Torah study org. to give yeshiva students NIS 12 m. for summer program

Ultra-Orthodox Dirshu group promoting global study program in reaction to disruption of yeshiva studies due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Dirshu celebration on completion of the seven year Daf Yomi cycle in New Jersey in January 2020 (photo credit: YOSSI GOLDBERGER)
Dirshu celebration on completion of the seven year Daf Yomi cycle in New Jersey in January 2020
(photo credit: YOSSI GOLDBERGER)
The Dirshu ultra-Orthodox Torah study organization has created a summer learning program for 50,000 yeshiva students around the Jewish world and Israel, and will be awarding them stipends amounting to NIS 12 million for participating.
Participating students will be able to call into a telephone line to hear Talmud lessons given by some of the most respected and revered ultra-Orthodox rabbis, including Rabbi Gershon Edelstein, one of the two most senior rabbis in the ultra-Orthodox world.
The initiative comes due to the disruption of yeshiva studies since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic which saw the winter term abruptly end before Passover, with only sporadic studies since then.
Many yeshiva students from the US and Europe who left before Passover have also been unable to return.
“Coronavirus has created an unusual situation, in which the roshei yeshivos [yeshiva deans], many of whom are very elderly and at high-risk for contracting the disease, are forced to stay home to protect themselves from the virus, and cannot give lessons and meet with their students. This has created an acute educational crisis, the likes of which, say many in the world of the yeshivos, has not been seen since World War II,” Dirshu said.
In its special summer program which began on Wednesday, yeshiva students will simultaneously study the same tractate of the Talmud, as well as the Pirkei Avot “Ethics of the Fathers” chapters of the Mishna.
Yeshiva students from France, the UK, Belgium, the US, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Australia, Morocco, Russia and Israel are all participating in the program, and it has been endorsed by several of the most senior rabbis in the ultra-Orthodox world, including Rabbi Edelstein, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, and Rabbi Shalom Cohen.
“There is great value in this program at this time which is a time of distress for the Jewish people to continue in aspiration and toil for the Torah,” reads a statement put out by the rabbis.
“We have no other value other than Torah… We should merit through this Torah study and those who learn it that the world will be saved, as the salvation of God is like the blinking of an eye.”
Participating students will be examined at the end of the month by telephone, with those passing obtaining the cash stipend.
Should yeshiva studies for the following month face ongoing disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dirshu says it will extend the program for the Elul (fall) term as well.
“The program is intended to strengthen the yeshiva world, particularly during this period, and will unite all sectors in Haredi [ultra-Orthodox] Jewry,” said the organization.
“The program will also help thousands of young people financially, who are suffering from the current economic situation. We are certain that alongside the wonderful educational value, the program will also provide a not insignificant economic and social benefit.”