The Communists in Russia were not able to shut down Tomchei Temimim, and COVID-19 won’t shut it down either. The challenge today is different, but the mission remains the same, in what is surely Tomchei Temimim’s final frontier before Moshiach’s arrival. The Rebbe Rashab, the Frierdiker Rebbe, the Rebbe, and all the Temimim of old are looking to us, the final generation of Temimim, to carry the baton over the finish line.
To that end, YG Melbourne resumed full Seder today via online platforms Zoom and Google Classroom, with the aim of supporting each Bochur in keeping a regular full day of Seder. Instead of reducing Torah study, YG’s full-service virtual Zal resumed Seder two days ahead of schedule. Seder was also opened up to all Bochurim enrolled in overseas Yeshivos who are stranded in Australia due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The regular daily schedule packed with interactive Shiurim is conducted via the Zoom platform. Efficient Chavrusa study is facilitated via Zoom breakout-rooms, allowing each pair to see each other whilst learning together. During Chavrusa-time, the Zoom breakout-rooms structure augments quality individual interaction between the Bochurim and their learning staff, allowing each Chavrusa to connect instantly with their respective Maggid Shiur, Mashpia or Meishiv. This state of connectivity also provides an extra layer of accountability, with the Maggid Shiur and Mashgiach being able to “pop in” and participate at any time with any Chavrusa. Meforshim and Shiur material, as well as revision content and tests, are all distributed via Google Classroom.
YG’s incredible Shluchim are fully engaged, supplementing the program with one-to-one Chavrusa and mentoring support, and also coordinating a revolving panel of topical Shiurim for one hour each day. The highly acclaimed Mivtzah Torah is continuing in full, and even YG talmidim stranded overseas have resumed their involvement in this rigorous but rewarding learning project.
Especially heart-warming was the exceptional enthusiasm of the Bochurim, and their genuine excitement to re-engage with the energy of Torah learning and the camaraderie of their peers. The Bochurim are very keen about the merger of millennia-old study with the power of modern mobile technology. The parent body also expressed a great deal of admiration for the new learning environment, as well as the decisive action and agility of Yeshivah Gedolah in maintaining their programming for students in such difficult and uncertain times.
A number of sensible online etiquette measures were implemented, such as recommending that Chavrusos break up computer time with a short break each hour, as well as expecting them to remain on video the entire time. The well-organised online Seder is the product of all the experience gleaned in the two weeks of online shiurim and farbrengens hosted by YG prior to Pesach, as well as feedback from Bochurim, Shluchim and parents.
The present situation is a remarkable opportunity for the Talmidim and their Hanholo to collaborate in unimagined ways, and together to give the Rebbe much Nachas. We hope and believe that the present situation is a short prelude to the immediate arrival of Moshiach now!