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Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin

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Yeshivas Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin
1605 Coney Island Avenue

United States
Classes offeredGemara B'Iyun Machshava
AffiliationLithuanian-style Haredi
Rosh YeshivaAharon Schechter and Yonasan Dovid David (current). Past: Yitzchok Hutner
Mashgiach RuchaniMordechai Zelig Schechter (current). Past: Avigdor Miller, Shlomo Freifeld, Shlomo Carlebach, Shimon Groner
Rabbi Aaron Schechter (white beard) celebrating Purim in Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin during the late 1970s.

Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin or Yeshivas Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin, (Hebrew: יְשִׁיבַת רַבֵּינוּ חַיִּים בֶּרלִין‎) is an American Haredi Lithuanian-type boys' and men's yeshiva located in Brooklyn, New York. Established in 1904 as Yeshiva Tiferes Bachurim, it is the oldest yeshiva in Kings County.[1] At the suggestion of Meir Berlin (Bar-Ilan), it was renamed for his brother, Chaim Berlin, the chief rabbi of Moscow who had moved to Jerusalem and was one of its leading rabbis at the time of his death.

Current enrollment is close to two thousand students[citation needed] including preschool, elementary school, yeshiva ketana, a high school mesivta, a college-level beth midrash, and Kollel Gur Aryeh, its post-graduate kollel division.


Jacob Rutstein (1878-1946) was a real estate developer, businessman, and philanthropist who was critical in establishing Chaim Berlin Yeshiva in the United States. An article in the Brooklyn Eagle, on March 16, 1942, describes one of the many donations he acquired for the institution, stating that “$2,000 was raised in outside gifts by Jacob Rutstein who recently returned from Florida.” On December 11, 1944, another article appears in the Brooklyn Eagle in which it states, “Yesivah Rabbi Chaim Berlin, one of the largest Orthodox Jewish institutions of learning in the country, is dedicating its new seven-story building at Stone and Pitkin Ave. at ceremonies which will take place throughout the week. The opening ceremonies were attended by more than 3000 persons. Jacob Rutstein, chairman of the dedication committee, announced that $25,000 had been donated by those present towards the new $1,000,000 building.”

On December 29, 1944, another article appeared stating the following about Rutstein.

“Our congratulations to Jacob Rutstein for his constant activity on organizing activities for the advancement of orthodox Jewish secular and religious education. Outstanding in his philanthropic activities is his recent purchase of the seven-story $1,000,000 building at 350 Stone Ave. for the Mesivtah and Yeshivah Rabbi Chaim Berlin in the hearts of Brownsville. Already the institution has been recognized by the State Board of Regents through the granting of a charter and 800 students are now enrolled. Of this number 150 are studying for the rabbinate. Also 200 of its students have come from all parts of this country and 62 are refugees driven from their homelands by Hitler. This has been a truly humanitarian endeavor on the part of Mr. Rutstein.”

The focus of Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin is to encourage as many students as possible to become rabbis and Talmudic scholars.[2]


The original founding rosh yeshiva, from 1936 until his passing in 1963, was Yaakov Moshe Shurkin, who lectured to the first 3 years post high school division 5 days per week. He was well known as the best magid shiur in the Torah world.[according to whom?] Yitzchok Hutner (1906–1980) joined the faculty sometime during 1936-1937 and began giving monthly lectures as rosh yeshiva from 1943 to 1980. Under Hutner's leadership, the yeshiva achieved international prominence in the orthodox Jewish community. In the late 1970s a branch was opened in Jerusalem called Yeshiva Pachad Yitzchok ("Fear of Isaac"). The name is both a Biblical reference to Genesis 31:42 and named for Hutner's books on Jewish thought.

After Hutner's death the New York yeshiva was headed by his disciple, Aaron Schechter, and the Jerusalem branch was headed by his son-in-law, Yonason David. In recent years Shimon Sher has served as Shechter's personal secretary.

Although there has been some discussion with regard to who is destined to replace Schechter, most agree that Shlomo Halioua, Schechter's son-in-law, will be the one chosen for the position. This position has become solidified after Halioua delivered a maamar, a religious discourse, along with Schechter on Shavuos 2015. This has historically been reserved for only roshei hayeshiva. Additionally, Halioua sometimes attends Agudath Israel's Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah conferences to represent Schechter.

The position of mashgiach ruchani has been held by (among others) Avigdor Miller, Shlomo Freifeld, Shlomo Carlebach, and Shimon Groner. The current mashgiach ruchani is Mordechai Zelig Schechter, older son of the rosh yeshiva.

