Torat Shraga—S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program
Goal of Program
YTS has a tri-partite goal:
A) To guide its students in developing self proficiency in the examination of Talmudic and Torah texts. This is achieved through methodological techniques of rigorous conceptual analysis while simultaneously providing them the opportunity to acquire a vast knowledge utilizing the bekiut incentive program.
B) To nurture and foster a close rebbe/talmid relationship and provide them with spiritual and intellectual role models that will anchor them Jewishly and emotionally.
C) To broaden their knowledge and connectedness to Eretz Yisrael and Medinat Yisrael via tiyulim and shabbatonim and a welfare of experiential encounters that will arouse and deepen their spiritual roots. This is accomplished in sync with their deepening commitment to observance of mitzvot and the strengthening of the tenets of our faith.
Attitude Towards Israel and Medinat Yisrael
YTS is very strongly committed to the teaching of the centrality of Eretz Yisrael in the life of the Jew and the Divine providence and effervescence of the State of Israel. This is achieved through a variety of venues:
- Tanach is studied with an emphasis on the geographic lores of historically critical sites in our heritage.
- Tours of Eretz Yisrael are conducted, designed to highlight historical vignettes and significant events in our unfolding development as a people.
- Shabbatonim are held in varying and diverse communities throughout the country whose thrust is to expose our students to the spiritual and cultural largesse of Am Yisrael.
- National events and days including Yom Hazikaron,Yom Ha’atzmautand Yom Yerushalayimare celebrated and Yemei Iyun are devoted to an understanding of these watershed events.
Attitude Towards University Studies
YTS is fully cognizant of its obligation to elevate the intellectual, spiritual, and moral fiber of its students by providing them with the tools to become autonomous in their ability to grapple with Judaic texts while simultaneously enabling them to function in the world at large. Students are strongly encouraged to continue their studies at institutions like Yeshiva University or at other venues that will enable them to continue the pursuit of their Judaic studies in a directed, supportive and organized framework. Secular studies clearly provide a modality for our students’ continuous development and growth leading to their becoming productive and responsible citizenry of society at large, while concurrently contributing to the Jewish communities of which they are denizens.
Attitude Towards Extracurricular Activities
YTS recognizes the critical importance of developing holistic personalities who can bring to bear their variegated talents outside the walls of the Beit Medrash. To this end, the Yeshiva has initiated and guided its students in their participation in a number of multi-hued chessed programs including weekly visits to nearby hospitals, volunteering at Yad Sarah, assisting in schools for autistic children etc. Chessed is a sine qua non for a Torah Jew and YTS has made this a priority without impinging on the academic schedule unduly.
Preparation for Post Israel
Besides the formal normative learning that is the epicenter of YTS, a significant amount of time is devoted to philosophic and hashkafic aspects of Judaism. To this end, YTS provides many shiurim in these areas, including a entitled “Kiruv Training Seminar”. This provides the student with the background and ability to handle any and all questions that the student may be faced with in the world outside the Yeshiva, including the media’s portrayal of Israel. One of the most beautiful aspects of YTS is the vast amount of time the rabbeim spend talking to students individually and the nexus of relationships that have burgeoned as a consequence of that dialogue. A significant segment is directed towards the students’ reintegration into the ‘real world’ and his ability to deal with profound sensitivity towards his parents and siblings and those friends who did not have the opportunity to study for a year in Israel.
The "Successful" Student
The successful student will be confident and proud of his Judaism, of his commitment to the highways and byways, and will be able to demonstrate proficiency in his textual facility. He will have broadened his horizons considerably in his perspective on the Jewish people and their relationship to Eretz Yisrael and Medinat Yisrael. All the aforementioned will hopefully propel and impel him to contribute positively to the Jewish community at large and be an ideal role model for others to emulate.
Students are expected to wear shirts with collars, slacks, shoes, and socks. On Shabbat, white oxfords are standard although many students wear suits and ties as well.
All of the full-time Rabbeim including the Rosh Hayeshiva and Menahel are in the Yeshiva throughout the day and are available and provide guidance. In addition, Rabbi Yehuda Werblowsky, serves as Sgan Mashgiach and Rabbi Dr. Gil Elmaleh who is a Mental Health professional provides additional support where needed. There is an Av-bayit and dorm counselors who are present 24/7 on the Yeshiva campus.
