More than 2,500 people are expected at Citi Field on Sunday, Sept. 22, but not for a baseball game. Instead, the indoor space at the home of the Mets will be transformed into a hall of Torah study.
The third annual Torah New York, hosted by the Orthodox Union, was the brainchild of OU President Moishe Bane, a Lawrence resident. It will feature leading rabbinic scholars, educators and Jewish communal leaders, including several from the Five Towns and Far Rockaway. Topics include artificial intelligence and Shabbat, repentance and the internet, and forgiving unforgivable sins.
The largest event of its kind in North America, it will offer more than 20 lectures on Jewish law, life, history and Torah, along with sessions focused on various aspects of the High Holy Days, including repentance and prayer.
There will also be a screening of a never-before-seen recording of Rabbi Dr. Joseph Soloveitchik delivering one of his famed annual lectures on repentance. The Rav, who died in 1993, was a major American Orthodox rabbi, Talmudist and modern Jewish philosopher.
“I encourage the attendees to identify speakers that they are not familiar with to have the opportunity to gain more Torah insights,” Bane said in explaining how to get the most out of the event, adding that all of the lectures would be audio- and videotaped and made available afterward by the OU.
“Torah New York has become the annual Torah learning program unifying our community,” said OU Executive Vice President Allen Fagin, who lives in Woodmere. Around 90 percent of the attendees are from the metropolitan area, Bane said, but they also come from Atlanta, Baltimore, Florida and other places. Several of the speakers live in Israel.
“This is an incredible way to engage the broader Jewish community in what really unites it,” said Rabbi Ya’akov Trump, of Young Israel of Lawrence Cedarhurst, who will be one of the speakers. “The Torah is our pride, our direction and our focus. Being at Citi Field with thousands of Jews is a pretty remarkable experience.”
Rabbi Trump will discuss a new app that is being tested to add context to the parts of the Torah that are read during the Daf Yomi. In collaboration with Dr. Henry Abramson, dean of Touro’s Lander College of Arts and Sciences in Flatbush, the idea behind the app is to make difficult passages easier to understand.
“G-d creates the opportunities for us to grow spiritually,” Bane said of applying 21st century technology to learning more from the Torah.
Rabbi Eytan Feiner, of Congregation Kneseth Israel, the White Shul in Far Rockaway, and Rabbi Dovid Fohrman, of the Aleph Beta media company, are also featured speakers.
Programming for teenagers, run by NCSY, includes a Torah Bowl that will challenge the Torah knowledge of tristate high schoolers, and a children’s program featuring by GrowTorah, a shofar factory, and a kosher chocolate factory.
“Our primary goals,” Bane said, “are for people to leave with a vast appreciation of Torah study, and to explore other areas for a greater Torah experience.”
For more information about this event, including a full list of speakers, or to register, visit ou.org/torahny