The Vilna Rabbinical School and Teachers' Seminary was a controversial Russian state-sponsored institution to train Jewish teachers and rabbis, located in Vilna, Russia. The school opened in 1847 with two divisions: a rabbinical school and a teachers' seminary.[1] The Rabbinical School was closed in 1873 and the Teachers' Seminary closed in 1914.[1] The school taught secular studies, unlike the traditional cheders and yeshivas. This new curriculum, as well as the government control, made the school "unpopular."[1]


The school taught German language, Hebrew language, Hebrew Bible, Talmud,[2] algebra, geometry, trigonometry, physics, astronomy, world history, Russian history, Russian language, geography, and handwriting and drawing.[3]


Rabbi Yisroel Salanter, a major figure of the Mussar Movement who then lived in Vilna, was pressured to lead the seminary. Rather than accept the position, Salanter fled[4] to Kovno, even though Rabbi Yitzchok Volozhiner encouraged him to take the position.[5]

In 1872, a secret Narodnik[6] study group was formed[7] by Aron Sundelvitch. Vladimir Jochelson was a member of this group.[8]

Faculty & students

Educational philosophy

Many prominent[2] maskilim studied or taught in the school.[9]

Notable faculty

Notable students


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Mohrer, Fruma; Marek Web (October 1997). Guide to the YIVO Archives. YIVO Archives. M.E. Sharpe. pp. 226. ISBN 0765601303. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Murav, Harriet (May 14, 2003). Identity Theft: the Jew in imperial Russia and the case of Avraam Uri Kovner (1 ed.). Stanford University Press. pp. 16–17. ISBN 0804732906. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  3. "Pages from a certificate issued by the rabbinical seminary to 20-year-old from Antokol, Vilna". Center for Jewish History. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  4. Levenson, Alan T.; Roger C. Klein (February 28, 2006). An introduction to modern Jewish thinkers: from Spinoza to Soloveitchik (2 ed.). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.. pp. 168. ISBN 0742546071. 
  5. Kantor, Máttis (February 2007). Codex Judaica: chronological index of Jewish history, covering 5,764 years (3 ed.). Zichron Press. pp. 266. ISBN 0967037832. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  6. Beĭzer, Mikhail; Martin Gilbert (May 1989). The Jews of St. Petersburg: excursions through a noble past (1 ed.). Jewish Publication Society of America. pp. 129. ISBN 0827603215. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  7. Zipperstein, Steven J. (November 1, 1991). The Jews of Odessa: A Cultural History, 1794-1881. Stanford University Press. pp. 118. ISBN 0804719624. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Jacobs, Jack (August 1, 1993). On Socialists and "the Jewish Question" after Marx. New York: NYU Press. pp. 179. ISBN 0814742130. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  9. Abramowicz, Hirsz (March 1999). Jeffrey Shandler. ed. Profiles of a lost world: memoirs of East European Jewish life before World. Wayne State University Press. pp. 14. ISBN 0814327842. 
  10. Kagan, Berl (1991). "Jewish Cities, Towns, and Rural Settlements in Lithuania:". New York. 
  11. Fishman, David E. (November 28, 2005). The rise of modern Yiddish culture (1 ed.). University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 116. ISBN 0822942720. 
  12. "Jewish Community of Vilna". Beth Hatefutsoth. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  13. "Shirim li-Shelomoh". Goldman Rare Books. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  14. Singer, Isidore; M. Seligsohn. "SALKIND, SOLOMON BEN BARUCH". Retrieved 2009-08-17. 

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