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By: M. Eliezer

Yahalom Seminary for girls is pleased to open its doors to high school graduates of our community, right in the heart of Jerusalem. Geared toward the Sephardic young woman, Yahalom offers a unique combination of a true seminary experience with a dedicated staff and stimulating curriculum tailor-made for the future mothers of our community. If you are a growth-oriented senior excelling in yirat shamayim and sniut, Yahalom’s program is for you.

Great Vision

Rabbi Shlomo Goldman, shlit”a, founder and dean of Yahalom Seminary, will provide the ideal milieu for our community’s girls to grow and build solid foundations for their futures. The rabbi has a vision to imbue every one of the girls with Torah messages that will serve as a guiding light throughout their careers as Jewish wives and mothers. His vision will become a reality at Yahalom, where the girls will make a deeper connection to Torah understanding, and will be exposed to role models (from both within and beyond the Sephardic community) to whom they can relate, who live elevated lifestyles. “We wish to combine ahavat Hashem, ahavat Torah, and ahavat haaretz (love of the Land),” the rabbi says.

            Another of Rabbi Goldman’s goals is to bridge the gap between our religious young men and women. He explains that upon graduating high school, young men advance in their Torah learning and growth, whereas the young women’s ideals often erode over time due to their removal from an environment of growth and learning. Yahalom will equip its girls with practical and Torah-true tools they require to guide them in their lives beyond the school setting and throughout their marriages. “Girls learn a wealth of information in high school; how do they apply it to their lives?” That, explains Rabbi Goldman is what Yahalom offers.

Oasis of Growth

            Working alongside Rabbi Goldman in opening this impressive seminary is the inimitable Mrs. Shulamit (Ben-Haim) Abensour. Mrs. Abensour has made it her goal to follow in the footsteps of her illustrious grandfather, Hacham Baruch Ben-Haim, zt”l, and of to produce talmidot (students) who do the same. As menahelet (principal), Mrs. Abensour has designed an exciting curriculum to maximize the growth within each student. She looks forward to an exciting period filled with dynamic classes on Chumash, Tehillim, tefillah, Jewish outlook, A Woman’s Role, Building a Jewish Home, interpersonal relationships, Sephardic Jewish History, and other fascinating subjects. These classes, to be given by various staff members, will be also be open to community parents and women living in or visiting Israel.  Furthermore, Mrs. Abensour anticipates night classes at different teachers’ homes, the informal setting lending an atmosphere of warmth and growth.

            In addition to all the intriguing classes to be given at Yahalom, the seminary’s extracurricular program is a sure recipe for ultimate inner development. The girls will see the country as they’ve never seen before, visiting mekomot hakdoshim (holy sites), kivrei tzaddikim, and gedolim (gravesites of tzaddikim and Torah giants) of our generation, cultivating a love of our Holy Land and absorbing its holiness. Girls will attend exhilarating Shabbatonim at holy cities including the Old City of Jerusalem, Tzefat, and Tiveria. Yahalom looks forward to implementing a hesed program and inspiring yemei iyun, night activities, and guest speakers, as well. 

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Dedicated Team

Rabbi Shlomo Goldmanwill not only serve as menahel ruchani. Rather, he will be an active figure in the seminary, teaching lessons of the parasha to the girls, as well. Rabbi Goldman has had the fortune of learning under our community’s leading rabbis: Hacham Baruch Ben-Haim, zt”l, Hacham Shaul Kassin, Rabbi Rephael Elnadav, zt”l, Hacham Yosef Harari-Raful shlit”a, and Rabbi Tzvi Aryeh Rosenfeld, zt”l. He learned at Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood, New Jersey for close to twenty years.  Rabbi Goldman taught many subjects and was a Rosh Kollel in Lakewood, too. Nearly ten years ago, Rabbi Goldman and his family settled in Israel, learning under Rabbi Rubin in Bet Torah in Har Nof, Jerusalem.

Currently, Rabbi Goldman authors a series of 20 to 30 page weekly essays on the parasha, with a readership of over 500.  The essays are enormously popular among community members, featuring incredible lessons and innumerable sources. Rabbi Goldman’s stellar qualifications and yirat shamayim will render him a fantastic spiritual guide of Yahalom.

An amazing role model and beloved teacher in her own right, Mrs. Shulamit (Ben-Haim) Abensour hails from an impressive line of role models and teachers. As the granddaughter of Hacham Baruch Ben-Haim, zt”l, she ardently follows in the path of her grandfather, whose dedicated leadership and spiritual guidance shaped the community immeasurably.

Mrs. Abensour is presently the principal of Havineini, a “shana bet” seminary in Jerusalem. She has taught in other seminaries around Jerusalem and will utilize her invaluable experience to fashion Yahalom into a place of maximal growth and development.

Professional Staff

Behind every great institution is a great staff. Rabbi Shlomo Goldman and Mrs. Shulamit Abensour have worked tirelessly to assemble a most qualified and exceptional staff. At Yahalom, girls will have the opportunity to forge relationships with teachers that will accompany them for life. Part of the Yahalom team are community role models. Team members include Mrs. Michal (Obadia) Kimigaroff, a sought-after seminary teacher, social advisor in Bnot Elyashiv (an Israeli high school), and former teacher at Bet Yaakov Ateret Torah High School; Mrs. Ilanit Dayan, beloved women’s halacha teacher; Mrs. Esther (Dayan) Hakim, initiator of the former Bnot Melachim sniut program; and Mrs. Rachel (Elbaz) Nathan. Yahalom is also privileged to have on its staff Rebbetzin Rochel Friedman, Mrs. Hindy Ullman, Mrs. Shulamis Liebenstein, and others.

Home Away From Home

            Yahalom is a unique seminary in Israel for high school graduates in the Sephardic community. The connection a Yahalom student forms with teachers and student body alike will last a lifetime. What a plus it is for a young woman to be among teachers and friends who understand and share a common culture, and where she will be figuratively closer to home! What a comfort it is for a parent to trust that her daughter is in good hands and in a familiar environment! What a relief it is for a girl who is hesitant to fly overseas for a year to know that she has the option for a sixth month program, from after Sukkot until before Pesach!

            The seminary and dormitory facilities will be located on a beautiful campus in the heart of Jerusalem, walking distance to the Kotel. The seminary will be gated and guarded for optimal security. In addition to securing the girls’ physical safety, Yahalom looks out for each girl, ensuring that she never needs to fend for herself. That means that even on “off Shabatot,” the dorm is open – a perk not to be taken for granted – with prayers and Shabbat meals, so a girl never feels “stuck.” Should a girl not have Shabbat plans, Yahalom also places students by reliable families for Shabbat.

Yahalom – a Gem of a Place

            The community is looking forward to great things at Yahalom Seminary. Rabbi Shlomo Goldman has received enthusiastic endorsements and well wishes from numerous community rabbis. As roshei hamosad (heads) of community schools, Rabbis Shlomo Diamond, Shmuel Choueka, and Hillel Haber, shlit”a, are all excited about Yahalom and the need it will fill for their student body. They, along with community high school principals, eagerly welcomed Rabbi Goldman and Mrs. Abensour to speak to their senior classes. Hacham Yosef Harari-Raful, shlit”a, rebbi of Rabbi Goldman, has agreed to serve as Daat Torah for the seminary, as well.

            Yahalom Seminary for girls is just the answer for the Sephardic young woman seeking an outstanding seminary experience in Israel. The choice you make now will only enhance the choices you make in your future as a true em b’Yisrael.

For more details, see advertisement on opposite page. For questions or to request an application, please contact Yosef Goldman at (917) 831-5727 or by email at ygoldman@myyahalom.com.