Yad Yisroel

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Yad Yisroel
Founded 1990
Headquarters Pinsk, Belarus
Founder(s) Stoliner Rebbe
Key people Rabbi Yochonon Berman, Rabbi Moshe Fhima, Rabbi Yaakov Shteireman, Rabbi Shmuel Dishon
Website http://yadyisroel.com, http://yadyisroel.org

The Yad Yisroel organization was started by the Stoliner Rebbe in 1990. During the era of the Iron Curtain, the Rebbe travelled to the Soviet Union to visit the Jews still in the FSU.

During his visits, the Rebbe saw the effect that communist Russia had on the Jews in the USSR. The situation caused him unbearable pain. It was at this point that the Rebbe conceived the idea of Yad Yisroel — of an organisation to bring Russian Jewry home to their heritage

Since those early days, Yad Yisroel has developed and grown into a multi faceted organisation. Over these years, Yad Yisroel started communities and schools in Kiev, Lvov, Minsk, Pinsk and Cheminitski.

Yad Yisroel has helped and influenced thousands of Jews throughout the former Soviet Union.

Yad Yisroel in Pinsk[edit]

Yad Yisroel, is a registered non-profit organization in the USA, England, Israel and the Former Soviet Union. Yad Yisroel is dedicated to the revival of Jewish life in the former Soviet Union, as well as assisting former Soviet Jewry wherever they may be.[1]

In April 1992, as an emissary of Stolin, Rabbi Yochonon Berman traveled to Pinsk to conduct the first Pesach Seder.

In the year 2000, as per the suggestion of Rabbi Berman, Yad Yisroel allocated Moshe Fhima, as a trusted messenger to Pinsk. Moishe Fhima had been working for Yad Yisroel in Kiev at the Jewish Boarding School for many years, and the time had now come for him to start a Jewish Boarding School in Pinsk as well.

Since the establishment of Yad Yisroel in Pinsk the town has been revolutionized. Yad Yisroel established inPinsk; two boarding schools, a yeshiva,a kosher store, a mikva, and Chesed aid for the elderly.

These programs and projects are supporting Judaism throughout Belarus. Ten experienced shilichim have moved to Pinsk to work for Yad Yisroel. The strength and energy which is generated by the Pinsk Jewish community has a direct effect on every other community in the country.

Education[edit]

The schools, with dormitories on campus, have Jewish studies and secular studies, enabling the students to complete a regular high school curriculum parallel to their Jewish studies.

Beis Aharon Boys' School[edit]

Limudei Kodesh

Entering its eighth year, the Beis Aharon Boys Boarding School has seen much success. It was established with the mission to teach Jewish boys about their heritage and help them live a Jewish life. The school hosts Rebbes from Russia, Israel and America who deliver daily classes from introductory level Judaism right up to Mishna and Gemara. The boys also learn how to daven and hold minyonim three times a day.

Education

Beis Aharon provides an extremely good secular education. Experienced professional teachers are employed to teach the national curriculum and have always maintained high grades. The school also employs a full time counselor staff as well as a doctor and a psychologist. Many of the students come from broken homes and troubled backgrounds.

Beis Aharon Girls' School[edit]

Limudei Kodesh

After twelve years, the Beis Aharon Girls School has acquired a reputation of being the pride of Belarus' Jewish Revival. Boasting a quality Kodesh and secular education, our school has produced the finest students that now learn in prominent seminaries in England, USA, Canada and Israel.

Modern Campus One element that has greatly contributed to the schools success is the new, custom built campus. The school building is equipped for all the school's functions and needs - whether it be comfortable bedrooms, advanced science labs or laundry facilities. This enables the girls to feel at home and have a clear state of mind to focus on their studies. The Bais Aharon School building is a place always full of happiness and laughter.

Family Atmosphere

Another ingredient that has played a large part in our school is the family atmosphere. From the moment when the girls join the school, they begin to feel part of the Beis Aharon family. The girls in the school feel comfortable and happy - the school becomes a place they can call home. Even after they leave school, the girls keep in touch with each other and the families in Pinsk who have left them with warm feelings towards Bais Ahraon for life.

Activities and Events Each year is filled with events and extra curricular programs. These give excitement and inspiration to the students. These events include Yomim Tovim, Camps, Trips, Concerts and national quizzes and competitions. There is rarely a dull moment in Beis Aharon!

