Yeshivas Chachmei Tsorfat is a Jewish educational center in Aix-les-Bains, a French spa resort town near the border with Switzerland. Set on a wooded hilltop between the France's largest lake and the historic thermal baths of Aix-les-Bains, the yeshiva setting offers a quiet location free of distractions in the shadow of the majestic Alps. Yeshivas Chachmei Tsorfat (Yeshiva of the Sages of France) is named for the great medieval rabbis who lived in France: Rashi, the Baalei Tosafos, and many other Rishonim.
Headed by the senior Rosh Yeshiva of Europe, Rabbi Yitzchak Weil שליט"א, the yeshiva includes four separate divisions: high school (lycée), yeshiva ketana, post-high school kulo kodesh program, and kollel. Limudei Kodesh and Gemara are studied in the style of the pre-WWII great Yeshivos of Lithuania and Poland with the aim of arming students with practical Torah knowledge that they can transmit to their home communities around the world. The first Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Chaim Yitzchok Chaikin זצ"ל, was a close student of the revered Chofetz Chaim, and faithfully communicated his teacher's ethical principles to his own students.
The yeshiva high school offers a rigorous general studies program accredited by the French Ministry of Education, allowing students to obtain the Baccalauréat diploma necessary for higher education while remaining in a yeshiva framework with high level kodesh studies. The yeshiva takes pride in its thousands of graduates who have achieved professional success as scientists, doctors, academics, and entrepreneurs, all the while remaining faithful to Torah Judaism.
More than perhaps any other Jewish institution, the Yeshiva of Aix-les-Bains and its graduates have played a key role not only in the rebirth of Jewish life in Europe after the Holocaust but also in the growth of Torah institutions around the world, especially in Eretz Yisrael. 300 institutions and communities around the world are led by Aix-les-Bains graduates: chief rabbis, rabbis of towns or synagogues, roshei yeshiva, rosh kollelim, dayanim, and important magidei shiur. A further 500 graduates serve as teachers of Jewish subjects around the world.
Since its inception, the yeshiva has promoted not only educational but also humanitarian goals. Founded in 1945, the yeshiva's first students were young Holocaust survivors: former prisoners of Nazi concentration camps and children who had been hidden in monasteries and non-Jewish farms during WWII. The yeshiva later welcomed thousands of students from North Africa fleeing anti-Jewish persecution.
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