90,000 Jews gather at New Jersey football stadium for Talmud celebration

The event celebrated the completion of the reading of the 2,711-page Babylonian Talmud, a process that takes 7 1/2 years.

By AP and World Israel News Staff 

Tens of thousands of Jewish people congregated Wednesday at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey to celebrate the conclusion of a worldwide synchronized learning of the entire Talmud, “Siyum HaShas” in Hebrew.

The event celebrated the completion of the reading of the 2,711-page Babylonian Talmud, a process that takes 7 1/2 years. Similar events are being held in major cities around the globe, including Jerusalem.

Two sides of a page are learned each day, referred to as “Daf Yomi” (“Daily Page”) in Hebrew. The first cycle of Daf Yomi is said to have been launched in 1923.

The Talmud, dating from before the Common Era to the fifth century, contains discussions of Jewish law that guide every aspect of life.

The event drew a heavy security presence after recent anti-Semitic attacks in the area.

Rabbi Yosef C. Golding, an organizer, told The Record newspaper that he worked with more than 50 law enforcement agencies on security for the event and that more than 300 uniformed state police were to be in the stadium. The event was broadcast internationally, and New Jersey state police said there were no reports of security issues or problems related to the event as of late Wednesday afternoon.

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Organizers estimated that 88,000 people attended the event. The last event at the stadium in 2012 drew about 90,000, organizers told The Record.

The New York City region has been rocked by recent attacks on Jews. On Dec. 10, two shooters targeted a kosher market in Jersey City, New Jersey, killing three people, and last weekend a man stabbed five people at the home of a rabbi in Monsey, New York.

There also have been several street assaults in New York City in recent weeks.

“I live in Pittsburgh and of course, just over a year ago, we had the massacre in Pittsburgh. We see what’s been happening here, all of the anti-Semitic attacks last week and on the streets in New York,” said Rabbi Daniel Wasserman of the Shaare Torah Congregation.

“Whatever the reasons are, I’ll leave that to the political scientists. But the reality is that whether it’s ourselves or any ethnic group, we are here. We’re proud. We’re not going anywhere. And this is a perfect example of it.”