Har Etzion—S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program
Goal of Program
The goal of the Yeshiva is to foster within the talmidim a deeper and fuller life of Avodat Hashem. The Yeshiva emphasizes Talmud Torah as a vital and indispensable instrument for a relationship with the Kadosh Baruch Hu. To cultivate an authentic love for Torah, a talmid must be equipped with the tools and skills to master its learning. The Yeshiva excels at imparting the systematic and organized method of learning known to many as the "Brisker style" of learning.
A Ben Torah embraces the challenges of our society, ennobling both his own personal experience as well as his environment. The road to religious and personal depth is paved with healthy "struggle"; by acknowledging the complexity of Avodat Hashem and the diversity among different types of Bnei Torah, a person can assure the emergence of an authentic and passionate religious identity.
Attitude Towards Israel and Medinat Yisrael
Yeshivat Har Etzion is a Hesder Yeshiva – a Yeshiva where Israeli talmidim combine their army service with Yeshiva study in a five-year program.
The restoration of Jewish sovereignty and the founding of the State of Israel provide a particular mission to our People, and to Bnei Torah. The structure, environment and curriculum at Yeshiva are all geared toward establishing commitment to this process.
Attitude Towards University Studies
Though the Yeshiva inspires the centrality of Talmud Torah, it recognizes the value of a comprehensive secular education – both in securing meaningful, professional advancement, as well as in enriching personal identity. Careful attention is placed on guiding talmidim toward their departure from Yeshiva and their integration in collegiate studies. A continuing framework of learning is crucial in assuring that the values inspired during a talmid's time in Yeshiva be sustained during the remainder of his education. Many talmidim choose to attend Yeshiva University where the opportunities for continued learning are incorporated. Those who attend other institutions of higher learning are encouraged to arrange personal frameworks to ensure the further development of their Talmud torah and Yirat Shamayim.
Attitude Towards Extracurricular Activities
By its nature, a talmid's stay at the Yeshiva is concentrated and inner-directed. However, it is also a preparation for what lies beyond – a life of service to Klal Yisrael, in either professional or lay capacity. The Yeshiva is committed not only to molding individuals, but to developing communal leadership by stimulating both the ability and desire to serve.
In addition to the primary goal of Talmud Torah, the Yeshiva recognizes the importance of other aspects of personal growth. Throughout each zman, chessed programs are organized. The Yeshiva offers a wide range of chessed opportunites so that each talmid can choose an activity which resonates within. Volunteering opportunities include: Shabbatot in Children’s Homes, acting as big brothers in the surrounding community of Alon Shevut as well as participating in Shalva (a home for challenged children) in Har Nof and in Alon Shevut. Talmidim also deliver Mishloach Manot for “Yad Sarah” – a well-known and respected chessed organization. The Yeshiva has a long standing relationship with a children’s home in Geula, and overseas talmidim organize the Chanuka and Purim mesibot there every year. Talmidim also volunteer to aid the families of terror victims.
Part of personal growth includes the maintenance of personal health and the opportunity for healthy and replenishing forms of recreation. Tiyulim are arranged throughout the year to both introduce a talmid to the land in which, and about which, he is studying as well as to provide outlets for supervised travel and relaxation. Indoor sports facilities, a heated swimming pool as well as a weight room and a gym are all readily available within five minutes walking distance of Yeshiva. These may be used at a talmid’s discretion during his breaks and free time. The greater Gush Etzion region boasts several food establishments and large supermarkets, many of which deliver to talmidim in the Yeshiva.
Preparation for Post Israel
The Yeshiva excels at preparing its talmidim for the complexities facing Bnei Torah in the modern context. Extensive counseling is provided regarding the unique challenges which will be encountered during the immediate years after leaving Yeshiva. These issues typically include marriage and choice of profession and community. This guiding direction continues even after a talmid has departed Yeshiva through email correspondence and frequent visits of Ramim overseas.
The Yeshiva believes that kibbud av v'em is an integral part of Yirat Shamayim and cannot be compromised even as a talmid chooses his own derech in life. Careful attention is placed upon recognizing the duties toward parents and the need to grow in religious commitment, while inspiring all those in one's surroundings.
