chief rabbi

Rabbi Drukman wins award; comes out against alternative conversion courts

YBA Chairman, Rabbi Haim Drukman
Rabbi Haim Drukman, Rosh Yeshiva of YBA Yeshivat Hesder Or Etzion and Chairman of the YBA Educational Network in Israel, was awarded the coveted Prize for Torah Literature by the Torah and Wisdom College, citing the six books already published, as well as the many books presently being worked on for future publication. Last year’s prize was awarded to Rabbi Yehoshua Weizmann, the Rosh Yeshiva of YBA Yeshivat Hesder Maalot Yaakov.

Rabbi Drukman headed the Conversion Authority within the Prime Minister's office for many years, and is critical of the way conversion is being conducted today by the Haredi-dominated Chief Rabbinate. Neverthe less, Rabbi Drukman is opposed to the recent move by other religious Zionist rabbis to establish alternative conversion courts outside the Israel Chief Rabbinate.

Read  more about Rabbi Drukman's position on the current controversy shaking the religious Zionist community in Israel:

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.

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. 

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

Rabbi Haim Drukman on Israel's new Conversion Law: "This is a great day."

Rabbi Haim Drukman
Rabbi Haim Drukman, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Hesder Or Etzion and Chairman of Yeshivot Bnei Akiva, was the first to call to congratulate MK Elazar Stern following the passage of a new law in the Knesset that will allowing chief rabbis of cities in Israel to establish their own rabbinical courts for conversion to Judaism.

MK Stern, a graduate of YBA Netiv Meir and former IDF general, represents the "Hatunua" party in the Knesset and was the driving force behind the bill, which is expected to speed up the conversion process for thousands immigrants from the FSU and their children, who are living Jewish lives as full Israeli citizens, but are not considered Jewish according to Jewish law (Halacha).

In his phone conversation congratulating MK Stern, Rabbi Drukman said, "This is a great day for Israel and the Jewish People."

MK Elazar Stern
MK Stern commented that, "most importantly, we have returned religious Zionist rabbis to being the gatekeepers of our people - rabbis that are connected to the complexities of Israeli society and the Jewish nation, and not distanced from people; rabbis who belief that the Jewish identity of the State of Israel is not something that we can take for granted, but is a challenge that we must work at day-by-day to develop and preserve."

YBA Lapid Torat Nachum to host community-wide Tikun Leil Hoshana Rabba in Modiin

YBA Lapid Torat Nachum invited the entire population of Modiin to join them on Tuesday night, October 14, for a traditional all-night Torah learning marathon (Tikun) celebrating Hoshana Rabba - the last day of Sukkot before Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah.

The yeshiva lined up an allstar cast of Torah scholars to lecture during the all-night event, including (in order of appearance):

  • Rabbi Beni Nachtailer, Director General of the YBA Educational Network in Israel
  • Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, Chief Rabbi of Ramat Gan
  • MK Tzippy Hotovely, Deputy Minister of Transportation
  • Rabbi David Stav, Chief Rabbi of Shoham
  • Rabbi Shmuel Rosenblum, Rosh Yeshiva of YBA Lapid Torat Nachum, Modiin
  • MK Rabbi Shay Peron, Minister of Education
  • Rabbi David Lau, Chief Rabbi of Israel
  • Rabbi Haim Drukman, Chairman of the YBA Educational Network in Israel
  • Rabbi Yaakov Meidan, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Hesder Har Etzion
  • Rabbi Dani Singles, Rosh Yeshiva of YBA Yeshivat Hesder Netzeret Elite
  • Mrs. Rachel Fraenkel
  • Rabbi Haim Baruch, Rosh Mechinat Atzmona
  • Rabbi Aryeh Handler, Rosh Yeshivat Hesder Ramla
  • Rabbi Elisha Vishlitski
  • Rabbi Yaakov Chikotai, Chief Rabbi of Modiin-Maccabim-Reut
  • Rabbi Eliyahu Alharir, Chief Rabbi of Modiin-Maccabim-Reut
  • Rabbi Asher Corsia, Rosh Ulpanat Bnei Akiva Oror Modiin

Alumni Profile: Rabbi Kalman Meir Bar appointed Chief Rabbi of Netanya

Rabbi Kalman Meir Bar
Merkaz Yeshivot Bnei Akiva and AFYBA extend their hearty congratulations to Rabbi Kalman Meir Bar, a graduate of YBA Yad Avraham in Netanya, on his recent appointment to the position of Chief Rabbi of Netanya.

Rabbi Bar was born and raised in Tel Aviv, to a family of rabbinic and Hassidic heritage. He served in the IDF in the framework of Yeshivat Hesder Kerem B'Yavne, wher he has been a Ra"m (rabbi/teacher) since 1985.

He has also served as a rabbinic emissary (shaliah) as the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Yavne in Antwerp, the head of the girl's midrasha at Kibbutz Hafetz Haim, a lecturer at the Talpiot College of Education in Tel Aviv and a congregation rabbi. He is the author of Ma'asei Rokem, a book of Divrei Torah on the weekly Torah portion and the Jewish Holidays.

Rabbi Bar's appointment over the Haredi candidate for the position, Rabbi Haim Moshe Lau, son of former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, is widely seen as yet another manifestation of the continuing surge of religious Zionist leadership in all fields of daily life in Israel.

Chief Rabbi Visits YBA Yeshivat Hesder Hagolan

On Monday, the 17th of Adar I, the Sephardic Chief Rabbi and Rishon Letzion, Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, visited the Yeshivat Hagolan campus in Hispin.

The yeshiva's Beit Midrash was filled to the brim with rabbis and students from the yeshiva, rabbis from the Golan settlements, student-soldiers from the IDF's "Adir Bamarom" technological preparatory program, local yeshiva high school students, Talmud Torah children and residents from the area.

Following opening remarks from the Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Yoel Novitch, Rabbi Yosef addressed the audience with a lecture that not only included words of Torah and halacha, but also added words of encouragement and inspiration to all participants in matters of Torah study.

Following his lecture the chief rabbi added an impressive portrait of his father, the former Rishon Letzion, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, zt"l, and concluded with a blessing for the Yeshivat Hagolan students who were about to start their active service in the IDF.