Shlomo Kimche

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

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."

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 

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.

AFYBA Intitiates Scholar-in-Residence Program for U.S. Congregations

AFYBA is pleased to announce the initiation of the AFYBA Scholar-in-Residence Program

For the first time, AFYBA is offering congregations in the U.S. and Canada the opportunity to meet and learn with leading Torah scholars and educators in the Yeshivot Bnei Akiva educational network, who head some of Israel’s finest religious Zionist high schools.

Congregations may choose one of five distinguished Roshei Yeshivot and Ulpanot (see roster below) to invite to as a guest lecturer for a weekend during the coming year (5775). 

All of the rabbis are fluent in English, and each brings a unique perspective on the Jewish experience in both the Diaspora and Israel. They are all accomplished speakers who will certainly provide fresh insights into Torah, Halacha, Hashkafa and other topics of interest to modern Orthodox congregants.

Congregations can preview 3-5 minute sermons on the weekly Torah portion by the participating rabbis in English by visiting the Parshat Shavua section on the AFYBA website,

Congregations wishing to invite one of the distinguished rabbis to be a guest lecturer for a weekend should contact Menachem Bar-Shalom ( will make every effort to accommodate the date and lecturer chosen. 

Sponsorship of the hosting expenses will be worked out on a case by case basis, according to the resources and policies of each congregation.

AFYBA Scholar-in-Residence Roster, 5775 (2014-5)

Rabbi Asher Corsia
Rabbi Asher Corsia was born in Spain and grew up in Israel. He graduated from Himmelfarb High School in Jerusalem and served in the IDF Chaplaincy as a religious officer. He holds a B.A. in Jewish Studies and Social Work from Bar Ilan University and an M.A. in Education from Hebrew University. He is also a graduate of the Mandel Leadership Institute in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Corsia studied for rabbinical ordination at the Yeshivat Sha’alvim Kollel, and has served as a shaliach for World Bnei Akiva in Panama. He was the founding Rosh Yeshiva of YBA Torat Lapid Nachum in Modiin, and later founded Ulpanat Bnei Akiva Orot Modiin, where he continues to serve as Rosh Ulpana. Rabbi Corsia is also a visiting lecturer at a number of academic colleges in Israel.

Rabbi Yona Goodman
Rabbi Yona Goodman was born in New York and made Aliyah with his family as a teenager. He graduated high school from YBA Yavneh in Haifa, did the Hesder program and studied for rabbinic ordination at YBA Yeshivat Hesder Hagolan, and earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees in Jewish Education at the Hebrew University, where he is presently completing his doctorate.

Rabbi Goodman is a former secretary-general of the national Bnei Akiva Youth Movement in Israel, and for the past 20 years has taught Jewish Education and held various administrative positions at the YBA affiliated Orot Israel College of Education in Elkana. He is an accomplished lecturer and has spoken at communities and conferences in the United States, Canada, South Africa, England, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Holland, Belgium and Israel. For the last 15 years Rabbi Goodman has broadcast a five-minute weekly spot on education on Israeli National Radio, and for the last three years he has also broadcast a weekly Jewish parenting video on the Arutz Meir Internet TV station. In September 2014 he begins serving as the Director of Education at the YBA Educational Network in Israel. View videos...

Rabbi Yossi Kahana
Rabbi Yossi Kahana was born and raised in Jerusalem and attended high school at YBA Yad Avraham in Netanya. After graduation he enrolled in the Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavne Hesder program, and served as a tank commander in the IDF Armored Corps. He studied for rabbinic ordination and earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in Talmud at Bar Ilan University, where he is presently working on his doctorate.

From 1991 to 1994 Rabbi Kahana served as the World Bnei Akiva Youth Movement national shaliach in South Africa. After returning to Israel he became the principal of the Junior high school at Ulpanat Bnei Akiva Amana in Kfar Saba, and since 2006 he has served as the Rosh Ulpana at UBA Amana.

Rabbi Shlomo Kimche
Rabbi Shlomo Kimche was born in London, and made Aliyah with his family in 1969 to Haifa at the age of eight. He graduated high school from Yeshivat Sha’alvim, attended the Hesder program YBA Yeshivat Hakotel, and served during the first Lebanon War in the IDF Armored Corps. He studied for rabbinic ordination at Yeshivat Hesder Sha’alvim, where he ran the yeshiva’s program for overseas students, and also earned B.A. and M.A. degrees in Education from the Hebrew University.

From 1990 to 1993, Rabbi Kimche served as College Rabbi in Mount Scopus College in Melbourne, Australia – one of the largest Jewish Day Schools in the world, with 3,000 pupils. After returning to Israel he was appointed the Rabbi of the Orot Etzion School in Efrat and also became a pulpit rabbi in a local synagogue. Rabbi Kimche founded YBA Orot Yehuda in Efrat in 1997, where he has served as Rosh Yeshiva and Talmud teacher until today.

Rabbi Yehoshua Magnes
Rabbi Yehoshua Magnes was born in New York and made Aliyah with his family in the 1960s. He graduated high school from YBA Hadarom in Rehovot and studied for the rabbinate at Yeshivat Merkaz Harav, where he became a close disciple of the former Rosh Yeshiva and Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Avraham Shapira. After ten years serving as the rabbi of the Hapoel Hamizrahi community in Bnei Brak, he was called back by Rabbi Shapira to Merkaz Harav, where he has taught ever since.

Rabbi Magnes has authored four books of Torah commentary: Torat Haolah, Hama’araha Hagedola, Torat Yishi, and the soon-to-be-published Torat Shabbat Ha’aretz. He has also served as the Rabbi of Ulpanit Bnei Akiva Tel Aviv, which his wife, Rabbanit Yaffa Magnes, heads as the Rosh Ulpanit, since the school’s founding in 1978.