Yeshivas Ner Yisroel

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Ner Israel Rabbinical College
NIRC newlogo1.png
Address
400 Mt. Wilson Lane
Pikesville, Maryland 21208
United States
Coordinates 39.388470 N, 76.753291 W
Information
Established 1933[1]
Founder Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Ruderman[2]
President Rabbi Sheftel Neuberger
Principal Rabbi Beryl Weisbord
Head of school Rabbi Aharon Feldman
Staff

Rabbi Eliyahu Steinhardt
Rabbi Tzvi Einstater
Rabbi Chaim Kosman
Rabbi Ezra Neuberger
Rabbi Shraga Neuberger
Rabbi Tzvi Berkowitz
Rabbi Nochum Lansky
Rabbi Yissocher Frand
Rabbi Tzvi Krakauer

Rabbi Pinny Jurkowitz
Grades 9-Graduate
Gender Males
Average class size 50
Campus size 100 Acres
Campus type Rural
Tuition Tuition, Room, and Board $18,000
Affiliation Orthodox Judaism[3]
NerYisroel.jpg
Beis Medrash building

Ner Israel Rabbinical College (ישיבת נר ישראל), also known as NIRC and Ner Yisroel, is a yeshiva in Pikesville, Baltimore County, Maryland, founded in 1933[4] by Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Ruderman, a disciple of Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel, dean of the Slabodka yeshiva in Lithuania. It is currently headed by Rabbi Aharon Feldman, a disciple of Rabbi Ruderman.

The yeshiva is an all-male Lithuanian (Litvish)-style Talmudic college and is politically affiliated with Agudath Israel of America.[5][6][7] The graduates of Ner Yisroel are known for their dedication to Torah study and communal leadership.[8]

At the turn of the 20th century the New York Times described Ner Yisroel as being "unusual in that it has always allowed students access to secular, professional education."[9] Nevertheless, in order to maintain the on-campus religious vibrance and excitement associated with Talmudic study, these take place off-premises, as university-accredited night-courses.

Although "Ner Israel's mission statement makes clear its priority is religious studies," the yeshiva's alumni have been estimated as 50% rabbis and religious-school teachers, and 50% as professionals: bankers, accountants, physicians, attorneys, psychologists, etc.[9] This is consistent with the Yeshiva's outlook that dedication to Torah study is the mission of both members of the clergy and of professionals.[10]

History and past leadership[edit]

Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Ruderman, the son-in-law of Rabbi Sheftel Kramer, founded the yeshiva in 1933 with six students. The yeshiva was named after Rabbi Yisrael Lipkin Salanter,[11] the founder of the mussar movement which was a movement that was followed by Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel, the teacher of Rabbi Ruderman. Rabbi Ruderman modeled his decision-making process after Rabbi Finkel who was known for his incredible insights into human nature.

Rabbi Dovid Kronglass, of the Mirrer Yeshiva in Europe (and during World War II in Shanghai) and known fondly by his students as "Reb Dovid", was the yeshiva's first mashgiach ruchani until his unexpected death on December 16, 1972.[12] Besides his role as Mashgiach, he also served as a Maggid Shiur.

Rabbi Herman N Neuberger, son-in-law of Rabbi Sheftel Kramer, brother-in-law of Rabbi Ruderman, and an alumnus of the Mirrer Yeshiva in Europe, was president of Ner Israel from 1940 until his death in 2005.[13] Rabbi Neuberger joined the Yeshiva as a student when he arrived from his native Bavaria in 1938.[14]

Rabbi Shmuel Yaakov Weinberg, a disciple of Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner, served on the Ner Yisroel faculty for nearly 50 years. He served as a Maggid Shiur from 1945 to 1965, as well as dean of the Kollel from 1953 to 1965. From 1971 until 1987, he served as an assistant to the Rosh Yeshiva and head of the Kollel. From Rabbi Ruderman's death in 1987 until his own passing on July 1, 1999,[15] Rabbi Weinberg served as Rosh Yeshiva. Rabbi Weinberg was married to Chana Ruderman, the only child of Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Ruderman.[16] She passed away on January 23, 2012.[17]

Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Kulefsky, a disciple of Rav Shlomo Heiman and senior lecturer in the college, served as the Rosh Yeshiva from Rabbi Weinberg's death in 1999 until his death on November 30, 2000.[18] Other notable rabbis who served on the faculty include the late rabbis: Rabbi Shimon Schwab, later rabbi of the German-Jewish Frankfurt Kehillah / community in Washington Heights N.Y., Rabbi Simcha Zissel Broide of the Chevron Yeshiva in Jerusalem, Rabbi Ephraim Eisenberg, the son-in-law of Rabbi Mordechai Gifter, and Rabbi Zvi Dov Slanger, a disciple of Rav Shach, was a Maggid Shiur in the high school for many years until 1996 when he founded and became Rosh Yeshiva of the Bais Medrash & Mesivta Of Baltimore.[19]. In addition Rabbi Moshe Eisemann who was Ner Yisroel's second mashgiach ruchani is presently retired, and Rabbi Moshe Heinemann (who is currently Rav of the Agudath Israel synagogue of Baltimore and the Star-K kashrus agency) no longer serves as Maggid Shiur alhough he does give two weekly shiurim.

