The Itamar Gevoha/Hesder Yeshiva was established by Rabbi Avichai Rontski twenty years ago. In those first days, there were ten students in the Yeshiva. As time passed, more and more young men joined, and today some 200 students from all over Israel fill the benches in the Beit Midrash, fulfilling a dream and a mission through their studying in the Hills of the Shomron.
The guiding principle of the Yeshiva is love for the Torah, the Jewish People and the Land of Israel, and the various ways to connect them.
Torah study takes place in small groups, allowing for the enrichment of our students’ spiritual world. Our educational approach is one of inclusion: hearing and discussing a variety of opinions. The Yeshiva strives to convey warmth, patience and love to all of its students while adhering to the guiding principles of "חנוך לנער על פי דרכו" ("Educate the youth in his own way") and “אין אדם למד אלא במקום שלבו חפץ" ("One should only learn in a place where his heart is.")
The study of Gemara is the heart of the Yeshiva. Our devoted team of rabbis comes from a variety of religious Zionist batei midrash and, accordingly, brings different learning styles that enrich and create a remarkable balance within the walls of our study hall.
The Jewish People
Our students volunteer as mentors for youth in Itamar. The Yeshiva spirit also encourages maximum volunteerism in military service; therefore most of our graduates can be found serving the elite units of the IDF. Another significant connection to the Jewish people can be seen in the many varied groups who visit the Beit Midrash to hear and get to know us, to express their opinions and connect to a part of the Jewish People previously unknown to them.
The Land of Israel
We are constantly building Eretz Yisrael and settling the country in all that we do. After the Beit Midrash was completed, we began to build the dormitories, and presently the residential project is almost finished.
The Yeshiva hosts a warm, family atmosphere where our students bond, creating a strong sense of brotherhood and friendship.
Brigadier General (Res,) Rabbi Avichai Rontzki, former Chief Rabbi of the Israel Defense Forces headed the Yeshiva for many years. The present Rosh Yeshiva is Rabbi Yehoshua Van Dijk.
The Kolel and the Community
The close ties between our students and the Yeshiva continue even after they finish their studies. Many of our graduates choose to establish their homes in Itamar, and thus maintain constant contact with the Yeshiva. In fact, most of the families who have been absorbed in Itamar during the past few years are families of graduates, strengthening the quality community whose path is illuminated by the Torah and mitzvot.
Today, the Yeshiva is an inseparable part of Itamar, its religious atmosphere and community resilience.
"About ten years ago, after our wedding, we decided to live Itamar in order to be close to a place from where we could connect to Torah and derive spiritual sustenance from such a connection. It was only natural that we join the community where Yaakov [my husband] studied for so many years. We slowly got to know the community of Itamar, the residents’ unconditional love of others, the amazing views of the surrounding area and the ideology of settlement in the Land of Israel. Over the years, we were able to purchase a house in Itamar and thus found our place in the community close to the Yeshiva …" (The Ben Pinchas family)
"In the Yeshiva there are married students who study either full- or part-time, and who are in a process of personal and spiritual growth. The Yeshiva regards their wives an important and essential part of this process, since a married couple grows together in Torah and is also sustained by its social fabric. One of the aims of the Yeshiva is that the wives of its students feel connected and belonging to the Yeshiva so that they too can absorb Torah and live a fulfilling life. This is expressed in monthly social meetings for women, marking the new month, holidays etc … “(The Rimon family)
Rabbi Udi and Ruth Fogel and their six children settled in Itamar after living in the community of Netzer Ariel. Although they were expelled from their home in Gush Katif, they were determined to settle the Land, and it was natural for them to continue strengthening settlements in Israel.
The Fogel family purchased a house since they realized that a permanent home would increase their commitment to the community. As it happened, very close ties between the Fogels and the community were forged within a short time.
On Friday night, 6 Adar 5771, terrorists infiltrated the Fogel’s home and brutally murdered five members of the family – Rav Udi, Ruth, and three of their children. The attack prompted an incredible response, uniting Jewish people the world over to perpetuate the memory of the Fogel family and to support the Yeshiva and the community of Itamar.
The desire to continue in the footsteps of Rav Udi and Ruth – a life of Torah, of faith and of attachment to the Land – brought about the establishment of the Mishkan Ehud; exactly one month after the murderous attack. a ceremony was held when cornerstone for Mishkan Ehud was laid, and on the year anniversary, the dedication ceremony took place in a moving ceremony. The impressive and impressive structure was built in record time, in one year, thanks to the willingness, generosity and volunteering of so many of the Jewish People.
The Yeshiva continues to build and be built: the cornerstone laying ceremony for the dormitory buildings was held on the second anniversary. We have been fortunate to be able to build two dormitories with rooms for 200 students with the generous help of partners and friends from Israel and abroad, We plan to soon complete the final stages of development with the paving of the road to the residential complex, the construction of pavements and the construction of gardens around the buildings.