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SALUTE TO THE DAF YOMI
- The Page-A-Day program for studying the Talmud

Jump into a party on the Long Island Railroad. Click here.


Editor's Note: These articles were written in 1997 and date JewishAmerica as being one of the early Jewish web sites on the Internet. We praise the Daf Yomi Program and those who participate. We go on to report on the international celebration of completing for the tenth time the study of the entire Talmud, held in Madison Square Garden on September 28 1997. Since then we celebrated the eleventh, also in the Garden on March 2nd, 2005. And we came together again, this time in MetLife Stadium on August 1, 2012. As always, we were privileged to be with the Giants - those who made it through the seven-and-a-half-year cycle, those who somehow kept the pace day after day for 2,711 days. And those in MetLife were not alone, as the event was linked and broadcasted live to 59 locations throughout America and to 21 locations around the world.

The next Siyum is scheduled for January 1, 2020, please G-D in Jerusalem. But in the event that we will still be scattered throughout the globe, MetLife is booked.


DAF YOMI & HOLY SMOKE FROM HAWAI'I
From the pages of Ask Jewish America.

>I am very interested in doing that here with our small congregation in
>Hawai'i. Would it be possible to forward the titles/editions of the >Talmud that are used for Daf Yomi?
>
>Mahalo nui (thanks!) and todah rabah for any information you can >provide.

Glad to hear from you!

I'm happy to provide you with a phenominal resource.

The Torah Communication Network organization has just announced two products.

One is a series of CD-Roms that contain the entire text of the Talmud PLUS a recording of an hour-long class on each page. Cost for the first volume (Brachos) is TEN DOLLARS plus shipping. (This is an introductory price.)

The next product is a set of fourteen CD-Roms with the lectures, only. This is seven-and-a-half years of daily lectures. They are selling (giving) it away for $99 plus shipping.

This fine organization also has a packaged dial-up phone system that is being used in several communities througout America. Subscribers dial up and can listen to Torah classes and stories on demand. This costs around 15K.

Their phone number is (718) 436-4999. Fax is 435-0191.

Their address is Torah Communications Network
1618 43rd st. Brooklyn, N.Y.
11204

>SUCH A DEAL! Are both Hebrew and English supported on the above >CD-ROM product? How many additional CDs are there?
>
>> The next product is a set of fourteen CD-Roms with the lectures, >>only. This is seven-and-a-half years of daily lectures. They are selling >>(giving) it
>> away for $99 plus shipping.
>
>HOLY SMOKE! That indeed is a giveaway! Could you point me to the >URL that has ordering information?

They have a picture of each page and the lecture is coordinated with the text.

The lines that the speaker is talking on are hilighted. It's out of this world!

For this price, don't ask. Just grab one and see for yourself.

They don't have a web site. You have to call them and order by phone.

I don't know what the subsequent volumes will cost.

All the best from JewishAmerica


Whether you know it or not tens of thousands of people from all walks of life study are marching through the Babylonian Talmud and they study each day another page.

On the night of September 28 1997, seventy-thousand people were linked together by satellite and they celebrated the completion of a seven-and-a-half year study cycle. For the tenth time in recent history, the Jewish people concluded the last book of the Talmud and began the first.

I saw the whole thing in New York, at Madison Square Garden. I joined in with hundreds of people to dance around the arena. It was so very uplifting.

Civilizations and cultures have burned and banned the Babylonian Talmud. They have also burned and banished both its students and its people.

The Jewish people and the Babylonian Talmud have together survived many holocausts over the past fourteen centuries.

Every speaker and entertainer had a beard and looked like the Talmud Jew that Hitler tried so very hard to destroy.

They all wore large black hats and represented a people that are persecuted and maligned down to this very day.

I felt connected to the survival of the Jewish people. I felt connected to Mount Sinai and the thirty-three centuries in-between.

I also felt very connected to truth and great strength.

On the very next day I searched the Internet for news coverage of this event. I searched for ‘Talmud’ and with the exception of the New York Times, I found nothing on the major sites.

Shame on: Reuters, PR Newswire, the Chicago Tribune, CNN, the Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, the San Jose Mercury News, USA TODAY, and the Washington Post.

I did find something on a secular-Jewish news site. It ranked third-place, after the usual news about Mr. Netanyahu and Arafat. It read: "Tens of thousands of Orthodox Jews gathered in New York to commemorate the completion of a cycle of reading the Talmud. The event takes place every seven years."

From the media it seems that the seven-and-a-half-year completion of the Babylonian Talmud is not very significant.

