>About the College
The David Yellin Academic College of Education is located in Jerusalem, in the pastoral Beit Hakerem neighborhood.
Founded in 1913 under the name of "The Hebrew Teachers’ Seminary", it was a pioneering endeavor whose goal was to design teacher education programs in Hebrew so as to produce teachers who would in turn teach their own classes in Hebrew.
Since its foundation, the college has been responsible for training intellectuals, writers, and poets, as well as thousands of teachers and decision makers in the field of education in Israel.
The college’s 5,000 students represent the diversity in Israeli society. Religious and secular Jews, Muslim and Christian Arabs, and new immigrants all meet up at David Yellin College with the common aim of becoming the next generation of Israeli educators.
The college operates as a non-profit organization and is run by a board of trustees and an administrative committee who meet once a month. It employs approximately 600 lecturers as well as an administrative staff of over 100 people.
The college offers a wealth of unique study programs that culminate in Bachelor’s degrees, teaching certification, and Master’s degrees. It also offers certification studies and various in-service courses, as well as a range of special programs and pre-academic preparatory courses.
In 2007, the Ministry of the Environment authorized the college to serve as a “green campus”. The Center for Education for Sustainability is committed to the theme of the environment and works toward integrating the information, skills, and values that are essential for promoting a sustainable culture for our well-being and for that of posterity.
The College is a forerunner for over a hundred years and also leads its way into becoming a future innovator.
As befits an institution that prepares the teachers of the future, the college is committed to the following core values, which it has emblazoned on its banner:
By applying these values, we can take steps toward shaping the face of society in Israel in the coming years.
The full and official name of the college was originally "The Hebrew Teachers’ Seminary established by David Yellin", although it was widely known as the “Beit HaKerem Seminary”.
Situated on a hilltop in the heart of Beit HaKerem, the David Yellin Academic College of Education was an important landmark in the Jewish settlement even before it became known as such. Officially established in 1913, it was the first institution to prepare teachers in Israel and a metamorphosis of the “Ezra Seminary for Teacher Training”, founded by German Jews, where the studies were bilingual – general studies being conducted in German, and Jewish studies in Hebrew.
The “war of the languages” that raged throughout the country shortly before the establishment of the seminary came to a head when 18 teachers from the “Ezra” institutions in Jerusalem, led by then deputy director of the seminary, David Yellin, submitted letters of resignation. As a result of the “war”, and with the creation of an independent national Hebrew education system, a new institution was established called “The Hebrew Teachers’ Institute”, where all teaching was to be conducted in Hebrew.
In its early years, the Institute did not have a permanent home, but was housed in various buildings in Jerusalem. Early in 1925, David Yellin, the founder and first principal of the seminary, traveled to America on a mission to interest people and institutions in helping him launch a building fund for a permanent structure in Jerusalem. Upon his triumphant return, he submitted a request to the Beit HaKerem neighborhood committee for a plot on which to erect the building. Fourteen dunams of local public land were subsequently allocated for the construction of a teachers’ seminary and a school for the children of the district as a gift from the Beit HaKerem community. Toward the end of 1929, the Hebrew Teachers’ Institute relocated to its new and extensive permanent premises in Beit HaKerem.
Right from the outset, the students of the seminary participated fully in local community life – in times of peace and during the riots of 1929 and 1936-1939, as well as in times of war (World War II, the War of Independence, and the Six Day War). They always played an integral role in the guarding and defense arrangements of Beit HaKerem and other parts of Jerusalem.
During the riots of August 1929, the residents of Beit HaKerem, the workers’ district, Kiryat Moshe, and Bayit Vegan, old and young alike, took refuge in the seminary’s as yet unfinished building. The people occupied all the rooms, while the hall (eventually to become the gym) was used as a cowshed.
Guards armed with rifles were stationed on the roof of the building and fired at the rioters from Dir Yassin, a village west of the wadi, who tried to infiltrate the area and reach the seminary building. The residents blockaded themselves in the building for a week until the danger passed.
Early in 1935, the Hagana area command installed a large weapons cache in the seminary, and employed the south basement hall as an instruction and training center for Hagana members from Jerusalem and its environs.
During the 1936-1938 uprising, a guards’ station was positioned in the seminary.
During the War of Independence in 1948, the seminary building was used by the fighters of the Mountain Division, two Palmach squads, and two Field Corps squads intended as reinforcements for Gush Etzion. It was here that plans were finalized and the fighters were issued with weapons and ammunition and briefed for their march. They set out in January of that year; 35 fighters subsequently fell in battle in the attempt to relieve Gush Etzion.
In the days leading up to the Six Day War, some of the paratroop forces assembled in and around the college building. The Israeli flag that was hoisted over the Wailing Wall after its liberation came from a nearby house. It was from here that the paratroopers departed for battle on Ammunition Hill and in the eastern part of the city.
In the main entrance of the college, there is a plaque engraved with the names of Beit HaKerem residents as well as those of students and graduates of the institution who fell in Israel’s wars.
The building’s façade has been preserved in its original form. Two stories have been added, containing classrooms, halls for various activities, administrative offices, and a large library with reading rooms. The 600-seat Joseph and Rebecca Mayerhof auditorium and conference hall was completed in 1997. The new wing situated behind the original building was finished in 2003; it comprises six floors – two below ground-level.
Initially, the seminary accepted students for a further five years of study following the completion of eight years of elementary school. Its curriculum was similar to that of a secondary school in Israel, with the extra year dedicated to pedagogical training for elementary school teaching.
Since those early days, over 20,000 students have graduated from the college. Moreover, numerous study programs, including a range of special programs, have been developed. Currently, there are 5,000 students studying toward Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and teacher certification. The college also offers pre-academic preparatory courses and diploma studies.