31 CLASSES BY 29 RENOWNED SCHOLARS ADDRESSED TRADITIONAL TOPICS & MODERN ISSUES LIKE SOCIAL MEDIA AND ARTICIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
NEW YORK – Torah took the mound at Citi Field recently as the Orthodox Union (OU) fielded a team of 29 internationally renowned scholars who led classes on a wide array of 31 subjects for around 2,500 participants at its third annual Torah New York event. The classes ranged from more traditional approaches on how to spiritually prepare for the Jewish High Holidays to more modern issues like repentance in a time of social media and the affects artificial intelligence will have on Shabbos observance in the future.
In addition to lectures, the Semichas Chaver Program & Siyyum attracted 400 people from 23 North American communities. There was also NCSY programming and a parallel interactive program for children ages 5-12. The OU, the nation’s oldest and largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization for Orthodox Jewry in America, also previewed a state-of-the-art app for daily Talmud study called “ALL DAF,” the app is expected to transform the way Daf Yomi is studied in the future with its interactive statistics, graphs, charts, video, maps and biographies. It is expected to launch with the new seven-year learning cycle that starts in early January 2020.
Sivan Rahav Meir, a well-known political reporter for Israel’s Channel 2 News who has a wide following for her views on the blessings and dangers of social media, told a packed audience of the dangers of wealth, privilege and unbridled access to social media.
“It is no longer good enough to have Amazon, now you need Amazon Prime. We can’t even wait a week for a package to arrive, it has to be that day or at least the next. What does that say about our culture? This is the crisis of our generation. How do we learn to use social media for the good, but turn it off and away from things that distract us and our children,” she said.
Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Rimon, an internationally acclaimed posek, author, educator and lecturer on helping shape the contemporary Jewish world, welcomed how artificial intelligence could benefit halachic observance in the future. While he cautioned about the impact robots might have on Shabbos in the home, there could be many other benefits that would enhance life for observant Jews in the future.
The event also featured a screening of a never-before-seen recording of Rabbi Dr. Joseph B. Soloveitchik teaching one of his famed annual Teshuva Drashas.
The blue-ribbon list of scholars who taught sessions throughout the day also included: Dr. Henry Abramson, Rabbi Moshe Elefant, Rabbi Eytan Feiner, Rabbi Dovid Fohrman, Rabbi Joey Haber, Charlie Harary, Rabbi Avraham Kahan, Rabbi Levi Langer, Rabbi Ahron Lopiansky, Rabbi Judah Mischel, Rabbi Yaakov Neuburger, Mrs. CB Neugroschl, Rabbi Shaul Robinson, Dr. Smadar Rosensweig, Rabbi Yonason Sacks, Rabbi Herschel Schachter, Rabbi Jacob J. Schacter, Mrs. Dina Schoonmaker, Mrs. Shira Smiles, Rabbi Zvi Sobolofsky, Mrs. Shani Taragin, Rabbi Ya’akov Trump, Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein, Rabbi Steven Weil, Rabbi Mordechai Willig, Dr. Ora Wiskind, and Rabbi Dr. Jeffery Woolff.
“It is so exciting to observe the eagerness of our community to connect to Torah study and to a deeper understanding of their relationship to God,” said Orthodox Union President Moishe Bane. “In these days immediately before the High Holidays, I cannot imagine a more profound message to God of our eagerness to connect.”
“The comprehensiveness of Torah New York, the range of classes and the breath of scholarship that reaches young children, teenagers and adults makes this such an important event for the Jewish community,” said Orthodox Union Executive Vice President Allen Fagin. “It is so heartwarming to see us transform Citi Field into a real field of dreams, and how Torah learning can raise and inspire our community.”
Founded in 1898, the Orthodox Union, (OU), serves as the voice of American Orthodox Jewry, with over 400 congregations in its synagogue network. As the umbrella organization for American Orthodox Jewry, the OU is at the forefront of advocacy work on both state and federal levels, outreach to Jewish teens and young professionals through NCSY, Birthright Israel/Israel Free Spirit, Yachad and OU Press, among many other divisions and programs. For more information, visit https://www.ou.org/.