Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim

Coordinates: 40°43′23″N 73°49′2.03″W / 40.72306°N 73.8172306°W / 40.72306; -73.8172306
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Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim
76-01 147th St

United States
TypePrivate elementary, middle school, high school, and beis medrash
FounderRabbi Dovid Leibowitz
PrincipalRabbi Dovid Harris, Rabbi Akiva Grunblatt
Number of students~450

Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim (also known as the Rabbinical Seminary of America) is an Orthodox yeshiva based in Kew Gardens Hills, Queens, New York, United States. It is primarily an American, non-chasidic ultra-orthodox Talmudic yeshiva. The yeshiva is legally titled Rabbinical Seminary of America (RSA) but is often referred to as just Chofetz Chaim as that was the nickname of its namesake, Yisroel Meir Kagan. It has affiliate branches in Israel and North America.


The Yeshiva was established in 1933 by Rabbi Dovid Leibowitz, a great-nephew of the Chofetz Chaim. Leibowitz was a disciple of Nosson Tzvi Finkel and he also studied under Naftoli Trop at the Yeshiva in Radun, Belarus.

The yeshiva was named for Leibowitz's great uncle, Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, who had died that year. It is officially named Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yisrael Meir HaKohen, but is often referred to simply as Chofetz Chaim[1] (Hebrew: חָפֵץ חַיִּים), which is commonly used as a name for Kagan, after his book with the same title. Chofetz Chaim means "Seeker/Desirer/Wanter [of] Life" in Hebrew.

The Yeshiva's first building was in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. In December 1955 it relocated to Forest Hills, Queens. Most recently, at the start of the 2003 academic year the Yeshiva relocated to Kew Gardens Hills, Queens.[2]

After Leibowitz died in December 1941, he was succeeded as head by his son, Henoch Leibowitz, a role held in the 21st century by Dovid Harris[3] and Akiva Grunblatt.[4]

The yeshiva houses a boys secondary school or Mesivta, an undergraduate yeshiva, and a rabbinical school that grants Semicha (ordination). Rabbinical students at the yeshiva often spend a decade or more there, studying a traditional yeshiva curriculum focusing on Talmud, mussar ("ethics"), and halakha ("Jewish law").

Affiliates and branches by location[edit]

United States[edit]



  • Jerusalem area
    • Chofetz Chaim Jerusalem
    • Zichron Aryeh Yerushalayim
    • Ramat Beit Shemesh - Yeshivas Nachalas Yisroel Yitzchok

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Petira of Alter Chanoch Henoch Leibowitz ZT"L". Beyond BT. 15 April 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
  2. ^ Horowitz, Rebbetzin Faigie. "Jewish Forest Hills: Resilient and resurgent". Hamodia Magazine. December 13, 2012, pp. 8–11.
  3. ^ "Rabbi Henoch Leibowitz, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim, dies.,Shlomo Greenwald, Jewish Press Staff Reporter". 2009-06-18. Archived from the original on 2009-06-18. Retrieved 2024-02-24.
  4. ^ "A Life of Sanctity". Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2022.

External links[edit]

40°43′23″N 73°49′2.03″W / 40.72306°N 73.8172306°W / 40.72306; -73.8172306