Etzion News

An English E-Newsletter for Yeshivat Har Etzion Alumni 
 Issue #3 Nissan 5768





Dear Alumnus,


It's been an action-packed few months for alumni of Yeshivat Har Etzion both here in Israel and overseas. The annual dinner in New York, celebrating the Yeshivas 40th anniversary, has come and gone and we hope that all who attended enjoyed the program and meeting with all four Roshei Yeshiva and fellow alumni and friends. As you are aware, there have been numerous Shabbatonim, shiurim, Lunch & Learns, and other events with the Roshei Yeshiva and Ramim in various communities and we are gratified by the high attendance and enthusiastic feedback. More detailed coverage and photos will be found in the upcoming issue of Etzion Update. In the meantime, pictures are available through the Yeshivas website: just click on Media Gallery on left.


Three "Mifgashmerim" (Mifgash Machzor, V'chetzi Mishmar) took place at the Yeshiva in recent months (January 10 for the first 13 machzorim, March 6 for the next ten machzorim, and most recently, April 10, for the younger machzorim). Each program was designed to combine shiurim and a social reunion with other alumni (including chutznikim who have made aliya) and their wives.


A unique Bar Mitzvah Program took place at the Yeshiva on April 8, attended by over 30 alumni and their bar mitzvah-aged sons. The day-long program featured a shiur by Rosh Hayeshiva Harav Baruch Gigi, a workshop on how tefillin is made by a Sofer Stam alumnus, a tour of the library, personal meetings with the Roshei Yeshiva and a tour of Gush Etzion, including the audio-visual presentation at Kibbutz Kfar Etzion. The next Bar Mitzvah Program is scheduled for the end of Kayitz Zman for boys celebrating their bar mitzvahs from Rosh Chodesh Tammuz 5768 through Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5769 and their alumni fathers.


According to Rosh Hayeshiva Harav Yaakov Medan, the 40th year celebrations have two basic goals. The first is to bring the Yeshiva's unique message to a wider audience, in particular the religious Zionist community in Israel and throughout the world, and second, to consolidate Har Etzion alumni and to sharpen their awareness that the Yeshiva is not just a tunnel that a young man passes through for a number of years during his youth, but rather, a home for alumni throughout their lives. The Yeshiva strives to provide each talmid with the skills to grow and develop into a talmid chacham so that even when he leaves the Yeshiva, regardless of his chosen profession, he will continue to grow as a Ben Torah who carries the Yeshivas path and outlook within him wherever he goes and whatever he does.


A big happening- Aliya Le'Regel - is planned for Isru Chag Shavuot (June 10/ 7 Sivan) for all alumni and their families. We look forward to seeing you then.  


One last thing - Please be sure to read the letter from Dr. Meyer Brayer and Yizhak Recanati about the planned publication of two special books in honor of the 40th Year Anniversary of the Yeshiva. Take a few minutes to fill out the questionnaire to help ensure the success of this project.


Best wishes to you and your family and Klal Yisrael for a Chag Kasher V'Sameach!

Shira Schreier and staff of Etzion News 

A Project of the 40th Year Celebrations of Yeshivat Har Etzion -Two Publications featuring Yeshivat Har Etzion and its Alumni

From the Desk of Dr. Meyer Brayer


Dear Alumnus,


In the framework of the events of the 40th year anniversary of the Yeshiva, we are planning to publish two books. The first is a collection of articles about the unique path and worldview of the Yeshiva and its Roshei Yeshiva written by alumni. We are at an advanced stage of collecting articles from various alumni for this book.


The second book will be album-style and is intended to open a wide window into the world of the Yeshiva's alumni, both Hesder alumni and alumni from overseas. It will include memories from Yeshiva, as well as reflections on the influence of the Yeshiva on your lives and activities today. It is our hope that this book will include as many alumni as possible.


To ensure the success of the project, we need the cooperation of each and every one of you. To this end, we have prepared a short questionnaire, and we would greatly appreciate your taking a few minutes to fill it out and send it back to us at your earliest convenience. For complete letter and questionaire...


Recent Visits by Roshei Yeshiva and Ramim in the U.S.

