Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

9 Sivan 5768 - June 12, 2008 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network











120,000 Yeshiva and Kollel Students in Eretz Yisroel

By Yechiel Sever

A total of 120,000 students are learning at 1,860 yeshivas and kollelim in Eretz Yisroel, which amounts to at least 19 million hours per month based on the standard schedule. The statistics were gathered by Yated Ne'eman with the help of the Union of Yeshiva Directors.

The yeshivos ketanos (approximate ages 14-17) account for 28,000 students while the yeshivos gedolos (approximate ages 17-marriage(22?)) account for 32,000, including 8,000 from outside of Eretz Yisroel.

Full-day kollelim have 60,000 avreichim, including 5,000 from abroad. Four thousand are enrolled at half-day kollelim, with 250 students from abroad (these figures also include full-time students who split their time between two half-day kollelim). Another 330 avreichim study at special kollelim set up to train them to serve as rabbonim or dayonim.

According to the standard kollel schedule, the typical avreich learns 140 hours a month within the kollel framework, meaning the 60,000 avreichim in Eretz Yisroel learn a total of 8.4 million hours per month. At the yeshivas the learning schedule comes to 180 hours per month, meaning the 60,000 yeshiva students learn a total of 10.8 million hours per month. Of course these figures do not include learning at other times of the day and night and on weekends.

All of the above data excludes thousands of yeshiva and kollel students at institutions that receive no government funding and are therefore not included in the statistics.

The figures reflect a substantial rise in the number of lomdei Torah learning full-time despite various trials and impediments. Such large numbers are unprecedented in Eretz Yisroel, say roshei yeshivos and roshei kollelim, noting the mesirus nefesh of thousands of avreichim who overcome nisyonos from both without and within the chareidi camp and continue to devote their time to the hallowed tents of Torah.

Meanwhile the heads of the various institutions must wage constant battles against Reform organizations, legal advisors and government ministries who seek ways to reduce their numbers by curtailing funding, which has become especially burdensome of late due to the 30-percent decline in the value of the dollar. The sharp decline in the value of the dollar means that even someone whose overseas support remains steady, has lost about a quarter of its value.

Despite all the challenges, yeshiva and kollel heads keep their institutions going strong and are even adding more benches to the botei medrashlehagdil Torah uleha'adiroh.

MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni says that the yeshivos ketanos the roshei yeshivos and the yeshiva managers wage unremitting budget battles following a series of High Court petitions over budget matters, but they continue to stand firm, maintaining Torah institutions through their mesirus nefesh. Even attempts to cut funding for foreign yeshiva students, kollel students and the entire yeshiva system have failed, largely through efforts by UTJ to torpedo these moves.

Thus despite all of the challenges it faces the Torah world is flourishing and the botei medrash continue to grow, in keeping with the Torah's holy promise: "Ki lo sishokach mipi zar'o" (Devorim 31:21).


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