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One of the positive fallouts from the Covid-19 pandemic, is the growth of online learning programs. The Jewish community is no exception. Located in the heart of Jerusalem, former South African Gad Grieve is part of a resurgence of Torah study in the world. It’s happening in the observant and not so observant community.

Many prominent Talmud scholars were effected by the lockdown, in Israel and in other parts of the world. Known for his technical skills with online platforms, Gad Grieve was instrumental in setting up several online platforms. This facilitated the possibility of hosting multiple Zoom calls on a daily basis.

Whereas online Torah study was previously available from several online platforms like YouTube, OU Torah, Torah Live, the pandemic resulted in an explosion of classes and one-on-one online learning. Rabbi David Cohen a prominent Torah scholar admitted, “There has been a silver lining to Corona. The amount of Torah students who have taken to zoom is incredible.”

Grieve, working on a voluntary basis, was able to expedite the process of connecting   talmidei chochamim with an audience.  Hundreds who would most likely not have entered a yeshiva on their own accord, found a watering-hole in the way of Zoom. They were fascinated by what they had saw and heard. The upshot was that tens of online yeshivas sprung up, sparking a surge in Torah learning.

Eric Weiss, originally from Baltimore said, “Coming from an unobservant family, I was drawn out of interest to Torah. I always wondered what Rabbi Akiva found so fascinating. When I actually did hear a shiur on the parshah I was blown away.”

Weiss now spends his morning listening to Torah shiurim on mussar, halacha and the parsha. More advanced scholars tune into a Daf Yomi shiur where they go through a blad gemora, which is equal to two pages, every day. After a about six and a half years they cover the entire Shas, the complete set of what is known as the oral law.

Gad Grieve cannot take full credit for the work that he is doing because, as the process would have happened organically in any event. However publicizing and connecting students with the classes of the Torah classes, certainly helped speed up the process. He could not be contacted for this article.

Even if and when the pandemic ends, one thing is for sure. Torah learning will never be the same. Come rain, hail or snow, every Maggid shiur will be just a Zoom’s throw away. It’s as they say in Torah circles, gam Zoom le tova. It’s an adaption of the expression gam zoom latova, which means “everything is for best.” The adapted phrase reads, “Also Zoom is for best.”    

 

Writer: David Rosen

About the Writer: David Rosen is a freelance writer who covers topics and lifestyle events in the Jewish community.

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