More than 90,000 Jews braved the cold at Met Life Stadium in New Jersey Wednesday to celebrate the historic completion of the study of the entire Talmud, sending a strong message of resilience days after a stabbing in a New York rabbi's home left five people wounded.
The Siyum HaShas celebrates the study of the Talmud, which is said to be among the most challenging religious texts in the world. The book, comprised of 2,711 double-sides pages, takes seven-and-a-half years to complete, with one page read per day. Jewish communities across the globe eagerly anticipate and celebrate completing the study.
Photo: Jake Turx
In addition to the 92,000 people who filled the seats at MetLife for this year's event, 20,000 others gathered in Barclays Center in Brooklyn, along with thousands more at satellite locations across the U.S. and Israel.
The event drew a heavier security presence than in previous years due to the recent uptick in anti-Semitic crimes. Reportedly hundreds of state police officers, metal detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs were on-site in New Jersey.
A stabbing of five people at a New York rabbi's home during a Hannukah celebration Saturday reportedly marked the ninth anti-Semitic attack in one week, less than two weeks after a targeted attack at a kosher deli in Jersey City, N.J., left several dead.
"I think the massive turnout sends a powerful message to the rest of the world that we will not be intimidated," one attendee told Fox News.
Another attendee, who traveled from Philidelphia to celebrate the Talmud, said he felt an obligation to attend this year's event in light of the rise in anti-Semitic attacks.
"We are gathering to celebrate the Talmud because it is the source of our strength," he said.
Rabbi Yissocher Frand, senior lecturer at Ner Yisroel in Baltimore, discussed the history of the religious book live at the event and offered words of empowerment to a reeling Jewish community.
"The Nazis burned the Talmud because they knew that this text has the power to rebuild the Jewish people," he said.
"We make a bridge from a difficult past to a commitment to the future," Rabbi Pesach Krohn added.
At one point during the event, the entire stadium joined in an age-old Jewish melody. The Hebrew lyrics translate to a request to God for protection and to raise a future generation of God-fearing children.
Many VIPs, including New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, attended the event.
Former Trump advisor Jason Greenblatt took to Twitter to share his experience.
"So beautiful. So special. I'm so lucky to have witnessed this," he captioned a video, which showed thousands of men and women dancing and clapping in their seats.
Consul General of Israel Danny Dayan also posted about the event.
"More than 80,000 Jews are gathered now in MetLife Stadium to proudly celebrate their adherence to their Judaism. I wouldn’t be anywhere else," he wrote.