Tuesday, November 11, 2014

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.



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