Sunday, November 30, 2014

IDF Military Intelligence turns to YBA for Cyber Security Unit recruits

In today's Internet dominated world, Cyber Security has become the IDF's highest priority. The IDF Signal Corps Unit 8-200, which is charged with the task of Military Intelligence, has grown to become the  the largest unit in the army, and is given first priority (above all combat units) in choosing the most appropriate inductees,

In its continuing efforts to expand the pool of potential manpower for the highly specialized Cyber Security unit within Unit 8-200, the Defense Ministry has turned to YBA to launch yet another pilot project - this time in conjunction with six YBA network ulpanot (girl's high schools) and the Bat Ami National Service Organization (Sherut Leumi).

The program will be administered by the Israel Center for Excellence in Science and Cyber Technology. Eldad Cohen, the center's director explains: "The participating students will undergo two years of special training designed to meet the needs of the Military Intelligence during the 11th and 12th grades. Those girls who successfully complete the program will be placed in operational positions in Unit 8-200 in the framework of Sherut Leumi, instead of as IDF inductees.

General Director of YBA, Rabbi Beni Nachtailer, added: "This program will allow religious girls the oportunity to serve the state in a very significant and challenging volunteer capacity within the defense establishment following graduation."

The participating YBA network ulpanot  include: Amana, Kfar Saba; Yeshurun, Petach Tikvah; Orot Modiin, Modiin; Tzfira, Tzafariya, Chen Bamidbar, Beer Sheva; and Hashomron, Elkana.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

YBA Lapid Torat Nachum, Modiin offers students advanced placement college degree

Students at YBA Lapid Torat Nachum in Modiin will be the first in the YBA educational network to be able to complete an advanced placement (AP) bachelor's degree before enlisting in the IDF.

Under a special arrangement with the Open University in Israel, qualified students starting from the 10th grade will be able to enroll in AP courses towards a bachelor's degree in whatever field offered by the university. Participating students will be granted a one-year deferment from the IDF in order to complete their degrees before mandatory enlistment.

Rabbi Shmuel Rosenblum
14 YBA Lapid Torat Nachum students have begun the pilot program this year. The YBA network hopes to expand the program to other schools in coming years.

"The idea is to encourage our students to strive for excellence," says Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Shmuel Rosenblum. "The yeshiva is prepared to give whoever is motivated all the assistance he needs to go as far as he possibly can go."

AFYBA Weekly Torah Portion: Parshat Vayetzei - Rabbi Shlomo Kimche

Parshat Vayetzei


Rabbi Shlomo Kimche is the Rosh Yeshiva of YBA Orot Yehuda in Efrat, Israel. To invite Rabbi Kimche as a Scholar-in-Residence, contact AFYBA at www.afyba.org. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

AFYBA to host SOUL DOCTOR and cocktail reception on December 9th


   

See preview and register for SOUL DOCTOR, December 9,2014

"An unabashedly celebratory show!" - New York Times

"A transformative theatrical experience!" - Larry King, CNN

"Fascinating!" - Daily News

JOIN AFYBA FOR THIS SPECIAL HIT MUSICAL BASED ON THE LIFE AND MUSIC OF RABBI SHLOMO CARLEBACH

With his meteoric rise as a "Rock Star Rabbi,” he struggled to harmonize his traditional beliefs with the "free love" generation of the 1960s. Today, his uplifting music and message help to define America’s most defiant era.

WHERE: Actors Temple Theatre, 339 W. 47th Street, New York, NY
WHEN: Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 7:00 - 11:00 p.m.

AFYBA invites you to attend the performance at 7:00 p.m. followed by a cocktail party at 9:00 p.m.

See preview and register for SOUL DOCTOR December 9, 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Alumna Profile: Col. Rachel Tevet-Weisel, IDF Chief-of-Staff Adviser on Women's Issues

Col. Rachel Tevet-Weisel

When Col. Rachel Tevet-Weisel  graduated Ulpanat Bnei Akiva Tzfira in 1981 it was clear to her that she was going to enlist in the IDF rather than taking the more conventional route of volunteering in the National Service (Sherut Leumi) for one or two years. "In those days, she recalls, "it was almost unheard of for a girl from the ulpana to enlist in the army,"

She began her army career as a soldier/teacher in a development town elementary school. From there she advanced to officer training, eventually rising to become the commander of the officer training base. After her discharge from the IDF she earned a law degree, and re-enlisted after five years, this time as a military lawyer, and continued to earn promotions, eventually becoming a military court judge and President of the IDF high military court.

