Mercaz HaRav Kook

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One of the yeshiva buildings

Mercaz HaRav Kook (Hebrew: מרכז הרב קוק‬, lit. "The Rav Kook Center") is a national-religious yeshiva in Jerusalem, founded in 1924 by Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook.[1][2] Located in the city's Kiryat Moshe neighborhood, it has become the most prominent religious-Zionist yeshiva in the world and synonymous with Kook's teachings.[3] Many Religious Zionist educators and leaders have studied at Mercaz HaRav.[3]


Mercaz HaRav was founded in 1924 by Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, chief Ashkenazi rabbi during the British Mandate. It was housed in Beit HaRav which was built by the noted philanthropist Harry Fischel. It was established to serve as a beacon of Torah learning. Rabbi Avraham Aharon Borstein (1867–1925), who headed the yeshiva with him, died two years after taking up his duties. The yeshiva's official name is HaYeshivah HaMercazit HaOlamit - "The Central Universal Yeshiva." It is popularly known as Mercaz HaRav, after Rav Kook.

Rav Kook died in 1935 and his student, Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Harlap, succeeded him as Rosh Yeshiva.[4] After his death in 1951, Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, the son of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook took up his father's position. In 1982, after Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook died, Rabbi Avraham Shapira took the position and led the institution until his death in 2007. His son Rabbi Yaakov Shapira is his successor.

Today, the yeshiva has about 500 students, including 200 students in the yeshiva's kollel (post-graduate division).[3]

In its first decades, the yeshiva had few students; at times it was not clear whether it would survive. The turning point came in the '50s, when graduates of Bnei Akiva religious schools and high-school yeshivas seeking higher religious education flocked to Mercaz Harav, the only Zionist yeshiva.

Bnei Akiva leader Rabbi Moshe Zvi Neria, a disciple of Rabbi Kook's, encouraged students to go to Mercaz Harav, which was headed from 1952 by Rabbi Abraham Kook's son, Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, until his eventual death.[3]

Mercaz HaRav massacre[edit]

On the night of March 6, 2008, an Arab from Jabel Mukaber in East Jerusalem, entered the yeshiva with a gun and began firing indiscriminately, killing eight students and wounding 15 others. The terrorist's bloody rampage ended with the arrival of Yitzhak Dadon, a part-time student of the yeshiva, and David Shapira, an officer in the Israel Defense Forces, who shot him to death.


Name Age From Studied at
Neria Cohen 15 Jerusalem Yashlatz
Segev Pniel Avihail 15 Neve Daniel Yashlatz
Avraham David Moses 16 Efrat Yashlatz
Yehonatan Yitzhak Eldar 16 Shilo Yashlatz
Ro'i Roth 18 Elkana Mercaz Harav
Yohai Lipshitz 18 Jerusalem Yashlatz
Yonadav Chaim Hirshfeld 18 Kokhav HaShahar Mercaz Harav
Doron Mahareta 26 Ashdod Mercaz Harav

Notable alumni[edit]

The list includes a number of Knesset members and community leaders.[5]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°47′16″N 35°11′48″E / 31.7879°N 35.1967°E / 31.7879; 35.1967