Present leadership[edit]

The yeshiva today is headed by Rabbi Aharon Feldman, who serves as the rosh yeshiva and is also a council member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah. Rabbi Feldman studied in the Yeshiva in the 1950s, but had been living in Israel from 1961 until his appointment as rosh yeshiva in 2001.

Rabbi Sheftel Neuberger is the menahel (president) of the yeshiva; he succeeds his father, Rabbi Herman N. Neuberger, who held the same position. Rabbi Beryl Weisbord, a son-in-law of Rabbi Weinberg, is the yeshiva's mashgiach ruchani and Mr. Jerome Kadden is the Yeshiva's executive director. Rabbi Yosef Tendler, a disciple of Rabbi Aharon Kotler, served as the principal of the high school for almost fifty years from 1964 until his passing on February 8, 2012,[20][21] and Rabbi Simcha Cook (formerly assistant principal) is the current principal of the high school, with Rabbi Yosef Neuberger (son of Rabbi Sheftel Neuberger) filling the position of High School Mashgiach. (The position of assistant principal was changed to Mashgiach upon the passing of Rabbi Tendler.) Rabbi Azriel Hauptman (son-in-law of Rabbi Yosef Tendler) is the General Studies principal.

Campus[edit]

The yeshiva campus is located at Mt. Wilson Lane, just northwest of the Baltimore City limits. The yeshiva moved to its present location in 1968. Their previous location was in Baltimore City at 4411 Garrison Boulevard. The large size of their present campus, which is nearly 100 acres, provides ample space for outdoors recreation.

Ner Israel has two central study halls, one for the high school (known as the Mechina) and one much larger for the beis medrash and the kollel (also doubling as the main prayer sanctuaries). There is an additional study hall/multi-purpose room of a smaller size that is called the "Friedman Beis Medrash". Enrollment is approximately 250 students in its high school division, 250 students in its beis medrash/undergraduate division, and about 200 members in its kollel/postgraduate division.

There is faculty housing on campus for members of the faculty and some members of the kollel. This section of the campus is known as "Yeshiva Lane".[22]

The renaissance of the Orthodox Jewish community in Baltimore is closely related to the presence of Ner Yisroel, as many graduates who originate from other regions settled in the community.[23]

Activity outside of Baltimore[edit]

In 1959, Rabbi Sholom Gold established a branch of Ner Yisroel in Toronto. In 1964, Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg became the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Ner Yisroel of Toronto until 1971.[24] This yeshiva still functions but is no longer affiliated with Ner Yisroel in Baltimore.

In recent years Ner Israel has sent alumni to kollelim across the United States and several have founded their own institutions.

Major student projects include "PROJECT YAHUD", a spring break fund-raising effort for the religious school in Yahud, Israel, and "PROJECT SEED", a summertime outreach effort in smaller communities across America and the world.[25]

Accreditation[edit]

Ner Israel is a Maryland state accredited college through the Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools – Accreditation Commission (AARTS), and has agreements with Johns Hopkins University,[26] Towson University, Loyola College in Maryland, University of Baltimore, and University of Maryland, Baltimore County allowing undergraduate students to take night courses at these colleges and universities in a variety of academic fields.[27] The agreement also allows the students to receive academic credits for their religious studies.

The Mechina high school is an accredited high school in the state of Maryland under the name "Israel Henry Beren High School". The high school was dedicated in memory of Israel Henry Beren, who passed away in 1994, by the philanthropic Beren family.

Curriculum[edit]

A student studying inside the Bais Medrash

The yeshiva's studies are primarily Talmud texts and relevant rabbinic literature. The yeshiva has a rotating cycle of nine different Talmudic tractates it covers in the course of nine years: Bava Kamma 1, Yevamos, Bava Basra, Gittin, Bava Kamma 2, Nedarim, Bava Metzia, Kiddushin, Kesubos. There are additional tractates that are sometimes studied in the spring semester. These include Succah, Pesachim, and Makkos.

