Photo Credit: Jewish Press

It’s difficult to describe an event of this magnitude in words. But I’ll share a few highlights:

  • seeing 100,000 Jews together who are not demonstrating or crying about anti-Semitism, but celebrating the joy of being Jewish; seeing those who did not study the whole Talmud coming to appreciate and empower those who did.
  • seeing a major emphasis on children; the Torah does not only belong to old people; it is also attractive to the younger generation, to whom the torch is passed.
  • seeing unity among those who wear knitted kippot and those who wear black kippot, among Sefardim and Ashkenazim, among chassidim and Litvish Jews; seeing every Jew honor and make room for every other Jew.
  • seeing an entire stadium of people dancing to “Open, Heavenly Gates, to our Prayer” and hearing a security guard comment, “This is a place for football games, but you are an unusually calm and quiet crowd,” and then asking, “You’re fans of which team?”
  • Looking around and being reminded that the Jews in the crowd are Americans – the nation of Netflix and Amazon – but they have not succumbed to instant gratification, but have chosen instead to learn with persistence one Talmud page after the next.
  • Reciting Shema Yisrael together with 100,000 men, women, and children, when sitting beside me is Marlit Berger, a Holocaust survivor with a number tattooed on her arm, surrounded by grandchildren, and softly saying, “If someone had told me in the camps that I would be privileged to witness a moment like this…”

 

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Sivan Rahav-Meir, a ba’alas teshuvah, is one of the most popular media personalities in Israel. She is a Channel 2 News anchor, a columnist for Yediot Aharonot, and the host of a weekly radio show on Galei Tzahal. Every day she shares short Torah thoughts to over 100,000 Israelis – both observant and not – via Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp.