Founded in 1995, The Max and Ruth Schwartz Hesder Yeshiva in Sderot, is Israel’s largest Hesder Yeshiva with over 640 students. A “Hesder” is a five-year program for post high-school students, which combines advanced Torah study with Israel’s mandatory IDF army service. There are currently over 140 of our soldiers carrying out their army service throughout the IDF’s many branches, proudly representing the Hesder.
The Yeshiva has two other branches, one in Sderot itself which includes 180 students, and another one in Kiryat Gat with around 150 students. In addition, there is a womens’ Midrasha with around 30 students. “Friends of Sderot” is an international non-profit organization which maintains relationships with the institution’s friends and partners around the world, who financially support the Hesder’s activities and projects, along with the physical development and the expansion of the Hesder campus.
Situated in the Western Negev and less than a mile from the Gaza border, for the past 20 years, the students at the Hesder, along with the residents of Sderot, and most of southern Israel, have been under the threat of rocket fire by terrorists in Gaza. Thousands of rockets have been launched at Israel over the years resulting in many deaths and injuries. Baruch Hashem, thanks to our generous donors, most of the buildings on our campus are “rocket proof,” and our students do not have to run for shelters during the code red sirens. We hope that in the near future, our entire campus will be protected. But it is our belief that the sounds of Torah emanating from our Beit Midrash, drown out the sounds of the rockets and alarms.
Perhaps most importantly, the institution is an integral part of the community. Our students view the diverse residents of Sderot – religious or secular, Ashkenazi or Sephardi, born Israelis or immigrants, as members of our extended family. Whether in times of quiet or conflict, a key principle of the Sderot Hesder is giving back to the community, which we do in so many different ways, as showcased throughout this website.