The Yeshiva recognizes the dilemma facing talmidim with regard to friendships with acquaintances who might have developed different styles of religious behavior. In general, talmidim are encouraged to carefully gauge their own impressionability while realizing the immense responsibility incumbent upon Bnei Torah – to radiate positive Torah associations to those who might not have been personally inspired.
The "Successful" Student
The successful talmid of Yeshiva is a young man who lives a passionate, authentic and religiously intense lifestyle. His religious experience should be centered on Talmud Torah, Yirat Shamayim, Halacha, the Jewish community and the State of Israel. A talmid should be imbued with a sense of idealism and mission both in his personal and professional life.
The Yeshiva's educational philosophy is based on maturity and self-motivation. Although there is no official dress code, it is expected that students dress in a manner reflective of a Ben Torah. Though specific codes are not enforced, certain types of dress that are inappropriate to a Beit Midrash setting are discouraged.
The Yeshiva views the personal growth of each of its talmidim as one of its defining features. It tries to educate its talmidim toward a personal and authentic Torah personality and not a "molded" one based solely upon the attitudes and behaviors of other talmidim. This requires active and involved personal guidance. The primary address for this guidance is a talmid's Rebbe. Nearly all the Rabbeim live in Alon Shevut and are available throughout the day as well as during Shabbatot and Chagim. Special weekly question and answer sessions allow the talmidim to address broader issues which do not necessarily emerge in the daily routine of learning.
Apart from your Rebbe, there is a Mashgiach who is responsible for the overseas students. He will get to know you personally, monitor your progress, help arrange chevrutot, and is available to help with any issue.
Several madrichim provide an informal source of guidance. Madrichim – generally older students – can share their own recent experiences and allow a talmid to form a relationship with someone closer in age who has already succeeded in Yeshiva.
A unique feature of the Yeshiva is its community of older bochurim - talmidim who return for a second year (50%) and who serve as guiding forces for the incoming talmidim. The Kollel of the Yeshiva numbers 50 talmidim, many of whom are returning overseas talmidim – some single and some married. Kollel talmidim contribute to the Yeshiva environment in areas well beyond their mere presence in the Beit Midrash. They deliver night seder bekiyut shiurim, serve as chevrutot for younger students, run special tischim, and are a vital source of direction and inspiration for younger talmidim.
Married alumni who return to learn in the Kollel often provide a "home away from home" for many of the younger students. This natural and informal form of guidance helps every student feel comfortable in what is likely his first experience studying abroad.
The Yeshiva has arranged for a U.S. trained psychologist to be available once a week at Yeshiva for consultations with talmidim who feel that professional insight could be helpful. The Yeshiva's staff actively encourages and arranges these informal meetings as necessary.
In its continuing effort to build a Ben Torah who serves his community, the Yeshiva has a wonderful bond with the community of Alon Shevut. This community has many talmidei chachamim as well as gifted professionals (including many alumni of the Yeshiva) who commit extensive personal resources to Talmud Torah and Avodat Hashem. By arranging for talmidim to be invited for Shabbat and through 'va'adim' (group meetings) with community members, talmidim have ample role models for future life, as well as sources of inspiration for future aliya.
In order to assist personal development, careful supervision must be kept of a talmid's Yeshiva routine. Though it is important that every schedule be scrutinized and monitored, the degree of enforcement will vary from talmid to talmid. The Yeshiva attracts a very mature and motivated caliber of talmid and attempts to create a supervised environment that encourages personal growth and creative development.
The primary investment of the Yeshiva is in training its talmidim in the skills of Gemara learning while instilling the love for Talmud Torah. The hallmark of the Yeshiva is its ability to equip its talmidim with the tools of lomdus – of organized approaches toward the sugyot and the accompanying Rishonim.
To accomplish this goal the Yeshiva offers three entry level shiurim:
Text Based: A shiur devoted to the appreciation of the structures and logic of the basic gemara text. In addition, the shiur provides a basic exposure to the commentaries of Rishonim and their relationship to the gemara.