To me, the coverage and/or the lack of coverage is as great a proof of the truth of Mount Sinai as is my having been at Madison Square Garden on September 28 to see the Tenth Completion of the Babylonian Talmud.

I’m still holding onto both my faith and the ticket stub.

I hope to see you at the Garden in 2005.


A reader sent JewishAmerica the following message in response to the above article.

> Do you not hope to be in Jerusalem by then?

We responded with the following:

They have a lot of nice gardens in Jerusalem

All the best from JewishAmerica


JewishAmerica salutes the seventy-thousand North-Americans who participated in the tenth completion ceremony - the Siyum - of the Daf Yomi cycle on September 28th, 1997.

Masses of Jews around the world are united in this marathon study of the same page of Talmud daily through the program, which serves, in effect as a global 'Yeshiva without walls.' Each cycle takes seven and a half years to complete.

People from all walks of life study the Daf, including professionals, businessmen, and students. Their dedication is impressive.

A Californian who was on a conference call to arrange a satellite hookup apologized for his abrupt absence from the line, later explaining that he was calling from the hospital where his wife was in labor. In Boston, as the local minimum age for attendance of the local Siyum was being discussed, a university student stood up and related how his experience as a then-eighth-grader in the previous Siyum had changed his life.

The Daf Yomi was initiated in Vienna in 1923 at the First World Congress of Agudath Israel by the famed Rabbi Meir Shapiro.

Satellite transmission of the completion celebrations linked the enthusiasts in the following cities:

[Menorah] Atlanta, Georgia Baltimore, Maryland Boston, Massachusetts [Menorah]
[Menorah] Chicago, Illinois Cincinnati, Ohio Columbus, Ohio [Menorah]
[Menorah] Dallas, Texas Denver, Colorado Detroit, Michigan [Menorah]
[Menorah] Eugene, Oregon Indianapolis, Indiana Jacksonville, Florida [Menorah]
[Menorah] Los Angeles, California McKeesport, Pennsylvania Memphis, Tennessee [Menorah]
[Menorah] Mexico City, Mexico Miami Beach, Florida Milwaukee, Wisconson [Menorah]
[Menorah] Minneapolis, Minnesota Montreal, Quebec Omaha, Nebraska [Menorah]
[Menorah] Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Phoenix, Arizona Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania [Menorah]
[Menorah] Rochester, New York St.Louis, Missouri San Antonio, Texas [Menorah]
[Menorah] Savannah, Georgia Scranton, Pennsylvania Seattle, Washington [Menorah]
[Menorah] Silver Spring, Maryland Toronto, Ontario Melbourne, Australia [Menorah]

For further information, contact Rabbi Avi Shafran, (212) 797-9000


A Historic Demonstration of Honor for Torah: The Tenth Daf Yomi Siyum HaShas
by A. Leib Yowza for the Yated Ne’eman

Few ideas are realized as powerfully or as meaningfully as Rav Meir Shapiro's was on Sunday night.

In what may well have been the largest united gathering of Jews ever in the Western hemisphere, an estimated 70,000 assembled in two large venues in the New York area and over thirty others across the North American continent to honor Torah.

Their vehicle was the Tenth Siyum HaShas of the Daf Yomi. Bodies and Souls

Manhattan's Seventh Avenue has not likely often been associated with tefilla, but it had its moment in the Jewish spiritual sun on Sunday afternoon, when over 25,000 Jews turned toward it for Mincha at New York's Madison Square Garden and adjacent hall. The tens of thousands of bodies pivoted as one in the indicated direction, though the hearts within them were focused on a point considerably farther eastward than the midtown thoroughfare.

"The Garden", along with the Nassau Coliseum in the New York area and sites in 35 North American cities from coast to coast (as well as other large Siyum celebrations in locations like Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Brazil and Melbourne, Australia) all linked by satellite transmission to the New York-area sites were astonishingly transformed from massive entertainment complexes into equally massive places of Torah, tefilla and teshuva. Tens upon tens of thousands of Jews from varied backgrounds and a wide array of communities expressed their dedication to their spiritual heritage in an unprecedented demonstration of the unity accessible, eternally and exclusively, through commitment to Torah.

