HaKotel—S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program
The Yeshiva's underlying goal is to cultivate an intimate connection to Torat Yisrael, Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael. Developing a talmid's love for learning, bond with Eretz Yisrael, and sense of responsibility toward Am Yisrael are the Yeshiva's primary objectives.
Goal of Program
The Yeshiva's underlying goal is to cultivate an intimate connection to Torat Yisrael, Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael. Developing a talmid's love for learning, bond with Eretz Yisrael, and sense of responsibility towards Am Yisrael are the Yeshiva's primary objectives.
Attitude towards Israel and Medinat Yisrael
As a hesder Yeshiva, Yeshivat Hakotel presents a very strong Zionist message that is conveyed not just by the staff, but by one's peers who serve in the IDF. Medinat Yisrael is presented as G-d's gift to contemporary Jews who struggled to build it. It is our responsibility to appreciate and continue to develop the gift we have received. Programming meant to reinforce these attitudes extends way beyond Ymei Ha'atzmuat and Yerushalayim (which are celebrated enthusiastically). The programming includes not only tiyulim and visits to much of the country, but a broad array of shiurim meant to teach the philosophy that supports the attitude.
Attitude towards University Studies
We do not encourage or discourage any particular university. We believe that secular studies can add a dimension to one's spiritual and personal growth. We encourage boys to take advantage of their university experience to the fullest. Many of our alumni attend Yeshiva University, but many attend other universities. Towards the end of the year we provide special shiurim to help prepare our students for secular college and the challenges it presents to the Torah observant Jew.
Attitude towards Extracurricular Activities
The talmidim have a daily two-hour break after lunch. Many students also take advantage of Friday and Saturday night. In addition to opportunities for relaxation outside the campus, there is also room for recreation on the Yeshiva campus. The Yeshiva offers daily use of its fully equipped gym facility. The Yeshiva provides educational tiyulim to help acquaint the overseas students with Eretz Yisrael. The Yeshiva provides time for and encourages various chesed opportunities.
Preparation for Post Israel
During the spring session we offer a number of classes that relate to life after yeshiva. In addition, personal conversations with staff help each student prepare for their particular future.
The "Successful" Student
A 'successful' alumnus will be an comprehensively enabled talmid chacham with an intense love for Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael. In addition to beginning to build his own family and career, he will be maximizing opportunities to continue his personal Torah and spiritual growth and to help Am Yisrael.
Talmidim are expected to dress in a way appropriate for a Ben Torah and are asked to refrain from wearing t-shirts, clothing with emblems and jeans.
Yeshivat Hakotel's unique program of integration offers boys relationships with boys Israeli and overseas rebbeim. After moving to an Israeli shiur, the overseas rebbe maintains a strong bond with each student through afternoon and night shiurim as well as personal conversation. In addition to a talmid's rebbe, students benefit from both a relationship with older boys and support staff as well as a unique relationship with the Rosh Hayeshiva.
Yeshivat Hakotel accepts only fully motivated boys. We assume a high level of seriousness and maturity. Alcohol and substance abuse as well as other conduct not befitting a ben Torah are grounds for immediate dismissal. We do not have a curfew, but ask boys to notify a madrich when leaving so that we can insure each individual's safety.
Our curriculum aims to develop both comprehensive knowledge and skills. We familiarize students with the basics of Tanach, Torah Sheb'al Peh, Halacha, and Jewish Philosophy, Belief and Mussar and help them develop the ability for independent study all of these fields in depth.
Talmud is the mainstay of our curriculum. Morning seder focuses on iyun skills which include textual sensitivity and analytical proficiency. Our methodology develops a student's ability to notice textual nuances and identify central conceptual issues and use both to appreciate each sugya. Students are enabled to the point where they can prepare and present a sugya. Chaburot like this are presented by each student.
During afternoon seder we offer a bekiut program meant to solidify reading skills. The program consists of an hour of chavruta preparation followed by a reading session where boys read for rabbonim who make corrections and comment on the gemara being learned. These sessions, not only cover over 100 pages of gemara annually, but also sharpen reading ability
At night seder most boys study additional Talmud with an older Israeli chavruta.
Our Mishneh Torah L'Rambam program develops familiarity with the broader concepts of Torah Sheb'al Peh.
Tanach- We encourage boys to complete their knowledge of Tanach within their first year. We offer an array of shiurim that not only cover the entirety of Tanach, but also teach the skills necessary to appreciate it. This allows students to learn Tanach in a meaningful way after yeshiva.
Halacha- In addition to a daily halacha seder, we offer a number of shiurim that pertinent areas of halacha.
Jewish Philosophy- We offer a two pronged program of Jewish Philosophy shiurim that focus both on topics and on the philosophies of individuals like Rav Sa'adya Goan, Rav Yehuda Halevi, the Rambam, Rav Chayyim Volozhin, the Ba'al HaTanya, Rav Kook, and Rav Soloveitchik.
Mussar- In addition to mussar seder, students enjoy small chaburot that study particular mussar classics with rebbeim. We also offer a number of sichot mussar on a weekly basis.
