Photo Credit: Jewish Press

However, these words portrayed an optimism that was never realized.

“One suspects that Yeshivat Or ha-Hayyim was a noble but short-lived experiment. In 1914 [Rav] Weinberger published a sermon he had delivered on the Sabbath of Hanukkah in 1895, in honor of the founders and supporters of the Yeshiva. Other than that, there appear to be no references to the institution or to its graduates. In all likelihood, the founding of Yeshivat Rabbenu Yitzchak Elchanan in 1897 – also on the Lower East Side – rendered [Rav] Weinberg’s yeshiva superfluous. The purpose and goals of Yeshivat Rabbenu Yitzchak Elchanan were precisely those of Yeshivat Or ha-Hayyim. But the new Yeshivat Rabbenu Yitzchak Elchanan had the advantage that its founders were already active in Yeshivat Etz Hayyim. Given the excellence of Yeshivat Rabbenu Yitzchak Elchanan’s Lithuanian-trained Talmud faculty, and the strong support it received from a segment of the large Russian Jewish community in New York City, [Rav] Weinberger’s yeshiva apparently could not compete either qualitatively or economically.”



[i] For the English version of this work see People Walk on Their Heads, Moses Weinberger’s Jews and Judaism in New York, translated from the Hebrew and edited by Jonathan D. Sarna, Holmes Meir Publishers, Inc., New York, 1982.

[ii] Ibid., page 55.

[iii] Hebrew Printing in America, 1735 – 1926, A History and Annotated Bibliography by Yosef Goldman, YG Books, 2006, page 977.