Under the watch of it’s founder, the Volozhin rose to to prominence. Rav Chaim Volozhiner created a sophisticated system of fundraisers, who also spread the word about the Yeshiva and added to its prestige. He introduced innovations in both learning and organizational structure.

Following his passing in 1821, his son R’ Itzele (1780-1849) took over and it flourished under his watch. R’ Itzele was also quite active in communal affairs, and in the 1840’s was involved in a fascinating saga concerning Russian Jewry. When Dr. Max Lilienthal attempted a reform of Jewish education, he actually came down to Volozhin to meet with R’ Itzele. Volozhin and it’s heads now stood at the forefront of Jewish leadership in the Russian Empire.

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