EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A space normally filled with the deafening roar of Giants and Jets fans was packed for prayer on Wednesday when tens of thousands of Orthodox Jews took part in a celebration that takes place every seven and a half years.
“It’s really beautiful. You feel a connection and a relationship with everybody and every group around the world,” Yossi Gleiberman told CBS 2′s Derricke Dennis.
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Gleiberman was one of the more than 90,000 participants who read aloud the last chapter of the Twelfth Cycle of Siyum, a worldwide reading of the Talmud.
The reading was followed by a silent prayer, which participants called “beautiful.”
“I think one of the beautiful things, around the world. Jews all over the world,” said Michael Goldrich of East Brunswick, N.J.
Outside of the stadium, observers gathered to break bread and celebrate the end of the cycle with a feast and the last reading of all 2,711 pages of the Talmud, page by page, by Jews all around the world.
“In a certain sense it helps unite everyone, because you have these many thousands of people, tens of thousands of people, who are each studying the same page at any given day,” said Rabbi Gedaliah Weinberger, chairman of the Daf Yomi Commission at Agudath Israel. “Someone could be from a different city, a different school, a different country. They have a lot to talk about. That was part of the original intent.”
It cost about $4 million, said Rabbi Yosef C. Golding, executive director of the Rofeh Cholim Cancer Society in Brooklyn, who was in charge of logistics for the event. Most of the money was raised from sales of tickets, which ranged in price from $18 to $1,000.
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Hundreds of officers were also brought in to provide security and direct traffic.
Col. Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, said about 600 state police and members of 71 agencies worked at the event.
But the huge event did cause some traffic tie-ups for the evening rush. Many commuters were stuck in traffic for an hour or more on Route 3 and other roads by MetLife Stadium.
“I could see all the troopers in there and there were all kinds of buses starting to go in there,” said driver Skip Smith.
The event was organized by Agudath Israel of America, an Orthodox Jewish organization. It started celebrating the cycle of study in Europe in 1923.
A new cycle begins on Friday.
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