Our History

In the late 1950s, Toronto had a sizeable Jewish community, however, did not have a Yeshiva high school so that the parents wishing to give their sons a higher Yeshiva education after elementary school had to send them to other far away cities. Then, as now, Toronto was blessed with lay leaders with torah vision. So , in early 1959, a meeting was called by the founders of the Yeshiva.

The newly formed board turned to Ner Israel Rabbinical College of Baltimore to assist in establishing the Yeshiva.  After numerous meetings between Meyer Lebovic and the Rosh Hayeshiva, the renowned goan Harav Yaakov Ruderman, and his distinguished bother-in-law Rabbi Herman Neuberger, an agreement was reached and the principles that would guide the Yeshiva were established.

Ner Israel of Baltimore agreed to provide quality rabbeim and older bochurim to provide a proper ruach to the newly founded Yeshiva. Harav Ruderman traveled to Toronto monthly to deliver a shiur to the older students as well as a shiur to the community at large. The mashgiach, Harav Dovid Kronglass would also come to deliver mussar talks from time to time. Meyer Lebovic, Herschel Rubenstein and Saul Sigler, in search of an appropriate home for the new Yeshiva, secured a parcel of land which, in those days, was far to the north of the mainstream community. The land situated on Finch Avenue housed a magnificent old stone mansion, which was set on the top of the serene, wooded ravines of the Don. Secluded by woods and graced with rolling hills, the Finch Campus was to provide a suitable home for the Yeshiva for the next 27 years.

Rabbi Sholom Gold, the first principal, arrived in May 1959 and worked day and night to convince parents to send their sons to the yeshiva; not an easy task in those days. He succeeded in assembling twelve students and in September of that year the Yeshiva opened its doors. By 1961 a second building containing eight classrooms was erected. Rabbi Gold served as a principal until 1970. Today, he and his wife reside in Eretz Yisroel.

Ner Israel’s philosophy was to combine a rigorous Torah educations with a full secular curriculum to provide its students with a comprehensive education. Thus, after five years, the first Grade 13 graduation took place in 1964. At that time, the Yeshiva provided a continuous program from Grade 9 through 13.

When the first class graduated, parents wished to have their children continue with the talmudical and university program. Consequently, the Baish Hamedrash was formed and Harav Yaakov Weinberg arrived to become the Rosh Hayeshiva.

By this time, the Yeshiva had more than 120 students and the main building containing the Beis Hamedrah, Dining Room and dormitories was built. Harav Weinberg served as Rosh Hayeshiva until 1971. He then returned to Ner Israel of Baltimore and subsequently succeeded his father in law, Harv Yaakov Ruderman זצ”ל, as the Rosh Hayeshiva, Harav Weinberg זצ”ל was niftar in 1999.