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First of its Kind: Electronic Beit Medrash in Or Etzion

The new Torah study hall in Yeshiva Or Etzion includes a wireless internal network, electric outlets for laptops, and access to a Torah database.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 1/20/2011, 6:09 PM / Last Update: 1/20/2011, 6:29 PM

Or Etzion

The new Torah study hall (Beit Medrash) in the Or Etzion Hesder Yeshiva was dedicated this week, replete with a wireless internal network, electric outlets for laptops at every table, and access to a digital database of Halachic and other Jewish texts.

The yeshiva emphasizes that internet access is not provided in the Beit Medrash, of which a total overhaul has now been completed.

Zev Filgot, a student at Or Etzion who is responsible for the yeshiva’s computers and the network, explains how the students use the computers: “They search for sources over the network, save their work on their personal folders, and the like. The number of laptops in the Beit Medrash has grown significantly, and the new arrangements make it much easier and more efficient.”

The new Beit Medrash, called Heichal Yisrael, is sponsored by the Koshitzky family, as well as donations by thousands of the yeshiva’s graduates.

The dedication was attended by Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, Mayor of Shafir Asher Abergil, Rabbi Asher Avidan of nearby Zrachiah, many students and former students, and of course Yeshiva Dean Rabbi Chaim Druckman.

“G-d has given you material comforts,” Rabbi Amar said, “and you will pay Him back with spiritual goods.”

Rabbi Druckman taught those assembled Maimonides’ words on the Shehecheyanu blessing, which he then recited with great excitement – “…Who has given us life and sustained us and enabled us to reach this day!”  He then called on those present to study more Torah, which “holds up the entire Nation of Israel. All our problems can be solved by Torah study.”