Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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5 Tishrei 5760 - September 15, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Giving Torah Room to Grow: Beth Medrash Govoha of Eretz Yisroel-Lakewood to Celebrate the Groundbreaking for Its New Building on Chol Hamoed Succos

by S.C. Mizrahi

That "there is no Torah like the Torah of Eretz Yisroel" has become a byword for Jews everywhere. Each year, thousands of bochurim from around the globe flood the yeshivos of Eretz Yisroel, to absorb Torah as they can absorb it nowhere else in the world.

But their choice of yeshivos is not arbitrary. Each yeshiva has specific advantages to offer, and bochurim and their parents investigate any yeshiva they are considering to find out what is the level of learning there, the social atmosphere, the staff, the degree of personal attention, and a host of other factors.

Those who have investigated Beth Medrash Govoha of Eretz Yisroel have surely been impressed with its reputation for a high level of learning, a warm atmosphere and the tremendous amount of personal attention given to each and every one of its talmidim. It has become the yeshiva of choice for many bochurim, who speak of the Rosh Yeshiva and his dedicated staff with love and enthusiasm -- so much enthusiasm, in fact, that they insist this is the very best place for them, although the physical space afforded them is extremely limited. Yet soon, be'ezras Hashem, Lakewood- Yerushalayim will be housed in a facility that will do honor to the special quality of Torah that is learned there.

The yeshiva will begin construction of its new building on a large tract of land that it has been granted by the Jerusalem municipality in Yerushalayim's Ramot neighborhood, overlooking the broad, inspiring landscape of the scenic Judean hills.

The yeshiva, with its over 65 talmidim and 30 yungerleit, is currently located in a small, rented building in the Mattersdorf section of Yerushalayim -- the very building it has occupied since the Rosh Yeshiva, HaRav Yaakov Eliezer Schwartzman, founded it sixteen years ago. As its enrollment grew, the yeshiva expanded its cramped quarters to their limits; in fact, there is some sort of construction going on in the building during almost every vacation break. Hallways have been widened; room additions have been built; a new level has been added underground; and walls have been broken through to expand the beis medrash, which has been made into a multi-level area. In addition, the yeshiva borrows space in shuls around the neighborhood to use for shiurim.

At present, there is no unified dormitory facility. Bochurim are housed in various apartments that the yeshiva rents throughout the neighborhood. Besides being an overwhelming expense to the yeshiva, the rented apartments are certainly not ideal housing for the bochurim. They are not designed to be used as dormitory rooms, nor are they adjacent to one another or to the yeshiva. This situation makes proper supervision a challenge.

None of this seems to have affected enrollment at Lakewood- Yerushalayim. "While student applications continue to pour in," explained mashgiach Rav Simcha Ellis, "the yeshiva's current location simply does not allow for further expansion." The new building will solve all of these difficulties. "It will allow the yeshiva to expand, both physically and in the quality of the total spiritual environment it can offer talmidim."

The building that will house the yeshiva in Ramot has been expertly designed by experienced architects, who have drawn up plans for a building worthy of housing a true mikdash me'at. It will lie in Ramot's burgeoning Torah community, and is set against the expansive hills that surround the area. "The beautiful, scenic background will give talmidim a special feeling of menuchas hanefesh and harchovas hada'as," says Rabbi Yosef Knepelmacher, menahel of the yeshiva.

The focus of the main entrance floor of the new building is the Kedoshei Kletsk Hall -- the main shiur room, dedicated to the memory of the martyrs of the Lithuanian city of Kletsk, whose distinguished yeshiva thrived under the leadership of Rav Aharon Kotler, grandfather of the Rosh Yeshiva. On the second floor we find the beautifully laid out beis medrash, spacious and practical in its design. Upstairs is a roomy ezras noshim that overlooks the beis medrash, as well as a large otzar haseforim and shiur-vaadim rooms.

The lower levels take full advantage of the sloping, terraced terrain, and are all open to light and air. Directly below the entrance level we come to a spacious dining room with an attached succah courtyard. The dining room will be serviced by a fully-equipped modern kitchen. The four dormitory wings have been designed for privacy and comfort.

"In an environment where their physical needs are taken care of comfortably and pleasantly," says mashgiach Rav Menachem Glick, "the atmosphere is more conducive to spiritual growth. When a bochur has the opportunity to learn in a beautiful, spacious beis medrash, furnished so as to enhance the learning environment, he can better meet the challenge of learning on the intense level which our yeshiva requires of its talmidim."

The building process will get under way on Tuesday of Chol Hamoed Succos, with a grand hanochas even hapinah ceremony, which will be held in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Hershey Friedman of Montreal, Canada. The Friedmans have dedicated themselves to building strongholds of Torah scholarship throughout the world.

This milestone hanochas even hapinah groundbreaking event will take place on Tuesday, the 18th of Tishrei, September 28th. It will begin at 6:00 p.m., at the building site on Rechov Rubin in Ramot Daled. Gedolei Torah from both Eretz Yisroel and America will participate in this most unique celebration.

Following the ceremony, the yeshiva will host its annual gala Simchas Beis Hashoeva, coinciding with the yahrtzeit of the Vilna Gaon. The renowned chazan, Reb Chaim Eliezer Hirshtik, will sing with his sons, joined by a boys' choir and live musical accompaniment.

"This will be a very special event," says Rav Glick. "The combination hanochas even hapinah and simchas beis hashoeva will allow everyone to join in the yeshiva's great simcha of expanding its physical structure, to enhance its spiritual influence, and to give so many more bochurim the opportunity to learn in Lakewood- Yerushalayim."

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