15 YBA schools included among the top schools in Israel

The Ministry of Education released last week its list of top ranking high schools in Israel. This is the third time that the ministry has used a ranking system featuring a variety of parameters to determine which schools are the leading "value-laden" schools in the country, rather than basing school ranking solely the percent of students matriculating for admittance to institutions of higher education. According to the ministry's ranking system, 15 of the top 261 high schools (6%) belong to the Yeshivot Bnei Akiva educational network in Israel.

YBA Director General,
Elchanan Glatt
 Elchanan Glatt, Director General of YBA, said in response to the publication of the new ranking, "We are proud of our faculty members, who invest in each and every student. These rankings show that education toward Torah values and excellence go hand in hand. We will continue in this path of value-laden education, because we are convinced that it is the right way."

The teachers in the top 261 schools were rewarded with salary bonuses raging from $750 to $2,000 based on their school's relative position on the list. 
The relative weighting of the various measures were adjusted this year, after critics of the new ranking system last year claimed that the weighting favored schools in the religious Zionist sector. Even after the adjustments, however, about 40% of the top 261 schools this year were from religious Zionist educational networks.

The ranking system measures applied to over a thousand high schools in Israel included:

  • individual instruction plans according to each student's abilities and disabilities
  • consistency of ongoing faculty involvement in the implementation of instruction plans
  • level of faculty in-service training for ongoing professional advancement
  • inclusion of special needs students in school framework and extent of mainstreaming
  • faculty interventions to reduce student drop-out rate
  • percentage of graduates serving in IDF and National Service
  • involvement of students in voluntary community service projects (Tikun Olam)
  • percentage of graduates achieving full matriculation certificates and average scores
  • level of studies offered in Humanities, Mathematics and the exact Sciences
  • maintaining a matriculation examination process free of irregularities
  • rate of improvement in all parameters over previous year's scores
The YBA (yeshiva) and UBA (ulpana) high schools making the top schools list are:
  1. YBA Kinor David, Ateret .........................(joined YBA in 2010; 120 students)
  2. YBA Beit Shmuel, Hadera ........................(established in 1962; 210 students)
  3. YBA Pirchei Aharon, Kiryat Shmuel .......(established in 1961; 317 students)
  4. YBA Lapid Torat Nachum, Modiin .........(established in 1998; 823 students)
  5. YBA Ra'anana, Ra'anana ..........................(established in 1960; 308 students)
  6. YBA Sussya, Sussya ..................................(established in 1998; 158 students)
  7. YBA Aderet, Bat Yam ...............................(established in 1970; 274 students)
  8. UBA Neot Avraham, Arad ........................(established in 1968; 163 students)
  9. UBA Orot Modiin, Modiin ........................(established in 1998; 713 students)
  10. UBA Segula, Kiryat Motzkin ......................(established in 1965; 529 students)
  11. UBA Neve Ruchama, Jerusalem ................(joined YBA in 2008; 288 students)
  12. UBA Or Akiva, Or Akiva ...........................(established in 2000, 111 students)
  13. UBA Reut, Petach Tikvah ...........................(joined YBA in 1984, 353 students)
  14. UBA Neria, Neria ........................................(established in 2004; 279 students)
  15. UBA Tzfira, Zafaria ....................................(established in 1967; 626 students)
  16. UBA Ramat Karniel, Kfar Pines ................(established in 1960; 458 students)

YBA Alumni Profiles: Eli Orgad, owner, 'Burger Ranch' fast food chain

Eli Orgad
Eli Orgad was born and raised in Netanya, the sixth son in a family of nine children. "I grew up smelling the feet of my brothers. We slept in the same bed with their legs tucked up by my nose. Eli studied at YBA Yad Avraham, a residential yeshiva high school in Netanya. “I was a rebellious kid,” he recalls, “I didn’t always get up in time for morning prayers. I remember once my father was called into the office after a long day at work, and he said to me, ‘Wait till you have kids and they do to you what you’re doing to me!’”

It was at the yeshiva where Eli got his first taste in business – selling wafer snacks to his fellow students every evening. “The sound of a wafer being crunched while studying at night is something that nobody can resist,” he laughs. "My father always said that I would become a businessman."

At the age of 21, when Eli finished his army service, he couldn’t afford to go straight to college, so he established his first company instead – a cleaning service. At first, the word "company" was a little big for the operation, which relied mainly on him cleaning stairwells himself. But he had a vision, and by the outbreak of the First Lebanon War in 1982, his company was already cleaning forty office buildings. “When you want to go to university and don’t have money, the only thing you can do is cleaning stairwells,” says Eli. He finally received a Law degree 25 years later, from the Ono Academic College.