Notable senior faculty include Pinchas Kahn, Chaim Kitevits, Reuven Nierenberg, Shlomo Chai David Yitzchak Halioua, Avigdor Kitevits, Meir Simcha Kahn, Chaim Eliezer Kahn, Shmaryahu Yitzchok Efraim Kirzner, Bentzion Eliyahu "Blonde" Fruchthandler (son of Moshe), Binyamin Cohen, Yossi Halioua, Tzvi Fink, Menachem Kahn, Yitzchok Meir Sendrovitz, Eliyahu Yormark, Binyomin Fruchthandler, Yosef Yormark, Yehoshua Rapps and Avrohom Chaim Green.

The yeshiva is maintained in its pristine original condition by Ziskind Saschitzky, assisted by Earl Desalegn and a large staff of maintenance officers.

Abraham C. Fruchthandler is the current president of the yeshiva; other members of the executive board include Tuvia Obermeister, Bentzion Eliyahu "Red" Fruchthandler (son of Shlomo), Mendel Schechter, Yisroel Meir Lasker, Efraim Feuer, Simcha Obermeister, Yehoshua Leib Fruchthandler, Yirmiyahu Lasker, Zyskind Sashitzky and Mayer L. Yanofsky.


High school

The mesivta (high school) acts as a feeder school for the beth midrash.[2] It is led by Shlomo Braunstein and Michel Guzik. Guzik is also a 10th grade rebbe in the mesivta. Other Rabbeim are Shlomo Fruchthandler, Doav Fink, Chaim M. Schwartz, Gershon Harar, Yissochor Landa, Yitzchok Meir Oksenberg, Asher Zigfried, Benztzion Eli Fruchthandler, Pinny Braunstien, Yehonasan Max, and Refael Garfinkel. The Shoel Umeishiv is Moshe Chaim Hunger. Rabbi Max is the dorm counselor for the entire mesivta and beis medrash.

Summer camp

The yeshiva maintains a summer location, Camp Morris, named after a former president of the yeshiva, Morris Meltzer. Zvi Fink serves there as menahel (dean) of the post high school division. Bentzion Eliyahu "Blonde" Fruchthandler is mashgiach. Shimon Feldman is the menahel of the high school division. Tzvi Silver is the executive director.

High Holy Days

Over one thousand people attend services in Chaim Berlin on the High Holy Days. The morning prayers are opened by Asher Siegfried, Avrohom Kahn leads the Shacharit, Yehuda Wolman reads the Torah and leads the Mincha, and Nachum Aryeh Feuer leads the Maariv, Mussaf, and Ne'ila prayers. On Rosh Hashanah the shofar (ram's horn) is blown by Zvi Belsky. One of the highlights of the prayers is the recitation of Viyitnu licha keser melucha (crowning God as king) during Mussaf.

Every year during the Simchat Torah holiday, two kollel scholars who have excelled the most in their studies throughout the year are awarded the honors of Chatan Torah and Chatan Bereshit. They are later asked to deliver a Talmudic lecture at a celebration in their honor. These awardees often go on to prestigious positions in the yeshiva world, Mordechai Yavneh and Yehuda Gunsberg being the recipients in 2018.


Shlomo Carlebach served as Mashgiach of the Yeshiva under Hutner. When Hutner appointed Schechter and David to lead the Yeshiva after him, they ultimately fired Carlebach from his position, as they viewed him as a challenge to their authority.[according to whom?] Carlebach summoned them to a Jewish court, headed by Moshe Feinstein. The summons was ignored, and the yeshiva was given a status of lo tzeis dinah. Many leading rabbis urged Hutner and Schechter to heed the summons of Feinstein, but they were ignored.[3][better source needed]

Notable alumni

This list includes many alumni who served in rabbinic capacities throughout the world.

See also


  1. ^ "Kabbalas Hatorah at Three Landmark Flatbush Yeshivos". Flatbush Jewish Journal. May 13, 2010. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  2. ^ a b Perkal, Harry (November 20, 2017) "Confessions Of A Chaim Berlin Yeshiva Graduate", Forward
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "The Roshei Kollel". North Miami Beach Kollel. Retrieved 2015-12-03.
  7. ^

External links

Coordinates: 40°37′38″N 73°57′47″W / 40.62718°N 73.96303°W / 40.62718; -73.96303