New York – 170 Days Before Siyum Hashas, Agudah Pulls Plug On Siyum App After Rabbis Rebuke


    New York – An app created by Agudath Israel of America to promote Torah learning in advance of the upcoming global Siyum Hashas of Daf Yomi has been retracted in response to complaints from several rabbis who felt that it might encourage smartphone use.

    The Siyum App is just one of multiple initiatives launched by the Agudah to increase Torah study as the 13th cycle of Daf Yomi draws to an end, with tens of thousands expected to celebrate its conclusion at MetLife Stadium on January 1st, 2020. In a statement released today, Agudah executive vice president Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel noted that the app was never intended to encourage smartphone use and was instead developed to give existing smartphone users a platform to further their Torah study.

    Previously available for free on Google Play and the App Store, the Siyum App gave users the ability to choose from a variety of topics including Daf Yomi, Mishna, Jewish law and the weekly Torah reading, creating a customized learning schedule based on a chosen end date. It also included a full media library of Jewish texts and lectures, review questions and daily learning reminders.

    Rabbi Zwiebel explained that he had heard from an unspecified number of rabbis, some of whom are rosh yeshivas, that the app undermined their efforts to minimize smartphone use and also seemed to imply the Agudah’s tacit endorsement of the devices. Those concerns were brought to the Agudah’s rabbinical advisory board, Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of America, who acknowledged that while smartphones may be required for some in business and that multiple Torah-related apps exist, an official Agudah app was an entirely different matter.

    “They felt an organization like Agudas Yisroel – whose hallmark has always been uncompromising fealty to da’as Torah and the highest Torah standards- must avoid taking any steps that could be misinterpreted as encouraging those who do not need smartphones to start using them,” said Rabbi Zwiebel. “Accordingly, at the direction of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, Agudas Yisroel has withdrawn the Siyum App.”

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    4 years ago

    Kol Hakuved for them to listen to their rabbis, despite having spend Thousands on the app

    4 years ago

    Just thinking out loud.. Why is this any different from mosdos raising money on line chardy yeshivas and chesed lavroham run by the skulener chasidus allowed to use the internet for their purposes. I would appreciate for a explanation if there is one. I really agree that one should not use it, just why are there exceptions for raising money ..

    4 years ago

    I Don’t understand how people could publicly (and in many ways even privately) question and argue a psak which has clearly been directed from the Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah… once we start doing that … …. … … …

    4 years ago

    Is there a way we can get a list of these rebuking rabbis?

    4 years ago

    What a refreshing change. Usually it is the rabbonim who play catch up to the chumrahs that are driven from the bottom up. This is the rare occasion when the rabbonim themselves initiate a chumrah from the top down. Having said this, it is a terrible decision. Because not one smartphone carrying Jew will get rid of his smartphone because of this. Too much of today’s business activity is smartphone dependent, as is the money the rabbonim schnorr from those who carry a smartphone.All they have achieved is that the smartphone owner will look at something else during his commute or wherever he may find himself with nothing else to do.And the ony ting we know about that something else is that it will not be Torah.

    Mark Levin
    Mark Levin(@mark-levin)
    4 years ago

    Perhaps we shouldn’t have siyumim in stadiums or arenas because someone might decide to go to a traifa sporting event or concert.

    Reb Yid
    Reb Yid(@reb-yid)
    4 years ago

    Another failed opportunity. Explains why the average person hears about AI only once every 7.5 years.

    Mark Levin
    Mark Levin(@mark-levin)
    4 years ago

    I’m sorry but I believe the moderators are incorrect In this case and how they present the story. The headline stinks of sensational journalism! Shame on you! This is a headline I would expect on the New York Daily Snooze or the New York Slimes!

    If you are a frum Jewish oriented website as you claim to be, you have to take the achreyis on yourself to make sure certain things, such as this, or presented in a positive light.

    4 years ago

    What happened last time when the oldest rebbe in the world, Viznitz-Monsey Rebbe ZT”L asked Agudah not to invite Rav Lau from Israel to speak at the syum, why didnt agudah listen to him then.?!

    4 years ago

    The App is breathtaking! Hope they will sell it to a second party who will launch it for Klal Yisrael.

    4 years ago

    Another opportunity for spreading Torah missed. These rabbonim are living in the dark ages. Todays children go OTD because of psaks like this, withdrawing/banning Kaminetsky book, banning Slifkin, anti vaxing, etc. Stick your head in the sand and maybe it will go away? Not.
    I like #15 ’s suggestion. Dont kill the app, just give it to someone else to disseminate. (YU, OU,, etc.)
    I spend at least an hour a day learning from apps and internet. An hour I otherwise would not have. And the Yam of Torah that is available to me is vast.

    4 years ago

    why didn’t they ask BEFORE? plus the Aguda chairman leon g regularly is seen endorsing liberals, does the moetzes support that?

    4 years ago

    While they keep the flock in the dark ages I’m sure they will gladly continue taking donations from plenty a smartphone-carrying Yid.

    4 years ago

    aren’t there FILTERS to filter out stuff you don’t like on the internet. of course, there are. USE THEM, rabbis, and let us be.

    4 years ago