Rabbi Kook

Profiles in Leadership: One Jew in search of the10 Lost Tribes of Israel


Rabbi Eliyahu Avichail, z"l 
Rabbi Eliyahu Avichail, was laid to rest on September 16, 2015. Since 1961, when he served as a rabbi/teacher at YBA Nechalim, he had dedicated his life to research and activity on behalf of the dispersed of Israel, in particular, research regarding the fate of the Ten Lost Tribes.

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.

Why You Should Vote Torah

The Vote Torah slate represents many of the most important organizations and institutions in the Modern Orthodox world today, including Yeshiva University, the Orthodox Union, the Rabbinical Council of America, Bnei Akiva, Amit, the Religious Zionists of America, Torah Mitzion and the National Council of Young Israel. These organizations partnered up to run under the a banner championing Zionist and Torah education worldwide, promoting aliyah to Israel, developing religious Zionist outreach and ensuring Jerusalem remains unified.

Read the entire article by Avi Strauss, The Commentator, April 29, 2015

Yom Ha'atzmaut Dvar Torah by Rabbi Yehoshua Magnes, Yeshivat Merkaz Harav Kook

Rabbi Yehoshua Magnes teaches Talmud and Jewish Philosophy at Yeshivat Merkaz Harav Kook in Jerusalem. He and his wife founded the Ulpanit Bnei Aviva high school for girls in Tel Aviv in 1978 and headed the school until their retirement in 2014. To invite Rabbi Magnes to your congregation as a Scholar in Residence, contact Menachem Bar-Shalom or the AFYBA office.


In Israel’s army, more officers now religious. What that means.


The percentage of officer cadets who are religious has grown 10-fold since the early 1990s. Among secular Israelis, that’s being met with a mix of respect, and concern.

By Christa Case Bryant, The Christian Science Monitor, April 17, 2015


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

Instilling Jewish values at YBA Hadarom

Rabbi Kook addressing YBA Hadarom students
as Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi David Twersky (seated) looks on. 
Last June three boys were kidnapped and killed by Hamas terrorists in Gush Etzion, The vicious murder of Gilad Shear, Naftali Frankel and Eyal Yifrah prompted the PA and IDF to crackdown on Hamas terrorists operating in the Hebron area, Hamas in Gaza responded by firing hundreds of missiles on cities and towns in southern Israel, and the IDF responded by launching Operation Protective Edge, which left 66 IDF soldiers and 5 Israeli civilians killed during 50 days of fighting.

Now, six months later, students of YBA Hadarom in Rehovot have begun a project to honor the memory of the three murdered boys, Gilad, Naftali and Eyal, by studying Torah.

“Jewish tradition teaches us that Torah study in memory of a soul elevates that soul in Olam Habah (the World Come)," explained Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi David Twersky at the opening ceremony, "So we are calling the project ‘Mishna l’neshama’ (Mishna for the Soul),The goal is for each student to learn two chapters of Mishna per week.”

The ceremony was attended by the grandparents of Gilad and Naftali, residents of Rehovot, and the Chief Rabbi of Rehovot, Rabbi Simcha Hacohen Kook, who praised the boys for taking responsibility for the Nation of Israel through the project.

Yeshivot Bnei Akiva - Training Israel's Future. TM

Introducing YBA's newest school: Ulpanat Shirat Hayam

"It is impossible to stop a creative soul from creating."
- Rabbi A.I. Hacohen Kook, 
Orot Hakodesh.

Opening Day at Ulpanat Bnei Akiva Shirat Hayam


The Yeshivot Bnei Akiva educational network in Israel opened its 74th school on September 1st, 2014: Ulpanat Shirat Hayam, in the Shomron town of Neve Tzuf (also known as Halamish).

The school is a musical high school for girls with creative souls, modeled after YBA's highly successful musical yeshiva high school for boys, YBA Kinor David, located just up the road, in the Shomron town of Ateret.

The school opened with 80 students in the 9th and 10th grades, and will expand one grade level a year in 2016 and 2017 to maximum capacity. The school will combine a traditional curriculum of Judaic Studies with intensive lessons in music and dance.

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Harav Kook's yortzeit, 3 Elul, 79 years after his passing

Harav Avraham YItzchak Hacohen Kook, the first Chief Rabbi of Eretz Yisrael, appointed by the Britixh Mandate authorities, did not live to see the birth of the State of Israel.

But he is widely regarded as the father of modern religious Zionism for his embracing of the secular Zionist movement as Hashem's instrument of bringing the Geula - the redemption of the Land and Nation of Israel.

On Harav Kook's yortzeit, 3 Elul, thousands of religious Zionist Jews from Israel and abroad, including the students of YBA Yeshivat Hesder Hakotel, converged at his grave site on Har Hazeitim (the Mount of Olives) to pay tribute to his blessed memory and his prophetic vision.

View the video:

YBA At a Glance


The core mission of Yeshivot Bnei Akiva is to train future leaders for the State of Israel; men and women who are observant Jews devoted to Torah study, dedicated to the Land of Israel and the Jewish People and loyal citizens of the State, particularly regarding army and national service.

  • Since the first Bnei Akiva yeshiva was founded at Kfar Haroeh in 1939 by Rabbi Moshe Zvi Neria z”l, YBA has grown to become the largest religious Zionist educational network in Israel, with 73 schools and over 24,000 students.
  • More than 79,000 YBA graduates can be found in every industrial, academic and professional sector of Israeli society, including many leading artists, scientists, industrialists, IDF generals, mayors, Supreme Court justices, Members of Knesset and Israel Prize winners.
  • YBA schools were Israel’s pioneers in achieving successful social integration and educational excellence with students from diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds, including most recently, the absorption of Ethiopian olim.
  • YBA students put into practice the Jewish values of Tikun Olam and Gemilut Chasadim through weekly volunteer community involvement, social action, and chesed activities, affecting the lives of thousands of needy Israelis.
  • While maintaining its traditional base of residential schools, in the past 20 years YBA has established many non-residential schools in development towns to answer the need for quality religious Zionist education in Israel’s peripheral areas.
  • All YBA schools maintain an open enrollment policy – no child is ever turned away due to the parents’ inability to pay tuition; about 50% of YBA students receive full or partial scholarship each year.
  • YBA schools strive to help every student realize his or her maximum potential, academically, socially, ethically and spiritually; over 70% of YBA graduates achieve full matriculation for college entrance – well above the national average.
  • Virtually all YBA high school graduates go on to proudly serve the State in the IDF and in the National Service, with a high proportion joining Hesder Yeshivot or volunteering for elite units and officer training in the IDF.