When war broke out in Lebanon, Eli was called up for reserve duty and his younger brother, Yuval, tried to keep the company alive, but it didn’t really work out. When Eli returned from the battlefield, he discovered that most of his customers had left. But the branch manager of Bank Mizrahi had faith in him. “He extended my credit line because I was in the reserves,” says Eli, “and I have stayed with him in gratitude ever since.”

Eli’s company, Orgad Holdings, Ltd., acquired the Burger King chain of fast food restaurants in Israel in 2003, and later, the more veteran Israeli Burger Ranch chain as well. In 2008 the company merged the two chains and eliminated the Burger King label, making Burger Ranch, with over 100 branches, the sole competitor to MacDonald’s in Israel. “We did extensive market research and found that Israelis preferred the taste of the Burger Ranch products. We saw sales jump 35% in every branch we converted to the Burger Ranch label.”

Eli, a man of faith, is happy to share his worldview: “Israel is the land of endless possibilities. If a person wants to succeed here - he can do anything. That's how I opened business after business. What is stopping someone from opening tomorrow a clothes shop on Sheinkin Street, or any other business? Nothing. You can do whatever you want, start a business and think all day about how to bring in costumers. That's what I do now. Every day I think about how to bring customers to the branches, so they will be full all day long. That’s what I do.”

“But it’s important to always remember to be a good person. I study Gemara once a week, and try to be a good person. Employees remain with us for many years, because I believe we must treat everyone nicely and be a ‘mench’. If an employee is short of money, he knows he can come to me and I'll give him loan.”

What’s Eli’s advice to a 22 year-old, just getting out of the army today?  - “Do what you love to do, as long as you stick persistently to your goal. You cannot be successful without putting your soul into whatever you choose to do. If you can afford college, go study; then, go do whatever your heart desires.”
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. 

New Halachic ruling: Married men should wear a wedding ring!

Rabbi David Stav
Rabbi David Stav, the Chief Rabbi of Shoham, Chairman of the Tzohar Rabbinic Council in Israel and a graduate of YBA Kfar Haroeh, recently published a new Halachic ruling that mandates married men who study or work in mixed company with women to wear a wedding ring.

In Rabbi Stav's ruling, which appears in the 35th annual edition of the Tzomet Institute's Techumin journal of contemporary Halacha, he writes: "In certain communities there is no interest in adopting the tradition of men wearing wedding rings because it is regarded as unnecessary. However, among those married men who work or study in settings where men and women mix, it is fitting and proper for men to adopt the tradition of wearing a wedding ring, to be a reminder to them and to all those around them of their commitment to their wives, and to prevent misunderstandings or embarrassing situations."

Rabbi Stav adds that if a wife requests that her husband wear a ring, it is certainly appropriate that he should agree to her request willingly and happily.

Rabbi Stav quotes Rabbi Meir Mazuz as a source for his ruling. who surmised that the tradition of men wearing wedding rings has a rational purpose, "as an inscription on your heart and on your arm, so as not to turn your attention to another woman." Rabbi Stav also asserted that his own father gave him a wedding ring to wear on his wedding day.

This is an example of the creative and ground-breaking Halachic rulings that Rabbi Stav has earned his reputation upon over the years. A year ago, he was nominated for the position of Chief Rabbi of Israel, but lost the appointment to Rabbi David Lau, who was considered more acceptable to the Haredi members of the selection committee. Rabbi Stav was recently chosen by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin as his successor to the position of Chancellor of Ohr Torah Educational Institutions in Israel.

Yom Hazikaron begins at sundown tonight

IDF Yom Hazikaron Opening Ceremony at the Kotel
On this day we honor the memory of 483 graduates of th Yeshivot Bnei Akiva educational network in Israel who gave their lives as Kiddush Hashem in the defence of Am Yisrael, Torat Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael.

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 Institution Terror Soldiers Total
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
YBA Raanana 16 16
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
YBA Sussya 1 1
UBA Amana, Kfar Saba 1 1
UBA Even Shmuel
Yeshivat Hesder Akko
Total 76 407 483

Netanya Deputy Mayor: "YBA Yad Avraham brings great pride to the city."

YBA Yad Avraham student, Sagi Giat, receiving award
Sagi Giat is just 18 years old, but he has already invented a small gasoline engine that is 3% more energy efficient than motors in use today.