  • A Dream Come Coming True

That, after all, was Rav Shapiro's vision when he introduced his monumental "page a day" limud Gemara program at the First Knessiah Gedolah of the Agudas Yisroel World Organization in 1923: to unite Jews world-wide through their daily study of the same page of the Talmud the life-blood of K'lal Yisroel. The "Lubliner Rav" may or may not have foreseen a world where bustling business districts in major metropolitan areas would harbor office-oases of Daf Yomi-study during lunch-breaks; or one where Jews traveling to virtually any of the earth's continents would be able to find study groups "holding on" precisely the same daf as those at their points of origin; or one where telephone Daf Yomi shiurim would carry "the Daf" to the four corners of the earth. But his vision and determination bore the seeds of a glorious and multi-branched tree.

Sunday night's multiple convergences of Jews nationwide and world-wide a host of independent celebrations took place in European cities and, of course, in Eretz Yisroel as well marked the completion of the tenth cycle of Daf Yomi. The Talmud-study program has persevered throughout the myriad trials of the past 74 years and grown exponentially over its past several cycles.

That growth was everywhere in evidence at Sunday's Siyum-celebration, organized and sponsored by the Daf Yomi Commission of Agudas Yisroel of America, which promotes the study of Daf Yomi and provides a number of varied services to students of "the Daf".

The unprecedented gatherings mobilized governmental agencies to do their part to assist and protect the celebrants. Security was high, with dozens of "New York's finest" patrolling the area outside the New York-area Siyum sites, and anti-terrorism technology and personnel deployed within. To accomodate the large numbers of Siyum celebrants pouring into Manhattan, moreover, construction on the subway system's "B-line" which had caused the line's weekend service to be suspended was canceled for "Siyum Sunday". Additional train service by the Long Island Railroad was put in place as well for the Siyum afternoon and evening.

  • A Focus of Hearts on Cholei Yisroel

At the start of the program following a tefillas Mincha that was described by participants as "powerful" and "awe-inspiring" Honorary Siyum HaShas Chairman Rabbi Chaskel Besser welcomed the unprecedented Jewish presence at Madison Square Garden.

The chairman of the program at "the Garden" was Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Feuer, Rav, Kehillas Bais Avrohom (Monsey), who began the evening's proceedings by calling upon the Vyelepoler Rov, Rabbi Yosef Frankel (Rav, Khal Bnei Shloima Zalman) to lead the large kehilla in "the Garden" and all satellite-linked sites in the recitation of Tehillim on behalf of the cholim of Klal Yisroel. Rabbi Nosson Scherman, General Editor of Mesorah Publications, was the chairman of the Nassau Coliseum event and introduced the Tehillim-recitation before the equally impressive Jewish convergence at that site.

The soulful strains of Avinu Av Horachamon (sung by Yisroel Wulliger at the Garden and by Dov Levine at the Coliseum) only intensified the prayerful atmosphere.

  • Setting the Tone for the Simcha

Rabbi Feuer then introduced Rabbi Moshe Sherer, president of Agudas Yisroel of America, who extended personal greetings to the assemblage. Sounding a theme tht was to be emphasized repeatedly during the evening's addresses, Rabbi Sherer pointed out how the Nazis, y'mach shmom, had recognized that the "Talmud-lehrers" were the greatest threat to their diabolical plans to obliterate the Jewish people, chas v'sholom; and how a celebration of this magnitude half-a-century later was the most eloquent testimonial to the eternity of the am Hashem.

The opening address was delivered by Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, the Novominsker Rebbe, who spoke movingly of the extraordinary simchas haTorah represented by the Siyum HaShas. The Rebbe concluded his remarks with an English-language embrace of, and tribute to, the numerous ba'alei teshuva who have joined the Torah community's ranks in recent years and have contributed so much to the community's growth.

  • Hadran Aloch...Shas!

The actual Siyum of Shas was rendered by Rabbi Mechel Silber, Rosh HaYeshiva, Yeshivas Zvhil, Yerushalayim, and, in his role as a Daf Yomi Maggid Shiur for the International Dial-A-Daf and Torah Tapes project, the Rebbe of countless Daf Yomi talmidim. He prefaced his remarks with poignant comments about, among other things, how what may seem impossible like completing Shas through the Daf Yomi can turn out to be, in truth, within one's reach. Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz, Rosh HaYeshiva, Yeshiva Beis Meir and Rav, Telshe Alumni Minyan, recited the special Siyum-Kaddish.

The joy of the occasion at the Garden and in the Coliseum and no doubt every other place focused on the Siyum was palpable. With Reb Abish Brodt and Reb Dov Levine leading the respective celebrants at the Garden and the Coliseum in spirited singing of Siman Tov and other nigunim, time seemed to stand still as the sounds of melodic voices, clapping hands and dancing feet reverberated through the halls. The entirety of Shas had been completed by many thousands once again. The moment most personally belonged to all the dedicated talmidim of the Daf, but everyone present shared fully in their well-earned simcha.