Intermediate: A shiur intended for talmidim who have mastered the basic text of the gemara and who are prepared for initial exposure to Rishonim, prepared for thorough “in class” reading of Rishonim. This shiur introduces a talmid to the tools and methods of understanding the structure of a sugya.
Advanced: A shiur for talmidim who have already encountered Rishonim. This shiur endows the talmid with the analytic skill towards both appreciating the repeating patterns of gemara as well as organizing a sugya on his own.
The Yeshiva centers its daily schedule to focus on the study of Gemara. Much of the day is spent learning Be'iyun, while opportunities to learn bekiut and to explore other areas of Torah exist as well. The hour and a half shiur yomi is given during morning seder. Talmidim spend an additional three to four hours a day, five days a week, preparing for and reviewing this shiur be'chavruta as they delve through parallel sugyot and the Rishonim on the daf.
Night Seder in Yeshiva is devoted toward bekiut learning with the overall goal to finish the masechta which is being studied in depth in the morning. Talmidim are divided into small groups of ‘chaburot’ which are guided in their bekiut learning by a night Seder Ram, who both supervises the group and delivers review shiurim on the material being studied. Following bekiut seder, opportunities exist for extended in- depth iyun learning.
To help broaden a talmid’s Torah scope, shiurim are offered in many lateral areas. Primary emphasis is placed upon two additional areas of learning: Halacha and Tanach.
Halacha: During his stay at the Yeshiva, a talmid should begin to fortify his knowledge of halacha. Each afternoon, significant time is dedicated to learning halacha with optional shiurim in the assigned material. Weekly shiurim are dedicated to practical halachic issues which will begin to affect the lives of talmidim.
Tanach: A particularly strong and unique feature of the Yeshiva is the quality of its Tanach shiurim. Most Tanach shiurim place an emphasis on 'peshuto shel mikra', identifying the main themes of each Sefer. When Chumash and Navi are studied in this fashion, classical perushim and midrashim are understood in greater depth. These shiurim reveal the Tanach's moral, religious and philosophical content, and enable talmidim to view history from a Torah perspective.
The Yeshiva actively encourages the learning of Mussar and Machshava. These areas help cultivate a talmid’s Ahavat Torah and Yirat Shamayim. At the end of afternoon seder, one or two shiurim are offered in these areas (Tanach, Halacha Le'Ma'aseh, Mussar, and Machshava). Talmidim are encouraged to take four shiurim per week. Aside from weekly chugim which are offered, talmidim are encouraged to establish minor sedarim in these areas during times not dedicated to gemara learning (parts of afternoon seder, night seder, break time etc.) .
- 6:55 am Hanachat Tefillin
- 7:00 am Shacharit
- 7:45 am Breakfast
- 8:30 am Shiur/Morning Seder
- 1:00 pm Lunch and Break
- 3:00 pm Mincha
- 3:15 pm Afternoon Seder
- (continuation of Iyun, Halacha Seder, shiurim)
- 7:15 pm Ma'ariv (Zman Choref)
- [in Zman Elul and Zman Kayitz, supper is at 7:15 and Ma'ariv is at 8:00]
- 7:30 pm Supper
- 8:15 pm Mussar Seder
- 8:30 pm Evening Seder
Language of Instruction
All morning shiurim are delivered in Hebrew. Special accommodation occurs during the early stages of Yeshiva in which many Rabbeim intersperse English translations within their Hebrew shiurim. Many late afternoon and night shiurim are delivered in English.
Ulpan or Hebrew Class
Based upon need, there is an optional ulpan. There are two levels and the ulpan's curriculum is specially tailored for the needs of our talmidim.
Assessment and Grading
Though the presence of a talmid at davening, seder and shiurim is carefully monitored, no formal attendance is taken.
Tests are not administered and formal grades are not provided. Assessment of success revolves around carefully considering the expected changes in intensity, commitment, self-awareness, self-discipline and religious passion.
Students are actively encouraged to spend additional time at Yeshiva. Recognizing that, often this decision is not feasible and the Yeshiva is careful not to create unnecessary tensions or disappointments if a talmid cannot return.
The Yeshiva encourages Shana Bet talmidim to learn in Israeli shiurim. Shana Bet is viewed as an opportunity for a talmid to grow independently with more general supervision but fewer demands of program and fewer structured responsibilities beyond the Beit Midrash.
