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PR- 074-05
February 28, 2005


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today hosted a reception in honor of the 11th Siyum HaShas Celebration, which marks the culmination of the study of the Babylonian Talmud by the Daf Yomi program.  On Tuesday, the Mayor will attend the North American celebration, which marks the completion of the seven and a half year study cycle.  Over 100,000 Jews are expected to participate in events taking place simultaneously in both New York and New Jersey, as well as in over seventy cities across North America and around the world.  Many of these celebrations will be connected via satellite hook-up to the New York City event.  Agudath Israel of America Executive Vice President of AIA Rabbi Shmuel Bloom, Executive Vice President for Government and Public Affairs Rabbi David Zwiebel and Vice President for Finance and Administration Rabbi Shlomo Gertzulin, and Mayor's Community Assistance Unit Commissioner Jonathan Greenspun joined the Mayor at the reception held at Gracie Mansion this evening.

"Siyum HaShas marks the culmination of an impressive seven and a half year program of study through which Jews from all over our city and throughout the world join together in a virtual classroom," said Mayor Bloomberg. "This is a remarkable accomplishment by many in our community and it certainly deserves our admiration and commendation."

The North American Daf Yomi Siyum HaShas is sponsored by Agudath Israel of America, a broad-based Orthodox Jewish movement with chapters in major communities throughout the United States and Canada.  The Daf Yomi method of studying the Talmud was introduced by a young Polish rabbinical leader in 1923 and was devised to bring uniformity to the study of the Talmud, as well as to enhance the unity of Jews worldwide.  Daf Yomi is a study program in which students study one "daf," or page, of the Talmud each day.  Completion of the program takes approximately seven and a half years. Today, Jews all over the world study the 2,711 pages of the Talmud, written in a mix of Hebrew and Aramaic, within the context of a Daf Yomi study group.

The Babylonian Talmud is a collection of early authoritative writings that form the basis of the practice of Judaism and consists of Judaism's interpretations of the 'Torah,' or Bible.  The largest Siyum HaShas celebrations will host over 46,000 people and will be held simultaneously at Madison Square Garden and the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, and the Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey.  In addition, there will be celebrations in over seventy cities across North America and in cities in South America, Europe, South Africa, China, Australia and Israel - most of them connected via satellite hook-up with the New York-area celebrations.


Edward Skyler / Jennifer Falk   (212) 788-2958

Chanie Friedman (Agudath Israel)   (212) 797-9000 x245

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