Yeshivaworld helps save famed Volozhin Yeshiva building

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Yeshivaworld ran a story last week regarding the famed Volozhin Yeshiva building in Belarus which was to be confiscated by the government due to lack of funds needed to maintain the building. Due to the quick thinking of Yeshivaworld, things have taken a turn for the better. Not wanting to see the historical Yeshiva end up in the hands of the Belarus Government, Yeshivaworld quickly contacted Daas Torah who informed us to contact the Agudah Israel of America and inform them of the crisis. Boruch Hashem, the Agudah has just release the following press release: 

A threat of government confiscation of the historic Volozhin Yeshiva in Belarus will likely be averted due to the quick formation of an ad hoc committee that has pledged to raise the funds to make immediate exterior repairs to the vacant 200-year-old building, allowing it to remain under the control of the local Jewish community.

volozhin yeshiva.jpgThe ad hoc committee, comprised of representatives of Agudath Israel of America, the American-Canadian Foundation for the Education and Welfare of Jews of the CIS, and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, conferred this week with Yuri Dorn, President of the Union of Religious Jewish Congregations in Belarus, to plan for the raising of  the $20,000 needed for initial external repairs to the structure that town authorities insisted must begin this month or the building would return to the municipality.

A full renovation of the Volozhin Yeshiva building is expected to cost well over $100,000.  This would be undertaken later in the year if a plan for the proper use of the building can be developed by the Jewish community in Belarus together with international Jewish organizations.

Parties interested in participating in the rescue of the structure, which housed the famed yeshiva founded in 1803 by Rabbi Chaim Volozhin, a student of the Vilna Gaon, are encouraged to write checks to any of the three organizations comprising the ad hoc committee, earmarked for the Volozhin project.

The committee members also invited the public to propose ideas for appropriate use of the building once it is renovated.  The Volozhin Yeshiva is regarded as the model for the numerous institutions of higher Jewish learning that comprise the “world of the yeshiva” to this day.

NOTE: Yeshivaworld would like to thank the many readers who offered their assistance in various ways. –YW Editor.




36 COMMENTS

  1. Attention Agudah: You could have mentioned YeshivaWorld in your press release. Kol HaOmer Davar BeShem Amroi …

    Give him the credit he deserves!

  2. Great work by YW editors. Why are these committees asking the public “to propose ideas for appropiate use of the building”? Why not use it as a yeshiva? Surely there are yungerleit that would love to go there to open a kollel and continue the great mesorah of R’ Chayim and the Netziv!!

  3. Kol hakavod to YW. Maybe bizchut the careful and considerate editing YW is bringing about positive actions. Readers can tell that there is thought put into the posts.

  4. Gezintumenucho & Kishke They did want to have bochurim from Israeli yeshivos learn there in the summer months…

    They could always host a “Pesach in Volohzin”… 😉

  5. zionflag
    you are 100% correct that for a bochur or yungerman learning and shtieging happily in an established yeshiva in EY or wherever they may be, it is probably ideal for that person to remain there. There are however many bocherim and yungerliet that need a change and challenge to retain and grow in thier learning that an experience like this would help tremendously.
    Consider this like Poject ‘not so extreme’!!

  6. All of the YW readers that pledged to help this cause please send your checks in. The easiest address to find is probably Agudath Israel of America – 42 Broadway 14th Floor New York, NY 10004
    Be sure to write ‘Volozhin Yeshiva’ in the memo, because there is a long list of causes that would be happy to use these funds

  7. What an unbelievable community we have here at YW. Y’yasher koiach YB for your work and for the kiddush hashem you continue to be! Your neighbors are very proud of the work you did for the Gaon, as his leggacy lies in those walls.
    Oilam Habo is a gutta zach, lernen toirah is a besser zach… can now be sung with new meaning.

  8. HELLO-
    There are countless of Mosdos around the world struggling to survive day to day.
    There are thousands of poor families, sick people, almonos and yesomim, on your block and around the corner.
    I’m not saying that this is not a nice thing. But that’s all it is. nice.
    The above mentioned are D’Oraisos.
    Think about it!

  9. This is some waste of money. Spending money on an old lifeless building when there are thousands out there struggling to send their live children to yeshiva. The yeshivas and their rebbes are bleeding, here and in EY, they cannot afford handle special ed, resources, etc. and 100,000 is going for a building that will never be used.

    You want to celebrate the Gra – spend the money so someone can actually learn it.

    Edited by Site Moderation Panel

  10. I’m a little naive here or just not sentimental. But without an awareness what to do with the location this is just a real estate and financial matter. that the Jewish community doesn’t lose the building. Without really having a function. $100,000 would be better spent on Kolel yungerlet or for that matter any of the dire needs that our community has

  11. I think many visitors, including unafflitiated or irreligious young Jewish students visit Belarus and Volozhin. I know a group of hundreds of ORT high school children were there last month.