Curriculum makeup: The yeshiva offers a large number of shiurim in subjects other than Gemara and helps talmidim build a schedule most appropriate to them. Although the average boy will generally spend a high percentage of his time (around 80%) on Talmud, there are many who devote up to half there time to other subjects. As a hesder yeshiva which includes over five years of Israeli students, the yeshiva offers a wide array of levels in every area of study. Before students know enough Hebrew to allow for integration, they are offered three levels of Gemara shiur- ranging from a basic gemara focused level to one that deals with analytical issues on a very advanced level.
Yeshivat Hakotel offers a multi-faceted learning program which includes: Gemara, Tanach, Halacha, Emunah, Machshava, and Mussar.
6:30 Pre-Tefila Shiur
7:50 Seder Halacha/ Breakfast
9:00 Morning Seder / Shiur
1:00 Lunch Break
3:15 Tanach / Machshava shiur
4:45 Bekiut- Chavruta and Shiur
6:45 Mussar Seder with an Israeli Chavruta
Chavruta with an older Israeli
Language of Instruction
Most classes are held in Hebrew. However, there are English shiurim offered throughout the week.
Ulpan or Hebrew Class
The Yeshiva offers an intensive ulpan 6 days a week with the intention of all students being fully integrated into the Israeli classes by Chanukah.
Assessment and Grading
We encourage learning 'lishma'. Depite not grading, we do encourage boys to take advantage of tests that encourage review. In addition, we encourage boys to prepare and deliver shiurim which tests the improvement of their skills.
The yeshiva has a shana bet program which consists of continued studies with one's Israeli peers as well as shiurim geared particularly to second year overseas students.The yeshiva actively encourages shana bet for those who stand to gain significantly from it. This encouragement hinges on parent's consent.
The Yeshiva participates in the YU joint-Israel program.
Rav Avigdor Nevenzahl shlit'a (Rav of the Old City) and Rav Yeshayahu Hadari shlit'a (Rosh Yeshiva emeritus) offer shiurim and are also available for personal consultation.
Rav Tuvya Lifshitz is the Mashgiach.
Rav Reuven Taragin is responsible for overseas students.
Other overseas rabbonim include:
Rav Shlomo Brody
Rav Ari Cutler
Rav Ari Heller
Rav Jesse Horn
Our Israeli Ramim include:
Rav Yosef Ansbacher
Rav Aharon Moreh
Rav Yeshayahu Shteinberger
Rav Yosef Ansbacher
Rav Tziki Berlin
Rav Roni Klopshtock
Rav Aharon Moreh
Rav Gadi Shlevin
Rav Avner Sheishar
Rav Yeshayahu Shteinberger
Rav Shlomo Tubul
Rav Binyamin Yager
Students are encouraged to tour and visit extensively. We also arrange tiyulim and weekends in various communities. In additions, boys learn about communities by visiting homes of the Israeli peers for Shabbat.
Students are keenly aware of issues concerning the Israeli public. This awareness comes first and foremost through their relationships with their Israeli peers and through their participation in sessions that deal with contemporary issues.
Special Informal programs
The yeshiva often hosts guest speakers in both Hebrew and English. Every Friday the yeshiva runs a special learning program which consists of shiurim open to the public.The yeshiva has chagigot to mark both traditional and contemporary holidays and special melaveh malkot on the average of once/twice a month.
Yeshivat Hakotel offers daily use of its fully equipped gym facility. Sports facilities are available within the vicinity of the Yeshiva. Additionally, many students play ball in Gan Ha Paamon, located within close walking distance of the Yeshiva.
Programming for Shabbat and Yom Tov
Two out of every three Shabbatot are called Shabbat Yeshiva. We recommend that talmidim remain in the Yeshiva on these Shabbatot as they are an integral part of the Yeshiva experience. Sichot and tischim are part of the Shabbat schedule as well as meals at the homes of ramim or local families. Students may stay or leave for any Shabbat. There are also off-campus Shabbatonim throughout the year. When there is an off Shabbat the Yeshiva encourages students to take advantage of the time to travel the country and visit families in other locales.We recommend that boys stay in the Rova for Yom Tov. We make arrangements for those who decide to stay or those who prefer to spend Yom Tov in other parts of the country.The dorms are always open for the students, offering partial board during bein hazmanim.
To further enhance our Tanach shiurim as well as to promote yediat ha-aretz, the Yeshiva offers monthly half-day tiyulim. All tiyulim are army approved and in accordance with security regulations.The Yeshiva organizes two major tiyulim during bein hazmanim to the North and South.
Our program is designed for advanced Yeshiva High School graduates who wish to enjoy a year of serious, advanced Torah study within a distinctly Israeli environment.
Hebrew Knowledge Required
All levels. Although we integrate within Israeli Hebrew shiurim, we teach Hebrew intensively and offer English shiurim until on is ready to integrate.
Religious Observance Required
Full commitment to shmirat Torah U'mitzvot is a prerequisite. Our stringent entrance requirements assure that students are motivated to learn and develop both personally and spiritually.
