Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin

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Yeshivas Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin

United States
Classes offeredGemara B'Iyun Machshava
AffiliationLithuanian-style Haredi
Rosh YeshivaAharon Schechter and Yonasan Dovid David (current). Past: Yitzchok Hutner
Mashgiach RuchaniMordechai Zelig Schechter (current). Past: Avigdor Miller, Shlomo Freifeld, Shlomo Carlebach, Shimon Groner

Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin or Yeshivas Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin (Hebrew: יְשִׁיבַת רַבֵּינוּ חַיִּים בֶּרלִין‎) is an American Haredi Lithuanian-type boys' and men's yeshiva in Brooklyn, New York.

Chaim Berlin consists of a preschool, a yeshiva ketana (elementary school), a mesivta (high school), a college-level beth midrash, and Kollel Gur Aryeh, its post-graduate kollel division.


The school was established in 1904 as Yeshiva Tiferes Bachurim in Brownsville, Brooklyn, by Jews who moved there from the Lower East Side of New York City,[1] thus making it the oldest yeshiva in Kings County.[2] At the suggestion of Meir Berlin (Bar-Ilan), it was renamed for his brother, Chaim Berlin, a rabbi who served in Valozhyn, the place where some of the yeshiva's founders were from.[1]

Jacob Rutstein, a real estate developer, businessman and, philanthropist, was essential in establishing Chaim Berlin Yeshiva in the United States. An article in the Brooklyn Eagle, on March 16, 1942, described one of the many donations he acquired for the institution, stating that “$2,000 was raised in outside gifts by Jacob Rutstein who recently returned from Florida.” On December 11, 1944, another article appeared in the Brooklyn Eagle which stated, “Yesivah Rabbi Chaim Berlin, one of the largest Orthodox Jewish institutions of learning in the country, is dedicating its new seven-story building at Stone and Pitkin Ave... The opening ceremonies were attended by more than 3000 persons. Jacob Rutstein, chairman of the dedication committee, announced that $25,000 had been donated by those present towards the new $1,000,000 building.”[citation needed]

On December 29, 1944, another article appeared stating the following about Rutstein.

Our congratulations to Jacob Rutstein for his constant activity on organizing activities for the advancement of orthodox Jewish secular and religious education. Outstanding in his philanthropic activities is his recent purchase of the seven-story $1,000,000 building at 350 Stone Ave. for the Mesivtah and Yeshivah Rabbi Chaim Berlin in the hearts of Brownsville. Already the institution has been recognized by the State Board of Regents through the granting of a charter and 800 students are now enrolled. Of this number 150 are studying for the rabbinate. Also 200 of its students have come from all parts of this country and 62 are refugees driven from their homelands by Hitler. This has been a truly humanitarian endeavor on the part of Mr. Rutstein.[citation needed]

The focus of Chaim Berlin is to encourage as many students as possible to become rabbis and Talmudic scholars.[3]


Rabbi Aaron Schechter (white beard) celebrating Purim in Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin during the late 1970s.

The founding rosh yeshiva, Yaakov Moshe Shurkin, served from 1936 until his death in 1963.[citation needed]

Yitzchok Hutner joined the faculty during 1936-1937, and gave monthly lectures as rosh yeshiva from 1943 to 1980. In the late 1970s, a branch was opened in Jerusalem called Yeshiva Pachad Yitzchok (Fear of Isaac). The name is both a Biblical reference to Genesis 31:42, and named for Hutner's books on Jewish thought.[citation needed]

After Hutner's death, the New York yeshiva was headed by his disciple Aaron Schechter, and the Jerusalem branch was headed by his son-in-law Yonason David.[citation needed]

The position of mashgiach ruchani (spiritual supervisor) has been held by (among others) Avigdor Miller, Shlomo Freifeld, Shlomo Carlebach, and Shimon Groner.


Chaim Berlin consists of a preschool, a yeshiva ketana (elementary school), a mesivta (high school), a college-level beth midrash, and Kollel Gur Aryeh, its post-graduate kollel division. Total enrollment for all divisions approaches 2,000 students.[4] The mesivta acts as a feeder school for the beth midrash.[3]

The yeshiva maintains a summer location, Camp Morris, in Sullivan County, New York.[5] It is named after a former president of the yeshiva, Morris Meltzer.[citation needed]

High Holy Days[edit]

Over 1,000 people attend services in Chaim Berlin on the High Holy Days.[citation needed]


Shlomo Carlebach served as mashgiach ruchani of the yeshiva under Hutner. When Hutner appointed Schechter and David to lead the yeshiva after him, they ultimately fired Carlebach from his position, as they viewed him as a challenge to their authority.[according to whom?] Carlebach summoned them to a beth din (rabbinical court) headed by Moshe Feinstein. The summons was ignored, and the yeshiva was given a status of lo tzeis dinah. Many leading rabbis urged Hutner and Schechter to heed the summons of Feinstein, but they were ignored.[6][better source needed]

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable alumni include many who served in rabbinic capacities throughout the world.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b (May 14, 1964) "Yeshiva Fire Loss Is $150,000; Brooklyn School Not Insured", The New York Times. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  2. ^ "Kabbalas Hatorah at Three Landmark Flatbush Yeshivos". Flatbush Jewish Journal. May 13, 2010. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Perkal, Harry (November 20, 2017) "Confessions Of A Chaim Berlin Yeshiva Graduate", Forward
  4. ^ "Chaim Berlin Yeshiva". Negev Direct Marketing. Retrieved September 13, 2019.
  5. ^ Feuerman, Alter Yisrael Shimon (September 25, 2013) "Remember the Often Invisible Non-Jews Who Help the Jewish World Function", Tablet. Retrieved September 13, 2019.
  6. ^ "Photo". 2008-03-27. Retrieved 2019-09-12.
  7. ^ "Kehillas Bais Yehuda Tzvi". Retrieved 2019-09-12.
  8. ^ "Thousands of Free Torah Video and Audio Lectures By Hundreds of Rabbis and Speakers". Retrieved 2019-09-12.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°37′38″N 73°57′47″W / 40.62718°N 73.96303°W / 40.62718; -73.96303