Leading Online Torah Study Resource Surpasses Major Milestone
Begun as an ad-hoc gathering of shiur [lecture] recordings, YUTorah has become a formidable force in the spread of Torah learning worldwide, reaching a major milestone upon passing the 100,000 shiur mark this January.
“The growth of YUTorah has been exponential,” said Rabbi Robert Shur, director of YUTorah since 2007. “What started in 2004 with a little over 1,000 shiurim grew to 10,000 about two and a half years later. It took another five years to get to 50,000, with the second 50,000 taking less than three years.”
The list of contributors and lecturers is extensive, from across Yeshiva University and around the world. While some contributors have just a handful of recordings, there are 20 rabbis or lecturers with more than 1,000 uploaded to the site. Rabbi Hershel Schachter, Nathan and Vivian Fink Distinguished Professorial Chair in Talmud, and Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz, a daf yomi [daily Talmud study] contributor and host of the “Ten Minute Halacha” series on the site, each have more than 4,000. The recent addition of some 3,500 shiurim of Rabbi Moshe Weinberger, mashpiah at YU, now available free to the public for the first time, helped YUTorah break the 100,000 mark.
The open audio Torah library was launched when Rabbi Marc Spivac, then a student at YU-affiliated Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary (RIETS) and anticipating a career in the rabbinate outside the New York area, taped and collected shiurim at YU that he could later listen to at any time. When he ran out of space in his apartment, he burned them to CDs and then later, with the help of student Chaim Jaskoll and others, uploaded the lectures onto a website to be accessed, worldwide.
The YUTorah site has become a conduit for yeshivot in Israel, allowing their alumni to continue listening to shiurim from their rabbis. Shuls and individuals worldwide turn to YUTorah to stay linked to a wide variety of learning opportunities on many topics, geared towards a diverse audience. The site’s popularity is reflected in its more than four million annual visits from 185 countries, as well as thousands of downloads of its mobile apps for Android and iPhone.
Users can dedicate and sponsor days, weeks or months of learning. Long time YU Benefactors Marcos and Adina Katz gave a generous gift to endow YUTorah in 2006. “They are visionaries who appreciated the potential of online platforms for the revolution of Torah study around the world,” said Rabbi Yaakov Glasser, David Mitzner Dean at YU’s Center for the Jewish Future.
“The growth of YUTorah in surpassing 100,000 shiurim is a testament to the community of scholars and students who turn to YUTorah as their virtual spiritual home,” added Rabbi Glasser. “YUTorah is a nexus of multiple Torah communities, revolving around the vibrancy and Torah leadership of Yeshiva University.”