Jogging in Central Park


By Michael Greenberg 06 

On the evening of April 4, Harav Baruch Gigi gave a stimulating shiur at the shul of Rabbi Benjy Samuels 86 in  Boston, MA on the two songs of Hallel sung on Pesach night.  The highly interactive shiur was garnished with frequent laughter at Harav Gigi's clever lines as well as many questions from the interested audience.


After the shiur, Harav Gigi met with a contingent of bogrim and prospective students who had traveled to the shiur from Brandeis at the home of his gracious hosts, Dr. and Mrs. Bob Pick (parents of Yoni 99-00).  Discussion and dessert lasted late into the night.


Harav Gigi's three-hour trek to Boston is representative of the tremendous effort on the part of the Ramim and Roshei Yeshiva to meet with as many bogrim as possible during their visits to Chutz La'Aretz.  On Monday night, although both Harav Medan and Harav Gigi had landed that day, Harav Medan delivered a dynamic shiur on the topic of Korban Pesach when Erev Pesach falls on Shabbat, and both he and Harav Gigi held a tisch for bogrim currently studying at Yeshiva University.


Later in the week, on their one day off, Harav Gigi, Harav Medan, and Harav Bazak met with a group of students in Central Park for some serious Tanach talk over a picnic lunch.  On Shabbat, large numbers of students gathered in Queens to attend shiurim by Harav Mordechai Friedman and Harav Amnon Bazak.


However, Yeshivat Har Etzion does not cater only to its bogrim.  In Boston, before Harav Gigi began to speak, everyone gathered in the room explained his or her connection to the yeshiva.  It turned out that the group of Harav Gigi's students from Migdal Oz, Yeshivat Har Etzion and  Midreshet Lindenbaum was augmented by a group of Israeli post-doctoral students from MIT, members of the community, and of course, parents of past and present students.


Thank you to all the Ramim and Roshei Yeshiva for sharing your time and your Torah with us.  Through these programs and shiurim, you strongly convey the sentiment jovially expressed by Harav Medan at the yeshiva dinner: I'm happy to see you all tonight, even though you live in Chutz La'Aretz. 


A Visit to Sederot

Fifty Yeshivat Har Etzion Hesder talmidim, along with Rav Uzi Friedlich, Mashgiach Ruchani, Rav Amichai Gordon, Ram, and two Kollel families, spent Shabbat Va'Yechi in Sederot with the goal of expressing solidarity with the residents of the city and to help raise spirits.  The visit included learning with children in local schools, discussions with residents ("panim el panim") and distribution of snacks (thanks to contributions by Alon Shevut families), a tefilla and "tisch" with the Yeshivat Hesder in Sederot, tefillot in various shuls in the city, activities in the Bnei Akiva branches, and a massive outdoor Melave Malka featuring spirited dancing.

For complete story...


Creation of the World - Recognizing Science and Torah
A Lecture by Rabbi Dr. Leon Ehrenpreis

By Benjamin Abramowitz 07

On January 6th, students and faculty of the Yeshiva had the opportunity to hear a lecture from world-renown mathematician, Rabbi Dr. Leon Ehrenpreis. Dr. Ehrenpreis opened our eyes to a new means of synthesizing the Creation story with modern science, revealing how the views of our Amoraim regarding Creation correlate seamlessly with the major theories of primordial matter-formation posited by modern-day scientists.


Following a heartfelt introduction by his son, Saadya Ehrenpreis, a student of Yeshivat Darkaynu at Yeshivat Har Etzion, Dr. Ehrenpreis began by showing how the use of the past perfect tense in the preliminary pesukim of Bereishit indicates existence prior to G-d's creation (yeish m'yeish). Yet we know that G-d created the world ex nihilo (yeish m'ayin)! We must understand, Dr. Ehrenpreis maintains, that Creation is yeish m'ayin from our human perspective, which is limited by the extent of our knowledge; but, Creation is yeish m'yeish from the omniscient perspective of G-d. With this in mind, we can begin to tackle this complex subject. For complete story...


Screening of the "Lonely Man of Faith" at Yeshiva


During Chanuka, alumnus Ethan Isenberg ('99 PC) Director/Producer of the documentary film "Lonely Man of Faith: The Life and Legacy of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik", offered to screen the film for overseas students at Yeshiva.


