New YUTorah App Released
On Monday, Jan. 28, the Yeshiva University Center for the Jewish Future (CJF) released a new YUTorah application for iOS and Android. The Marcos and Adina Katz YUTorah Online is a website with around 180,000 shiurim uploaded and is the largest online platform for Torah study.
According to Rabbi Robert Shur, the director of YUTorah, the purpose of the app is to “maximize the user experience and provide [the] functionality you expect from an app and not just from a mobile site. It’s faster, more stable, [more] customizable, has a lot of new options and really sets a new standard for mobile Torah learning.”
A previous version of the YUTorah app was created in 2012. The production of that app was “done quickly and not well, and it wasn’t able to be easily updated when iOS and Android released new versions,” stated Rabbi Shur.
“It was therefore decided that it would be better to spend the time and resources to build a new app, with native code and a solid API (Application Programming Interface), that would work really well and be able to easily adapt to future changes to iOS and Android, rather than waste money on fixing the old one,” explained Rabbi Shur. “We expect to have a regular stream of updated versions as we add more and more to the app over the coming months and years.”
Rusty Brick was hired to create the app in conjunction with Integrate, the company that manages the YUTorah website. Rusty Brick is a company that has created other Jewish-themed apps such as Tanakh, Tikun Korim and Siddur.
Six weeks before the public release of the app, a beta version was released to a group of around 15 individuals.
Jacob Rosenfeld (YC ‘21), one of the beta testers, had a positive impression regarding the app. “It’s great to have a new app with so many new features,” he said. “The ability to easily search, download and change the speeds of shiurim is really amazing. As with any new app, there is always room for improvement, but I think they really did a great job putting it together.”
According to Rabbi Yaakov Glasser, the David Mitzner Dean of the CJF, the creation and continued maintenance of the app was fully funded by the Katz family as a gift to Yeshiva University
“A more enhanced platform for connecting to this incredible, unparalleled resource, will further the spread of Torah throughout the world,” remarked Rabbi Glasser.
A special session of the Arbesfeld Yom Rishon Program will take place on Sunday, March 3 to celebrate the release of the app. The keynote speech of the event will be given by Rabbi Hershel Schachter on the topic of “The History and Development of Talmud Torah,” which will be followed by a panel discussion consisting of four speakers on the subject of “The Future of Talmud Torah.”
Examples of the questions which will be addressed by the panel were provided by Rabbi Glasser, namely: “What does the accessibility of 180,000 shiurim mean for the role of educators and rabbis in their community? What will rebbe-talmid relationships look like in the future? And how will institutions be impacted by the opportunity to reach students beyond their walls — all over the world?”
Photo Caption: A page from the new YUTorah app
Photo Credit: YUTorah.org Facebook Page