Moshe Zvi Neria

Israel's Chief Rabbi: "The work of Jewish educators is more important than the work of the Rabbinate"

Chief Rabbi David Lau with Mayor Avi Roeh
Ulpanat Bnei Akiva Neria, in the settlement of Neria, is one of 15 YBA schools in ‘Yesha’ – Yehuda and Shomron; Israel’s historic heartland – and has been Training Israel’s Future™ since its founding in 2004. The school, serving 280 girls in grades 7-12, meets the need for high-quality Jewish education for girls living in the settlements of the Benjamin region.

Last week, the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi David Lau, visited the school accompanied by the mayor of the Benjamin Regional Council, Avi Roeh. In his comments to the students the Chief Rabbi compared Jewish education to an arrow: “You have to aim an arrow carefully before releasing it if you want to hit the bull’s eye,” he said. “So it is with Jewish education early in life; a student has to be given the tools needed to succeed in life after graduation. In many ways, the work of the Jewish teacher is more important than the work of the Rabbinate. The teacher teaches Derech Eretz (the way of the world) and how to learn, which form the basis for continuing a life of Torah study and observance of mitzvot.”

“It is important to remain connected to the Jewish values you are learning here,” Mayor Roeh commented the school’s students, “so that you will go on bring together the Land, the Nation and the Torah of Israel.”

UBA Neria is named after Rabbi Moshe Zvi Neria z”l, the founder of the first Bnei Akiva yeshiva high school in 1940, YBA Kfar Haroeh, and spiritual father of the “kipa sruga” revolution in Israel society. 2015 marks 75 years since the modest beginnings of the YBA educational network, which led to today’s generation of YBA-trained leaders. 

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.


Remembering Rabbi Avraham Zuckerman, zt"l, co-founder and spiritual leader of the YBA network

Rabbi Avraham Zuckerman
On Sunday, November 11, a memorial service was held marking the first yartzheit of Rabbi Avraham Zuckerman, zt"l, co-founder and Rosh Yeshiva of the first Bnei Akiva yeshiva high school, YBA Kfar Haroeh,

Rabbi Zuckerman was born in Lithuania during WWI and left his home to study Torah at various Lithuanian yeshivot associated with the Musar movement at the tender age of 11. He arrived in Eretz Yisrael in 1936, and never left Israel after that.

Rabbi Zuckerman met Rabbi Moshe Zvi Neria, zt"l, while studying at the Beit Yosef Yeshiva in Bnei Brak, and soon after that joined the leadership of the fledgling Bnei Akiva religious Zionist youth movement.

In the winter of 1940, Rabbi Zuckerman joined Rabbi Neria in establishing the first Bnei Akiva high school yeshiva at Moshav Kfar Haroeh, and is credited with introducing the secondary curriculum of general studies to augmaent the traditional yeshiva Torah and Talmud studies, as a fulfillment of the mitzvah upon every father to teach his son a profession with which he will be able to make his livelihood.. Rabbi Zuckerman assumed the title of Rosh Yeshiva in 1995 with the passing of his close colleague, Rabbi Neria.

Rabbi Yona Goodman
Rabbi Yona Goodman, the YBA Director of Education, was a student of Rabbi Zuckerman at YBA Kfar Haroeh. "Rabbi Neria and Rabbi Zuckerman created the model for all modern yeshiva high schools that followed," he recalls. "The day starts out and ends with traditional Torah study in the Beit Midrash, with making room during the afternoon hours for practical general studies. But more importantly, they created a unique model that educated students toward the values of religious Zionism. We learned from them how Torah and building the Land of Israel go hand-in-hand."

"In every way, Rabbi Zuckerman transmitted the values of simplicity and humility. He taught us by personal example that Torah and humility occupy the same space, and that a man's greatness is judged by his character and not by his possessions."

"Rabbi Zuckerman originated a new educational philosophy that was very different from the norm of that time. He believed that the students are full partners with their rabbi-teachers in creating the yeshiva's educational environment. The yeshiva doesn't 'belong' the the faculty, but rather to the students themselves, who come to the yeshiva out of a genuine desire to learn Torah. This philosophy has been emulated and duplicated in hundreds of yeshivot, ulpanot and other educational institutions in the religious Zionist camp.

Rabbi Zuckerman passed away at the age of 97. He was survived by his wife and extended family, including 119 great-grandchildren, as well as tens of thousands of former students and their students.