Col. Tevet-Weisel notes that much has changed in the IDF since the time when she first enlisted. "The main reason religious girls preferred not enlisting in the army back then was to avoid being subjected to sexual harassment. Today, the army has a zero-tolerance policy regarding both verbal and physical sexual harassment." A recent survey revealed that 12.5% of female soldiers experienced some form of sexual harassment during their service. "We are still not where I would like the army to be in that regard," says Tevet-Weisel, "but it is a far cry from what was once the norm in the army."

Another survey revealed that 85% of religious female soldiers felt that their level of religious observance remained the same or improved during the period of their service in the IDF, Tevet-Weisel credits the IDF's policy changes and the support of non-profit organizations such as "Alumah" for making it easier for religious girls to do a significant service in the IDF. As a result, the number of religious girls enlisting has risen from 935 in 2010 to 1,616 in 2013.

The Yeshivot Bnei Akiva educational network continues to respect the Israel Chief Rabbi's ruling directing girls to volunteer for Sherut Leumi rather than enlisting in the IDF. But for those ulpana girls who feel compelled to do a significant service in the army, the trends that Col. Tevet-Weisel is leading in the army are welcome news.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

AFYBA Weekly Torah Portion - Parshat Chayei Sarah - Rabbi Asher Corsia


Rabbi Asher Corsia is the Rosh Ulpana of UBA Orot Modiin in Modiin, Israel. To invite Rabbi Corsia as a Scholar-in-Residence, contact AFYBA at www.afyba.org .

Remembering Rabbi Avraham Zuckerman, zt"l, co-founder and spiritual leader of the YBA network

Rabbi Avraham Zuckerman
On Sunday, November 11, a memorial service was held marking the first yartzheit of Rabbi Avraham Zuckerman, zt"l, co-founder and Rosh Yeshiva of the first Bnei Akiva yeshiva high school, YBA Kfar Haroeh,

Rabbi Zuckerman was born in Lithuania during WWI and left his home to study Torah at various Lithuanian yeshivot associated with the Musar movement at the tender age of 11. He arrived in Eretz Yisrael in 1936, and never left Israel after that.

Rabbi Zuckerman met Rabbi Moshe Zvi Neria, zt"l, while studying at the Beit Yosef Yeshiva in Bnei Brak, and soon after that joined the leadership of the fledgling Bnei Akiva religious Zionist youth movement.

In the winter of 1940, Rabbi Zuckerman joined Rabbi Neria in establishing the first Bnei Akiva high school yeshiva at Moshav Kfar Haroeh, and is credited with introducing the secondary curriculum of general studies to augmaent the traditional yeshiva Torah and Talmud studies, as a fulfillment of the mitzvah upon every father to teach his son a profession with which he will be able to make his livelihood.. Rabbi Zuckerman assumed the title of Rosh Yeshiva in 1995 with the passing of his close colleague, Rabbi Neria.

Rabbi Yona Goodman
Rabbi Yona Goodman, the YBA Director of Education, was a student of Rabbi Zuckerman at YBA Kfar Haroeh. "Rabbi Neria and Rabbi Zuckerman created the model for all modern yeshiva high schools that followed," he recalls. "The day starts out and ends with traditional Torah study in the Beit Midrash, with making room during the afternoon hours for practical general studies. But more importantly, they created a unique model that educated students toward the values of religious Zionism. We learned from them how Torah and building the Land of Israel go hand-in-hand."

"In every way, Rabbi Zuckerman transmitted the values of simplicity and humility. He taught us by personal example that Torah and humility occupy the same space, and that a man's greatness is judged by his character and not by his possessions."