The behavior of the students is closely monitored by the faculty. Although there is no curfew, students must spend the night in the dormitory unless he was granted permission to do otherwise. No smoking is permitted in the Yeshiva and there is a zero tolerance policy regarding alcohol and drugs.
At least two full sedarim are spent on Talmud, which is clearly the major emphasis of the curriculum. There are four different level of Iyun shiurim and three tracks for B’kiyut. The advanced track of b’kiyut aims to finish the entire tractate.
There are weekly classes in Tanach, Chumash, Parshat Hashavua, Machshava, Philosophy of the Rambam, Hebrew Ulpan, the Thought of Rav Soloveitchik, the Writings of Rav Kook, Nefesh Hachayim, and Chassidus.
A Typical Day in YTS
- 7:15am Shacharit
- 8:05am Halacha Seder
- 8:35am Breakfast
- 9:15am Seder B’Iyun
- 11:45am Shiur B’Iyun
- 12:45pm Mincha
- 1:00pm Lunch and Break
- 3:00pm Seder B’kiyut
- 6:00pm Each night 4 different option Tues. - Chumash B’Iyun w/ Rav David
- 7:00pm Dinner
- 8:00pm Maariv
- 8:15pm Mussar Seder w/ Gruss Kollel
- 8:45-10:00pm Night Seder
- Mon. - Shiur w/ R. Haber
- 10:00pm Every Night optional chaburot w/ Kollel
Some Distinctive Highlights of our Daily Schedule:
Every Sunday there is an Halacha shiur given by the Rosh HaYeshiva to the entire Yeshiva. Rabbi David’s vast experience as both Community Rabbi and Rosh Yeshiva creates a rare blend of practical halacha and thorough analyses of the methodology of the halachic decisors. For many the highlight of their week is Rav David’s Halacha shiur which is in the form of an open forum for all halachic and/or hashkafic queries.
The latter part of the Afternoon Seder is focused on subject matter other than Gemara. Twice a week, in the 6-7pm slot, the Rosh HaYeshiva says a shiur or a sicha in Chumash and contemporary issues. Rav Olshin runs a popular seminar called “Kiruv Training Seminar”. Based on the mishna in Pirkei Avot, every Jew should be equipped with the tools and information needed to present the beauty and philosophy of Torah Judaism to others less schooled in these areas. This class, then, aims to arm the students with the fundamentals of our faith in a clear and cogent manner so that it may be shared and conveyed with the larger community.
Thursday evenings Rabbi Avraham Willig gives his weekly Parsha “schmooze” which has the students rolling with laughter and yet catapults them to strive for greater spiritual accomplishment. Every evening YTS students are paired with members of the Gruss Kollel for mussar seder.
On Monday Nights, Rab Yaakov Haber reknowned author and lecturer gives a shiur on the topic of Tefilah. Afterwards all students participate in a vaad/bayit cham at the homes of the Gruss Kollel.
Language of Instruction
The Rosh Yeshiva’s daily shiur is given in Hebrew. All the other Gemara shiurim are given in English. There are a couple of shiurim offered at night in Hebrew.
Ulpan or Hebrew Class
Ulpan with different levels is offered and compulsory for students on the MASA program.
Assessment and Grading
The students receive grades on their transcript at the end of the year. However, they are not based on any formal written or oral exams. There is, however, a b’kiyut incentive programs where students are voluntarily tested on their mastery of the Masechta. These ‘tests’ are not graded for final grades that appear on the transcript but rather to receive vouchers that may be redeemed to purchase seforim.
There is a formal shana bet program; nearly half of the students have stayed for a 2nd year.
Yeshiva Unversity joint Israel program, Touro/Landers, Hebrew Theological College.
Rosh Hayeshiva - Rav Avishai David shlit’a
Rav David was a close talmid of Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik zt’l and Rav Nisson Alpert zt’l. Rav David held numerous educational and Rabbinic posts in North America. Since his aliya to Eretz Yisrael nine years ago, Rav David has served as the Rav of Beit Medrash Torani Leumi in Beit Shemesh, as Maggid Shiur in Yeshivat Ohr Etzion, Shaarei Mevaseret Zion, Michlala, and as the Rosh HaYeshiva of Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalayim (MMY) where he continues to lecture.
