Growth in the Face of Adversity
This past year has been a challenging one for our community and the world. In spite of this challenge, Yeshiva Ohr Yisrael continues to grow. Excelling in education even in times of adversity is something the Jewish people have learned throughout the millennia.
In 1941, Rabbi Dovid Dryan of Gateshead, England, had a vision: to establish a kollel in Gateshead. The timing could not have been more difficult. The world was becoming aware of the destruction taking place in Europe. The English feared a Nazi invasion, and were struggling with financial crisis, food shortages, and worry for their loved ones at the front and at home.
Rabbi Dryan sent letters to twenty leading Torah leaders across England. Nineteen of them ignored the letter. The twentieth, however, did not. Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler had evacuated to Chesham, England during those dark days. On October 10th, 1941, he came to Gateshead to accept the invitation and the challenge put forth by Rabbi Dryan. And so, the famed Gateshead Kollel was established.
Rabbi Dryan recognized the destruction of the Holocaust as a time to rebuild. Specifically when there are challenges, we need to be looking forward.
In 2020, the rebbeim, teachers, parents, and students of Yeshiva Ohr Yisrael demonstrated a spirit of growth and tenacity in the context of a global pandemic, with a successful transition to an online learning experience. The students completed their curricula for the year despite the disruptions; throughout, they maintained their strong camaraderie with each other and the rebbeim.
The yeshiva is back to in-person learning, with a hybrid model of in-person and online studies. We now have a total enrollment of 43 students, including the largest 9th-grade class to date. We’ve expanded our academic program as well, and have appointed a Director of STEM to enhance our offerings.
To meet the growing needs of our school, we’re in the midst of a $4 million dollar expansion program, doubling the size of our current building. Expected completion is early 2021.
School spirit has remained strong because our vision remains unchanged: Timeless Torah, Premier Academics, Sterling Character.
Rabbi Uri Feldman
I’m honored to share this report with you – the partners who have made the dream of Yeshiva Ohr Yisrael possible.
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