Ohr Somayach, Jerusalem

Ohr Somayach (also Or Samayach or Ohr Somayach International) is a yeshiva based in Jerusalem founded in 1970 catering mostly to young Jewish men, usually of college age, who are already interested in learning about Judaism. It is known as a "baal teshuva" yeshiva since it caters to Jews with little or no background in Judaism, but with an interest in studying the classic texts such as the Talmud and responsa. Students are recruited either locally or from other countries where the yeshiva has established branches, such as in the United States, Canada, South Africa, United Kingdom, Australia, Ukraine and Russia.

Ohr Somayach entrance sign


In 1970, Rabbis Noah Weinberg, Mendel Weinbach, Nota Schiller, and Yaakov Rosenberg, founded Shema Yisrael Yeshiva to attract young Jewish men with little or no background in Jewish studies.[1][2] The founders of the Yeshiva eventually parted ways due to differences in philosophy of teaching with Rabbi Weinberg founding Aish HaTorah in 1974[2] and Rabbi Rosenberg founding Machon Shlomo in 1982.

In 1973, Shema Yisrael changed its name to Ohr Somayach, the title of a commentary on the Mishneh Torah written by Rabbi Meir Simcha of Dvinsk.[3]

Notable faculty

Notable alumni


  • J.L.E. - Jewish Learning Exchange - Summer program includes tours of Israel and lectures
  • The Shoresh Program: Introduction to Talmud and Jewish thought
  • The Intermediate and Mechina Program: Beginner to Intermediate Talmud learning
  • The Beis Midrash Program: Advanced learning
  • Derech: One- or two-year post-high-school program
  • The Center Program: Intensive learning for college graduates (one- or two-year program)
  • Ohr LaGolah: Semikhah program [6]
  • Chai Israel: A gap year program consisting of classes, internships, trips, volunteer work and experiences designed to emphasize Israeli culture. Rabbi Dani Zwick is the current program director.
  • Pisga:One- or two-year post-high-school program for South Africans and Australians.


  1. Donn, Rabbi Yochanan. "Conscience of the Lost Jews: Harav Yisroel Noah Weinberg, zt"l". Hamodia. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
  2. Kaplan, Dana Evan (2011). Contemporary American Judaism: Transformation and Renewal. Columbia University Press. pp. 294–295. ISBN 978-0231137294.
  3. "Did You Know That #16". Ohr Somayach International. 1 March 2003. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
  4. Kotkes, Leah. "A Fairy Tale Prince and Princess". Binah, 1 April 2007, pp. 1623.
  5. Herzig, Gur Aryeh (April 10, 2013). "Rabbi Issamar Ginzberg Galvanizes Global Audiences" (PDF). Hamodia. Retrieved 20 May 2014. Rabbi Issamar Ginzberg grew up in Brooklyn. His education began in the Bobover Yeshivah and continued in the Chuster Rebbe’s yeshivah, Toras Chessed. Later he traveled to Eretz Yisrael and learned in the yeshivah of his cousin, the Pittsburgher Rebbe of Ashdod. From there he went on to the Mirrer Yeshivah in Yerushalayim. He also completed a two-year program in rabbinical outreach at Yeshivas Ohr Somayach.
  6. Ohr LaGolah, ohr.edu