Menahel - Rav Michael Olshin
Rav Olshin studied for semicha in RIETS of YU and received a Masters in education from the Azrieli Graduate School for Jewish Education. Formerly, he was a Maggid shiur and Director of Progamming at Yeshivat Reishit Yerushalayim and Assistant Director of Chinuch at Camp Mesorah. Currently, Rav Olshin spends his summers as a Maggid Shiur in the NCSY Kollel in Israel.
Dean of Students - Rabbi Dr. Gil Elmaleh
Rav Dr. Gil Elmaleh received his Ph.D. in social work from Yeshiva University, his MA in clinical psychology from Long Island University and his Semicha from Kollel Agudath Achim in New York. He served as Director of Therapeutic Services at the Sinai Special Needs Institute, Head Counselor at Camp Simcha, and authored The Jewish SELF. He maintains a clinical practice in Israel and is involved with training graduate students in the field of Jewish education.
Ramim - Full Time
Rav Moshe Nechemia Reichman
Rav Avi Schneider
Rav Yehuda Werblowsky
Rav Andi Yudin
Rav Ephraim Greene
Rav Hillel Zinkin
Rav Moshe Willig
Rav David Shamula
Rav Judah Goldschmidt
Ramim - Part Time
Rav Hillel Rudolph
Rav Yaakov Haber
Rav Eliezer Mescheloff
Rav Benjy Staiman
Rav Arnie Wittenstein
Rav Eric Ifrah
Rav Yossi Fuchs
Rav Ari Mor
Rav Ailon Meir
Rav Avraham Fischer
Interaction with Israelis
YTS arranges Shabbatonim in different communities throughout Israel. There are many opportunities to interact with Israelis of similar age on a daily basis since we share many parts of the campus with Machon Lev, which has 700 Israeli students. Many students have Chavrutot with Israeli students from Yeshivat Har Hamor.
Special Informal Programs
YTS invites guest speakers regularly. Chagigot are celebrated on Chanuka, Purim, Yom Haatzmaut and Yom Yerushalayim. Yemai Iyun take place before some of the holidays.
There is a full-court Basketball court on campus, a lounge with a ping pong table table, air hockey, and foosball, computers with e-mail and limited internet access, and a weight room.
Programming for Shabbat and Yom Tov
One in every 3 weeks students are expected to stay ‘in’ for Shabbat. Once every 6 weeks there are special shabbatonim in various communities outside the Yeshiva including the Old City, Zefat, Beit Shemesh and Bnei Brak. The Yeshiva dormitory remains open the entire year of study. One never has to leave campus as meals are provided throughout the Sukkot and Pesach vacations. Often the Rabbeim will host their students on the ‘out’ shabbatot.
YTS has 3 three-day tiyulim along with regular smaller one-day tiyulim throughout the year.
Level of Learning Offered
Beginner: Familiar with some Aramaic and Talmudic terminology
Intermediate: Beginning to independently study a Talmudic passage
Advanced: Able to independently study a Talmudic passage
We have shiurim that cater to all three learning levels. But all the shuirim are demanding for each level.
In addition, YTS began a track within the Yeshiva for students who do not want to learn Gemarah for two full sedarim. This track offers instead more courses in other subjects and weekly chesed projects. The great advantage of this track is it’s students integration with the larger Yeshiva student body.
Hebrew Knowledge Required
Intermediate - shiurim are in Hebrew and English
Religious Observance Required
A full commitment to shmirat Torah U’mitzvot is required.
Type of American Student
YTS attracts a wide range of students from across the country approximately half from New York metropolitan area. Some of the high schools that have had graduates in our program; NY - DRS Halb, HAFTR, Hillel, Flatbush, JEC, TABC, Magen David, MAYHS, MTA, Ramaz, Rambam, Frisch, Westchester, YU. Outside NY - Beth Tefila, Rambam (Baltimore), Ida Crown, Skokie Yeshiva (Chicago),Fuchs Mizrachi (Cleveland), Columbus Torah Academy (Ohio), CHAT, Or Chaim (Toronto), YULA, Shalhevet (LA), Toras Chaim (Miami), WYHS (Boca) Toras Chaim (San Diego), Maimonides, Stern (Philadelphia).