As is true in many Lithuanian-style Yeshivos, the methodology of the study of the Talmud is based on the Brisker method. Other Lithuanian-style Yeshivos follow almost exclusively the Rabbi Boruch Ber Leibowitz style of the Brisker method. Although Rabbi Lebowitz's works are studied in Ner Yisrael, his specific style of study is not the only approach in Ner Yisroel as Ner Yisroel subscribes to a more eclectic approach to Talmudic Lomdus. Hour-long Shiurim (lessons) on Talmud are given daily. The Shiurim are delivered in a dialect of English known as Yeshivish. Additionally, half an hour per day is dedicated to the study of Musar literature.

Degrees granted by Ner Israel are a Bachelor of Talmudic Law (four years), Master of Talmudic Law (six years), Doctorate in Talmudic Law (ten years and authoring a commentary on Talmudic or Rabbinic texts). Rabbinic ordination (Semichah) can also be conferred in Ner Israel.

Ner Israel's Machon program, which began in 1962, trains religious educators for Jewish communities and schools and students earn a Torah Umesorah recognized certification.[28]

The Mechina's Masechta Bechina[edit]

The Mechina High School studies two tractates every year. One is studied in depth (Iyyun), and the other one is studied in its entirety at a faster pace which is known as the study of Bekius. At the end of the school year, the students take an exam on the entire tractate that was studied in the Bekius program. This exam is called the "Masechta Bechina". An exam on an entire tractate is considered a major accomplishment due to the amount and complexity of the information contained in each tractate. Former students recount how decades later they still have an incredible recall of the tractates that they studied in the Mechina's Bekius program.[29]

Advanced students complete the Iyyun tractate on their own as an extracurricular project. Those that complete the Iyyun tractate are honored at the end of the school year at a special dinner.

STAR-K program[edit]

Students of Ner Yiroel's Kollel Avodas Levi have the option to participate in the Star-K Rabbinical Training Program, which prepares them for Kashrus supervision.[30]

Student body[edit]

Ner Israel attracts students from the United States, Canada and other countries around the world.

Most undergraduate students in Ner Yisroel will either have already studied in Israel for two or three years prior to their arrival, or plan to upon completion of their studies in Ner Israel.

Persian Students[edit]

In the 1970s due to the Iranian Revolution, life became very difficult for Persian Jews living in Iran, especially with the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war which saw many young Jewish men being sent to the front-lines with little military training to almost certain death. Rabbi Herman Neuberger was very instrumental in bringing to the United States over 1,000 young Persian men, most of whom studied in Ner Yisroel. Ner Yisroel still maintains a special minyan on Shabbos for Persian students. There are large communities of Orthodox Persian Jews in Baltimore, Los Angeles, and New York that are a direct result of Rabbi Neuberger’s efforts.[31]

South American Students[edit]

There are many South American students in the Yeshiva. This is primarily due to Camp Or Haner, which is a camp for South Americans that is located in Ner Yisroel.[32] Many of the campers are inspired to remain as students in the Yeshiva. Many of these students return to their communities of origin, which has made a significant impact on the religious observance of members of those communities. The camp was founded by Rabbi Moshe Fuller, who began himself as a South American student of the Yeshiva. Rabbi Fuller passed away in 2008.[33]