The Yeshiva participates in the joint Israel program of Yeshiva University and Touro College and prepares formal transcripts to assist talmidim in receiving credit from any college.
The foundations of the Yeshiva are its Roshei. A year at Yeshivat Har Etzion offers, first and foremost, an opportunity to be influenced by these outstanding and prestigious personalities. There is no question that the influence of the Roshei Yeshiva forms the cornerstone of a talmid's experience at Yeshiva. Each of the Roshei Yeshiva rotates spending Shabbatot at the Yeshiva, contributing his unique nobility and sagacity to the Shabbat atmosphere.
Whether through a question and answer session, a sicha, or a spirited tisch, the Roshei Yeshiva meet with all the bachurim on a regular basis. They are present in the Beit Midrash every day, and should a talmid wish to have a discussion with any of them, they will always find themselves welcome. Talmidim at the Yeshiva consider it a privilege to have the Roshei Yeshiva so readily accessible to them.
Most of the Rabbeim are either talmidim of Harav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik zt"l or products of the Yeshiva itself. The Yeshiva is blessed with many wonderful and renowned Rabbeim:
- HaRav Yehuda Amital, zt"l - Founding Rosh Yeshiva
- HaRav Aharon Lichtenstein zt"l - Founding Rosh Yeshiva
- HaRav Baruch Gigi - Rosh Yeshiva
- HaRav Mosheh Lichtenstein - Rosh Yeshiva
- HaRav Yaakov Medan - Rosh Yeshiva
- Rav Shlomo Brin - Ra"M shiur alef
- Rav Amichai Gordon - Ra"M shiur alef
- Rav Michael Edre - Ra"M shiur alef
- Rav Yair Kahn - Ra'M shiur bet (Head of Overseas Students)
- Rav Nechemiya Raanan - Ra"M shiur bet
- Rav Ezra Bick - Ra"M shiur daled-hey
- Rav Daniel Wolff - Kollel Gavoha, Ra"M shiur hey-vav
- Rav Elyakim Krumbein - Ra"M Kollel Gavoha
- Rav Shlomo Levy - Rosh Kollel
- Rav Eli Weber - Director of Overseas Program
- Rav Moshe Taragin - Ra"M Overseas Program
- Rav Mordechai Friedman - Ra"M Overseas Program
- Rav Pinchas Cohen - Ra"M Overseas Program
- Rav Doniel Schreiber - Ra"M Overseas Program
- Rav Dovid Gottlieb - Ra"M Overseas Program
- Rav Yitzchak Levi - Mashgiach
- Rav Uzi Friedlich - Mashgiach
- Rav Beni Lehman - Ra"M Machshava
- Rav Hillel Rachmani - Ra'M Machshava
- Rav Danny Rhein - Mashgiach Overseas Program
- Rav Chezi Cohen - Rakaz Shiur Alef
Interaction with Israelis
Interaction with Israeli students is enthusiastically encouraged. Talmidim are offered the opportunity to room with Israelis, learn with Israeli chevrutot and ultimately, to transfer to an Israeli shiur. The language of the shiurim (Hebrew), the relatively small number of overseas students, and the common schedule assures that overseas talmidim will feel an integrated part of the overall Yeshiva. Shabbatot Iruach are dedicated to heightening this feeling. Group discussions between overseas students and Israelis, joint tischim, and Shabbatot in which each American is invited to an Israeli talmid's home, all contribute to a strong bond.
Though students are encouraged to remain informed of Israeli society, no special emphasis is placed upon politics. The staff is careful not to distract the talmid's Torah focus with political agendas or to indoctrinate personal political views.
Special Informal Programs
Throughout the year, special guest speakers visit the Yeshiva. Some address the entire Yeshiva while others speak to the smaller group of overseas talmidim. These speakers encourage talmidim to grapple with relevant and contemporary issues. Festive Yeshiva-wide Chagigot take place on Chanuka, Purim, Yom Ha'atzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim. Smaller chagigot for the overseas group or particular shiurim are also scheduled on these occasions.
