Yona Goodman

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.

YBA welcomes Rabbi Yona Goodman as its new Director of Education

Rabbi Yona Goodman was born in the United States and made Aliyah as a teenager. Until his appointment as the YBA Director of Education he served as the Director of the "Institute for Contemporary Faith Education" at the YBA-affiliated Orot College of education in Elkana.

Goodman studied in the YBA-affiliated Yeshivat Hagolan, in the Golan Heights and served in the Israeli army as a tank commander. He is a former director general of the national Bnei Akiva youth movement in Israel. 
In the last 15 years he has taught at the Orot College of Education: Tanach, Jewish education, and Informal Jewish education. Rabbi Goodman gives courses for the Israeli board of education to high school principals, high school supervisors and others about ways to enhance Jewish values in the lives of our children. 

In the last decade he has participated in many different national committees that checked or developed programs or policies in the Israeli school system. Among them: a committee that restructured the teacher training programs for religious teachers, a committee that wrote a four year plan for teaching Jewish philosophy (Machshevet Yisrael), a committee that checked the unique needs of education for girls, and a committee that proposed a broad program to make Jewish education more relevant to Israeli youth. He is a senior staff member in Mahut, which is a national center that specializes in helping schools or communities immediately after terror attacks. 

Goodman has a Masters degree in Jewish education and is now writing his doctorate dissertation at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He specializes in guiding teachers and parents whose teenage children have begun to deviate from the Jewish way of life. Goodman has initiated and participated in developing various national and regional programs for such youth. For the last eight years, he has broadcast a five-minute weekly spot on the subject of education on Israeli National Radio. 

In the last year he has also been broadcasting a weekly short video on Jewish parenting on Arutz Meir internet TV. He is a member of the board of directors of the international movement of Religious Zionist Kollels (Torah MiTzion).

In the last 15 years he has spoken at conferences for Jewish school directors and teachers in the United States, Canada, South Africa, England, Russia, Sweden, Holland, Norway and Israel. 

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, www.afyba.org.

Congregations wishing to invite one of the distinguished rabbis to be a guest lecturer for a weekend should contact Menachem Bar-Shalom (mbarshalom@gmail.com)AFYBA 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.