and their strength of character stems from the Torah."



The seven religious Zionist medal winners are:

  • Cpl. Yehuda Wishlitski, a student at Yeshivat Hesder Beit Shean
  • Staff Sgt. Erez Halfon, a graduate of Yeshivat Hesder Beit El
  • Sgt. Matanya Maguri, a graduate of Yeshivat Hesder Yaffo
  • Lt. Elishama Jacobs, a graduate of Yeshivat Hesder Alon Moreh
  • Sgt. Yuval Heyman, from Efrat, whose family received the medal posthumously
  • Lt. Eitan Feund, from Jerusalem, who risked his life charging into a tunnel to retrieve the body of his fallen fellow officer, Lt. Hadar Goldin
  • Sgt. Roni Jackson, a religous female soldier from Kochav Hashachar, who spotted a band of terrorists emerging from a tunnel near Kibbutz Sufa and directed cannon fire to the site, thus saving many lives.

New AFYBA board member Jeff Goldstein visits YBA schools

Jeffrey M. Goldstein, Esq., a lawyer from Teaneck, NJ, visited the YBA Yeshiva High School for Environmental Studies – Sussya and YBA Orot Yehuda in Efrat this week, as part of his orientation as a new board member of AFYBA.

Rabbi Kimche (L) and Jeff Goldstein
in a classroom under construction
YBA Orot Yehuda Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Shlomo Kimche, took Jeff to visit the construction site of the school’s new campus in Efrat, which is scheduled to open in September 2015. He also toured the campus and unique “green” dormitories at YBA Sussya in the southern Hebron Hills region, led by the school's director, Haim Bar-Hai.

Jeff and Natalie at the top
of the Rudjum Fortress
Following the tour of the campus AFYBA Associate Director, Natalie Sopinsky, who lives in Sussya, took Jeff to climb the Rudjum Fortress, a short walk to the north of the school. The fortress was built in Hasmonean times (circa 200 BCE) and served as a Jewish stronghold during the Bar Kochba revolt against Rome. The site was excavated in 1994, and the yeshiva students are voluntarily preparing the site as a tourist attraction, paving stone pathways, installing benches, lighting, etc.

"My visit showed me how vital it is to support the YBA educational network,” Jeff said. “YBA schools are literally grooming the next generation of Jewish leaders for the state of Israel. Catching a glimpse of the learning going on at YBA Sussya and Orot Yehuda strengthened my confidence that the students are receiving an education that is above average, compared to the rest of the yeshiva world."

YBA announces $7.5 million capital campaign for 2015

The YBA Educational Network in Israel and AFYBA are ready to embark on a capital campaign totaling $7,500,000 during 2015 to mark the 75th anniversary of the first Bnei Akiva high school yeshiva - YBA Kfar Haroeh.

Future campus of YBA Orot Yehuda, Efrat
YBA Kfar Haroeh was established by Rabbi Moshe Zvi Neria zt"l, and Rabbi Avraham Zuckerman zt"l in the winter and spring of 1939-40, with only a handful of students. But the message of Torah Ve'Avoda that went forth from that pioneering school has spread far and wide, and the number of YBA schools has grown exponentially over the past 75 years to become Israel's leading educational network.

Rabbi Neria is generally credited with leading the Bnei Akiva "kipa sruga (knitted skullcap) revolution" that has transformed Israeli society over the decades, and his vision of Bnei Akiva yeshiva and ulpana high schools throughout Israel has largely been fulfilled. Today YBA serves 24,000 students in 74 schools from the Golan Heights to Eilat, and everywhere in between.

Future campus of YBA Ma'arav Hashomron, Elkana
To mark the 75th year since the founding of its first yeshiva high school, YBA intends to raise $7.5 million dollars during 2015 for capital projects throughout the network.

The first priority is to fund the construction of 3 new high school campuses serving the Jewish population of Judea and Samaria (Yesha). Ministry of Education funding is available only for the construction of classroom buildings. The construction of all the other components that turn a regular high school into a yeshiva or ulpana high school - Beit Midrash, dining hall, dormitory and gymnasium - must be financed by local and international fundraising.

Future campus of YBA Kinor David, Ateret
The capital campaign's secondary priority is the renovation and upgrading of dormitories, science labs and computer labs in YBA's veteran schools, Dedication opportunities for major gifts are many and varied.

For more information on dedication opportunities, contact Menachem Bar-Shalom at the AFYBA office.


AFYBA Weekly Torah Portion: Parshat Vayetzei - Rabbi Shlomo Kimche

Parshat Vayetzei


Rabbi Shlomo Kimche is the Rosh Yeshiva of YBA Orot Yehuda in Efrat, Israel. To invite Rabbi Kimche as a Scholar-in-Residence, contact AFYBA at www.afyba.org. 

YBA Orot Yehuda hosts Simchat Beit HaShoeva in Efrat

Natalie Sopinsky (second from L) with the YBA Orot Yehuda
Event Committee members
On Saturday night, Oct 11th, YBA Orot Yehuda sponsored a Simchat Beit HaShoeva at the local community center in Efrat. 

The event featured a huge concert performance of the Gatt Brothers, who gained fame as the "Israeli Simon & Garfunkle" for their renditions of The Boxer and other 70"s classics on the Israel version of "The Voice." 

While they may sound like Simon & Garfunkle, the Gatt Brothers look NOTHING like Simon & Garfunkle, dressed in their traditional Hassidic garb. 

YBA Orot Yehuda Rosh Yeshiva,
Rabbi Shlomo Kimche
Following the Gatt Brothers performance the bandstand was taken over by the YBA Orot Yehuda band, and the Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Shomo Kimche took the microphone and invited everyone to stick around for dancing. 

There was a well-stocked sukkah by the entrance, with a looping photo montage of the yeshiva activities, and a short film showing the recent progress of the new building now under construction. The new campus is due to be completed by June 2015, and will have enough room to double the number of students in the school. 




YBA Orot Yehuda is widely praised as one of the best high schools in Israel for teen-aged Olim from North America, with a large percentage of English speaking students from Efrat, Gush Etzion, Beit Shemesh and Jerusalem. The school is a non-residential high school yeshiva, and the boys are bussed-in every day for the long day of learning (from 7:00 am until 6:00 pm). 

The committee responsible for planning the Simchat Beit HaShoeva was established by Natalie Sopinsky, Associate Director of AFYBA, and included the following mothers of current students: Elana Singer, Tiora Siman Tov,  Diana Rosenfelder, Leora Bejell, Chani Ugowitz, Tracy Zeit, and Eva Kesselman.