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Kiddush Hashem: Over 90,000 Attend Talmud Celebration at MetLife Stadium

MetLife Stadium was transformed into what organizers called the world’s largest synagogue Wednesday, as tens of thousands of people gathered to celebrate the completion of the reading of the Talmud, the book of Jewish laws and traditions.

The faithful streamed into the stadium for hours Wednesday night, many carrying umbrellas to shield themselves from a light rain. Audio of the program, which included speeches, prayers and videos in Hebrew and English, streamed throughout the stadium’s concourses.

“Tonight is a night of inspiration and opportunity,” Rabbi Elly Kleimnan told the gathering.

Organizers transformed the playing field, laying down white plastic flooring, setting up thousands of folding chairs and building a dais for about 500 rabbis.

The celebration, called Siyum HaShas, marks the completion of the Daf Yomi, or daily reading and study of one page of the 2,711-page book. The cycle takes about seven and a half years to finish.

Wednesday’s celebration is the 12th put on by Agudath Israel of America, an Orthodox Jewish organization based in New York. Organizers say this year’s will be, by far, the largest one. More than 90,000 tickets were sold, and faithful gathered at about 100 locations worldwide to watch the celebration streamed on video. 5TJT had a live feed throughout the event with live updates.

“The program of study has grown. People are hooked into it. It’s become like the to-do thing in the Jewish community,” said Rabbi Shlomo Gertzulin, the event’s chief operating officer and a vice president with Agudath Israel. “It puts regularity into study. It gives people something to look forward to every day.”

Officials said the gathering required security on par with — or exceeding — that for the Super Bowl, which will be held at MetLife Stadium in 2014.

In an interview, Col. Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, said close to 600 troopers and officials from 71 other state, local and federal agencies were patrolling the event.

“They’re in the air, they’re on the ground, they’re on the boats. They’re everywhere,” Col. Fuentes said.

Fuentes said troopers completed an eight-hour course where they were familiarized with the stadium and learned about Jewish customs. The state police also worked with the Orthodox community to inform them of security procedures that were to take place.

The celebration cost approximately $4 million, said Rabbi Yosef C. Golding, executive director of the Rofeh Cholim Cancer Society in Brooklyn, N.Y., who was in charge of logistics for the event.

Most of the money was raised from sales of tickets, which ranged in price from $18 to $1,000.

The event helped unite thousands of people worldwide who are studying the same page each day, said Rabbi Gedaliah Weinberger, chairman of the Daf Yomi Commission at Agudath Israel. The 13th cycle of Talmud study begins Friday.

“In a certain sense it helps unite everyone, because you have these many thousands of people, tens of thousands of people, who are each studying the same page at any given day,” Weinberger said.

“Someone could be from a different city, a different school, a different country. They have a lot to talk about. That was part of the original intent.”

Source: Ynet News, 5TJT Staff

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Posted by on August 2, 2012. Filed under Jewish News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

5 Responses to Kiddush Hashem: Over 90,000 Attend Talmud Celebration at MetLife Stadium

  1. dov Ber

    August 2, 2012 at 9:07 am

    this was the most emotional night i ever had. it was pure kedusha and pure achdus.

    Shamefully some were trying to boycott it, but it was the best feeling in the world

  2. Kvod Hatorah

    August 2, 2012 at 9:55 am

    a Kidush hashem indeed. hundred thousand people davening mincha together, dancing together and sitting for 5 hours listening to our gedolim.

  3. Cynthia

    August 2, 2012 at 10:22 am

    I was sitting up there with other women and we were just crying. The scene was beautiful seeing thousands of people from different sects coming together and celebrating yiddishkeit.

    It was amazing!

  4. LISA Neuman

    August 2, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    1) I am surprised to see no mention of my grand nieces shava brachos which were held there, having gotten married the night before, and having no alternative since her father, my nephew, is quite active in Agudah and Daf Yom.

    2) With ALL due respect, doesn’t the fact that this great event was simulcast over the internet, thereby allowing perhaps millions more to participate counteract the premise of the most recent other mass gathering (asifa) insamuch as the internet is, here, real and can be beneficial to us IF used for the proper purposes. Isn’t this the reason why we specifically make KIDDUSH on wine every Friday night, to illustrate that although wine (alcohol) can easily be used for a chillul HaShem, we as yidden turn it around to be used for a Kiddush Ha’Shem! So too with the internet. Clearly, there is no question that the internet can be(and r”l, is)used for a chillul Ha’Shem, HOWEVER, rather than deny its existence or ban it, the challenge is to make use of it as a Kiddush Ha’Shem! We cannot, nor should we fight progress, but rather we must incorporate it (properly) into our Torahdik lives.

  5. Eli

    August 2, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    @Lisa, it was? The sheva brachos were there? What time? Where exactly? Very cool.