Yesterday, nearly 90,000 Orthodox Jews gathered at MetLife Stadium to celebrate the completion of a seven-and-a-half year study of the Talmud. One attendee from Brooklyn told the Star-Ledger, "This is awesome. It's all of my people here in one place. I'm really happy to be a part of it. It's important to my Jewish brothers that we could all make it here."
The "Daf Yomi" takes seven-and-a-half years because it involves reading and studying one page of the 2,711 page Talmud each day. Rabbi Gedaliah Weinberger, chairman of the Daf Yomi Commission at Agudath Israel, explained that the event, which was broadcast around the world, was beyond just personal study, "In a certain sense it helps unite everyone, because you have these many thousands of people, tens of thousands of people, who are each studying the same page at any given day. Someone could be from a different city, a different school, a different country. They have a lot to talk about. That was part of the original intent." Also, there's dancing!
Not everyone who attended had finished, but they believe in the Talmud. Another Brooklyn resident told the Star-Ledger, "The Talmud is the oral law of the Torah. It covers everything. Its the Jewish law, your outlook on life, everything is there. I try to live by that, so I had to come here."
As for 20,000 female Orthodox Jews who attended, they were cordoned off. From the NY Times:
As the rabbis began the prayers, hundreds of women around the stadium reached out and pulled sections of a massive curtain across their rows of seats. The $250,000 translucent curtain, made of green woven plastic, extended for nearly 2.5 linear miles, shielding the women’s area from view, and ensuring that the stringent modesty standards laid out by traditional Orthodox observance were met.
A Queens woman said, "We have a great view of everyone, we can see the inspiration. As women, we don’t have a part in it, but this is our part, to be supportive and show our respect and pride."
The event cost $2 million, which was covered by ticket sales. It's believed that the security was equal to (or even greater than) the predicted amount of security planned for Super Bowl 2014 at the stadium.