Overall Number of Students (Kollel, Israeli, Foreign)
Foreign Student Percentage
Number of 1st Year American Students
Number of 2nd Year American Students
Canadian, English, South American, Ukranian
Number of Students per Class
There are about 12-18 students in a morning shiur. Teacher/Student Ratio 1:4.
YTS rents dormitory space on campus from YU. There are 2-4 in newly renovated dorm rooms. Each room has its own bathroom and kitchenette. The students get to choose their own roomates prior to their arrival. Once every 3 shabbatot or so, students are permitted to entertain guests.
Availability of Private Kitchen Facilities
Each room has its own kitchenette with refrigerator.
Facility use during Shabbat and Yom Tov
The Yeshiva is open every Shabbat and Yom Tov from the day the students arrives till they leave. Often members of the Gruss Kollel provide home-hopitality on Shabbat and Yom Tov.
Although there is no curfew, students must spend the night in the dormitory unless he was granted permission to do otherwise. There are madrikhim who sleep in the dorm to monitor the students. Students must give details of their Shabbat plans to the Av-bayit before they leave for Shabbat.
There are armed security guards on campus 24/7. The students are allowed to travel based on the permission given by their respective parents. However, certain areas are currently off-limits even with parental permission. All students are required to have cellphones so that they can be contacted immediately in the case of emergency. YTS is in regular e-mail contact with the students’ parents and updates them consistently.
Yeshivat Torat Shraga (YTS) began in Elul 5761 (September 2001) with 12 students. We are currently in our sixth year and have a student population of 94 students. The Yeshiva was founded by Ohr Torah Stone whose Chancellor is Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, however in Sept. 2003 the Yeshiva became an independent institution. We are located on the campus of the Gruss Kollel of Yeshiva Unversity in the Bayit Vegan section of Yerushalayim.
YTS is a Yeshiva University S. Daniel Abraham Israel Program School. YTS is part of the Israel Program of Landers College/Touro, and the Hebrew Theological College.
Tuition for 2013-2014 is $23,000, which includes room/board, and tiyulim.
YTS has developed a reputation for attracting bright, self-motivated students to its rigorous program. It is the goal of YTS to advance its students to the next level on their way to becoming leaders in the Jewish Community. A YTS student is someone who not only wants to be personally impacted by his education and environment but is someone who would like to share and convey that passion and excitement for learning to others as well. He understands that a strong foundation in Torah learning on the highest level, while simultaneously developing a deep-rooted love of Eretz Yisrael and Am Yisrael, will be the key to realizing those lofty aspirations.
Sharing the campus with the Gruss Kollel of Yeshiva University allows the Yeshiva to avail itself of young, dynamic, Rabbinic Students who are eager to serve as role models and mentors to our students. Our students have to opportunity to learn with them daily and are often invited to their home for meals and shabbatot.
In addition, YTS founded Tochnit EIT (Education and Integration in Torah) Lilmod, a track within the Yeshiva designed specifically for students who cannot learn gemara intensly for three sedarim. EIT Lilmod’s misson is to maximize the strengths of each individual student, regardless of his cognitive of intellectual abilities, in the areas of Torah learning, tefilla, and acts of chessed. Students from EIT Limod are fully integrated with students from YTS, and can choose a variety of courses, such as Chumash, Halacha, Mishna, Talmud, Navi, Hashkafa, and Ivrit. Each student is placed in a chessed site and is given the opportunity to excel outside of the academic environment by volunteering his time to help others.
For more information about this innovative program, correspond directly with Dr. Gil Elmaleh at EITLilmod@hotmail.com or at 052-618-6666.
1 Copperbeech Lane
Lawrence, NY 11559
Phone: (516) 569-4320
HaRav Avishai David / Rabbi Michael Olshin
40 Duvdevani Street, Bayit Vegan, Jerusalem
(mailing address) P.O.B. 16284
Phone: (02) 642-9907
Fax: (02) 642-9903