Yeshivas Ner Yisroel
Ner Israel Rabbinical College (ישיבת נר ישראל), or NIRC, is a prominent yeshiva in Baltimore County, Maryland, founded in 1933 by Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Ruderman, a disciple of Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel, dean of the Slabodka yeshiva in Lithuania. It is currently headed by Rabbi Aharon Feldman, a disciple of Rabbi Ruderman.
The yeshiva campus is located at Mt. Wilson Lane, just northwest of the Baltimore City limits. Ner Yisroel has two central study halls, one for the high school and one much larger for the beis medrash and the kollel (also doubling as the main prayer sanctuaries). Enrollment is approximately 250 students in its high school division, 400 students in its beis medrash/undergraduate division, and about 300 members in its kollel/postgraduate division.
History and past leadership
Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak Ruderman, the son-in-law of Rabbi Sheftel Kramer, founded the yeshiva in 1933 with six students. The yeshiva was named after Rabbi Yisrael Lipkin Salanter, the founder of the mussar movement and teacher of Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel.
Rabbi Shmuel Yaakov Weinberg served on the Ner Yisroel faculty for nearly 50 years. Rabbi Weinberg held the position of Rosh Yeshiva from Rabbi Ruderman's death in 1987 until his own passing in 1999. Rabbi Weinberg was married to Chana Ruderman, the only child of Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Ruderman.
Other notable rabbis who served on the faculty include the late rabbis: Rabbi Shimon Schwab, later rabbi of the German-Jewish Frankfurt Kehillah / community in Washington Heights N.Y., Rabbi Simcha Zissel Broide of the Chevron Yeshiva in Jerusalem and Rabbi Ephraim Eisenberg, the son-in-law of Rabbi Mordechai Gifter. In addition Rabbi Moshe Eisemann who was Ner Yisroel's second mashgiach ruchani is presently retired, as is Rabbi Moshe Heinemann who is currently Rav of the Agudath Israel synagogue of Baltimore and the Star-K kashrus agency.
The yeshiva today is headed by Rabbi Aharon Feldman, who serves as the rosh yeshiva and is also a council member of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah. Rabbi Sheftel Neuberger is the menahel (president) of the yeshiva; he succeeds his father, Rabbi Herman N. Neuberger, who held the same position. Rabbi Beryl Weisbord is the yeshiva's mashgiach ruchani. Rabbi Yosef Tendler was the principal of the high school until his death on February 8, 2012, and Rabbi Simcha Cook (formerly assistant principal) is the current principal of the high school, with Rabbi Yosef Neuberger filling the position of assistant principal.
Activity outside of Baltimore
In 1959 Rabbi Sholom Gold established a branch of Ner Yisroel in Toronto. In 1964, Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg became the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Ner Yisroel of Toronto until 1971. This yeshiva still functions but is no longer affiliated with Ner Yisroel in Baltimore.
In recent years Ner Yisroel has sent alumni to kollelim across the United States and several have founded their own institutions.
Major student projects include "PROJECT YAHUD", a spring break fund-raising effort for the religious school in Yahud, Israel, and "PROJECT SEED", a summertime outreach effort in smaller communities across America.
Ner Yisroel is also a Maryland state accredited college, and has agreements with Johns Hopkins University, Towson University, Loyola College in Maryland, University of Baltimore, and University of Maryland, Baltimore County allowing undergraduate students to take night courses at these colleges and universities in a variety of academic fields. The agreement also allows the students to receive academic credits for their religious studies.
The yeshiva's studies are primarily Talmud texts and relevant rabbinic literature. The yeshiva has a rotating cycle of eight different Talmudic tractates it covers in the course of eight years.
Degrees granted by Ner Yisroel are a Bachelor of Talmudic Law (four years), Master of Talmudic Law (six years), Doctorate in Talmudic Law (ten years and authoring a commentary on Talmudic or Rabbinic texts). Rabbinic ordination (Semichah) can also be conferred in Ner Yisroel.
Ner Yisroel's Machon program trains religious educators for Jewish communities and schools and students earn a Torah Umesorah recognized certification.
Ner Yisroel attracts students from the United States, Canada and other countries of the world. There are also students of Persian background.
Most undergraduate students in Ner Yisroel will have studied in Israel for two or three years prior to their arrival, or plan to upon completion of their studies in Ner Yisroel.
- Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky – rosh yeshiva, Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia, and member of Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah
- Rabbi Moshe Brown- Maggid Shiur, Yeshiva of Far Rockaway
- Rabbi Aharon Feldman – rosh yeshiva, Yeshivas Ner Yisroel and member of Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah
- Jeff Ballabon – political consultant and community activist
- Rabbi Tzvi Berkowitz – maggid shiur, Yeshivas Ner Yisroel
- Rabbi Dr. Emanuel Feldman – Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Beth Jacob of Atlanta, Georgia, lecturer
- Rabbi Ilan D. Feldman – Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth Jacob of Atlanta
- Rabbi Yissocher Frand – maggid shiur and lecturer, Yeshivas Ner Yisroel
- Mr. Howard Tzvi Friedman, Former President, AIPAC
- Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt – Chief Rabbi of Moscow
- Rabbi Eliezer Gibber, Rosh Yeshiva Yeshiva Gedola of Providence and Mechaber Pnai Damesek on Maseches Kesubos
- Rabbi Dov Lipman, Israeli Knesset Member, Yesh Atid Party
- Rabbi Yeruchem Uziel Milevsky zt"l, former Chief Rabbi of Mexico and lecturer
- Rabbi Daniel N. Korobkin – Mara D'Asra, Beth Avraham Yosef of Toronto Congregation (BAYT), and author of the preeminent English translation of The Kuzari
- Rabbi Nota Schiller – Rosh Yeshiva, Ohr Somayach, Jerusalem
- Rabbi Avi Shafran – Director of Public Affairs, Agudath Israel of America, author, blogger
- Rabbi Moshe Sherer – former president of Agudath Israel of America
- Rabbi Noach Weinberg – Rosh Yeshiva, Aish HaTorah
- Rabbi Yochanan Zweig – Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshiva Bais Moshe Chaim, Miami
- Rabbi Binyamin Marwick; Mara D'Asra, Congregation Shomrei Emunah, Baltimore, MD; Former Campus Rabbi of The Johns Hopkins University (JLIC)
- Simcha Leiner– recording artist, Hazzan and musical entertainer
- Rabbi Yisrael Motzen; Mara D'Asra, Ner Tamid Greenspring Valley Congregation, Baltimore, MD
In popular culture
In the book The Forgotten by Faye Kellerman the son of protagonist Rina Lazarus applies to Ner Israel. In the book, World of the Yeshiva, and other writings, sociologist William B. Helmreich writes about Ner Israel.
- Sefer HaYovel - HaPardes. Jubilee Book HaPardes - Rabbinical monthly journal, pg. 397. New york, NY: 1951. Can be seen here: http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=3153&pgnum=404
- "Petira Of HaRav Yosef Tendler ZATZAL". Yeshiva World News. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2012.