By: Rikki Zagelbaum  | 

EL AL and Yeshiva University Team Up to Include YUTorah on Planes

EL AL, Israel's national airline, has teamed up with Yeshiva University to include selections from YUTorah, YU's online Torah platform, among their in-flight entertainment options. Launched in January, this initiative offers EL AL passengers access to a curated collection of recorded lectures on a variety of Jewish and biblical topics.

The idea came about last year, Community Dean for Values and Leadership and YUTorah co-founder Rabbi Ari Rockoff told The Commentator. Spearheaded by YU Mashgiach Ruchani Rabbi Josh Blass, and supported by EL AL owner and YU alumnus Kenny Rozenberg (YC ‘88), the program is aimed at expanding and diversifying EL AL's entertainment program by providing passengers with a plethora of Jewish content to engage with during their flights.

This collaboration is non-financial, allowing YUTorah to expand its reach while enabling EL AL to offer unique content to its passengers. “EL AL's motivation was to find something strategic and unique to expand their range of content,” Rockoff explained. “Offering this type of entertainment sets them apart.” The programming is currently offered onboard all Boeing 787 flights, which typically exceed nine hours and are used for all of EL AL's U.S. services. 

The partnership also provides EL AL with a wide-reaching platform for advertising. YUTorah, which debuted as an online platform for Torah study in 2003, has recorded 250,000 classes and counting, features 3,500 speakers, and is visited by 2.5 million learners annually, Rockoff added. EL AL is given free advertising space in YUTorah’s various publications, whose 100,000 copies reach over 500 synagogues across Israel and North America each year. “They [EL AL] saw it as an excellent opportunity to target a niche market, particularly consumers across the wider Modern Orthodox religious zionist communities,” Rockoff said. 

Passengers on EL AL flights can now enjoy access to audio lectures from Torah scholars and rabbis affiliated with Yeshiva University, including YU President Rabbi Ari Berman, Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Hershel Schachter and GPATS Director Nechama Price, among others. About 40 new lessons will be uploaded every three months, each averaging about 45 minutes, which is “more than enough to cover a round trip from the U.S. to Israel,” Rockoff shared. These lectures span topics such as Jewish law, history, prayer, relationships, family life and the weekly Torah portion, and will be updated seasonally to align with the Jewish calendar.

When discussing the partnership's role in extending YU's mission of promoting Jewish education and values worldwide, Rockoff referenced YUTorah's original campaign, from its launch over 20 years ago. “We initially called it a ‘Yeshiva without walls,’” he said. “That was our original intent, and thank G-d, we have substantially realized that vision. Our current goal is to widen our audience, reaching travelers not just from the U.S. but also from Australia, South Africa and the U.K. — regions where our presence is weaker. We hope this is only the beginning, as we aim to connect with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Jews worldwide.” 

“We are excited about this historic partnership between Yeshiva University and EL AL, as we continue to extend YUTorah's mission of spreading our institution's teachings and values to every corner of the world — literally!”  


Photo Caption: EL AL has collaborated with YUTorah to make Torah lectures available to passengers.

Photo Credit: Yeshiva University