Flushing, NY, JAN 16, 2015 – Yesterday, Citi Field was at full capacity — not for a baseball game, but for a day of Torah learning, presented by the Orthodox Union.
Torah in the City, an event created and presented by the OU, drew close to 1,500 men and women from the tri-state area and beyond to learn in a day-long program of halacha, hashkafa, tanach and Israel, as the OU begins its new leadership under incoming president Moishe Bane. As Bane takes the reins of the organization, the organization announces that it will be investing into expanding its Torah education programming for the broader community through similar future events.
The event, held yesterday at Citi Field’s conference center, featured more than 30 distinguished male and female speakers including scholars, educators, activists and others at the forefront of contemporary Jewish life. Speakers included Rabbi Shalom Rosner, Rabbi Mordechai Willig, Charlie Harary, Raizi Chechik, Rabbi Yonasan Sacks, Rabbi David Fohrman, Nechama Price, Rabbi Hayyim Angel, Rabbi Steven Weil, and Shira Smiles, among many others. Attendees came from all over: From nearby Queens, Brooklyn, and Five Towns, to Manhattan, from Teaneck and Passaic to Philadelphia and Baltimore, from Riverdale to Monroe — the diversity of Jews present was extraordinary.
“With this event we begin to expand the OU’s outreach to Jews from all walks of life on the importance of Torah study as a means to become closer to G-d,” said Bane, a prominent New York attorney at Ropes & Gray LLC, and a longtime Orthodox Union lay-leader. “It is a significant step in charting a path to further Torah study in engaging and meaningful ways, both as individuals and as a community.”
Ambassador Dani Dayan, Consul-General of Israel, recited a prayer for peace in Israel during the communal prayer session. “I came today to learn Torah,” he said. “As a New York Jewish resident, I came to be uplifted and inspired. It’s very strengthening to see that in New York City, with so many events and things to do, Jews come and learn Torah together. That’s what the Jewish people is all about. Today’s program achieved its goal overwhelmingly.”
New York City Councilman David Greenfield was also in attendance.
“We look forward to having more of these events, focusing on pure Torah learning, on an annual basis as well as smaller local events,” said Allen Fagin, CEO of the OU. “We see this as the core of what we are as an institution.”
The day-long event was preceded by an OU board convention, which passed several resolutions, releasing statements on the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification, UN Security Resolution 2334, rising anti-Semitism, and combatting BDS on campus, among other pressing issues facing the Jewish people. The full text of the resolutions is available on the OU Advocacy site.