Friday, August 29, 2008

Is There a Correct Shiur for a Shiur Room?

Here's a letter just sent by YC Junior Netanel (Tani) Cohn to the appropriate administrators concerning a situation he finds both unfair and uncomfortable. Way to go Tani!

To whom it may concern:

The current situation regarding Rav Sobolofsky's shiur room is untenable. In a room intended to comfortably accommodate thirty to forty people, upwards of one hundred are engaged in a battle for air and leg room, not to mention outlets. Beyond presenting an enormous fire hazard and an extremely uncomfortable educational environment, the limited classroom space has led to some students being denied the privilege of listening to shiur. I urge you for the sake of Torah (not to mention that of avoiding potential lawsuits and fire safety violations) to upgrade Rav Sobolofskys shiur to a larger room.

Options are abound; Furst room 501 is usually available, but in the event that it is not there exist several large classrooms as well as lecture halls in Belfer Hall which are readily open during the shiur time slots. In addition, several smaller shiurim currently occupy very large classrooms. Rav Saks's shiur which last year fluctuated between 15-20 students uses a Muss classroom capable of comfortably seating well over 65 people. Perhaps this classroom could be used to solve another seperate yet equally important issue. Rav Shulman's shiur, which takes place in the Morg Beit Midrash, effectively ejects all those who wish to learn there during that time-especially on Sundays and Thursdays when his shiur takes place at an earlier hour. This same phenomenon of having a shuir at the expense of other peoples learning occurs in the Furst Hall Beit Midrash during Rav Twerskys shiur.

In Short: There exist two problems with the current shiur locations:
1) The classrooms are not of an adequate size in order to accommodate the larger shiurim- causing an uncomfortable learning experience as well as denying many students the privilege of listening to shiur.
2) Several shiurim take place within the various battei midrash causing all those who learn in these battei midrash who do not participate in the shiur to be mevatel Torah.

There exist several solutions to these problems:
1) Utilizing the large classrooms and lecture halls in Belfer Hall will grant the larger shiurim their proper amount of space, thus eliminating both the current uncomfortable learning environment as well as avoid any situation where a talmid is denied the right to listen to shiur due to lack of space.
2) By either moving the current shiurim which take place within the walls of the battei midrash to other classrooms on campus (in Belfer or Furst etc) or by switching the current assigment of classrooms to allow for the larger shiurim to hold shiur within the larger classrooms and the smaller shiurim within the smaller ones, the problem of battei midrash being used for shiur and its subsequent bittul Torah will be rendered a non-issue.

Thanking you in advance for your concern, and with the hope of only להגדיל תורה ולהאדירה, Tani Cohn