Yeshiva College of South Africa

The Yeshiva College of South Africa (Yeshivat Beit Yitzchak), commonly known as Yeshiva College and formerly known as Yeshivat Bnei Akiva, is South Africa’s largest religious Jewish Day School.

It has around 900 pupils, between the ages of 3 and 18. It was established in 1953. The school is located in the Glenhazel area of Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa. The school consists of a nursery school (up to age 6), a coeducational primary school (grades 0-6), and separate boys' and girls' high schools (grade 7-12)

Yeshiva College adopts a Religious Zionist and Modern Orthodox philosophy. Throughout, pupils study a double curriculum, focusing on Torah study as well as secular studies; students ultimately sitting for the National Senior Certificate (see Matriculation in South Africa), where the school achieves competitively. Various sports are also offered and encouraged. The school is closely associated with the Bnei Akiva youth movement, and, educationally with Mizrachi, and its local Kollel Bet Mordechai.

Throughout Yeshiva College's history, it has continued to grow in numbers and stature becoming South Africa's largest religious Jewish Day School.


The yeshiva was co-founded in the mid-1950s by Rabbi Michel Kossowsky, an Eastern European Talmudic scholar who had settled in South Africa during the Holocaust, and Rabbi Joseph Bronner, an alumnus of the Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin in Brooklyn, New York, who had settled in South Africa after World War II and was active in the business world. The yeshiva was named for Rabbi Kossowsky's father, Rabbi Yitzchak Kossowsky, who had preceded him and had served as one of the heads of Johannesburg's Beth Din ("religious court".)

The first full-time instructor of Talmud at the yeshiva was Rabbi David Sanders (rabbi), who was brought out from the Telz yeshiva in the United States to teach the young students Talmud in the traditional style of the Lithuanian yeshivas—of the non-Hasidic Jews. He in turn helped to bring Rabbi Avraham Tanzer, also an alumnus of the Telz yeshiva in the U.S., to teach at the yeshiva. Eventually Rabbi Tanzer was appointed the Rosh yeshivah ("dean") of the school, a position which he has retained.

Rabbi Tanzer in turn brought out Rabbi Azriel Goldfein [1] (again, a fellow Telz yeshiva alumnus) to be a co-Rosh yeshiva; Rabbi Goldfein eventually left to establish the Yeshivah Gedolah of Johannesburg.

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