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Under tight security, 88,000 US Jews celebrate 7.5-year Talmud cycle

Days after Monsey stabbing and amid spate of other anti-Semitic attacks, Siyum HaShas event in New Jersey marks end of another round of daily study of primary Jewish text

  • An Orthodox Jew attends the 13th Siyum HaShas, a celebration marking the completion of the Daf Yomi, at the MetLife Stadium on January 1, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Security was tightened at the event, where the Talmud is read in its entirety, after a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the area. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images/AFP)
    An Orthodox Jew attends the 13th Siyum HaShas, a celebration marking the completion of the Daf Yomi, at the MetLife Stadium on January 1, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Security was tightened at the event, where the Talmud is read in its entirety, after a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the area. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images/AFP)
  • Rabbi Daniel Wasserman of Shaare Torah Congregation in Pittsburgh,, left, studies the Talmud with another man while tailgating in the parking lot of MetLife Stadium, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J., at an event called Siyum HaShas, that celebrates the completion of the reading of the Babylonian Talmud, a process that takes 7 1/2 years (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)
    Rabbi Daniel Wasserman of Shaare Torah Congregation in Pittsburgh,, left, studies the Talmud with another man while tailgating in the parking lot of MetLife Stadium, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J., at an event called Siyum HaShas, that celebrates the completion of the reading of the Babylonian Talmud, a process that takes 7 1/2 years (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)
  • Orthodox Jews attend the 13th Siyum HaShas, a celebration marking the completion of the Daf Yomi, at the MetLife Stadium on January 1, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Security was tightened at the event, where the Talmud is read in its entirety, after a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the area.   (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images/AFP)
    Orthodox Jews attend the 13th Siyum HaShas, a celebration marking the completion of the Daf Yomi, at the MetLife Stadium on January 1, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Security was tightened at the event, where the Talmud is read in its entirety, after a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the area. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images/AFP)
  • Rachel Leah Freilich and Rivka Lev of New York City talk before entering MetLife Stadium, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J., at an event called Siyum HaShas (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)
    Rachel Leah Freilich and Rivka Lev of New York City talk before entering MetLife Stadium, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J., at an event called Siyum HaShas (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)
  • A law enforcement with a dog inspects vehicles parking at MetLife Stadium, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J., at an event called Siyum HaShas, that celebrates the completion of the reading of the Babylonian Talmud (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)
    A law enforcement with a dog inspects vehicles parking at MetLife Stadium, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J., at an event called Siyum HaShas, that celebrates the completion of the reading of the Babylonian Talmud (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)
  • New Jersey State Police officers stand guard in front of MetLife Stadium Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J., at an event called Siyum HaShas (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)
    New Jersey State Police officers stand guard in front of MetLife Stadium Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J., at an event called Siyum HaShas (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)
  • Orthodox Jews attend the 13th Siyum HaShas, a celebration marking the completion of the Daf Yomi, at the MetLife Stadium on January 1, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Security was tightened at the event, where the Talmud is read in its entirety, after a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the area.   (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images/AFP)
    Orthodox Jews attend the 13th Siyum HaShas, a celebration marking the completion of the Daf Yomi, at the MetLife Stadium on January 1, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Security was tightened at the event, where the Talmud is read in its entirety, after a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the area. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images/AFP)
  • Orthodox Jews sing and dance during the 13th Siyum HaShas, a celebration marking the completion of the Daf Yomi, at the MetLife Stadium on January 1, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Security was tightened at the event, where the Talmud is read in its entirety, after a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the area.  ( Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images/AFP)
    Orthodox Jews sing and dance during the 13th Siyum HaShas, a celebration marking the completion of the Daf Yomi, at the MetLife Stadium on January 1, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Security was tightened at the event, where the Talmud is read in its entirety, after a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the area. ( Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images/AFP)

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey — Tens of thousands of Jewish people congregated Wednesday at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey to celebrate the reading of the entire Talmud in an event called Siyum HaShas — and drew a heavy security presence after recent anti-Semitic attacks in the area.

The New Year’s Day event celebrated the completion of the reading of the 2,711-page Babylonian Talmud, a process that takes 7 1/2 years. Similar events have recently been held in major cities around the globe, such as Mexico City, while others are scheduled in the next few weeks.

The Talmud contains discussions of Jewish law that guide every aspect of life.

Rabbi Yosef C. Golding, an organizer, told The Record newspaper that he has 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.

New Jersey State Police officers stand guard in front of MetLife Stadium Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J., at an event called Siyum HaShas (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

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 event is held every 7 1/2 years.

The New York City region has been rocked by recent attacks on Jews. On December 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.”

 

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