JERUSALEM – The Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) has launched a first-of-its-kind online Beit Midrash (house of learning) that focuses on fostering interaction between learners in a virtual environment. The Beit Midrash is the first virtual Torah study initiative that enables both fully interactive and real-time study for its participants. The platform will be available to all who are interested in Torah learning and have the necessary Hebrew proficiency.
While myriad audio- or video-based Torah classes already exist online, such learning is conducted in one direction – from the rabbi, who passes the lesson to listeners and viewers, as opposed to the type of engagement and collaboration which usually occurs in a Beit Midrash setting. With Beit Midrash facilities closed due to social distancing, JCT’s new tool cultivates interactivity by allowing participants to express themselves, ask questions, and develop discussions accordingly.
The new Beit Midrash is hosted on a unique online platform established by Israeli screenwriter Udi Leon. Participants can access traditional Judaic classes as well as courses on other contemporary issues which are at the intersection of Torah and technology. For instance, students will explore the topic of allocation of life-saving resources under crisis conditions. Such questions have gained increased relevance during the pandemic due to the strain on hospitals with limited life saving medical equipment – in principle forcing them to decide who is saved and who is not.
Before the pandemic, JCT’s brick-and-mortar Beit Midrash had served over 400 students. While the College expects to resume its in-person Beit Midrash program once the outbreak subsides, the virtual component of the Beit Midrash will also continue post-pandemic.
Main Photo: The Jerusalem College of Technology (Wikipedia)