For recreation, there is an array of indoor and outdoor sports facilities within a five-minute walk of the Yeshiva, including a gym, weight room, and an indoor swimming pool.
Programming for Shabbat and Yom Tov
Each of the Roshei Yeshiva rotates spending Shabbatot in the Yeshiva. The Yeshiva also invites one of its many Ramim for Shabbat, affording talmidim the opportunity to hear sichot from these Torah scholars. The sichot after Kabbalat Shabbat highlight elements in the parsha or attitudes on a current compelling issue. After dinner, talmidim attend tischim in the homes of a Ram or learn in the Beit Midrash. After Shacharit, the entire Yeshiva attends a Kiddush followed by a brief shiur in Parshat Hashavua, and during the day, the Rosh Yeshiva or one of the Ramim delivers a shiur on a halachic topic. The culmination of Shabbat at the Yeshiva – Seuda Shlishit – features a second sicha on the parsha, followed by singing until long after Shabbat has ended.
Talmidim are often invited to the homes of Rabbeim, Kollel families or Alon Shevut families for a Shabbat meal. The Alon Shevut community warmly welcomes Yeshivat Har Etzion talmidim into their homes. Besides the Yom Tov and Shabbat meals that are certainly appreciated and significantly add to a positive and enjoyable years, the Yeshiva and Alon Shevut community learn together, run joint chessed projects and share events.
The Yeshiva provides three meals per day and is open almost every Shabbat. During Bein HaZmanim periods, the Yeshiva is officially closed. Most students stay with relatives and friends. Arrangements can be made for students who need places to stay during Bein HaZmanim.
In order to deepen students' kesher to Eretz Yisrael, the Yeshiva schedules numerous tiyulim and Shabbatonim over the course of the year. Shiurim in Tanach take on an added dimension as one walks in the footsteps of the Avot or stands in the battlefield where David slew Goliat. The Yeshiva plans one afternoon tiyul every third week specifically for overseas talmidim. Overseas talmidim may also participate in tiyulim organized for the Israeli talmidim. There is a series of tiyulim given late Friday mornings, for example, exploring Yerushalayim and the area around Gush Etzion. During Bein HaZmanim, there are major tiyulim to the Galil, Golan and Negev. Other highlights include Shabbatonim in the Old City and in Tzfat.
Level of Learning Offered
Advanced – able to independently study a Talmudic passage
Hebrew Knowledge Required
Advanced – shiurim are mainly in Hebrew
Religious Observance Required
A full commitment to shmirat Torah U’mitzvot is a prerequisite
Type of American Student
This year we have students from the following high schools in the U.S. and Canada:
Block Yeshiva, Columbus Torah Academy, DRS, Fasman Yeshiva High School, Frisch, Fuchs Mizrachi School, Maimonides, MTA, Or Chaim, Ramaz, Rambam Mesivta, SAR, Stern Hebrew High School, TABC, Weinbaum Yeshiva High School, Yeshiva of Flatbush, Yeshivat Rambam, YULA
Overall Number of Students (Kollel, Israeli, Foreign)
Foreign Student Percentage
Number of 1st Year American Students
Number of 2nd Year American Students
We have talmidim from: Australia, England, France, South Africa and Switzerland.
Number of Students per Class
To enable the personal development so crucial to the Yeshiva experience, the shiurim are kept intentionally small. Shiurim typically number between 15-25 in size to allow access to Rabbeim and to create a private setting.
By accepting a limited number of North American students, the Yeshiva allows for a low talmid-Rebbe ratio, further enabling the development of personal relationships. In addition, it ensures a higher degree of integration within the overall Israeli Yeshiva. Often, larger American programs inhibit the talmid's ability to blend with the Israeli talmidim and benefit from this environment.
Talmidim can expect to live in comfortable two-, three- or four-person rooms. Talmidim are welcome to invite guests. The Yeshiva is happy to host visiting families of talmidim.
Availability of Private Kitchen Facilities
Private Kitchen facilities available: Private kitchen facilities are unavailable to talmidim. However, the Yeshiva is happy to accommodate talmidim with special dietary needs.
