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A Celebration Seven And A Half Years In The Making

Rabbi Yosef C. Golding (with tie), director of logistics for the twelfth Siyum HaShas, discussing technical set-up with David Stallbaumer, president of Event Resources production company. On the left is David Lenik, president of Better World Productions, and in the center (in cap) is Shaul Wassertheil of ShaulE Events and Marketing.  Photo Credit: Yisroel Golding

Rabbi Yosef C. Golding (with tie), director of logistics for the twelfth Siyum HaShas, discussing technical set-up with David Stallbaumer, president of Event Resources production company. On the left is David Lenik, president of Better World Productions, and in the center (in cap) is Shaul Wassertheil of ShaulE Events and Marketing. Photo Credit: Yisroel Golding

Over 90,000 programs have been printed for the event, each one weighing in at over one pound and featuring over two hundred pages. Forty-thousand copies of HaSiyum Junior, an accompaniment to the program, have been printed for children as well.

“There will be a special presentation made to the Masmidei HaSiyum, a group of 16,000 children who have been learning Mishnayos and Gemara in honor of the siyum,” reported Rabbi Golding. “Over 1.5 million lines of Mishnayos have been learned, in memory of the 1.5 million children who died during the Holocaust, while over six million lines of Gemara have been learned in memory of the six million Jews who perished during that terrible time.”

Five hundred rabbonim will be seated on the dais, with another 1,000 rabbis who give Daf Yomi shiurim to be seated directly behind the dais. While Agudah representatives have been tight lipped when it comes to divulging the names of those who will be speaking at the siyum, Rabbi Malkiel Kotler, rosh yeshiva of Beis Medrash Govoha of Lakewood will be making the Hadran, and renowned lecturer Rabbi Yissocher Frand will be one of the guest speakers. Each of the speakers will be allotted a four to 12 minute time slot, and in an effort to prevent overly lengthy addresses, a series of colored lights will inform speakers both when their time is about to end and when they have gone over their allocated amount of time.

While there will be no live streaming of the Siyum HaShas, nine video cameras will be placed through the stadium for remote hookups, with satellite feeds and high quality web feeds going out to over one 100 sites, including locations in Los Angeles, Chicago, Baltimore, Toronto, Montreal, Mexico City, Uruguay, Argentina, Melbourne, Lublin and Hong Kong.

“We are using the same video company that was hired for the Super Bowl,” said Rabbi Golding.

With over 500 people expected to attend the siyum from Spanish speaking countries, there will be headsets available for rent featuring an FM transmission in Spanish throughout the stadium.

According to Rabbi Golding there will be a “major musical aspect to the siyum,” but he would only confirm that it would feature world-renowned vocalists Rabbi Abish Brodt and Shloime Daskal, with choral accompaniment by Hamizamrim. Legendary Chazan Yitzchak Meir Helfgott will be making the Kel Maley Rachamim in honor of the six million Jews who died during World War II. The Siyum HaShas will continue its tradition of featuring a one-man band in place of a full orchestra, with musical accompaniment by Shabsy Parnes.

Given the number of people attending the Siyum Hashas, both transportation and parking will be a major issue. The Agudah advises everyone to make use of mass transit whenever possible, which includes New Jersey Transit trains, Metro-North and Coach USA bus service from the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Separate parking areas and management teams will be in place to deal with the many buses that are expected to be arriving at the stadium, and coordinators anticipate a large number of buses will be coming in from summer camps in the Catskills as well.

Should inclement weather prove to be an issue, organizers will announce any decision to postpone the siyum by 8 a.m. the day of the event. Tens of thousands of ponchos have been ordered in case of any unsettled weather that may take place during the siyum.

With so many logistics to be seen to, it is easy to lose sight of what the Siyum HaShas is all about and Rabbi Golding stressed that the Agudah has worked diligently to make this an all-inclusive event.

“We tried very hard to make sure not to bore people with long interminable speeches,” said Rabbi Golding. “The purpose of the siyum is to inspire others to learn and we tried very hard to make sure that everyone will walk away from the event inspired, from people who have never learned a daf in their entire lives to chassidim who have learned their entire lives. We hope that people who come to this siyum as observers will be so inspired that when it comes time to plan the thirteenth Siyum HaShas, they will be coming back as participants.”

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