"Rabbi Zuckerman originated a new educational philosophy that was very different from the norm of that time. He believed that the students are full partners with their rabbi-teachers in creating the yeshiva's educational environment. The yeshiva doesn't 'belong' the the faculty, but rather to the students themselves, who come to the yeshiva out of a genuine desire to learn Torah. This philosophy has been emulated and duplicated in hundreds of yeshivot, ulpanot and other educational institutions in the religious Zionist camp.

Rabbi Zuckerman passed away at the age of 97. He was survived by his wife and extended family, including 119 great-grandchildren, as well as tens of thousands of former students and their students.



Thursday, November 6, 2014

YBA Aderet, Bat Yam rededicates its renovated Beit Midrash



On Thursday, October 31, the students and faculty of YBA Aderet in Bat Yam celebrated the re-dedication of the school's Beit Midrash, named for Mr. Dov and Mrs. Bracha Deutsch, who were among the founders of the yeshiva 30 years ago..

YBA Aderet Beit Midrash Building, Bat Yam
Donor family representative, Gili Deutsch
cutting ribbon to Beit Midrash
Former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Bakshi-Doron
reciting prayer for affiving the mezuza


Below: Minister of Education, Rabbi Shay Peron, himself a graduate of YBA Aderet,
addresses the school's faculty and student body.

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."

Monday, November 3, 2014

Rabbi Stewart Weiss on YBA Yeshivat Hesder Hakotel in the Jerusalem Post



Jerusalem Post, Friday, October 31, 2014
IN PLAIN LANGUAGE - RABBI STEWART WEISS
Heroes and villains 

LONE SOLDIERS who study at Yeshivat Hakotel
take a break from training at their base. (Courtesy)
Whenever I start to get depressed or disenchanted by the state of Jewish affairs, I throw some cold water on my face and look in the direction of some of the amazing people within our Jewish community. People who are devoted to decency, humanity, the Jewish state and the Jewish way of life. And that revitalizes me and brings back hope.

I recently attended a Succot dinner at Yeshivat Hakotel, honoring the more than 120 lone soldiers from around the world who have chosen to study at Hakotel and volunteer in the IDF. These enthusiastic participants in the Mahal program leave their family, their friends and their “normal” routine to come to Israel and put their lives on the line for the state. Almost all of them end up becoming citizens, marrying here and staying in Israel, and many of them “drag” their families after them.

I asked one of the boys, Barak Klammer from Woodmere, how his parents felt about him serving in a combat unit in the Givati Brigade. “A little nervous,” he said, “but a lot proud.”

Nati Wind of Teaneck told me: “All the questions Americans ask – ‘Why are you here? Are you scared? Are you coming back?’ – don’t even register with me. This is where I belong.”

Another young man, Ami Younger from Montreal, was one of 100 Hakotel students who fought in the recent Gaza war and is now married and studying economics at Bar-Ilan University. “I was raised in Canada,” he said with a smile, “but I grew up in Israel.”

Friday night Yeshivat Hakotel Kabbalat Shabbat services at the Western Wall Plaza.  (Courtesy)
Hakotel is a fascinating institution. In the days following the Six Day War, the government was determined to establish a firm Jewish presence in the Old City. The Jordanians, during their 19-year occupation of Jerusalem, had demolished the synagogues and desecrated the Western Wall, dumping garbage and grazing their animals there. An institution needed to be built that would restore and reflect the spiritual intensity of the Holy City, and fill its ancient streets with the sound of Torah study. Yeshivat Hakotel was born, and has become famous for the hundreds of boys who march down to the Kotel each Friday night, leading the entire plaza in song and dance.

Rav Chaim Yeshayahu Hadari, one of the original founders of Hakotel and still a teacher there, recounts how archeologists discovered a large mound of ashes beneath a home (known today as “the Burnt House”) in the Old City, ashes dating from the destruction of the Temple. “When a Jewish boy marries,” says the rabbi, “there is a custom to place ashes on his forehead in memory of the Temple. I take some of these same ashes and place it on our students, not just to remember the tragedy, but to also celebrate the triumph of the Jewish people, who have returned forever to Jerusalem.”