Facility use during Shabbat and Yom Tov
The Yeshiva is open almost every Shabbat of the year and talmidim are allowed to use their own discretion in planning their schedule. Often, special programming will take place on a Shabbat (special shiurim, tischim and other programs), and talmidim are advised in advanced so that they can adjust their schedules accordingly.
Each year, the Yeshiva visits Tzfat for a Shabbat and spends a Shabbat in the Old City of Jerusalem. Each Ram will also plan a special Shabbat for his shiur to visit a different Yeshiva or community of interest.
The Yeshiva views Yamim Tovim celebrated within the Yeshiva community as seminal to the overall growth of a Ben Torah. Whether the intense moments of Yamim Noraim, the lively hakafot of Simchat Torah, the colorful week of Chanuka, Purim, or the stirring mishmar of Shavuot, talmidim are expected to remain in Yeshiva for these Chagim. Much effort is placed into planning special shiurim and informal programming during Chagim.
The Yeshiva closes its overall facility during Pesach and Sukkot. Special arrangements can be made for those talmidim who must stay in the dorm over Bein HaZmanim.
The Yeshiva does not have a specific curfew. Talmidim who leave the Yeshiva are expected to inform their Ram or madrich so that their whereabouts are known. In addition, talmidim are expected to leave the Yeshiva only for legitimate reasons so as not to disrupt their learning. Talmidim are encouraged to use discretion in examining their schedule and maintaining a disciplined and intense learning regimen.
In addition, talmidim are asked to sign out for Shabbat with their madrichim each week. We ask that talmidim provide a tentative place by Monday and definite plans by Wednesday.
The Yeshiva does its utmost to provide a secure environment for its talmidim. Alon Shevut is protected and monitored by security teams patrolling and guarding entry, including an electronic security system. In addition, the Yeshiva campus itself is guarded by its own army-trained talmidim. Talmidim must travel exclusively on Egged buses to and from Jerusalem.
All talmidim provide their cell phone numbers and a networking system is implemented to contact talmidim swiftly in case of an emergency.
Yeshivat Har Etzion was founded in 1968 by Harav Yehuda Amital shlit'a, following the Six Day War. Harav Aharon Lichtenstein shlit'a, joined the Yeshiva in 1971 after serving as the Rosh Kollel of Yeshivat Rabbeinu Yitzhcak Elchanan, Yeshiva University. For 37 years, they jointly guided the Yeshiva. In 2005, Harav Yaakov Medan shlit'a and Harav Baruch Gigi shlit'a were inaugurated as Roshei Yeshiva, serving alongside Harav Amital and Harav Lichtenstein and in 2008, Harav Mosheh Lichtenstein was inaugurated as an additional Rosh Yeshiva.
With over 400 talmidim, Yeshivat Har Etzion is the largest of the hesder yeshivot – yeshivot where Israeli talmidim combine their army service with yeshiva study in a five-year program. The Yeshiva is located in the residential town of Alon Shevut, which is approximately 10 miles south of Jerusalem. Alon Shevut is close to the city of Efrat, in Gush Etzion, a region which boasts a growing Jewish population of 15,000. The breathtaking scenery of Alon Shevut, combined with the beauty of the Yeshiva campus, create an atmosphere that is uniquely conducive to personal and spiritual growth.
There are students who study in Yeshivat Har Etzion who are on the S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program.
Tuition for the 5775 academic year (2014/15) is $23,000 US. This includes dormitory, meals and laundry service.
The Yeshiva is uniquely geared to develop talmidim who have already fostered a genuine and mature passion for religious growth. Its formidable staff of Rabbeim, headed by its renowned Roshei Yeshiva, can profoundly impact a gifted talmid, while providing him with the crucial tools to enable a fruitful and rewarding lifetime of Talmud Torah. The aversion of particular molds allows honest and driven talmidim to thrive. Talmidim who possess ambitions toward future leadership roles are exposed to a caliber of learning and a sophistication of thought which uniquely endows them with the vision and drive to meet their goals.
Yeshivat Har Etzion
Mr. Yoel Weiss
The Etzion Foundation
111 Galway Place, Suite 203
Teaneck NJ 07666
Yeshivat Har Etzion
Alon Shevut, Gush Etzion 90433