Yeshiva of Aix-les-Bains: Educating the Jewish Leaders of the Future

Biographies of Rabbanim and Leaders of Yechiva

Rabbi Moshe LEYBEL

Founder and First President: 1945-1948

Born in Poland 1912, died in Jerusalem in 2009. Student of Rabbi Meir Shapiro of Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin, He created the Yechiva of Aix-les-Bains in 1945 and gave it the name of Yeshivas Chachmei Tsorfat. On the suggestion of Chief Rabbi Ernest Weill, he invited Rabbi Chaim Chaikin to be the rosh yeshiva. He acquired the current location of the yeshiva and secured funding for the purchase through the Vaad Hatzolo of New York. He devoted himself to the well-being of Holocaust refugees and orphans in the local Displaced Persons camps, as well as hidden children who survived WWII in monasteries and with non-Jewish families, and welcomed many such survivors as the yeshiva's first students.

Chief Rabbi Ernest WEILL

Co-Founder and First Director: 1945-1947

Born in 1865 in Regisheim in Alsace. Died in Aix-les-Bains in 1947.
Chief Rabbi of Colmar, and author of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch in French. He suggested Rav Chaim Chaikin as Rosh Yeshiva of the new Yeshiva in Aix-les-Bains. Rabbi Weill had known Rabbi Chaikin from their days together in the Yeshiva of France, which Rabbi Weill founded in 1933 in Strasbourg-Neudorf. He was the first official director of the Yeshiva of Aix-les-Bains.

Rabbi Chaim Yitzchok CHAIKIN

First Rosh Yeshiva: 1945-1993

Born in 1907 in Kossova, Lithuania. Died in Sarcelles in 1993. Pupil of Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman in Baranovitch. Rav Chaikin studied for 12 years in the Radin Yeshiva. Of these years, he spent seven years, from 1926 to 1933, as one of the closest students of the revered Chofetz Chaim, Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan. In 1938 Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman suggested Rabbi Chaikin to be the Rosh Yeshiva of Chief Rabbi Ernest Weill's new yeshiva in Strasbourg-Neudorf. He served in the Neudorf Yeshiva, the "Yeshiva of France," until the advent of World War II when he enlisted as a soldier in the French Foreign Legion. Captured by the Germans, he was a prisoner of war in Germany for 5 years. Upon his release in May 1945, he was hired as Rosh Yeshiva for the nascent Yeshiva in Aix-les-Bains. Faithfully transmitting the values and teachings of the Chofetz Chaim to his thousands of students, Rabbi Chaikin lead the yeshiva for 48 years until his death.

Rabbi Eliyohu ELYOVICS

Maggid Shiur: 1945-1968

Born in Hungary in 1909, died in May 1968 in Aix-les-Bains in the classroom while delivering a shiur to his students. Talmid of the Hungarian Gaon Rav Shimon Gruenfeld, the famed Maharshag. He was from a Chasidic background. He was a prisoner of war in Germany. He joined the Yeshiva in June 1945 where he taught with Mesirus Nefesh for 23 years. He remained very attached to his numerous talmidim. He founded the Kehillo (community) of Aix-les-Bains and the central synagogue of the city and built the Mikva of Aix-les-Bains.

Rabbi Refoel Yitzchok WASSERMAN

Maggid Shiur: 1957-1962

Close student and family relation of the Chazon Ish, he taught in the Yeshiva for 5 years before leaving to become the Rav of a community in London where he later established the renowned Kollel Rabinov. He would later serve as Rosh Yeshiva of Ohel Yaakov in Bnei Brak.

Rabbi Shmuel ERRERA

Maggid Shiur : 1965-2014

Born in 1914, died in 2014 in Aix-les-Bains. A Parisian businessman, he abandoned everything to study in the Yeshiva with Rav Chaikin in 1952. In 1965 he became an instructor in the Yechiva, where he distinguished himself particularly by his Mussar lectures renowned throughout France. He traveled throughout the country imparting his Mussar message to diverse audiences. He was on a very high spiritual level, a great Oved Hashem, and he was considered to be a Tzaddik (very righteous man).

Rabbi Messod GABAY

Maggid Shiur: 1948-1983

Born in Morocco in 1932, pupil at the Yechiva in 1948, became Maggid Shiur in 1953 for 30 years. He also served as Shochet of the city of Aix-les-Bains. In 1983 he became head of the shochatim in Marseille.

He currently resides in Tzefat in Eretz Yisrael where he is a renowned mechaber sefarim (author of many books).

Rabbi Meir WRESCHNER

Maggid Shiur - Mashgiach: 1965-2004

Born in 1933 in Breslau (Poland), he was a close student of Rav Chaikin. He taught for nearly 40 years in the Yeshiva of
Aix-les-Bains, where he also served as Mashgiach.

