Arun Venugopal is a reporter and the creator of Micropolis, WNYC’s multi-platform series examining race, sexuality, religion, street life and other issues that define New York City. He has been with the station since 2005, and has covered a wide range of stories, including the death of Sean Bell, the controversy over the Park 51 mosque and community center and Occupy Wall Street .
Capacity Crowds of Jewish Worshippers to Gather at MetLife Stadium
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
A crowd of 90,000 Jewish worshipers is expected to fill MetLife stadium in New Jersey Wednesday night as part of Siyum Hashas. It’s an event that culminates the seven and a half year process of Talmudic study.
According to organizers, the tradition of worshipers simultaneously studying the same page of the Talmud, known as Daf Yomi (meaning "a page a day"), was begun in 1923 by a Polish rabbinical leader, Meir Shapiro. The Talmud, an enormous collection of religiously authoritative writings on philosophy, ethics and business, is 2,711 pages in length. Many attending the event have read one page, each day for seven and a half years.
While the event is being held in cities across the world, the North American Siyum Hashas is sponsored by Agudath Israel of America. The previous event, which was seven and a half years ago, was held at three venues in New York, was attended by 50,000 worshipers.
On Tuesday, Daf Yomi participants from various walks of life could be found studying the Talmud at 5:30 in the morning at the Agudath Israel Bais Binyomin, a synagogue in Midwood, Brooklyn.
Leon Goldenberg, a prominent member of the Orthodox community in Brooklyn, said the growing interest in Daf Yomi represented the revival of Orthodox Jewish life, especially since the darkest days of the Holocaust.
"We need to breathe the Talmud, we need to feel that we're part of it," Goldenberg explained. "It's not just about the Talmud, it's about the connection of who we are to God, as a people. It's about connecting us back to our forefathers, all the way back to Abraham, certainly to Moses, and to every single person who's name is mentioned in the Talmud."