May 26, 2024
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May 26, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

TABC’s Kol Torah Launches New Website, KolTorah.org

(Courtesy of Kol Torah Staff) Now entering its 28th year of consecutive publication, TABC’s Kol Torah has launched a newly redesigned website available at koltorah.org. Kol Torah is a weekly publication of the students of TABC under the guidance of Rabbi Haim Jachter. Each week, students and faculty members publish a selection of divrei Torah on the parshah or chag. The site now includes a searchable and categorized archive of all past parshah, halacha, and Tanach articles. Kol Torah began in 1991 under the leadership of Rabbi Michael Taubes. Since its inception, Kol Torah has slowly grown in its reach—as of the 2018 school year, the publication is distributed weekly to over 28 shuls across the tri-state area. Hundreds of individuals also receive the publication via email. Although it had a significant online following, up until now, Kol Torah’s website had not been updated for almost eight years.

Ned Krasnopolsky, co-editor-in-chief of Kol Torah, described the necessity of the long overdue update: “The amount of Torah produced by Kol Torah in its almost 30-year history is almost innumerable. With the new website, all of it is now easily accessible. We knew that the transfer would take a while—we began in May and only ended in the middle of August. It was a summer-long project and I am thankful to those who were involved in the effort. It truly is a wealth of information that can now be fully accessed, shared and cited.” Rabbi Jachter was thrilled with the redesign: “This is the moment we have been waiting for—to make Kol Torah more widely available online. I have tremendous hakarat hatov to the Kol Torah team for their hard work. It is truly momentous.” In terms of content, the site contains thousands of Torah articles, with over 750 authored by Rabbi Haim Jachter, with topics ranging from contemporary halachic issues, like the validity of DNA and blood tests in beit din, to more traditional Tanach and hashkafic analyses. Krasnopolsky also noted that the new website platform provides Kol Torah with new analytics tools: “We now are able to see how many people are reading our content, what is accessed most often and where in the world they are reading.” While renovating the site, Krasnopolsky noticed some unexpected access locations: “We saw that the site had been accessed from South Korea and China. I’m not sure what that means—either we got picked up by a Korean search engine, or someone on a business trip looked up the Halachic International Dateline.”

TABC faculty members were also particularly excited by the potential of the new site. Rabbi David Nachbar, a member of the TABC Class of 1996, and current Judaic studies faculty member, was impressed by the site’s organization: “The redesigned Kol Torah website is marvelously organized and easy to navigate. It provides easy access to a treasure trove of online Torah material. Decades worth of Torah articles are easily searchable by author or by parsha, and, in addition, all of Rabbi Jachter’s halachic explorations are neatly cataloged by topic. Kol hakavod to the editors of Kol Torah for this invaluable service to the Torah community.” Rabbi Nachbar was involved with Kol Torah as a student, and continues to write for the publication more than 20 years later. TABC rebbe, Rabbi Yoni Mandelstam, noted how the vast Kol Torah archives are representative of the mindset that many TABC students have towards Torah learning: “When we look at how much Torah has been produced through Kol Torah over the years, it is truly inspiring. The Kol Torah archives highlight the fact that so many TABC talmidim engage Torah with creativity and excitement.” Rabbi Mandelstam, in addition to his organization of various TABC summer learning events, was responsible for the creation of the TABC summer learning WhatsApp group, in which he and several other TABC rebbeim shared audio shiurim with participating TABC students, alumni and families on a daily basis.

Rabbi Asher Yablok, now entering his third year as head of school at TABC, accentuated the unique role that Kol Torah plays throughout Bergen County in introducing families to the TABC community: “Kol Torah represents a core value of TABC in the manner with which it shares deep and meaningful Torah insights throughout Bergen County. In many respects, it is the first connection that families make with TABC and I am so excited to see the new website which will only further enable us to spread the Torah of our esteemed talmidim and faculty. Kol Torah, a fully student-run operation, has constantly sought ways to further its mission and share Torah of the highest quality with our community. The opening of its new site achieves that goal, yet again, and ensures that this remarkable institution continues to serve our community at the highest level possible. I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge Rabbi Jachter’s unique contribution and unending guidance in making this project a success.”

Rabbi Daniel Fridman, sgan rosh hayeshivah at TABC, and rabbi at the Jewish Center of Teaneck, emphasized how the development of the new website fulfills a broader halachic goal: “Kol Torah is, and has been widely recognized for some time as, perhaps the finest weekly Torah publication of its genre, presenting substantive analyses of important topics in both parshanut and halacha, with an emphasis on Chazal’s mandate to develop chiddushei Torah, ‘ee efshar l’beit midrash b’lo chiddush.’ The expansion and development of the new website, in making this Torah more widely, and easily accessible, is a manifestation of yet another celebrated aspect of the mitzvah of talmud Torah, namely, harbatzat ha-Torah, the dissemination of Torah, which now finds its most dramatic expression on the internet. This is not a value we take lightly, as we recall the bat kol’s critique of Reish Lakish, relative to R. Chiya, ‘Torah kamoto pilpalta, Torah kamoto lo rivatzta.’ For many years, Kol Torah, under Rabbi Jachter’s inspired leadership, has represented the finest expression of the former clause, Torah kamoto pilpalta. With the development of this new website, thanks to the exceptional dedication of our talmidim, it is our every prayer that we may now say, inverting the second clause, Torah kamoto rivatznu.” Rabbi Fridman was responsible for the publication of “Ruach Yosef” this past Shavuot, a compilation of Torah articles written by TABC faculty and students, copies of which are available by emailing [email protected].

Kol Torah would like to thank Raphi Langer, Tani Greengart, Mark Gottesman, Gershon Engel, Naftali Kruman, Yitzchak Tollinsky, Netanel Vinar and Shuah Weber for their help with transferring the archives. A special thank you to Eitan Leff, who uploaded a significant portion of the archives and helped with the organization of the articles.

The new site can be accessed by visiting koltorah.org, and any questions or comments can be directed to [email protected].

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