What has united 400 people over 4 continents? The 929:Tanakh B’yachad WhatsApp group organized by Rabbi Joe Wolfson, OU-JLIC Educator at NYU.

929: Tanakh B’yachad, started by Rabbi Benny Lau in 2014, was created with the goal of Israelis across the religous spectrum learning one perek of Tanakh every Sunday-Thursday. This summer, the first cycle of Tanakh was completed, and a new cycle of 929:Tanakh B’yachad was launched, this time with the added goal of reaching English speaking Jewish communities across the world.

Rabbi Joe Wolfson sends out a WhatApp message each day with the text of the perek to be learned on that day as well as a short recording on the perek. Three days a week he teaches the perek and on the other days Tanakh experts, OU-JLIC educators, OU-JLIC alumni, and even special guest speakers (including former Israeli Supreme Court Judges) teach the perek. The WhatsApp group became so popular that it had to be split into three different groups: one for OU-JLIC NYU students, one for everyone else (including OU-JLIC students, parents, alumni, and anyone else who wants to take part in the learning), and because that group reached the maximum number of participants, an additional group needed to be formed.

Interested in joining the 929:Tanakh B’yachad WhatsApp group? Click here to join.

The participants in the 929 WhatsApp group have joined together in support of important causes: They raised over $10,000 to help a young woman cover tuition costs for her year in Israel and gave donations to enable NYU students to travel to Pittsburgh to show their support for the local community.

One current NYU student thanked Rabbi Wolfson for organizing the 929 WhatsApp group because it had been such an integral component of his summer. This student spent his summer months in a grueling finance internship in NYC. During his breaks he would take time to learn the perek of Tanakh and listen to the audio recording which gave him strength to get through the rest of his work day. A young woman who recently made aliyah and is currently serving in the IDF shared the following words of appreciation: “I’m part of your 929 group and I wanted to say that I think what you guys are doing is amazing. And, as someone who barely has time to learning but makes time to fit it into her schedule regardless, this is the perfect way to fit it in…I just wanted to say thank you- for specifically your Torah, for giving me the Torah learning I’ve been missing and for putting this entire thing together at all.”

Interested in joining the 929:Tanakh B’yachad WhatsApp group? Click here to join.

Written by Hani Lowenstein, Associate Director of Community Projects.