Thousands attend Talmud celebration at MetLife stadium

August 1, 2012 7:37:59 PM PDT
MetLife Stadium has been transformed into what organizers are saying is the world's largest synagogue, with tens of thousands of people gathering to celebrate the completion of the reading of the Talmud, the book of Jewish laws and traditions.

The delays stretched for miles, as tens of thousands of people headed for MetLife Stadium to celebrate the completion of the page-a-day study of the 2,711 page Talmud.

Most of the traffic centered around a mass exodus of people from Brooklyn, through Manhattan, through the Lincoln Tunnel and onto Route 3.

"We came from Brooklyn and it took four hours and we were happy to do it to be here," said Rafael Lachman, a commuter.

Without exception, everyone Eyewitness News spoke with didn't want to dwell on the challenges of getting there.

Instead, they described how grateful they were to have completed the religious study.

And after all, what's four hours in traffic when the Jews believe their ancestors wandered in the desert for 40 years after escaping from slavery?

With a crowd topping 90,000 people, organizers say this is the largest celebration of Jewish learning in 2,000 years.

More than 600 police officers were there for security, and organizers estimate they spent $4 million turning MetLife stadium into a gigantic Orthodox Jewish temple for the night.

"It's a wonderful thing and it's so special that we are all here," said Petzalel Leiser, a commuter.

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