Sagi is a 12th grade student at YBA Yad Avraham in Netanya. Six months ago his Physics teacher, Dr. Mark Geller, recognizing his potential, encouraged Sagi to enter an international contest for 'Renewable Energy - Eco-friendly Transportation' co-sponsored by the Ministry of Infrastructure, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, the Israel Center for Renewable Energy, a number of Israeli high-tech firms and the Eilat-Eilot Regional Council.

"I joined another Israeli and a student from Italy to form a team to compete with other teams in developing an original idea to be start-up ready," explained Sagi. "We chose to investigate applying advanced friction reduction technology to standard 2-stroke gasoline engines, commonly used in lawn mowers and electric generators. 20% of the gas used to fuel these engines is wasted on overcoming friction. We submitted a ground-breaking motor that reduced friction and increased efficiency by 3%."

Sagi's team was one of the four finalists to present their projects to a panel of distinguished judges at a renewable energy conference held in Eilat last January. In the end, Sagi's team was awarded second place, just behind a team of students from Serbia.

Dr. Geller proudly explained that "Sagi tinkered with the motor and succeeded in reducing friction significantly. His invention proved effective when used to generate electricity, but in the future this same technology may well be applied to increase the fuel efficiency of cars, trains and jet planes!"

Dr. Avital Laufer, Deputy Mayor in charge of the Education Portfolio said: "This is evidence of the very clear and praiseworthy trend toward academic excellence in the school. The students are led by great teachers; talented and dedicated to identifying the strengths of each of their students, and accompanying them with wisdom and love to reach exceptionally impressive achievements. The school brings great pride to the city of Netanya."

YBA Yad Avraham Beit Midrash
YBA Yad Avraham was founded in 1960 and serves 450 boys from Netanya and the surrounding area in grades 7-12.  The campus is located on a hill on the outskirts of Netanya, on an area of about 35 acres surrounded by lush greenery, giving a comfortable and pleasant atmosphere.

YBA Yad Avraham Beit Midrash interior view
Like all schools in the YBA educational network Training Israel's Future, YBA Yad Avraham combines values education, Jewish education and social education, with academic excellence in general and scientific subjects to help its students reach maturity as well-rounded individuals. There are special tracks for excellence in Talmud, Mathematics, Physics, and Biology, and a unique Pre-medicine track in which students study a variety of medical issues in cooperation with Laniado Hospital in Netanya.

YBA Yad Avraham believes that the role of every teacher is to be an educator – not only to teach the curriculum, but to provide each student with all the tools he will need to succeed in all walks of life.

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

IDF Medal of Honor Award Ceremony (photo:
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:

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.

YBA students volunteer as Junior Fire Fighters
 All YBA network schools put a heavy emphasis on extracurricular voluntary experiences in teaching the Jewish value of Tikun Olam as a fundamental part of Training Israel’s Future.™ 

Besides volunteering in soup kitchens, kindergartens, nursing homes and shelters, many of our students undergo rigorous training to become paramedic assistants or Civil Service volunteers to man Magen David Adom (MDA) ambulances and Israel Police patrols in their spare time.

Israeli Junior Firefighter Cadets (israel21c)
Now, for the first time, a group of twenty students from YBA TO”M at Moshav Herev Le’et, have completed an intensive training course as Junior Fire Fighters, and have begun volunteering at the nearby fire station in Hadera.

“These students in effect double the size of the force we can send out in case of emergency,” said Alexei Girsky, the volunteer coordinator for the Hadera Fire Department.

One of the students summed up the motivation of the entire group saying, “I think that fire fighters are true heroes. They have very important jobs; full of action and responsibility. I saw this as an opportunity for me to volunteer and make a significant contribution to society saving lives. That’s why I signed up for the training course.”

Mincha prayer services at YBA TO"M
The school name, YBA TO"M, stands for Torah u’Mada (Torah and Science). It was established in 1958 as an offshoot of the first Bnei Akiva yeshiva high school at nearby Moshav Kfar Haroeh, and over the years has served as a Youth Aliyah Village for new immigrant boys who were trained in the technical professions where they could make a contribution to society. Over 2,000 technically trained YBA TO”M graduates have helped make Israel the ‘start-up nation’ it is today.

The majority of today’s 280 students are immigrants from Ethiopia, while others include native Israelis and immigrants from the former Soviet Union, India and France. Students may choose from computer, electrical and mechanical engineering tracks.

View this Hebrew language video to see the YBA TO”M award-winning campus and program: