Halachipedia: Publicizing Halacha, One Byte At A Time
Can you imagine being able to google your everyday shaylos and find reliable answers within seconds? Halachipedia might be your answer. Halachipedia.com is aimed at providing thorough, clear, and elaborate answers to all of the practical modern-day halachic questions. It has the organized look of Wikipedia, is clean of ads, and has close to 500 pages with over 10,000 footnotes. The site gets an average of 500 hits a day, peaking at 2500 on Erev Pesach or before other holidays. As one user puts it, “Citations to all the sources on every issue related to the topic make it like a Kaf HaChaim with a search button. It truly is Kef HaChaim.” The core energy for the site starts right here at YU with its students and teachers.
YU’s Halachipedia club is focused on expanding and refining the content already online while simultaneously enabling students to write and edit exciting halachic articles on practical issues. In the last two years, we’ve published 8 packets, producing them twice a semester, under the guidance of Roshei Yeshiva, Rav Schachter and Rav Willig.
To illustrate, last year, spearheaded by previous club president Jeremy Perlow (Syms ‘15), we were involved with holiday topics, including Brachos for Tu BiShvat. The most recent packet, produced at the start of the year, was the Practical Guide to the Yamim Noraim. Currently, we are working on a Practical Guide to Travel.
In preparing the general topic for the next packet as well as the individual articles, Russell Spiewak (YC’ 16), President of the Halachipedia Club, organized a club meeting which gathered a modest crowd of a dozen students for a productive discussion. Russell looks forward to a productive year and has already expanded the club to the Stern campus. Ahuva Motechin (Stern ‘17) is the Beren Campus Head Coordinator and began organizing writers and editors for the next Halachipedia packet. Our other veteran editors include Ariel Schreier (YC ‘16) and Dubbin Hanon (YC ‘15).
Recently, upon suggestion by Mordechai Djavaheri (YC ‘17), we’ve added dynamic links to Sefaria.org to enable users to easily see the sources by simply scrolling over the sources.
Another development initiated by YU student, Ben Kean (YC ‘19), is our Spanish section. It has a strong start with 5 translated pages and hopefully this will grow further. This initiative has been met with a warm reception and there is still more demand for the further expansion of translating Halachipedia more extensively and into more languages.
Altogether, Halachipedia is expanding rapidly. What will be the next major development on Halachipedia? Take a tour of the site and give us your suggestions!