In 1802, Rabbi Chaim of Voluzhin (a village in Lithuania) issued a proclamation to establish a new yeshiva. The Voluzhin Yeshiva eventually became the center of Torah scholarship in Europe, hosting tens of thousands of students who went on to become leaders of the Jewish world. The yeshiva was persecuted ruthlessly by the Czarist government, and in 1892 the government closed the yeshiva. Yet in a deeper sense, Voluzhin survived; most of the thousands of yeshivas today follow the Voluzhin model. The Jewish people are immeasurably enriched, for as Chaim Nachman Bialik once said, a yeshiva is "the creative factory of the Jewish people."
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