The next day, a panel discussion was held with Rav Ezra Bick, Rav Elyakim Krumbein, Rav Mosheh Lichtenstein and Rav Reuven Aberman (father of Rav Moshe Aberman), which was moderated by Rav Reuven Ziegler, and included brief comments by Ethan Isenberg. According to Rav Yair Kahn, who organized the event together with Craig Lubner, each of the panelists described the impact of the Rav zt"l from differing angles by recounting personal experiences and focusing on the importance of the Rav's legacy today. For complete story...



Dvar Torah for Pesach

The night of the Seder is in essence an experience in education.  For whom is this educational experience meant?  The Rambam, in the seventh perek of Chametz U'Matzah, writes that the mitzva of Sipur Yetziat Mitzrayim consists of two different commandments.  One is derived from the pasuk, "Zakhor et hayom hazeh asher yetzaatem mi'Mitzrayim".  This pasuk commands us to tell the story of Yetziat Mitzrayim regardless of whom we are with.  Clearly, this commandment is meant to affect the story teller, as a reporter of the story, no less than it affects those who are listening as the story is told.  It can, therefore, be concluded that this aspect of Mitzvat Sipur Yetziat Mitzrayim is directed predominantly at educating oneself.  On the other hand, in halakha bet, the Rambam speaks of a commandment to teach the children, derived from the pasuk, "Vehigadeta levinkha".  We can, therefore, fittingly conclude that the instruction at the Seder is meant to impact the story teller as well as to educate others.


It is interesting to note that the Rambam opens with the commandment to educate oneself and only after that proceeds to discuss the details pertaining to the education of others.  I believe this is not coincidental, and that the Rambam is teaching us a lesson in education and Talmud Torah.  In the first halakha the Rambam states, based on the Mekhilta, that even great scholars must tell the story of Yetziat Mitzrayim.  Clearly, these scholars do not need to learn the events that transpired at Yetziat Mitzrayim and yet they must tell the story. Why?  The purpose of their discussion is to reinforce and deepen the commitment that stems from the awareness of Yetziat Mitzrayim.  Only after one has reinforced his own roots in Avodat Hashem can he proceed to convey his knowledge and commitment to others.


It is interesting to note that while both halakhot alef and bet are written in the singular, the line about "Chakhamim gedolim chayavim le'saper" is in the plural form.  In this change we may see a halakhic message: Though one can technically fulfill the mitzva on his own, it is preferable to do so with others.  This corresponds with the halakha found in reference to eating the Korban Pesach.  The Rambam rules like the opinion in Chazal that an individual may bring and eat a Korban Pesach on his own (Korban Pesach ch.2 hal.2).  Yet, he adds that we must make an effort that a Korban Pesach not be slaughtered for an individual as is stated in the pasuk, "ya'asu oto", they shall bring it (Korban Pesach).  If the Seder night is meant as an educational experience, then we can conclude from these sources that when it is performed in a group the experience is far more significant and meaningful.


All of us - parents, teachers and educators -  need to make sure that we are properly fortified with Torah so that we can, in turn, convey its values to our children, students and chanikhim.  To that end, I urge you all not to suffice with the chizuk of the Seder night, but to continue the experience and be kove'a itim la'Torah on a regular basis.  Furthermore, as it is preferable to tell the story and eat the Korban Pesach on the night of the Seder in a chabura, so, too, some of our learning should be done in a group in a Beit Midrash.  When we learn with others, we enhance the quality of our own learning as well as fortifying the learning of others around us.


May we all be zocheh to tell the story of Yetziat Mitzrayim be'chabura with a Korban Pesach bimhera be-yameinu.


Chag Kasher Ve'sameach,


Rav Moshe Aberman


Recent Yeshiva Publications

For more information and how to order...




Pre-Army Mechina Visits Yeshiva


On January 9, (2 Shevat), a large group from the pre-army Mechina Nachshon for both religious and secular visited the Yeshiva.


Harav Medan greeted the group after which they divided into smaller groups for text-based learning with Har Etzion talmidim, and a follow-up summary of the topic. 


Approximately 1,500 people [!] visited the Yeshiva this year, including soldiers, high school students and other groups.



Alumni News

The section of this newsletter over which we fret the most!!

