Yeshivas Ner Yisroel

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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 is an all-male Lithuanian (Litvish)-style Talmudic college and is politically affiliated with Agudath Israel of America.

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[edit]

Ner Yisroel Beis Medrash

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,[1] the founder of the mussar movement and teacher of Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel.

Rabbi Dovid Kronglass, also of the Mirrer Yeshiva in Europe was the yeshiva's first mashgiach ruchani until his death in 1973.

Rabbi Herman N. Neuberger, also son-in-law of Rabbi Sheftel Kramer and an alumnus of the Mirrer Yeshiva in Europe, was president of Ner Israel, from 1940 until his death in 2005.

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.

Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Kulefsky, a disciple of Rav Shlomo Heiman and lecturer in the college, served as the Rosh Yeshiva from Rabbi Weinberg's death in 1999 until his death in 2001.

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.

Present leadership[edit]

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,[2] 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[edit]

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.

Accreditation[edit]

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.

Curriculum[edit]

A student studying inside the Bais Medrash

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.

Student body[edit]

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.

Notable alumni[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ 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
  2. ^ "Petira Of HaRav Yosef Tendler ZATZAL". Yeshiva World News. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 

Coordinates: 39°23′18″N 76°45′17″W / 39.38833°N 76.75472°W / 39.38833; -76.75472