Yeshiva Torat Chaim
Yeshiva Torat Chaim is a small yeshiva that offers both Torah and secular studies and is designed for high school students who don't fit into the more mainstream yeshivas. Yeshiva Torat Chaim also offers the possibility of getting a bagrut (an Israeli high school diploma) which is not usually offered by regular yeshivas.
The yeshiva has between 15 to 20 students at any one time, and the boys tend to be those who have had difficulty learning in the longer hours and more disciplined atmosphere of the conventional yeshiva system. The students sometimes come from disadvantaged families and may have missed out on some of their schooling, either because of problems at home, or due to school refusal. The boys enjoy the easier framework offered by the yeshiva and are very motivated to attend and benefit from the looser structure.
The yeshiva offers a shorter school day than most yeshivas, 9.30am - 4.30pm, and has a half-day of Torah learning at a high level, and a half-day of secular studies. The secular studies tend to be at a lower level as not all the boys have the necessary background to enable them to learn at a higher level. The secular studies include English, Math, History and Geography, and there are also opportunities to take practical subjects like carpentry. Although some of the students have problems, they have very good learning techniques from learning Gemara, so it is very easy for them to apply this to their secular subjects. This means that they are able to fulfill the necessary requirements for bagrut in a much shorter time than in a regular school. Even if not all the students are able to get a full/partial bagrut, depending on how long they are at the school, they are all able to complete the 12 years of high school necessary to get a good army placement.
As well as offering computers for every student, with secure internet, the yeshiva offers sports like basketball and table tennis and has a pool table and cable T.V. Watching programs on the Discovery, the History and National Geographic Channels enables them to learn in a more interesting way than a dry text book
The mix of teachers is very wide from haredi to secular, and the staff is very friendly and good at motivating the students. The Rosh Yeshiva (head of the school) is very popular and the boys appreciate the efforts he goes to on their behalf. There are about 8 members of staff to 20 students, giving a staff/student ratio of 1:2 ½ . This is a lot higher than a regular yeshiva or high school, and helps the students to take the most advantage of the opportunities available.
The framework offered by the yeshiva enables these disaffected and disadvantaged boys to finish high school, and get a full or partial bagrut. It is part of a project set up by the Ministry of Education and the local authority to do something for religious youth ‘at risk' who would otherwise drop out of education altogether. Unfortunately, due to lack of sufficient funding, the yeshiva is not yet able to offer education to the full age range.
It is hoped that in the new school year the yeshiva will be able to move into new and better premises, which would enable it to take students before they become ‘at risk'. This would give an opportunity for religious boys to get a bagrut and still learn in a yeshiva, which is not possible in the conventional yeshiva system.
Contact: Rabbi Benayahu Tevila 052 448 0513