We do our best to include all relevant information accurately, but undoubtedly have missed something our apologies mei-rosh - please send your news to:



Jonty Blackman '88 and Abi Ofstein

Yoni Ray '98 and Rena Ginsburg

Yonatan Schechter '99 and Shira Siev

Gabi Spiewak '00 and Yael Hall

Richard Hyman '01 and Tamar Bordoley

Oren Chazan '02 and Keren Levy MO '06

Mark Meyerson '03 and Dina Bergsen

Jonny Granby '04 and Rachael Oppenheimer  

Hillel Katchen '04 PC and Talya Frohlich

Yoni Zarbiv '04 and Gila Kanal

Shmuel Daniel ('06 Hesder) and Bareket Katvan


Marriages of Children

Menachem 72 and Rena Schrader on the marriage of Tirza and Baruch Perlman

Eli '75 and Sharon Lerner on the marriage of Ezra and Faige Younger

Zev (Billy) '78 and Karen Levine on the marriage of Netta and Chanan Ben Ichay



Doniel 86 and Aviva Schreiber, Shmuel Nachum, Alon Shevut

Daniel '87 and Na'amah Roselaar, Chanania Baruch, Stanmore, England

Ari '87 and Anita Berman, Yonatan Meir, Neve Daniel

Tani 89 and Miriam Wallach, Ayelet Hashachar, Moreshet

Gedalya '90 and Miriam Berger, Baruch Meir, Mount Vernon, NY

Daniel '92 and Rachel Wolf, Yaniv Yehuda, Alon Shevut

Ben '95 and Shuli (Weiner) Sandler, Nava, NYC

Dani '95 and Nina Bieler, twins: Atara Simcha and Noam Shmaya, Riverdale, NY

Hillel '95 and Yael Maizels, Elisheva Talya, Alon Shevut

David '95 and Shari Domb, twins: Alexander and Nathan, NYC

Yaakov '96 and Yocheved Lipshitz, Ahava Bracha, Chicago, IL

Hillel '96 and Yifat Levin, Noa (Beth) Batsheva, Palo Alto, CA

Avraham '97 and Dani Bronstein, Ne'ima Yael, Riverdale, NY

Jonny '97 and Lauren Newman, boy, London, England

Sammy '98 and Rachel Groner, girl, Riverdale, NY

Jonny '98 and Gaby Steel, Matan Simcha, Modiin

Yehuda '98 and Elissa Chanales, boy, NYC

Aryeh '99 and Penina Dienstag, Tifferet Tehila, Tel Aviv

Binyamin '99 and Deborah Radomsky, Betzalel Tzvi, Elazar

Avi "Big Av" '99 and Chanie Wiesenberg, boy, London, England

Dovid '00 and Ellie Erdfarb, Nechemia Asher, Alon Shevut

Ephraim '01 PC and Sarah Mernick, Akiva Chanoch, Riverdale, NY

Binyamin (Bruno) '01 and Rachel Belaciano, girl, New York, NY

Jonathan '03 and Shari (Gross) Lauer, boy, NYC

Shalom (Program Coordinator for Darkaynu Program) and Bryna Ozarowski, Neriya Shlomo, Alon Shevut

Dani (Shana Vav, Madrich Darkaynu Program) and Mazalit Appel, Shoham, Alon Shevut


Births of Grandchildren

Zvi '74 and Rahel Bessin on the birth of a granddaughter, Shira Adina (parents: Tamar and Eytan Rund) and grandson, Yehonatan Amichai ( parents: Miriam and Lazer Love).

Josh 75 and Shira Schreier on the birth of a grandson, Amichai (parents: Rahel and Yair Moses)

Shmuel '76 and Shainde Sohn on the birth of a grandson, Uri Noam, (parents: Elazar, machzor lamed-heh, and Sara Sohn) and a granddaughter, Morasha Bitya (parents: Atara and Gilad Lewis)

Menachem 77 and Thea Leibtag and Shuki and Efrat Reiss on the birth of a grandson, Gilad, (parents: Leah and Yedidya Reiss)

Scot A. Berman '77 and Esther Meiersdorf on the birth of a grandson, Yehoshua Nachman, (parents: Tzippy and Jason Smilovitz)

Raymond 79 and Vicky Harari on the birth of a grandson, Yerucham Moshe (parents:  Avi and Zahava Harari)


Mazal Tov to George and Stephanie Saks on the birth of twin grandchildren and to parents, David and Margi Saks

Mazal Tov to Rosh Hayeshiva Harav Yaakov and Ruti Medan on the birth of a granddaughter

Mazal Tov to Yedaya Hacohen on the birth of a grandson and greatgrandson

Mazal Tov to Dr. Meyer Brayer on the birth of a greatgrandson

Mazal Tov to Rav and Rabbanit Amital on the birth of a greatgrandson

Mazal Tov to Rav and Dr. Tovah Lichtenstein on the birth of a granddaughter, Odelia Tamar, (parents: Toni and Oded Mittelman).


