SUMMER 2019 The Summer of Torah, Hesed, and Charity

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By: Mozelle Forman

Theupcoming 13thSiyum Hashas, a global celebration of the completion of yet another cycle of the daily Daf Yomi Talmud study program, promises to be an extraordinary Kiddush Shem Shamayim– glorification of Gd’s Name –with over 200,000 participants anticipated across the world. Preparations for the event – which is scheduled for January 1, 2020 – are well underway, with delegates from Agudath Yisrael visiting Mexico, Panama, France, Belgium, and our community here in Brooklyn.

On May 29th, over 50 rabbis from our Sephardic community assembled at Yad Yosef to welcome representatives from the Agudah, who extended a warm, personal invitation to our community members to take part in this historic event.

An Integral Role

Rov Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, Executive Vice President of Agudas Yisroel, opened the evening by warmly expressing the Agudah’s wish that our community see itself as an integral part of the Siyum, and explaining how the community can benefit fully from this event.

Rabbi Laibish Becker, Executive Director of the Agudah, then outlined the various ways in which the community can become involved. He reported that the Matmidei Hasiyum program, a worldwide project aimed at including children in the global Siyum HaShas celebration, will be continuing throughout the summer, and will include prizes and incentives for learning Gemara, Mishnayot, and Humash at home. Our community yeshivot implemented this program during the school year and they continue to be involved throughout the summer.

Rabbi Becker also spoke about the efforts being made to have our community members seated together at the Siyum. The group seating program is organized by the rabbi of each synagogue. Congregation members who wish to sit together will purchase tickets in bulk through their rabbi.

Rabbi Becker proceeded to express his delight over the fact that our community’s rabbis will be invited to sit at the Siyum in the special section reserved for rabbis. In addition, he invited our rabbis to submit Torah articles that will be included in a special publication that will feature essays from over 200 rabbis from around the world, and will be distributed to everyone attending the Siyum.

“Bring Your Siyum
to the Siyum”

The highlight of the evening was aninspiring address by Rav Yaakov Perlow, the Novominsker Rebbe and the head of Agudas Yisroel of America, who is considered among the most respected leaders of the American Orthodox Community. He expressed his pride over our community’s growth over the last 40 years, and said that he views our community as an example of Torah study for other communities to learn from. The Rebbe stressed that the Siyum is not only for people who learn Daf Yomi, but is rather a joyous event to be celebrated by the entire Jewish Nation.

“The Daf Yomi brings us together into the Am Hashem[nation of Gd] that we are all proud to be,” he said, urging all of us to feel that we are a part of it. He encouraged even those community members who do not study Daf Yomi to commit to learn something – whether it’s a masechet, or a chapter – and to have its conclusion coincide with the Siyum, so we all participate in
the celebration.

The overriding message was “Bring your Siyum to the Siyum,” so that all of us, regardless of whether or not we learn Daf Yomi, will be part of this worldwide event.

Rabbi Yosef Ozeri right away answered the call by publicly declaring his commitment to learn the entire Seder Nezikin with his congregation. Following his leap, other rabbis committed to have their congregations learn various portions of the Talmud.

“A Great Opportunity”

The rabbis were shown a video showing the highlights of the last Siyum, held in the summer of 2012, where 90,000 people recited the Shemain unison. Rabbi Aharon Feldman, Rosh Yeshiva of Ner Yisrael, was featured in the film explaining that the Siyum “recognizes that the most important thing in Jewish life is Torah learning. And when we reach a milestone of completing the Shas all together, there can be no greater accomplishment for the
Jewish people.”

Rabbi David Ozeri ended the night with a heartfelt thank you to the Agudah for all they do on behalf of the Jewish People. “There is no doubt that the Siyum is a great opportunity for our community to join the greater Klal Yisrael”, he said, adding that he looks forward to everyone being together to celebrate this event.

Tickets for the event will be going on sale in mid-summer. Community members are encouraged to contact the rabbis of their synagogues for more information.