A Study Break Like No Other

By Hannah Lee

In 1923, Rabbi Meir Shapiro proposed to the First World Congress of the World Agudath Israel in Vienna that Jews around the world bond over a daily study of the books of the Talmud, the code of rabbinic law. The six orders of the Talmud (or Gemarah), known as sedarim, are divided into 60 or 63 tractates, masekhtot. Clocking in over 6,200 pages long, it’s written in Aramaic and quotes from the Hebrew Bible.  Today, August 1, is a grand celebration of the completion of the 12th cycle of study, the Siyum HaShas of Daf Yomi.  It’s being held at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ and approximately 90,000 men, women, and children are expected to attend.

The six local teachers who’ve faithfully lead the daily study sessions year-round are: Rabbi Yechiel Biberfeld of Bala Cynwyd; Rabbi Dov Aaron Brisman of Philadelphia; Rabbi Yonah Gross of Wynnewood; Rabbi Sruli Schwartz of Merion Station; Rabbi Avraham Shmidman of Bala Cynwyd; and Rabbi Mordechai Terbelo of Philadelphia.  Yishar kochachem to these dedicated individuals and to their students for the commitment to sustaining Jewish scholarship!

Note: This list excludes some other local Daf Yomi teachers, such as Rabbi Jonathan Levene of Bala Cynwyd, but this was a siyum organized by the Agudath Israel of America, and I consulted their memorial book,which is a hefty volume 1/2-inch thick.

Limmud Philly 2012: You don’t want to miss it!

Limmud Philly 2012, Friday April 27 through Sunday, April 29! PhillyLimmud is a widely acclaimed festival of Jewish learning and culture where 70 amazing presentations are scheduled this year.

Be sure to stop by the Philadelphia Jewish Voice table in the Hall of Community Organizations to express your Jewish media needs and views to members of our editorial team, and to receive a free Philadelphia Jewish Voice bumper sticker. You will also have the opportunity to buy autographed copies of Rabbi Milgram’s new book Mitzvah Stories: Seeds for Inspiration and Learning, and just-released decks to Mitzvah Cards, in support of LimmudPhilly and the Philadelphia Jewish Voice.

Rabbi Goldie Milgram, our Judaism Editor, will be teaching, among more than 70 amazing presentations scheduled:
Mark your calendars for

  • A cooking demonstration by a James Beard Award-winning chef who will talk about Jewish food around the world
  • A talk on the future of democracy in Israel by a past Deputy Speaker of the Knesset
  • A presentation on the Arab Spring by a media maven and co-author with Dennis Ross of a book on America and the Middle East

More after the jump.

  • A play about the history and absurdity of prejudice and the power of diversity performed by two very funny guys, one Jewish and one black
  • A discussion about the role of Jews in the 2012 presidential election led by the former editor of the Forward and the Jewish Exponent
  • A tap dance lesson set to Jewish themes taught by an artist who trained with Savion Glover and performed with Matisyahu
  • A screening of testimonies from the survivors of Rwanda presented by an Emmy Award-winning producer who trained under Ken Burns
  • An opportunity to hear and sing the new Jewish “soul” music with a local cantor who lived in both Austin, Texas, and Israel

It will all begin on Friday evening with Shabbat dinner and services. Havdalah begins at 8:30 Saturday evening, followed by a concert with the always delightful Maccabeats. There will  be multiple non-stop, simultaneous sessions, so you will have to make some tough choices.

Visit the LimmudPhilly website for further information and to register.

We look forward to learning with you!