Outreach[edit]

Yad Yisroel - a helping hand for Jews throughout Belarus. Although its focus is in Pinsk, where the schools are located, Jewish communities far and near benefit from Yad Yisroel’s outreach efforts.

Kehilla Work

There are some elderly men in the Town who attend shacharis every morning. Bochurim from Yeshivas Pe'er Yisroel in Pinsk are allocated to visit them, taking along Tefillin and davening with them. This gives meaning and brightness to lonely elder men.

Chesed

The Jewish community also hosts some elderly Babushkas, some who still remember Pinsk being heavily chassidish.

Often ill or lonely, these people are often visited by the girls school who lighten their load with singing or even just a caring conversation.

Kashrus

A kashrus campaign has been undertaken by some of the bochurim involving koshering kitchens, finding means and purchasing new ovens and constantly stocking the kitchens with kosher food. To this date five families and couples are under the program with more work on the hold for when funding is available.

Yom Tov

Yom Tov is a very special time in Pinsk. It is a time that the entire community gets involved in some way. On Chanukah and Purim concerts are arranged in which both the Beis Aharon Boys School and the Chesed group perform. On Yomim Tovim such as Rosh Hashanah, Succos, Pesach and Shevuos there is a special atmosphere in the Jewish community.

Shabbatons

Another programme Yad Yisroel offers to communities in Belarus is the much sought after Yeshivas Pe'er Yisroel Shabbaton. This has involved a group of bochurim going to a city for Shabbos. The bochurim then help with everything necessary for a true, uplifting Shabbos atmosphere including davening, leining, singing and even cooking. So far Minsk, Mogilov, Gomel, Bobroisk and Vitebsk have been the prime locations.

Summer Camps[edit]

A student's introduction to Yiddishkeit is usually at a summer camp. Yad Yisroel in Pinsk has organized action-packed, fun and educational summer camps. These camps both provide a sensational atmosphere for the students to relax from their studies as well as being an eye opener for new youth who want to see what we have to offer.

To date these camps have been situated in Belarus with special trips to Russia, Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania. The girls camp has even been privileged with a camp in Italy.

Timeline[edit]

1990 Kiev: Hebrew Day School is begun - peak enrolment 600 students. In addition: Yearly summer camps are created - the critical period to reach children and their parents for future scholastic enrolment

Establishment of Magen Avot, the social welfare program serving 10’000 homebound and elderly in 52 cities of the Ukraine, subsequently offered to the JDC. The program is still very active.

Shechita established in Kiev - distribution of kosher meat throughout the FSU.


1991 Minsk: Yad Yisroel Shaliach Rabbi Yitzchok Wolpin in Minsk, revival of the Jewish Community. Mikva built in Lvov, Ukraine

1992 Rabbi Yochonon Berman arrives in Pinsk

1993 Sunday schools are established in various smaller cities.

1994 Lvov: Hebrew Day School established- 140 students

1995 Chmelnitsky: re-establishing Jewish Community - Sunday school

1995 Pinsk: Rabbi Yochonon Berman succeeds in getting back the original Karlin synagogue from the local officials.

1996 New Mikva built in Kiev, Ukraine. Kiev: Jewish Boarding School for homeless children and teenagers is founded

2000: Pinsk, Belarus: Jewish School and Boarding School for boys by Rabbi Moshe Fhima

2001: Pinsk, Belarus: Jewish School and Boarding School for girls

2003 Completion of Girls School campus in Pinsk. Completion of renovations of The Beis Aharon Shul in Pinsk.

2004 Plot of land for the boys school campus purchased.

2005 Finished the restoration of the Reb Aharon Synagogue in Pinsk.

2006 Plans completed to build new boys school campus. Yeshivas Pe'er Yisroel established

2007 Synagogue of Reb Aharon HaGadol purchased and prepared for refurbishment. Building bought to house bochurims dormitory

2008 Construction begun on Boys School Campus. Renovation begun on Dormitory Building

2011 Record number of kids in Yad Yisroel Camp

2014 Grand opening of Beis Aharon Bielski School in Pinsk[2]

2015 Record number of students in Yeshiva High School in Pinsk

References[edit]