  • A Focus of Minds

Rabbi Simcha Bunim Ehrenfeld (the Mattesdorfer Rov) and Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Horowitz (the Bostoner Rebbe Boston and Har Nof) then delivered divrei bracha, at the Garden and the Coliseum respectively; they were followed again in each respective location by Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg, Rosh HaYeshiva, Yeshivas Ner Yisroel (Baltimore) and Rabbi Yosef Harari-Raful, Rosh HaYeshiva, Yeshiva Ateret Torah.

Rabbi Elya Svei, Rosh HaYeshiva, Yeshiva of Philadelphia, then addressed the assemblage. Limud haTorah, the Rosh HaYeshiva explained, places lofty demands on an individual demands that he become a transformed person, on whose actions, speech, dress and demeanor reflect the holiness he has imbibed through his connection with the d'var Hashem.

  • Ethereal Words, Ethereal Medium

Nassau Coliseum had the honor of hosting the Haschala of Shas anew and that of the presence of Rabbi Avrohom Pam, Rosh HaYeshiva, Mesivta Torah Vodaath, who prefaced his learning of the first Mishna in Massechta Berachos with inspiring words of encouragement to those contemplating joining the growing ranks of lomdei haDaf. The Madison Square Garden site and all the others across the continent were part of Rabbi Pam's shiur as well, through the modern technology of satellite transmission. Ethereal words reached tens upon tens of thousands through an ethereal medium.

The Kaddish that followed, chanted by Reb Michoel Tenenbaum a survivor of Churban Europe and talmid of Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin was l'zecher nishmas the six million kedoshim of Churban Europe; the honor of their memory has been an integral part of the Daf Yomi Siyum HaShas, on the decision of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah, since 1975.

Rabbi Shmuel Dovid Halberstam, the Klausenberger Rebbe, and Rabbi Yissocher Frand, Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshivas Ner Yisroel (Baltimore), then addressed the gatherings at the Garden and Coliseum respectively. Rabbi Halberstam whose father, zt"l, one of the heroic figures of the war years and beyond, had addressed those assembled at the Eighth Daf Yomi Siyum HaShas spoke emotionally of the letters of the Holy Torah, as exemplified by the phenomenal growth of the Daf Yomi program in the aftermath of the destuction of European Jewry. Rabbi Frand stressed the power of constancy in limud Torah and spoke of the pivotal role of the wives of Daf Yomi talmidim in assuring that their husbands maintain their commitment.

The evening's concluding address was delivered by Rabbi Mattisyohu Solomon, Mashgiach Ruchani, Gateshead Yeshiva (England), soon to become Mashgiach of Beth Medrash Govoha (Lakewood). Citing the ma'amar Chazal about how Hashem sheds a tear for bitul Torah, the Mashgiach called upon all those present to commit themselves to help drying Hashem's tears through greater commitment to limud haTorah in exchange for which Hahsem will surely help dry our tears. Recalling the Past, Facing the Present

The assembled were galvanized by the heart-wrenching words of three Gedolei Yisroel, recorded at previous Siyum HaShas celebrations the Telsher Rosh HaYeshiva, Rav Mordechai Gifter, shlita, and, l'havdil bein chayim l'chayim , the Bluzhover Rebbe Rav Yisroel Spira, at"l, and Rav Shimon Schwab, zt"l each of whom spoke of the holy martyrs who died al kiddush Hashem at the hands of the Nazis, ym"s.

Reb Dovid Werdyger (at the Garden) and Reb Ben-Zion Miller (at the Coliseum), then intoned the Kel Moleh Rachamim on behalf of kedoshei Churban Europe; Heshy Grunberger and Yisroel Wulliger, at the respective locations, followed with moving renditions of "Ani Ma'amin".

Recitation of Tehillim, on behalf of the safety and welfare of acheinu Beis Yisroel in Eretz Yisroel, was then led by Rabbi Menachem M. Mandel, Mehahel, Yeshiva of Brooklyn, at the Coliseum, and transmitted to Madison Square Garden and the other satellite-linked locales as well.

A heartfelt message of encouragement for the North American Siyum HaShas arrived from Eretz Yisroel several days earlier, in a missive from the renowned posek Rav Yosef Sholom Elyashiv, who extended his warm wishes and hope that from the large numbers "who are gathering at the behest of the Roshei Galvoso, the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudas Yisroel in America" will come a great Kiddush Hashem "and result in an increase of students and observers of the Torah's mitzvos may the merit of Torah protect Hashem's people from all woe, and deliver its ultimate redemption."

