School With A Heart
Safed is a special place to raise children. The very air is filled with the history of the ancient city: the city of Kabbalists, poetry, war, and earthquakes. Breathing in the air of the holy city and walking where great sages once walked is bound to produce children of amazing precocity and awareness.
Yet, until not long ago, boys who attained the thirteen years of Jewish manhood had to leave their homes at this tender age, to attend boarding schools in other parts of the country. There simply was no place for them to learn in the city of their birth, and so they were packed off to far-away cities, only to come home for the occasional Sabbath or short vacation.
Seven years ago, this all changed with the inception of Nachal Novea's Yeshiva Ketana, a school created for the purpose of keeping young boys in the holy city of Safed, instead of sending them off to schools in other towns. The school is run by two brothers, Rabbi Chaim Shalom Kenig, who serves as director of the Yeshiva (school) and Rabbi Natan Kenig, who serves as the Rosh Yeshiva (headmaster).The two are the sons of an important man, the saintly Rabbi Elazar M. Kenig, who is the rabbi and Director of all the Nachal Novea institutions connected to the Breslov Hassidim in the city of Safed.
While Rav Chaim Shalom and Rav Natan may have lacked a traditional pedagogical education in administrating an institution, they feel confident that the experience they've gained from their father's example has stood them in good stead in their attempts to both educate Jews from all backgrounds and bring them closer to God. Eighth grade boys no longer have to travel to the center of the country for their schooling, which brings to mind shtetl wanderers with walking sticks and bundles over their shoulders. More than that, the Yeshiva Ketana (high school) is a top-notch institution that provides the same academic tools as any other such quality institution in Israel.
One important goal of the Yeshiva is to infuse the students with the fear of heaven and the Torah commandments. The Yeshiva tries to instill these ideas through the words of the great Jewish sage, Rebbe Akiva, who said, "And love your brother as yourself, this is an important precept of the Torah." The school has a devoted and professional staff, and provides a full-scale learning plan with arranged prayer sessions. Nachal Novea's aim is to keep the students occupied at all times so as to give them a strong backbone for the future.
At present, the school has 60 students with 40 boys who sleep on the premises in brand new dormitory buildings. The school provides for 2-3 day field trips during the school year. In addition to these field trips, every Thursday, the students leave the classroom and go into the surrounding woods to do hitbodedut, a kind of personal, intimate and individualized prayer.