He currently resides in Eretz Yisrael.

THE TZADIKIM

Ils furent les hôtes de la Yechiva à diverses occasions, et ils eurent une grande influence qui perdurent jusqu'à ce jour. : Dès 1950

From its earliest days, the Yeshiva of Aix-les-Bains has hosted the great rabbis and tzadikim of the generation.
Many of these visitors had a deep influence on the yeshiva and its students through their repeated visits and the teachings they transmitted to the students of the yeshiva. Since the 1950s the rebbes of Pshevorsk have maintained particularly close ties to the Yeshiva and Rav Chaikin, and notably with Rav Eliyohu Elyovics. Rav Itzikel, his son Rav Yankele, and his grandson יבל"ח Rabbi Leibush the current Pshevorsker rebbe, came very often to the yeshiva and offered great spiritual uplift to the students. Other prominent rabbinic visitors who left their mark on the yeshiva of Aix-les-Bains include the revered mekubalim Baba Sali and Rav Yitzchak Kaduri, Rav Ovadia Yosef, Rav Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman, the Baranovitch Rov, and Rav Mordechai Pogramansky, who lived and taught briefly in Aix-les-Bains.

Rabbi Roger CAHEN: "Rav Gershon"

Administrator - Menahel: 1948-2001

Born in 1920 in Hayange in the Moselle, died in 2001 in Bnei Brak. Student of Rav Chaikin since 1945, and assistant to the Founder Rav Moshe Leybel.
He succeeded him after his departure in 1948. While serving as rabbi in Strasbourg, he administered the Yeshiva of Aix-les-Bains for more than 50 years and traveled constantly to ensure its financial survival. He devoted his life to the Yeshiva, without taking any salary and with unlimited dedication. He moved to Bnei Brak in 1999, but continued to serve the Yeshiva of Aix-les-Bains until his last day. President of Yeshiva from 1979 to 2001.

Rabbi Elie MUNK

Vice-President: 1949-1981

Born in Paris in 1900, died in New York in 1981. Rav of the Adath Yereim community in Paris (rue Cadet).
Author of classic Torah works including the five-volume "The Call Of The Torah" and "The World of Prayer." Member of the yeshiva's administrative committee who always gave his support and Has been a member of the Yechiva Committee and has always given him his support and invaluable help.

Sam & Yvan LEVY

Presidents of the Yechiva: 1949-1967 (Sam) & 1949-1979 (Yvan)

The two Levy brothers served as joint presidents of the Yeshiva.
They were devoted to the Yeshiva of Aix-les-Bains and gave their invaluable support.

Rabbi Aron MONSONEGO

Student: 1945-1952

Born in 1929 in Fes, died in 2018 in Israel. Chief Rabbi of Morocco. He was among the first students of the Yeshiva in 1945 and studied in Aix-les-Bains for 7 years without interruption.
He remained close to the Yeshiva for his entire life.

Rabbi Yitzchok WEIL שליט"א

Rosh Yeshiva: 1993 until the present

Born in 1934 in Strasbourg. Student of the Yeshiva of Aix-les-Bains since 1950, and close talmid of Rav Chaikin. He became a Maggid Shiur in the yeshiva.
He later succeeded Rav Chaikin as Rosh Yeshiva in 1993 following Rav Chaikin's passing. He succeeded Rav Guershon CAHEN as President of the Yeshiva in 2001. He is the Rabbi of the city of Aix-les-Bains. He is one of the senior Rabonim in Europe and in France is considered as the most eminent rabbinic leader.

Rabbi Reuven ELBAZ

Maggid Shiur: 1969 until the present

Born in Morocco in 1943, former student of Kollel Chazon Ish in Bnei Brak and Kollel Rabinov of London

Rabbi Rahamim MONSONEGO

Maggid Shiur: 1965 until the present

Born in 1934 in Fez (Morocco), student of Rav Chajkin at the Yeshiva from 1949 until 1957. He has taught in the Yeshiva since 1965.

Rabbi Tzvi CHAJKIN

Maggid Shiur: 1979 until the present

Born in 1948, son of Rav Chajkin.

Rabbi Meir ERRERA

Maggid Shiur : 2012 until the present

Born in 1957, son of Rav Shmuel Errera.

Rabbi Raphael COHEN

Maggid Shiur : 2008 until the present

Born in 1962.

Rabbi AROUCH

Maggid Shiur : 1995 until the present

Born in 1948.

Rabbi Todross ACKERMAN

Mashgiach : 2003 until the present

Born in 1965.

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