Over half of the American students are from outside of the New York area. For the coming year we will be having students from YU, MTA, HALB, Mesivta NJ, MAYS, Rambam Mesivta, Flatbush, Rambam (Baltimore), Or Chaim/Chat (Toronto), Skokie, Ida Crowne (Chicago), Fuchs Mizrachi (Cleveland), HA of Montreal, YULA, and more.
Overall Number of Students (Kollel, Israeli, Foreign)
Foreign Student Percentage
Number of 1st Year American Students
Number of 2nd Year American Students
Australian, British, Canadian, European, South American - 40
Number of Students per Class
Overseas shiurim range from 5- 20 students per rebbe. Integrated shiurim are generally a bit larger to allow for a significant number of both Israelis and overseas students.
The dormitories consist of apartments of 3 bedrooms each with 3-4 boys per room. Each apartment has bathroom and shower facilities. Because of our goal of integration, Israeli and overseas students share rooms. A washing machine and dryer are available for student use.
Email and Internet Access:
We have email access at the Yeshiva.
Availability of Private Kitchen Facilities
Most apartments have a kitchenette consisting of cabinets and counter, sink and refrigerator.
Facility use during Shabbat and Yom Tov
The Yeshiva is open every Shabbat. If meals are not being served than the madrich sets the students up for meals. The Yeshiva is open year round for the talmidim and offers room and partial board during bein hazmanim.
We do not have a curfew, but ask students to inform a madrich before leaving.
In addition to the high level security arrangements in the Old City, the Yeshiva has its own security system with cameras and Israeli student soldiers on guard. There is an army officer on premises at all times directing the Yeshiva's security operations. In the event of a terror attack, ch'v, the Yeshiva has a phone tree to contact all students and an email list of the parents to notify when everyone has been accounted for.
Yeshivat HaKotel was founded more than 30 years ago. The underlying goal of the Yeshiva is to provide its students with a fundamental and intimate connection to Torat Yisrael as it impacts on Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael. There is no better place to accomplish this three-fold goal than at Yeshivat HaKotel in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Old City enhances both the emotional and intellectual components of Torah learning. Only someone who has personally experienced this can fully comprehend this added dimension.
Love of Learning is the ultimate aim of the Yeshiva. It impacts each student's Mitzvah observance and religious development. Every Talmid will find his own path toward deepening commitment to Torah learning and observance. This learning includes all facets of Judaism's spectrum: Gemara, Tanach, Halacha, Emunah, Machshava and Mussar. The Yeshiva stresses that all of the above disciplines help maximize the student's goals and growth.
Personal Growth- A Jew's Torah learning should not remain detached and theoretical. Rather, it must anchor Mitzvah performance and personal growth. This development comprises many varied areas that often are neglected by the modern world, including Yirat Shamayim, strong Jewish values, and spirituality.
Spiritual Development - Rich Jewish life should also involve connecting one's soul to God and His people. Unfortunately, many Jews never develop this spiritual component. Yeshivat HaKotel also stresses this part of Judaism, which reaches into the very essence of each student and impacts all aspects of one's life.
Communal Responsibility- Most contemporary Jews are unaware of their heritage. Those blessed with Torah knowledge and values should feel pained by this state of affairs, as well as a responsibility to change it. Eventhough the yeshiva focuses on Torah learning and personal Jewish growth, it should also imbue students with a sense of communal responsibility. Yeshivat HaKotel will teach not only the importance of reaching out to uninformed and assimilated Jews, but also how to do so.
Integration - Although the Yeshiva takes great care to meet the individual needs of all students, whatever their background, it also actively integrates everyone into one student body. Students weak in Hebrew will be given immediate assistance (Ulpan), so that they can actively participate, within a short period of time, in the full range of the Yeshiva's Shiurim and learn sources in their original language.
We Are Brothers -- Not only is Yeshivat HaKotel is a place for all Jews, no matter what their country of origin, but it also highlights the feelings of Achdut (unity) among all of its students. To this end, the Yeshiva breaks down the natural cultural barriers that often exist between Jews of different countries of origin. This feeling of brotherhood permeates all aspects of Yeshiva life, including classes, dormitory residence and free time.
The year in Israel should be much more than a study program, confined to the walls of the Yeshiva. It should also be a year of learning about the Land of Israel first-hand. Through interactive experiences, students will connect to their ancient homeland, as well as learn about the modern miracle of the State of Israel. The Yeshiva highlights the holidays unique to the State of Israel. The Tiyulim (tours) provided by the Yeshiva are much more than sightseeing events. By studying the Tanach beforehand, each Tiyul allows the students to unite the written word about each place visited to the feelings generated by that experience, and thus connecting the Jewish People to the Land of Israel through the words of the Torah.
46 Rector Court
Bergenfield, NJ 07621
Phone: (201) 645-3717
Rav Reuven Taragin
7 HaMekubalim, Jerusalem, 97500
mailing address) P.O.B. 603, Jerusalem 91006
Phone: (02) 628-8175 ext. 122
Fax: (02) 627-1180