  • New Year, New Cycle

Ma'ariv brought the proceedings to a close. The experience of the davening and mitzvah d'Oraysa of Krias Shma amid the rov am hadras melech whether at one of the main sites or through the assistance of a satellite orbiting the earth was one that will undoubtedly be remembered with a shudder of awe by over 70,000 Jews for many years to come.

It was an afternoon and evening of wildly different states of mind: pride and determination, sadness and joy. But it was joy alone that sealed the night. A festive and heartfelt "L'shana Haba'ah B'Yerushalayim" rang out, and echoed resoundingly at the more than thirty other locations across the continent.

As the stream of celebrants poured into Midtown Manhattan from Madison Square Garden, passers-by did double-takes. "What," they surely wondered, "had possibly brought so many identifiably Jewish people to the Garden?" The most accurate answer, of course, could only have been: Torah, the essence of our people.

A new Jewish year lay but days away, but Sunday saw the dawn of its own new Jewish endeavor: a fresh fulfillment of Rav Meir Shapiro's dream for Jewish learning and Jewish unity the 11th cycle of the Daf Yomi!


Daf Yomi Group on Long Island Railroad Celebrates Siyum After 7 Years

When Rabbi Meir Shapiro, the "Lubliner Rov", introduced the concept of Daf Yomi at the first World Congress of Agudath Israel nearly 76 years ago, the example he gave of the potential Torah-camaraderie that lay in the Daf Yomi "Page-a-Day" Talmud-study program was of two Jewish strangers traveling on a train who discover that they are bonded by their study of the very same page of Talmud that day.

Rabbi Shapiro's vision has become a reality countless times over the years, not only in trains, but in buses, on airplanes and in myriad public places.

In recent years, though, a train has indeed been the site not just of random Daf Yomi learning encounters, but of an ongoing Daf Yomi class.

Commuters on the 7:53 a.m. Long Island Railroad train from Far Rockaway to Penn Station have converted a car into a study hall on wheels, using the time of their fifty-minute train ride wisely and well - for a daily Daf Yomi lecture .

This past Thursday morning, after 7 years of weekday morning meetings, the twenty Daf Yomi commuters were joined on the train by their families, friends and a number of rabbis and other guests to celebrate their first siyum, or completion, of the full Daf Yomi cycle.

"Undoubtedly, the lecture on the LIRR is one of the most innovative Jewish educational opportunities and is certainly unique," said Gedaliah Weinberger, chairman of Agudath Israel of America's Daf Yomi Commission. "It would be difficult to think of a more literal way to fulfill the commandment of studying Torah, in the words of the Sh'ma, "as you go on your way."

With every square foot of standing room taken, many would-be well-wishers who did not arrive early enough didn't make it onto the car specifically reserved for the siyum.

Rabbi Pesach Lerner, executive vice president of the National Council of Young Israel and the regular lecturer of the study group, completed the final page of the cycle, and Rabbi Chaskel Besser, a member of Agudath Israel of America's Presidium, then recited Kaddish. Rabbi David Kadosh spoke about the significance of the occasion, which was also graced with celebrated singer Abish Brodt's uplifting song . Breakfast was served in honor of the siyum and a plaque was presented to the LIRR, thanking it for their understanding of, and assistance to, the participants in the Daf Yomi class for the past 7 years.

"This event is truly one to celebrate," said Rabbi Shmuel Bloom, executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America, which promotes the study of Daf Yomi and organized the most recent Daf Yomi Siyum Hashas that united over 70,000 Jews in Madison Square Garden, Nassau Coliseum and dozens of cities across the continent. "It is eloquent testimony to the versatility, mobility and indispensability of Torah learning."

The Lubliner Rov's dream of the Daf Yomi's potential is certainly being realized, as hundreds of lectures throughout the world meet every day to study the words of the Talmud. Whether these study groups meet in a study hall, a basement, a bus or a train, their participants are all helping to fulfill Rabbi Shapiro's vision, although one particular train and its passengers have certainly made singular tracks on Daf Yomi history.

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In Loving Memory Of Our Father, Mr. Joseph Black (Yosef Ben Zelig) O"H
In Loving Memory Of Our Mother, Mrs. Norma Black (Nechama Bas Tzvi Hirsh) O"H
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