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…”