Hesder Yeshiva Safed
The Tzfat Hesder Yeshivah offers advanced Talmudic studies to young men who wish to combine their religious studies with their mandated army service. Students are able to concentrate on their Torah studies and complete their army service in the type of religious framework that meets their idealism and values.
 Hesder Framework
The Hesder yeshiva framework was conceived in 1953 and has grown throughout the years. The Hesder yeshiva was created to offer an opportunity for young Jewish men to combine their yeshiva studies with their army service. Israeli law requires all 18-year-olds to perform army service. The Hesder system was developed an an answer to the concerns of religious leaders, families and young men who were idealistically committed to army service but wanted to grow in their religious lifestyle during their service.
Young men who sign up for a Hesder Yeshivah commit to a five-year program whereby they study for a year and a half, serve in a combat unit for another year and a half and then return to the yeshiva study hall for the remainder of their service. Graduates of the Hesder yeshivas complete the five year commitment with a teacher’s certificate. There are over a dozen Hesder yeshivas throughout Israel.
 Tzfat Yeshivat Hesder
The Hesder Yeshiva of Tzfat was opened in 1989 by Rabbi Benyahu Bruner. He wanted to strengthen the National Religious presence in Tzfat with young men, women (who were invited to register for a partner seminary) and staff members who could infuse the city with a Religious Zionist presence. The yeshiva has grown throughout the years as increasing numbers of young men are drawn to the idea of studying in Northern Israel while imbuing the spiritual atmosphere of Tzfat.
The Hesder yeshiva was a project of a “Garin” -- nucleus -- of young National Religious families who came to Tzfat to encourage the development of a strong and knowledgeable National Religious community in the city. Families who were involved in the garin integrated into the existing National Religious framework while developing the Hesder yeshivah and a sister institution, the Tzofnat Midrasha, for young women. Through the years this garin has grown and there are now over 100 families, living throughout Tzfat, who are connected to the garin.
In addition to studying the Talmud and other commentaries which are common in all yeshivas, the Hesder Yeshiva of Tzfat includes studies in the Tanya, the basic text of the Chabad Hassidim, Breslev Hassidic philosophies, the Maharal and the Kuzari, a book of mysticism. Rabbi Ayal Yakobovitch is the “Rosh Yeshivah” -- head of the yeshivah. The yeshivah operates under the spiritual guidance of Rav Shmuel Eliyahu, Tzfat’s Chief Rabbi.
 Community Involvement
Hesder students in Tzfat are expected to involve themselves in the community. Many students volunteer in various forms of community service including within the school system, with Ethiopian immigrants and in social service projects. The yeshiva opens its doors to the community for Sabbath and holiday prayers and conducts a lively “Kabbalat Shabbat” -- Welcoming the Sabbath -- service with singing and dancing in the Old City’s Kikar HaMeginim Square. The Hesder yeshivah hosts an annual evening of prayer and thanksgiving on Israel Independence Day for the yeshivah and opens this celebration to the community.