Da’at Tvunot Yeshiva and Residence  

Hachmey Lev Yeshiva and Residence was established by the Society for Advancement of Education in 2013. During the past year, the Yeshiva has gone through a significant process of defining its identity, goals, and educational methods. It will continue to operate in the spirit of the verse: “Educate each child according to his way, so that, even when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

As a Haredi yeshiva high school built on strong foundations of work and Torah, the school is committed to helping students build a stable Torah-observant lifestyle with a deep connection to tradition, together with studying matriculation subjects on the highest possible level. To signify completion of this process, it was decided to renew and refresh the yeshiva’s name. From now on it will be known as Da’at Tvunot (“understanding wisdom” and also the name of a book by the Ramhal – Rabbi Moshe Haim Luzzato).

Da’at Tvunot presents an alternative to traditional yeshiva studies for boys grades 9-12. The school integrates religious studies with secular studies, preparing the students for a complete matriculation certificate. It appeals to boys from the heart of the Haredi mainstream. Graduates are well positioned to pursue academic qualifications and ultimately enroll in the workforce as productive and economically self-sufficient citizens.

The SAE, together with overseas Jewish Federations and many private donors, have worked hard to make tuition low and affordable for Haredi families. Da’at Tvunot tuition is 1/3 of the cost of tuition at the 15 comparable Yeshiva high school programs around the country which cater only to higher income students (ILS 12,000 or $3,300 for Hachmey Lev versus ILS 33,000 or $9100 per year for private Haredi Yeshiva high schools).

Da’at Tvunot currently has 85 students in grades 9-12.  One-third of students come from the Jerusalem area, while the remainder commute from nearby Haredi communities (Mevasseret, Betar Illit, Beit Shemesh, etc.). Boarding students come from the center of Israel (Bnei Brak, Modi’in Illit, Tel Aviv, etc.) and the north (Rechasim and Tzfat).

Students enter the school because they have a desire to continue living an ultra-Orthodox lifestyle while pursuing their religious and secular studies. Approximately 10-20% have learning differences. Students are a mix of Sephardi, Ashkenazi, and Chabad, Litvak and Hassidic, and come from low economic status (in line with the economic indicators of their community). Hachmey Lev’s curriculum prepares Haredi young men to integrate into Israeli society, the labor market, academics, and the IDF (Israel Defense Forces).

The Da’at Tvunot Yeshiva includes Talmud studies alongside secular studies for a full matriculation at a high level, without giving up on the Haredi religious identity and way of life. The studies begin at 9 am and finish at 8 pm. Half of the day is devoted to Talmud study and half to general studies. When students arrive at Da’at Tvunot from the Haredi education system, they need assistance to bring them up to grade level in English, mathematics, civics, history, sciences and Hebrew language. Hachmey Lev provides extra support in these subjects as well as intensive programs to help students in 9th and 10th grades improve their study and writing skills, preparing students to succeed in Israel-wide matriculation exams in 11th and 12th grades. 90%+ of graduates have passed their Israeli Bagrut exams.

The Da’at Tvunot program focuses on the student as a whole and includes extracurricular programming for leadership development, citizenship, community service and health and well-being. These include an active student council, trips to sites of national interest around the country, volunteer projects and sports. For students who need the services, the school also provides help accessing educational assessments and assistance for learning disabilities, as well as personal support by a trained social worker.

The Da’at Tvunot team is committed to helping all of our students attain success in their educational and community achievements. As they prepare academically for their matriculation exams in 11th and 12th grades, students meet with lecturers from inside and outside the Haredi community and explore the range of options for their future. The Yeshiva wants students to be able to consider all options: Haredi hesder yeshivot [combining Yeshiva studies with army service], yeshiva gedola, army service, academic studies, and of course, entering the work force.

Enjoy an insightful article about education in Israel and Hachmey Lev from ejewishphilanthropy. com by Tracy Salkowitz, CEO of the Jewish Community Foundation of Southern Arizona, a Hachmey Lev supporter for the past five years.

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