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Jul 22, 2019

Agudath Israel of America pulls siyyum app

Interestingly, in advance of the siyum hashas of the current Daf Yomi cycle, Agudath Israel of America has decided to withdraw the siyum app they recently released.

The siyyum app was mean to encourage and facilitate learning of the daily daf by bringing shiurim and other tools and aids right to your smartphone.

After some rosh yeshivas complained about the appearances of Agudath Israel of America being behind such an app, it seems to give a hechsher, a gushpanka, to people using smartphones, and that is bad and damaging.

After receiving the complaints, they conferred with the gedolei yisrael and decided that despite their good intentions, the right move is to pull the app.
source: many websites, but here is the announcement on Baltimore Jewish Life with the text of the letter from AIoA and not just the image

It is a shame, though understandable. they really cannot just do whatever they want against their own official policy. This could have been an opportunity for education, to show that smartphones can be used for good, for Torah learning, for education, for positive uses and not just games, Internet surfing and pornography. I get it though.

Interestingly, the process is strange. For an organization that prides itself on daas torah and consulting with the gedolim before doing anything, here they created and released an app, a good app, a positive app encouraging more torah learning, received complaints and instead of saying we have the approval of the gedolim because we asked them first, they said, we hear your argument, let's go ask the gedolim. So, they had such a major decision facing them that would require a significant change of policy and they did not bother asking the gedolim for guidance before making a decision. Hmmmm.

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  1. I think the Agudah first asked and was given the go ahead and then some kanoim got involved and there was a reversal.

    1. is that an assumption/guess or did you see that somewhere?

    2. Just my cynical view as one living here in America and dealing with the we know best and all success is due to us but if there is any issue it must come from the home philosophy promulgated by my sons yeshiva's

  2. In Haredi-land, it's appearance, not substance, which matters. That smartphones are not assur doesn't matter. That smartphones are just a tool doesn't matter. That smartphones can easily facilitate Torah and Mitzvot doesn't matter. All that matters is that a smartphones also allow sex-obsessed Haredi men to see naughty pictures. The thought of letting people police themselves never once entered their minds.

    1. to be fair it is not just an issue of allowing "sex-obsessed haredi men to see naughty pictures". whenever using the internet we all see things accidentally or unintentionally that we would prefer not to see. most of us just move on, but they dont want this unintentional viewing either as it affects the person


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