History of Ohr Yerushalayim

Yeshivat Ohr Yerushalayim has recently completed its twenty-eighth year as one of the premier post high school programs in Israel. While it had an earlier history beginning in 1980 as an affiliate of the Jewish Agency located in Kiryat Moshe, it began its initial year as a full post high school yeshiva in Israel in 1984-1985. Initially the campus was located in Ramat Shapira before moving to its current location of Moshav Beit Meir.

One of the first American non-Hesder programs, the yeshiva grew from an initial twenty students to its present capacity of 130. The students come from a great range of yeshiva high schools located throughout the United States and Canada, joined by an occasional student from Europe and Australia. “When the yeshiva started, there was a tremendous sense of excitement,” remembers Rav Sosevsky, the Rosh Yeshiva. “To this day that first group of students retains strong ties with the yeshiva and the rebeiim. All of them have been successful. They were a group that really gained tremendously while at the yeshiva and they have given much to others in their various communities.”

Ohr Yerushalayim is located some ten miles from Yerushalayim, a few miles off the Shoeva-Shoresh exit. The moshav is a HaPoel HaMizrachi moshav of some one hundred families in an extremely scenic location. The yeshiva’s alumni body, some twelve hundred students, has in many ways changed the American Jewish scene with many having taken positions as major Rabbanim and mechanchim while many others have filled important lay leadership roles in their various communities. Over the years, the campus of Ohr Yerushalayim has expanded to the magnificent, sprawling and very beautiful air-conditioned campus that it enjoys today. Over the past ten years, the yeshiva has been privileged to host the NCSY Summer Kollel Program.

Ohr Yerushalayim is known for a demanding and high level program in an atmosphere of great warmth and a most personal touch. The Rebeiim are experienced and have spent many years learning and teaching in various yeshivot. The yeshiva offers various levels of shiurim from those advanced and proficient in learning to those students who need sharpening of their skills. There is also a mechina class for motivated students from a weaker background. No matter the levels, over the course of a year, a special relationship is developed between the students and their rebbe- one that continues long after the student has left the yeshiva. In addition, the camaraderie among the students grows, eventually creating friendships for life.

The yeshiva greatly encourages students to think in terms of leadership and communal responsibility and actually offers Leadership Training Seminars for interested students. It also has set a unique intellectual tone through the publication of Torah Journals and the journal Jewish Thought in the areas of parshanut and machshava which was published by the yeshiva in conjunction with the Orthodox Union. Ohr Yerushalayim has always sought to be innovative in both its curricular and extra-curricular dimension and has in many ways provided the model for many of the more recent post high school programs.