Chezi Zecharia is the Principal of the Neveh Shmuel Yeshiva High School for Boys, Named in Memory of Samuel Pinchas Ehrman. He is also a Colonel (Res.) in the IDF’s Homefront Command, where he is responsible for directing civilian response efforts in times of crisis.
We are honoring Chezi for leading by example and providing his students with an exemplary, real-time role model of dedication to Am Yisrael, Jewish values and community involvement. As we recognize Chezi’s actions at the 2020 Virtual Gala, we are also paying tribute to OTS’s stellar educational staff, who have been consistently out-shining themselves as they continue to rise to the seemingly-impossible task of not only educating their students, but maintaining a warm, individual connection with each one – in spite of everything.
“I’m always a principal and I’m always a colonel in the military. Nowadays, I’m typically out on my IDF duties twice a week in the late afternoon and evenings. The educator in me helps me relate to the people in Bnei Brak. When I see a boy on the street, I ask him if he was in school and what he learned. I engage him in conversation about the Torah he is studying. The people there are getting used to seeing soldiers in their neighborhood to ensure they keep the coronavirus regulations and to provide them with food and other services, but we still need to build trust, and show them that we are there to help, not to ‘police’ them. The women who regularly bring us cakes, thank us and tell us we are like their children. Their gratitude makes it all worth it.
I’m a Modern Orthodox educator and a soldier, working in a Haredi neighborhood. It’s important for my students at Neveh Shmuel to understand the importance of service to others and at the same time, respect for those who might do things a little differently than we do. Just as I have to earn the respect and trust of my students, I’m trying to earn the respect and trust of the citizens of Bnei Brak.”
Neveh Shmuel Yeshiva High School, Named in Memory of Samuel Pinchas Ehrman, has the distinction of being the very first Ohr Torah Stone institution, founded in 1983 to combine a stellar Torah education with the highest level secular studies in order to prepare Modern Orthodox boys with a commitment to Jewish life, community involvement and leadership. Colonel Chezi Zecharia combines his roles as a Colonel in the Israel Defense Forces Home Front Command, responsible for Central Israel (which includes B’nei Barak, one of the Israeli cities hardest hit by COVID-19) and principal of Neveh Shmuel, one of OTS’s six high schools for Israel’s future leaders.