    Perhaps some plan could be developed where Kiruv type Yeshivos spend a month in Volozhin as part of a “discovery.”

  12. The money has to be spent on this project because it would be chillul hashem if the government took over this building because no one cared enough to maintain it.

  13. yes there are many more pressing needs.
    EVERY need has more pressing needs than itself.

    a prerequisite for supporting a need is NOT that there are no more worthwhile needs than it.

    you are so far unconvinced.

    i certainly will not be able to convince you. why dont you just let the Agudah investigate and make their decision. if you wish to be convinced you probably can spend a little time and reach someone over at the Agudah to get some more information as to why they chose to support this effort.

  14. B Mazel, Tzadik in Peltz and sayitlikeitis
    If everyone that could afford to give tzedakkah would give to the Mosdos that are ‘bleeding’ there would be plenty to stop all the blood and for Volozhin. People are not zoche to support torah in all levels, and there are those who feel that HKB’H has given them money to do with it as they please. These are the people that would ‘chap a kratz’ and help rebuild Volozhin. Although I think rebuilding Volozhin is a positive step to replanting Torah in Europe which is happening anyway, at this point it would not be ‘another mosad’ to ‘these people’. We do not propose to tax every yungerman or people of limited means as if this were an ‘important undertaking, but rather to get people of means to do a good deed with thier money that does not otherwise go to existing Yeshivas.
    And I do agree with Pinay that not only is it a chillul Hashem if ‘the Jews ‘ let thier building go, it can be a Kiddush Hashem to many that we cherish the birthplace of our Yeshiva system.

  15. there are yeshivos in russia,for example,toras chaim in moscow,that are strugling financialy
    spending so much money on eitzim veavonim is a chilul hashem
    ayin gr”a hilchos tzedoko siman 249

  16. I don’t think we can save all the old buildings in Eastern Europe, however since Volozhin was given back to the Jewish community, the situation is different.

    There are considerations in Halacha and Hashkafa. As well it is sending a bad signal to the “world” that Jews ask for restitution and then don’t live up to their end of the bargain.

    Yes, perhaps the Jewish Communities in Belarus should have thought about this before they got the building back……perhaps they did, I have no idea, however now that we have it, let’s try and use it to bring back yidden to Torah and HKBH

  17. To Baki: The answer to your question is obvious, I, like others posting, might think that it’s waste of money to renovate the building. Kah mashmah lahn from Daas Torah (whoever that is) that it’s not.

  18. torhis1- The difference is obvious, this is a well known LANDMARK that was returned to the Jewish community with the expectation of restoration and was neglected. The same cannot be said for every shul or shtiebel

  19. In the fourth perek of Megila, the Mishna and Rashi discuss the Halacha of letting grass grow in a shul to cause agmas nefesh, so that ultimately it will be rebuilt.
    Also, If a Yeshiva is going to be taken away and used for something not Bakovodik, it would seem that we should try to stop it. We certainly shouldn’t sell it to be used inappropriately.

    In short, there is precedence for spending money on this type of thing. As far as the money: there are people who would not give otherwise but are inspired by a cause like this.

  20. Who cares about yisomim and almonos?
    forget about people who can’t afford yeshiva tuition!
    Let’s give money to the lithuanians who helped kill jews not to long ago.
    Now, that’s real Tzdakah!

  21. To mdlevine: Of course I’ll follow daas torah – yours or mine? Why didn’t they identify who the daas torah is so that the people posting don’t question whether fixing up the building is tzadakah? OR are we not supposed to question anything that’s on the yeshivaworld. Don’t get me wrong – I strongly believe that yw is peforming a public service and I get news that I would not otherwise learn elswhere. But just because yw says it’s so don’t mean it ain’t.

  22. YW- You know that another site (who posted the story after you did) is claiming credit for creating the attention to save the building.

  23. oiberchuchum – YW editor clearly said that he consulted with Da’as Torah and was advised to contact the Agudah Israel of America. Agudah Israel of America issued a press release (see above). the press release would not have happened with the leadership of Agudah Israel of America consenting to let it happen.

    your Da’as Torah or mine???

    neither your’s nor mine, but the Da’as Torah that guides the Agudah Israel of America

    I am glad that you are in agreement that we need to follow da’as Torah and no longer think that this is a waste of money.

    The question of whether you want to contribute to this or another worthy cause, that is up to you.

    Have a wonderful Shabbos to all my friends here on YW.

  24. Yup, one building from amongst thousands of shuls, yeshivas, mikvaos, chederim, soup kitchens, and community buildings that were stolen from Jews or now lay empty and unused has been saved. Why am I not jumping for joy? It must be the nine days.