Children of Shluchim: A Yeshiva of Their Own

by R. Wineberg - SAFED, ISRAEL

February 24, 2003

High academic standards, a rigorous curriculum and small teacher-student ratios set Yeshivat Tzeiri Hashluchim in Safed, Israel apart from other schools of its kind, says director Rabbi Chaim Kaplan. But what truly gives the school its distinctive flavor is the student body. Arriving from four continents and speaking six languages, the forty students at Yeshivat Tzeiri Hashluchim bring with them more than a rich diversity of background. They come with the experience of growing up as children of Shluchim, making the school a truly unique Yeshiva.

Founded six years ago by Kaplan’s father, Rabbi Leibel Kaplan, director of Chabad institutions in Safed until his untimely passing in early 1999, in cooperation with Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, the educational division of Lubavitch, Yeshivat Tzeiri Hashluchim was inspired primarily by a desire “to help Chabad emissaries provide their children with the finest educational opportunities without incurring a huge financial burden,” says Mrs. Rivky Kaplan, co-director of the school. Since its inception, tuition for the Yeshiva has been heavily subsidized by Chabad of Safed, making it significantly lower than other comparable schools. In addition, the school’s consistently small size would ensure that the students, all living away from home from as young as 12 or 13 years old, would receive individual attention.

Housed in a section of the central Chabad yeshiva in Safed until now, Yeshiva Tzeiri Hashluchim celebrated its move last week to a spacious facility in the uppermost area of the city, overlooking Lake Kinneret. Previously known as the Gesher House youth hostel, and before that the Minnis Hotel, an exclusive hotel frequented by dignitaries and heads of state, the building suits the Yeshiva’s purposes “better than anything we could have built,” Chaim Kaplan says. Spacious classroom and living space and expansive grounds make the building an ideal setting for intense academic and personal growth, he says.

In a festive ceremony attended by rabbis and community members from across Israel and beyond, including Rabbi Yehuda Krinsky, Chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, visiting from New York for the occasion, the Yeshiva formally inaugurated the new building last Sunday, February 16th. “Sending children far away for Yeshiva is one of the greatest acts of self sacrifice,” said Rabbi Krinsky, referring to the Shluchim who do not have Yeshivas in the communities they serve, that would provide their children with an intensive Jewish education. How important, then, emphasized Rabbi Krinsky, that the children are made “to feel at home here, at Yeshivat Tzeirei Hashluchim.”

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