In a North-American, perhaps global first, 700 talmidim worldwide recently completed Talmud Yerushalmi’s Maseches Demai, thanks to a unique partnership between the Orthodox Union’s Torah Initiatives and ArtScroll that enables easy access to Yerushalmi Daf Yomi via a user-friendly app.
Torah Initiatives comprises a broad array of innovative and impactful Torah programming and runs the All Torah platform, a collection of free Torah apps and websites. These include All Daf, All Parsha and All Mishna, which provide world-class, curated shiurim, content and resources.
“Although I’m overwhelmed by the participation of learners, this isn’t about the numbers,” says All Torah Director Rabbi Moshe Schwed. “This is a revolution of people taking the time to focus on an obscure area of Torah that’s recently been put more in reach by the completion of the ArtScroll elucidation and clear, easy-to-use online resources available on the All Torah platform.”
All Daf was launched in January 2020, concurrent with the start of the new Daf Yomi Bavli cycle, which spans seven and half years. The platform features 14 world-class Daf Yomi shiurim, supplemental mefarshim and reference materials including a
daily quiz and Jewish history that relate to the Daf Yomi cycle. The All Daf app has been downloaded 83,000 times to date, and there have been hundreds of thousands of views on the All Daf website.
Upon ArtScroll’s completion of the Schottenstein Yerushalmi, All Daf began a Yerushalmi cycle in November 2022 featuring shiurim and a link to the ArtScroll app to view the daf.
“Since its launch, over 10,000 unique users have logged on to All Daf to learn Yerushalmi, and close to 700 people currently incorporate this learning into their daily schedule using the All Torah platform,” says All Daf Project Manager Asher Tesser. “It’s unbelievable, because most people have never learned Yerushalmi before. It’s generally not taught in yeshivas. The OU decided to pursue something that was uncharted territory — no one has really previously offered this opportunity on such a platform. With All Daf shiurim in partnership with ArtScroll, it has become much more attainable.”
L-R: OU Managing Director of Community Engagement Rabbi Yaakov Glasser; OU Maggid Shiur and Rav of Kehillat Nofei Hashemesh Rabbi Shalom Rosner; OU All Torah Director Rabbi Moshe Schwed
Rabbi Shalom Rosner is the rabbi of Beit Shemesh’s Kehillat Nofei Hashemesh, a Ram (Rav Moreh) at Yeshivat KBY (Kerem B’Yavneh) and a venerated OU Maggid Shiur. He delivers one of three Talmud Yerushalmi shiurim on the All Daf platform, along with Rabbi Chaim Aryeh Zev Ginzberg and Rabbi Zecharia Resnik. He did not anticipate the enthusiasm generated by the unique chance to study Yerushalmi.
“When I was asked by the OU to give this shiur, I really did not know what to expect,” he reflects. “I did not know whether there would be listeners, or an interest in a Yerushalmi shiur. To know that there are thousands of people who have used All Daf to learn Talmud Yerushalmi really warms the heart and is an inspiration and chizuk for me personally, to be able to continue learning together with the tzibbur.”
Rabbi Rosner notes that the learning of Yerushalmi is not meant to replace the learning of Bavli.
“We are always mosif v’holech, we always add on to Torah learning,” he says. “With the help of the new Oz VeHadar pagination, the publication of the entire ArtScroll series on Yerushalmi, and the OU All Daf platform, all of these have helped to promulgate and facilitate a tremendous amount of Torah learning on Talmud Yerushalmi.”
About 50 people recently celebrated Maseches Demai’s completion at a siyum hosted by Benyamin and Esti Kaminetzky of Teaneck, New Jersey. Maseches Demai explores the halachos related to produce that has been purchased from someone not versed in the laws of separating terumos and maaseros. The participants completed the masechtah in a little over three months.
For Rabbi Rosner, the siyum was an inspiring event that brought together Daf Yomi learners from all walks of life, who came to celebrate Torah, achdus and completing a portion of the Talmud that is not commonly studied.
OU President Mitchel Aeder was also touched by the milestone accomplishment.
“Celebrating the siyum of Maseches Demai at the home of my friends Benyamin and Esti Kaminetzky — and virtually with thousands more worldwide — was truly a shehecheyanu occasion,” he says. “I applaud the All Torah and All Daf teams, Rabbis Rosner, Resnik and Ginsberg, and our partners at ArtScroll for their trailblazing achievements in helping people worldwide to learn Talmud Yerushalmi by making it accessible to all.”
About Torah Initiatives and All Daf
Torah Initiatives comprises a broad array of innovative and impactful Torah programming. With the vision of a community where every adult makes limmud ha-Torah a central part of their life, Torah Initiatives’ diverse approaches and formats provide study opportunities for those from every community and affiliation to further develop their relationship with Hashem. Created under the auspices of the OU, All Daf is a revolutionary learning platform where users experience the Daf from both an individualized and holistic perspective. All Daf’s broad range of topics are channeled through personalized, user-friendly feeds, which adapt to each learner’s interests. The platform has been specifically designed to enrich the learning of learners of all stripes and backgrounds, regardless of skill level or interests.
About the Orthodox Union
Founded in 1898, the Orthodox Union (OU), or Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, serves as the voice of American Orthodox Jewry, with over 400 congregations in its synagogue network. As the umbrella organization for American Orthodox Jewry, the OU is at the forefront of advocacy work on both state and federal levels, outreach to Jewish teens and young professionals through NCSY, Israel Free Spirit Birthright, Yachad and OU Press, among many other divisions and programs.