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A kollel (Hebrew: כולל‎, pl. כוללים, kollelim, a "gathering" or "collection" [of scholars]) is an institute for full-time, advanced study of the Talmud and rabbinic literature. Like a yeshiva, a kollel features shiurim (lectures) and learning sedarim (learning sessions); unlike a yeshiva, the student body of a kollel are all married men. Kollels generally pay a regular monthly stipend to their members.

Beginning in the last third of the 20th century, the kollel concept expanded with the introduction of community kollels. Community kollels are a kiruv (Jewish outreach) tool which aims to increase Jewish knowledge and identity as a hedge against assimilation.[1] Community kollels are typically composed of a minyan of students who engage in advanced Torah study with their own rabbis and shiurim for part of the day, and then conduct one-on-one learning sessions, free classes, and holiday activities for the Jewish community at large during the other part of the day.



Original sense

Originally, the word was used in the sense of "community". Each new group of settlers who came from various European countries to settle in Palestine established their own separate community with their own support system. Each community was referred to as the Kollel of... to identify the specific community of the Yishuv haYashan. The overwhelming majority of these settlers were scholars who left their homelands to devote themselves to study Torah and serve G-d for the rest of their lives. The Kollel was the umbrella organization for all their needs.

The first examples were Kolel Perushim who were the students of the Vilna Gaon, and who established the first Ashkenaz settlement in Jerusalem, Colel Chabad for the Russian Hasidim. The Polish Jews were divided into many Kollelim; Kollel Warschau, headed by Rabbi Chaim Elozor Wax; Kollel Vilna Zamutch was under different leadership; and the Galicians were incorporated under Kolel Chibas Yerushalayim. The last initially included the entire Austro-Hungarian Kingdom, but as each subparty looking for more courteous distribution, the Hungarians separated into Kolel Shomrei HaChomos.

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