The surge of technology in recent years has created a plethora of issues for talmidim in the Torah world. From addictive games to immoral content, the recent surge has had a significant impact on students’ quality of life, peer interactions, and productivity. Thus, Metivta Tiferet Torah created a unique program in 2021 to help mitigate the wave of technology in the students’ lives: The ReConnect Technology Program.
The ReConnect Technology Program requires students, who wish to participate, to filter their phones and take measurable steps to limit their daily screen time. The students who complete the program for the academic year are rewarded with an all-expense-paid trip to Orlando, Florida.
“I can personally attest to the tremendous growth each talmid who participated in this program experienced,” Rabbi Yehuda Kamravapour, the Mashgiach of MTT, expressed. “Disconnecting from technology allowed them to connect to Hashem, to Torah, and to each other,” he further added.
Last week, the participating students were treated to the Orlando Retreat. The students arrived in Orlando on Tuesday and spent the day celebrating their accomplishment in a luxurious rental home located in the heart of Kissimmee. Later that night, the students were taken to race at K1 Speed - Indoor Go Karts. Following the racing, the students enjoyed the rest of the evening in the pool with their friends.
The next morning, after t’filah and learning, the group was taken to Tampa Bay to visit Busch Gardens, a theme park that offers a combination of thrilling rides, live entertainment, and animal exhibits. The students experienced the many attractions Busch Gardens had to offer, including SheiKra: a floorless dive coaster; Montu: a coaster with seven inversions; and Tigris: the triple-launch coaster with a 150-foot skyward surge. The park also had numerous exotic animal exhibits containing tigers, cheetahs, gorillas, alligators, and penguins.
Later that evening, the group was treated to an incredible barbecue by Rabbi Kamravapour. The eventful day concluded with an extravagant pool party.
On the third and final day, the students had the privilege of praying with a sefer Torah courtesy of Orlando Torah Academy. After t’filah, the group packed and headed to SeaWorld Orlando, a theme park and marine mammal park known for its marine life exhibits, world-class shows, and thrill rides. The students were flooded with activities from the very beginning, including the breathtaking “Orca Encounter” show and the brand-new thriller ride, ICE BREAKER. Throughout the rest of the visit, the students witnessed a dolphin, sea lion, and otter live presentation, while also experiencing the top-notch rides SeaWorld has to offer. The day concluded with shawarma and burgers from Kosher Grill Orlando by the airport.
The students were extremely grateful and fulfilled by the incredible trip they experienced. “We had the best, most perfect, and amazing trip ever,” George Samouch wrote in a thank you message to the group chat. “Thank you, both rabbis, for the amazing, wonderful trip,” another student expressed.
The participating students were even more satisfied with the incredible results the program had on their day-to-day experience. Daniel Kashani shared his personal experience with the program: “The phone program helped me realize that a lot of screen time can negatively impact your day-to-day life, your thinking skills, your peace of mind, and the amount of rest you get day-to-day.” Daniel also advised people to try to realize this and take action to reduce their screen time.
“Project Re-Connect really helped me get focused,” Emanuel Simkhayev, a partaking freshman expressed, “whether it was school, work, or other things I had to get done. The program really helped me re-connect with myself.”
Another student privately disclosed that the program made him quit playing video games, as well as significantly reduce his screen time. “I truly believe this will help my marriage and the relationship with my children. I can’t thank the school enough for helping me break out of that horrible time-wasting habit and giving me a new perspective on the importance of time,” the student disclosed.
The program’s astonishing results could have not been achieved without the incredible supervision of Rabbi Kamravapour and Rabbi Zlotnick. MTT is looking forward to continuing the program and expanding it as part of their ongoing efforts to teach responsible use of technology to the future generation.
By Ariel Gavrielov