JUST IN: Agudah shuts down ‘Siyum APP’ after complaints

After several complaints about the Agudah Siyum APP, it has been withdrawn.

They released the following statement.

Leaders of Agudath Israel of America were recently contacted by a number of Roshei Yeshiva, Mechanchim and Rabbanim from across America who expressed concerns about the “Siyum App” introduced by the Agudah in conjunction with the upcoming 13th Global Siyum HaShas of Daf Yomi.

The original intent behind the Siyum App was להגדיל תורה ולהאדירה: to encourage and facilitate Torah learning among the broad hamon am by making Daf Yomi shiurim and other forms of limud haTorah easily accessible to the masses. The Siyum App was never intended to encourage those who do not have “smartphones” to start using them; it was meant for those who already do use smartphones, and who now would have an opportunity to use the App to start or increase their own kvias itim la’Torah. In this respect, the Siyum App was designed with similar goals as were the several other special learning initiatives developed in advance of the upcoming Siyum HaShas – for example, Chavrei HaSiyum and Masmidei HaSiyum, which have already resulted in a major increase in limud haTorah among young and old alike, and which will be’H continue to do so in the months leading up to the Siyum and beyond.

Despite these good intentions, as news of Agudas Yisroel’s sponsorship of the Siyum App spread, we received communications from a number of respected Roshei Yeshiva, Mechanchim and Rabbanim that the Siyum App was undermining the message they were trying to convey to their talmidim and baalebatim discouraging smartphone usage whenever possible. They pointed out that Agudas Yisroel’s sponsorship of an app, even one designed to promote limud haTorah, conveys the misimpression that the Agudah and the Gedolei Torah who stand at its helm view smartphone usage as a “l’chatchila” for all segments of the Torah community. This, they argued, was inconsistent with – and harmful to – their efforts to discourage such usage within their kehilos and yeshivos.

We brought these concerns to the attention of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of America. The chavrei ha’Moetzes agreed that the concerns were well taken. They acknowledged that many people may need to use smartphones for business or other necessary purposes, presumably with appropriate filters, and that there already exist several apps that promote limud haTorah. Nonetheless, they felt, an organization like Agudas Yisroel – whose hallmark has always been uncompromising fealty to da’as Torah and the highest Torah standards – must avoid taking any steps that could be misinterpreted as encouraging those who do not need smartphones to start using them.

Accordingly, at the direction of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, Agudas Yisroel has withdrawn the Siyum App. We apologize for any inconvenience or misunderstanding.

Looking forward to joining with you this coming ד’ טבת, January 1st, dancing together at the Siyum Hashas לכבוד התורה ולומדיה ולקדש שם שמים!

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  1. Wow !! Kudos to the Agudah for listening to the rabbanim and withdrawing the app. We may not always understand or agree with a particular p’sak but that’s why we listen to da’as torah, unconditionally. Expecially in this case, where, as the letter writer keeps pointing out, the app was increasing Limud HaTorah.
    6 months and a few days to the siyum !!
    Can’t hardly wait !!

  2. I have to say, first and foremost, I give a lot of credit to the Agudah administration for not only following the advice of the Gedolim but doing in a way where it is public and they can be under shame or fire instead of quietly just slipping the app away and pretending nothing happened.

    We may not always understand or agree with Daas Torah but following through is a strong message to our Dor.

    My mixed emotions come though in the fact that I feel that pulling away an app like the one they created is like pulling Artscroll Gemaras off the shelves.
    The reality is that more people than not are using some form of smartphone and for those people it helps them fill their smart time and space with divrei kedusha.

    Yes, there is still the chance that the talmidim and yungeleit may get the wrong message. Instead of pulling it away, I would think if keeping it was an option, that it would be incumbent on the Agudah to publicize that the app is not intended for use by those who dont use smartphones and that they dont encourage the use of them but for those that already have it is a tool to keep it kadosh.

    But apparently the Gedolim know better so I guess I’m wrong.

  3. b”h. No kidding the moetzes agreed.
    1) Its mind boggling how we expect to convince the youth and teens “about smart phones” yet they see MANY mature respectable adults at chuphas! Dr offices, buses, IN SHUL! BUSY with them ,some times even viewing clips,laughing and alike, all behaviors making them yearn it one day. they aint stupid!! If we want hope with them as they grow, then once in for all let 30,40,50 yrs olds behave with them!!! 2)No its not like driving and alcohol,that they understand have to be 21 for ,totally not,thats a very not intelligent answer 3)If “need” a smart phone for business 1)get a tablet instead 2)at least keep it out of chuphas and shuls! you need it there to for business right? everyone does business emergencies at chuphas??!! cut out the “need it” excuse. If MANY 30,40,50 etc yr olds continue their behaviors with smart phones publicly, don’t be foolish that Many of today’s 15 yr olds will listen to all the drushas etc. again teens are not as stupid as many think! thank you

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