Machon Shlomo was founded in 1982 with a small student body and a small staff, in an apartment building that stood at the entrance to a fledgling Jerusalem neighborhood called Har Nof. At the time, the community consisted of a dozen newly finished buildings perched atop a mountainside, flanked on either side by forest and miles of undeveloped land. The only road to the main city was a dirt path. It was this unassuming location, far from the bustle of the city and the distractions of tourism, that the yeshiva’s founder, Rabbi Yaakov Rosenberg zt”l, hand-picked as the site where motivated students could build themselves to achieve greatness.
The vision was to choose quality over quantity, to accept a small but select student body, and teach them the skills to become the next Jewish leaders and pillars of their communities. Whether their backgrounds were in business, law, medicine, or the arts, the only criteria was that they wanted to learn. Like Rabbi Rosenberg did himself, these students would learn to balance a life of Torah with a life of family and work. They would learn that true greatness must be realized in every facet of life. Those initial students went on to lead extraordinary lives, proving that a small, focused program could generate large waves in the Jewish world.
As the community of Har Nof grew, so did Machon Shlomo, while maintaining its original integrity. The yeshiva came to occupy three floors of the building to include dorms and an eating facility. Between ten and fifteen students were admitted per year, for a maximum of two years. The staff numbered over ten, in order to preserve the individual attention that each student deserved. In a little over ten years, Machon Shlomo became known as the “Ivy League” yeshiva, a place for the best and brightest to come and rediscover the treasures of their millennia-old heritage.
In 1999, Rabbi Rosenberg passed away, leaving the yeshiva under the direction of his sons-in-law, Rabbi Beryl Gershenfeld and Rabbi Pinchas Auerbach. The tradition of excellence continues, drawing from the Slobodka mussar approach, which emphasizes that success can be achieved only when a person can realize his inner greatness.
Today Machon Shlomo makes strides into the future while remaining close to its roots. The yeshiva still occupies its same home in 2 Shaulzon, but has added more space on to the building and is in the process of renovating its facilities. The student body is still kept small, with a large staff to student ratio, allowing for the individual attention to each student. With an alumni base of hundreds, students today enjoy the benefits of the MS community through annual events, Shabbatons, and job opportunities. Har Nof is now a notable Jerusalem neighborhood, home to some of the greatest Torah scholars today, as well as some of the most welcoming and hospitable families, who are more than eager to have students at their shabbos tables. The vision of the yeshiva continues to be dedicated to developing students who are committed to building their potential and the greatness of the Jewish people.