Bar/Bat Mitzvas

Neriya Yosef (bar mitzvah) and Ayelet HaShachar (bat mitzvah), (Yehuda '74 and Ariella), Efrat

Yishai Fredman (Michael 77 and Lisa), Efrat

Yitzchak Yair Weber (Eli '81 and Elka), Teaneck, NJ

Zechariah Zvi Schwartz (Yoni '82 and Bashi), Efrat

Moshe Yitzhak Haber (Alan '86 and Monica), Alon Shevut

Tehilla Ziegler (Ronnie '86 and Yael), Alon Shevut

Devorah Roselaar (Daniel '87 and Na'amah), Stanmore, England

Yehuda Shaul Taragin (Reuven '88 and Shani), Alon Shevut

Penina Taragin (Reuven 88 and Shani), Alon Shevut

Yakov Yehuda Wallach (Tani 89 and Miriam), Moreshet


Mazal Tov to Rosh Hayeshiva Harav Yaakov and Ruti Medan on the bar mitzva of Yisrael.



Binyamin '99 and Deborah Radomsky, Elazar

David Greenberg 07, talmid in Yeshiva

Gideon Shaw 01



To Irwin Major '73 on the loss of his father, Mr. Raymond Major z"l

To Moshe 77 and Neil '82 Bane on the loss of their mother, Mrs. Edith Bane z"l

To Dr. Alan Jotkowitz '82 on the loss of his father, Dr. Seymour Jotkowitz z"l

To Rav Hillel Rachmani on the loss of his father, R. Levy Yitzchak Rachmani z"l

To Rav Shlomo Brin on the loss of his mother, Mrs. Tova Brin z"l.

To Rosh Hayeshiva Harav Baruch Gigi on the loss of his mother, Mrs. Ruvida Gigi z"l

To the family of Mrs. Erica Jesselson z"l, devoted friend and supporter of the Yeshiva.



SKA Beit Midrash for Women in Migdal Oz News

A Sefer Torah Dedication Ceremony of the BNai Israel Jewish Centre took place on January 20 (13 Shevat) at The Stella K. Abraham Beit Midrash for Women in Migdal Oz. 


Honored guests were Mrs. Frieda Nack and her son, Mr. Daniel Nack, and Rabbi Dr. Reuven P. and Mrs. Leah Bulka, daughter of Rabbi Dr. Noah Rosenbloom zl, Mara DAtra of BNai Israel Jewish Centre.   



Herzog College News

Some Stats: Established 35 years ago, Herzog College, the largest religious teachers training college in Israel, directed by Prof. Shmuel Shilo, has 1,200 current students and 2,000 graduates, with 150 lecturers and 7 tracks of study. There are 40 students in the new Masters Program. The Pedagogic Library has 30,000 titles.


The Employment Fair of Herzog College Nissan 5768


Tens of school principals gathered at Herzog College on Sunday, April 6, in order to recruit new teachers from among Herzog graduates for their schools, yeshivot, ulpanot, youth villages and shlichut in educational institutions overseas.

"In the religious Zionist community, there is still an ideal of pursuing a career in Jewish education," says Dr. Ezra Kehalani, Assistant Director of Herzog College. "We at Herzog College aim to provide our students with all the tools necessary to enable them to become the best educators possible, and the fair is a part of that."


Monthly Shiurim: Herzog College organizes monthly shiurim in Tanach and Machshava at many locations throughout the country Givat Shmuel, Beit Shemesh, Rehovot, Kochav Yair - Tzur Yigal, Tzofim and Haifa - attended by hundreds of alumni and the community at large. For details, see:



Yeshivat Har Etzion Websites: - The Israel Koschitzky Virtual Beit Midrash - Har Etzion's Torah Podcast - Har Etzion's Torah Podcast in Hebrew

Pictures in this issue are courtesy of
Gershon Elinson, Eliyahu Yanai, and staff photographers.