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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 2, 2005 / 21 Adar I, 5765

The secret of the Jews

By Rabbi Avi Shafran

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The air was electric in Jewish communities across the continent and around the world for weeks before it happened.


"It" was the Daf Yomi Siyum HaShas, which occurs but once every 7 1/2 years and took place yesterday, for the eleventh time since the Talmud-study program it celebrates was introduced. This most recent Siyum HaShas ("Completion of the Talmud") brought together more Jews than any other event in contemporary times — indeed, in recent history. The number of participants in North America alone was estimated at 120,000.



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The Siyum HaShas lauds the accomplishment of the tens of thousands who have completed the study of the entire Babylonian Talmud through the Daf Yomi ("Page-per-Day") program conceived by Rabbi Meir Shapiro, a yeshiva dean in pre-war Lublin, Poland. It was in 1923 at the First International Congress of the Agudath Israel World Movement that he presented his plan for a challenging and unified study of the Talmud, and the Siyum HaShas celebration has long been organized and sponsored by Agudath Israel of America, the organization I am privileged to serve.


Although the men, women and children who attended the Siyum HaShas were paying tribute to those who completed the Daf Yomi program, the event might more properly seen as a celebration of Torah study itself, of the Jewish ideal of laboring over, and internalizing, the texts and wisdom of our religious tradition.


It is in fact, in its deepest sense, a celebration of the secret of Jewish perseverance, something, ironically, that was well understood by some of our worst enemies.


The Nazis, for instance, considered the Jews a race, but at least some of them also recognized what empowers and preserves our people.


Writing in 1930, Alfred Rosenberg, Hitler's chief ideologue, identified "the honorless character of the Jew" as "embodied in the Talmud and in Shulchan-Aruch [the Code of Jewish Law]."


Perhaps even more telling is a 1940 directive issued by the German Highest Security Office. It prohibits Jewish emigration from occupied Poland on the ground that an influx of "Rabbiner, Talmud-lehrer" - "rabbis, teachers of Talmud" — and in fact "jeder orthodoxe Ostjude" — "every Eastern European Orthodox Jew" — could foster "geistige Erneuerung" — "spiritual renewal" — among American Jewry.


That fear, thank G-d, proved well-founded indeed; Torah-committed Jewish immigrants, although they arrived for the most part only after the Second World War, helped rejuvenate Jewish life on these and other shores, rebuilding Jewish communal and educational institutions and fostering traditional Jewish observance in new lands. The scope and enthusiasm of the Siyum HaShas was undeniable evidence of that.


Those Nazis knew that Jewish religious life and Torah-study were the greatest threats to the ultimate success of their genocidal plan, that our people's preservation and future depend on our fealty to the essence of our past.


And so the Siyum HaShas, ostensibly the marking of a program's end (and re-beginning), was also something else: A declaration of victory, a defiant mass-embrace of what some of our more perspicacious enemies tried, and failed, to stifle. The singing and dancing and prayers that filled Madison Square Garden, the Continental Airlines Arena and the Javits Center in the New York area; and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Rosemont Theatre in Chicago, the Ricoh Centre in Toronto and dozens of other venues across the continent, reflected a deep and joyful commitment to the fullness of our religious heritage, to what some of the darkest forces in the world have tried, and failed, to eradicate.


On March 2, Daf Yomi students returned to the first page of the Talmud. Other Jews continued their Torah-studies too; for some it was the Bible and its commentaries; for others, works on Jewish law, whether about kosher observance, proper speech, the Sabbath or any other realm of Torah. All were inspired anew to drink in and be nurtured by the mother's milk of the Jewish people.


Each and every one of us Jews can be — should be — part of that essential effort and priceless privilege.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and the media consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.




JWR contributor Rabbi Avi Shafran is director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


© 2005, Am Echad Resources