Notable alumni[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eytan Kobre (July 11, 2012). "He Planted Slabodka in Baltimore". mishpacha.com. 
  2. ^ "Rav Yaakov Yitzchok Halevi Ruderman zt"l, On His 22nd Yahrtzeit, Today, 14 Tammuz". matzav.com. July 6, 2009. 
  3. ^ (Agudath Israel of America)
  4. ^ "Ner Israel Rabbinical College". www.micua.org. Retrieved 2018-02-01. 
  5. ^ "Moetzes meeting at Agudath Israel". 
  6. ^ "Agudath Israel convention to focus on improvement and excellence". 
  7. ^ Rabbi Avi Shafran. "A Shabbos at Ner Yisroel". matzav.com. 
  8. ^ "Baltimore Jewish Life | 82nd Annual Ner Israel Dinner A Great Success (Amazing Videos & Photo Essay)". Retrieved 2018-07-27. 
  9. ^ a b "Yeshivas of Traditional Orthodoxy Flourishing". The New York Times. June 11, 2000. 
  10. ^ "College Programs | Ner Israel Rabbinical College". Ner Israel Rabbinical College. Retrieved 2018-07-29. 
  11. ^ Sefer HaYovel - HaPardes. Jubilee Book HaPardes - Rabbinical monthly journal, pg. 397. New york, NY: 1951. Can be seen here: http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=3153&pgnum=404
  12. ^ "Rabbi Dovid Kronglas | kevarim.com". kevarim.com. Retrieved 2018-02-01. 
  13. ^ "Adviser, leader of rabbinical college". tribunedigital-baltimoresun. Retrieved 2018-02-04. 
  14. ^ "Ner Israel College at 60: A guiding light in the journey to Orthodoxy". tribunedigital-baltimoresun. Retrieved 2018-07-26. 
  15. ^ "Rabbi Shmuel Yaakov Weinberg | kevarim.com". kevarim.com. Retrieved 2018-02-01. 
  16. ^ "Ner Israel dean Yaakov S. Weinberg, 76, dies". tribunedigital-baltimoresun. Retrieved 2018-02-04. 
  17. ^ "A Tribute: Rebbetzin Chana Weinberg a"h | Matzav.com". matzav.com. Retrieved 2018-03-09. 
  18. ^ "Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Kulefsky | kevarim.com". kevarim.com. Retrieved 2018-02-01. 
  19. ^ "BaltimoreJewishLife.com | Baltimore's Torah Community Continues its Upward Trajectory with Ground Breaking at Bais Hamedrash and Mesivta of Baltimore (Photos & Video)". baltimorejewishlife.com. Retrieved 2018-02-01. 
  20. ^ "Petira Of HaRav Yosef Tendler ZATZAL". Yeshiva World News. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  21. ^ "Shiurim By Rabbi Yosef Tendler". torahmediaamerica.com. Retrieved 2018-02-02. 
  22. ^ "Unreal - Rabbi Avi Shafran". Rabbi Avi Shafran. 2013-06-11. Retrieved 2018-02-28. 
  23. ^ "Baltimore's 'Jewish' Architecture Testament to Character, Conviction, Mobility of Its People". jewishtimes.com. Retrieved 2018-02-04. 
  24. ^ "Ner Yisroel | Our History". www.neryisroel.info. Retrieved 2018-02-01. 
  25. ^ "Chinuch.org::Torah Umesorah". www.chinuch.org. Retrieved 2018-02-01. 
  26. ^ "Carey Business School to Collaborate with Ner Israel | Johns Hopkins Carey Business School". carey.jhu.edu. Retrieved 2018-02-01. 
  27. ^ "What is the Ner Yisroel college program". 
  28. ^ "First Group of Teachers Graduate from Baltimore Rabbinical College". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved 2018-02-02. 
  29. ^ "The Waters From Which I Drank: In Memory of Rabbi Yosef Tendler–Rosh Mechinat Ner Yisrael". RabbiYoni.com. 2012-02-12. Retrieved 2018-06-14. 
  30. ^ Margie Pensak (July 12, 2017). "Inaugural STAR-K Rabbinical Training Program for Yeshivas Ner Yisroel Yungeleit a Huge Success". 
  31. ^ "Hanging on to Heritage". jewishtimes.com. Retrieved 2018-03-04. 
  32. ^ "STAR-K Experts Speak to Latin Americans and Baltimoreans in Summer Educational Programs | STAR-K Kosher Certification". www.star-k.org. Retrieved 2018-03-04. 
  33. ^ "Petira Of R' Moshe Fuller Z"L". Yeshiva World News. 2008-03-23. Retrieved 2018-03-04. 
  34. ^ "WATCH: Rabbi Abba Cohen, Agudah Board Members, Honored at Ner Israel Rabbinical College 83rd Annual Dinner. | The Agudah". agudathisrael.org. Retrieved 2018-04-05. 
  35. ^ "Our Staff - Chaim V'Chessed". Chaim V'Chessed. Retrieved 2018-02-01. 
  36. ^ "Executive Profile / Howard E. Friedman". Bloomberg L.P. Archived from the original on November 1, 2016. Retrieved November 1, 2016. He served as President at American Israel Public Affairs Committee from 2006 to 2010. 
  37. ^ Yaakov Menken (June 30, 2006). "Engaging the Orthodox". 
  38. ^ "Hanhala - Yeshiva Gedolah of Providence". Retrieved July 3, 2017. 
  39. ^ "Kehillas Derech Chaim". www.derechchaim.com. Retrieved 2018-02-01. 
  40. ^ "Faculty – Yeshiva Gedolah Ohr HaTorah". ygohrhatorah.org. Retrieved 2018-02-01. 
  41. ^ http://www.bhol.co.il/article.aspx?id=50632
  42. ^ (see also http://www.danzig.jct.ac.il/torahtapes/milevsky/)
  43. ^ "Faculty | Talmudic University". talmudicu.edu. Retrieved 2018-02-02. 

Coordinates: 39°23′18″N 76°45′17″W / 39.38833°N 76.75472°W / 39.38833; -76.75472

External links[edit]