The Siyum: Where Was The Press?

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12 Responses

  1. Manny Saltiel says:

    As much as I enjoyed the siyum, I must say that the words were short of those of my kallah on my chasuna. Well short. I say “kill the mic” in 7.5 years. Until then, Am Yisrael Chai.

  2. L. Oberstein says:

    I learned from this article that Rabbi Lau proceeded to LA from the NJ Siyum. He should have been allowed to remain Chief Rabbi and not forced to step down so many years ago because of term limits.
    I was at the NJ siyum and cannot fathom why …. felt it necessary to speak for at least half an hour or more when it was already midnight. I don’t understand if he didn’t realize, if he couldn’t care less what the organizers told him about time limits, or if he simply believes that his speech is the highlight of the evening. We returned to Baltimore at 5 AM. There was no need to make this event last more than 3 hours and it would have been so much better if the long winded speakers would have had the menchlichkeit to care about the tens of thousands of children they were keeping up until 1 AM. Why did they do it?

  3. Toby Katz says:

    I hope next time the speakers who ignored the time limits will not be invited to speak again. And yes, the mike should be killed if a speaker goes more than three minutes over his allotted time. There were too many speakers, anyway.

    I thought there should have been at least one speech in Hebrew.

    Other than that, it was very inspiring to see. I saw a live hookup in Florida, where I live.

  4. BTG says:

    Maybe the wave of Charedi Chilul Hashems over the past few years (financial fraud, sex abuse scandals, etc.) has overwhelmed anything positive about the community. Why would you expect non-jews to applaud Chareidim for learning something what is to them a large set of legal documents for seven and a half years, when the community’s moral compass is askew? Do you think it’s that easy to erase a Chilul Hashem? It’s not even “Charedi fatigue”, it’s more “Spare me your piety, please.” I can’t blame the press for its apathy.

    [YA – Because even the press – especially the press! – knows that in almost every community, the bad apples are not representative of the rest of the bushel.]

  5. Moshe Hillson says:

    I attended the English-Speakers’ Siyum this past Sunday at Binyanei haUmah Convention Halls in Jerusalem – hosted by Kollel Iyun haDaf (I didn’t attend the English speakers’ Siyum hosted by Dirshu, so I cannot say what happened there), and thank G-d, there was none of the oover-speaking shticks. It stared at 7:30 PM sharp (exactly 1/2 hour after the time printed on the tickets), ended 11:35 PM (after Ma’ariv), and ALL the speakers were inspiring.

  6. Bob Miller says:

    If public events large or small revive our spirits and motivate us towards improved Torah study and practice, the attention or inattention of the outside world is incidental.

    On the whole, the general press, including the secular “Jewish” press, has been corrupted anyway, so the less nonsense we hear from its “reporters”, the better.

    Our own press is relentlessly upbeat, so we also need to allow for its biases. In the case of the big Siyum, though, this positive approach was really fitting.

  7. Dr. E says:

    Without being cynical, I think that most reasonable people would admit that time management was the major challenge. In the political interest of making everyone happy, the program was oversaturated l’chatchila. There is a fine line between kavod haTorah and telling speakers that their time has come to a close and walking them back to their seats. But, drawing that line in the interest of 100,000 attendees and a number of viewers beyond that should be do-able.

  8. DF says:

    The “press” – which, in 2012, must be defined to include blogs, like this one – did not ignore the siyum. One click on google will show dozens of references to it. If, in fact, it was not covered as extensively as it was last go round, it is only because of what R. Adlerstein said, that orthodox Jews are no longer a novelty. Less than two months earlier there was another stadium filled with orthodox Jews just a few miles away, for another cause. And this is a regularly occuring event, after all. Siyumim are, for the general public, becoming like rabbinic funerals in Israel for 250,000+ – somewhat interesting, but not much more.

    I am glad R. Adlerstein mentioned the speaker issue. It was the one big mitake of an otherwise fine evening. Some of the earlier speeches should have been detected by the bomb-sniffing dogs at the entrance. I thought also R. Shmuel Kaminetsky struck exactly the right note. And if you thought that and I thought that, it means a LOT of people probably thought it. In earlier times R. Sherer would stand by the podium holding a wristwatch, reminding the speaker – any speaker – if he was running long. That tradition has to be restored. It seems also that the siyum was back-end loaded with talented speakers, when it should have been the reverse.

  9. SZiskind says:

    My feeling is only a Rav Sherer could get away with something like that with the wristwatch.

    I enjoyed most of the speeches, actually, although yes I had to leave because I thought the last train was leaving (it wasn’t. someone told me people from our neighborhood stayed until the end and also took NJ transit and had no problems). One problem was that it didn’t start on time. Another problem, was they either should have enforced the speech length rule or had less speakers. It must be a major challenge to choose who to speak without offending anyone, and still be representative of the fact that so many different kehillos were there.

    At the same time none of this can take away from the feeling of achdus. Okay, I’m a woman, I don’t daven maariv anyway, but I focus on the achdus and the overwhelmingly positive feeling I had here. At Mincha time, I felt a glimmer of what it must have been like during shalosh regalim at the beis hamikdash.

  10. contarian says:

    Marvin Schick does not understand why the siyumim in the past were so well covered in the New York Times but not this time. Rav Adlerstein takes the New York Times reporter to task for ignoring the great joy and kovod hatorah that imbued the stadium that night.

    Chazal tell that during the final redemption the Batei Knessios and Batei Midrashos in golus will move to Eretz Yisrael and be reestablished there. Our later sages qualified the statement to include only those institutions where absolutely no ill gotten gains were used to build them. Otherwise they will be destroyed.

    At first women were to sit in the end zone section at the Siyum Hashas. There are six tiers all around the stadium and each was priced differently, lower prices on top , the more expensive seats closer to the field. The prices for women’s seats paralleled those of the men: $18 for the top tier, $36 for the next, $54, $72 and so on. Thousands of women’s seats were sold at these prices. The organizers then came to the conclusion that they could not build a mechitzah to their standards with the seating arrangement that they had. They decided to move all the women to the $18 top tier and move the move the men who had bought tickets in that tier to the more expensive seats vacated by the women behind the end zone. The moved men would not have to pay more, the moved women would not get their money back. Most people that I talked to – including many who would attend the siyum – said it was wrong that the women would not be reimbursed.

    Just as Hashem, when the geula comes bimheirah beyameinu, will kevyochul not see the beautiful Ark, the heartfelt tefilos, the thousands hours of learning, and the great kovod hatorah because of a prutah of ill gotten gain in the beam of a shul or yeshiva, – insignificant as that may be , so too Ms Otterman with her Bina Yeseirah (extra insight) did not see the great simchas hatorah because of a woman who was not mocheles the avlah done to her when moving her seat.

  11. Charlie Hall says:

    There were at least five other (much, much smaller) siyumim in the New York area that I am aware of. AFAIK, not one had any reporters in attendance.

  12. Steve Brizel says:

    The Siyum HaShas should be seen as not just the triumph of the will of the Maggidei Shiur and Msayemim, who deserve a huge Yasher Koach for inspiring all of us to grow in our desire to learn Torah, but also as a huge Kiddush HaShem , especially in the wake of the tragic events in Colorado, as to how we celebrate-no external stimuli and an absolute lack of instantaneous gratification. The Siyum was also a statement and celebration as to the strength of contemporary Torah Jewry, and the importance of Limud HaTorah in the life of a Jew.See my comment to R Feldman’s post on how the Siyum can be tweaked to make it even more of a Kiddush Shem Shamayim as a true depiction of R S Gaon’s comment that the Torah defines our national existence.

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