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A Kollel is an institute for Jewish learning for adults; they have traditionally been a Yeshiva for married men. In the last 20 years a small number of Orthodox Jewish kollels have been opened for women. In the past 30 years a small but growing number of Kollels and centers for adult-ed have been opened aimed at those affiliated with Reform Judaism or Conservative Judaism.

In the Orthodox Jewish community a Kollel is effectively an institute for advanced Talmudic study. In the non-Orthodox Jewish community a kollel or adult-ed center has courses available on Talmud, Midrash, learning Hebrew, Jewish ethics and related topics; less emphasis is given to Talmud.

A great champion for Kollelim (plural) was Rabbi Aharon Kotler[?], the founder of Beis Medrash Govoha, a Yeshiva in Lakewood.

Most Orthodox Jewish Yeshiva students study in Kollel for a year or two after they get married. living off of donations, charity or the salaries of their wives and in-laws. In the Israeli Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community many hundreds of men study full-time in a Kollel for many years, living on welfare and donations. This has causes a great deal of resentment from the Israeli public at large, garnering criticism from the Modern Orthodox, non-Orthodox and secular Jewish community.

Yeshiva students who learn in kollel sometimes go on to become Rabbis, Poskim (decisors of Jewish law), or teachers.



  • "The World of the Yeshiva: An Intimate Portrait of Orthodox Jewry" William B. Helmreich, KTAV Publishing House; ISBN 0881256412; Augmented edition (February 2000)
  • "The way we were before our destruction : Lives of Jewish students from Vilna who perished during the Holocaust" Yulian I. Rafes, VIA Press ; YIVO Institute for Jewish Research; ISBN 188556306X; (July 1, 1998)

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