To boot, our college campuses have become institutions of higher brainwashing, causing Jewish and non-Jewish students to sympathize with haters of Israel.
We cannot be ostriches with our heads in the ground. We must wake up and become more vocal for our brethren around the world as well as here in the United States. We must reach out to enlighten young Jewish minds so they can be proud of their Judaism – of the mesorah handed down through the generations – and have a love for our people and for the land of Israel, a gift from God Himself.
Night To Remember
As I entered MetLife Stadium the evening of August 1, a swarm of faces and an environment of palpable excitement welcomed me. I was among the nearly 100,000 Jews privileged to attend the celebratory and spiritually recharging Siyum HaShas.
The stadium normally houses sporting events that attract fans whose moods frequently reflect the success or failure of their team. For better or worse, the emotional tides of fans’ lives are often dictated by the performance of athletes.
Conversely, Torah Jews do not govern ourselves based on the trivial pursuits of others. Instead, we delight in our own and in our fellow human beings’ spiritual, ethical, and moral accomplishments. We are instructed by the Torah to elevate mundane activities into actions of holiness, and utilizing a stadium that usually hosts sporting events for the recognition of a national spiritual feat is an execution of that particular commandment.
The spiritual fervor, staunch kinship, and joyous celebration of Torah made it a night to remember. Our nation glowed with the incandescence of Torah light. Nobody was a stranger.
Shortly after I awoke the following morning, a phone call from my son added another beautiful and personal dimension. My son was one of fifty boys from his camp chosen to attend the Siyum, and he had been beyond excited. As the hours ebbed away, I couldn’t help but wonder whether his excitement was due to the event itself or to the privilege of staying up into the wee hours of morning. As I walked him back to the bus at the conclusion of the event, he asked for a copy of his ticket. I didn’t think too much of it as I handed it to him; I assumed he just wanted a souvenir.
When he called me the morning after, he told me he had taken his ticket to Shacharis and placed it in his siddur, and that when davening was over and he closed his siddur, he took out the ticket and gave it a kiss. Before I had a chance to ask him anything more, he added that he held onto the ticket because he wanted a way to savor the memory of that night – and that he would keep the ticket forever.
As I put down the phone, I smiled. He was playing for the winning team.
New York, NY
Editor’s Note: The writer is cantor at Manhattan’s Park East Synagogue.