Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin

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Yeshivas Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin
Address
1605 Coney Island Avenue
Brooklyn, New York
United States
Information
Type Yeshiva
Established 1904
Classes offered

Gemara B'Iyun

Machshava
Affiliation Lithuanian-style Haredi
Rosh Yeshiva Rabbis Aharon Schechter and Yonasan Dovid David (current). Past: Yitzchok Hutner
Mashgiach Ruchani Rabbi Mordechai Zelig Schechter (current). Past: Rabbis Avigdor Miller, Shlomo Freifeld, Shlomo Carlebach, Shimon Groner
Rabbi Aaron Schechter (white beard) celebrating Purim in Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin during the late 1970s.

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 located in Brooklyn, New York. Established in 1904 as Yeshiva Tiferes Bachurim, it is the oldest yeshiva in Kings County.[1] At the suggestion of Rabbi Meir Berlin (Bar-Ilan), it was renamed for his brother, Rabbi Chaim Berlin, the chief rabbi of Moscow who had moved to Jerusalem and was one of its leading rabbis at the time of his death.

Current enrollment is close to two thousand students[citation needed] including preschool, elementary school, yeshiva ketana, a high school mesivta, a college-level bais medrash, and Kollel Gur Aryeh, its post-graduate kollel division.

Establishment in Brooklyn, New York[edit]

Jacob Rutstein (1878-1946) was a real estate developer, businessman, and philanthropist who was critical in establishing Chaim Berlin Yeshiva in the United States. An article in the Brooklyn Eagle, on March 16, 1942, describes 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 appears in the Brooklyn Eagle in which it states, “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. at ceremonies which will take place throughout the week. 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.”

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.”

Leadership[edit]

The original founding rosh yeshiva, from 1936 until his passing in 1963, was Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Shurkin, who lectured to the first 3 years post high school division 5 days per week. He was well known as the best magid shiur in the Torah world.[according to whom?] Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner (1906–1980) joined the faculty sometime during 1936-1937 and began giving monthly lectures as Rosh Yeshiva from 1943 to 1980. Under Hutner's leadership, the yeshiva achieved international prominence in the orthodox Jewish community. 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.

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

Although there has been some discussion with regard to who is destined to replace Schechter, most agree that Rabbi Shlomo Halioua, Schechter's son-in-law, will be the one chosen for the position. This position has become solidified after Halioua delivered a maamar, a religious discourse, along with Schechter on Shavuos 2015. This has historically been reserved for only roshei hayeshiva. Additionally, Halioua sometimes attends Agudath Israel's Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah conferences to represent Schechter.

The position of mashgiach ruchani has been held by (among others) Rabbis Avigdor Miller, Shlomo Freifeld, Shlomo Carlebach, and Shimon Groner. The current mashgiach ruchani is Rabbi Mordechai Zelig Schechter, older son of the rosh yeshiva.

Notable senior faculty include Rabbis Pinchas Kahn, Chaim Kitevits, Reuven Neirenberg, Shlomo Chai David Yitzchak Halioua, Avigdor Kitevits, Meir Simcha Kahn, Chaim Eliezer Kahn, Shmaryahu Yitzchok Efraim Kirzner, Bentzion Eliyahu Fruchthandler (son of Moshe Fruchthandler), Binyamin Cohen, Yossi Halioua, Tzvi Fink, Menachem Kahn, Yitzchok Meir Sendrovitz, Eliyahu Yormark, Binyomin Fruchthandler, Yosef Yormark, Yehoshua Rapps and Avrohom Chaim Green.

The yeshiva is lovingly maintained in its pristine original condition by Ziskind Saschitzky, assisted by Earl Desalegn and a large staff of maintenance officers.

Mr. Abraham C. Fruchthandler is the current president of the yeshiva; other members of the executive board include Tuvia Obermeister, Mendel Schechter, Yisroel Meir Lasker, Efraim Feuer, Bentzion Eliyahu Fruchthandler (son of Shlomo Fruchtahandler), Simcha Obermeister, Yehoshua Leib Fruchthandler, Yirmiyahu Lasker, Zyskind Sashitzky and Mayer L. Yanofsky.

The yeshiva maintains a summer location, Camp Morris, named after a former president of the yeshiva, Morris Meltzer. Rabbi Meir Simcha Kahn serves there as menahel (dean) of the post high school division. Rabbi Bentzion Eliyahu Fruchthandler is mashgiach. Rabbi Shimon Feldman is the menahel of the high school division. Rabbi Tzvi Silver is the executive director.

The mesivta (high school) is led by Rabbis Shlomo Braunstein and Michel Guzik. Rabbi Guzik is also a 10th grade rebbe in the mesivta. Other Rabbeim are Rabbis Shlomo Fruchthandler, Doav Fink, Chaim M. Schwartz, Gershon Harar, Yissochor Landa, Yitzchok Meir Oksenberg, Asher Zigfried, B. Eli Fruchthandler, Pinny Braunstien, Yehonasan Max, and Refael Garfinkel. The Shoel Umeishiv is Rabbi Moshe Chaim Hunger. Rabbi Max is the dorm counselor for the entire mesivta and beis medrash.

Controversies[edit]

Shlomo Carlebach served as Mashgiach 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 Jewish court, headed by Rabbi 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.[2][better source needed]

Alumni in senior rabbinic and Jewish communal positions[edit]

The yeshiva has alumni serving in rabbinic capacities throughout the world including:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

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