You’ve been to your share of graduation ceremonies, and are familiar with the emotions that go along with a lengthy period of study coming to an end. Whether the learning project was done in honor of a loved one or just for one’s own benefit, those who have completed their study feel not only a sense of accomplishment, but also a surge of energy to take on an even bigger challenge.

Welcome to a Siyum.

Plain and simple. A Siyum is the hebrew word for the celebration marking the completion of a significant Jewish text.

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If a Siyum is akin to a graduation, the Siyum HaShas, the conclusion of the study of the entire Babylonian Talmud is one gargantuan graduation! It’s no surprise then that the ceremony marking this remarkable feat would be an event celebrated all over the world, filled with deep emotion, both for those who personally reached this target, and for those who observed the process.

Though Talmud can be learned by anyone at any time, Rabbi Meir Shapiro of Lublin proposed the novel Daf Yomi (page-a-day) concept at the First World Congress of the World Agudath Israel in 1923. Following this unique approach where Jews the world over study the same page of Talmud each day, disciplined students can complete all six orders of the Talmud (“Shas” in its Hebrew acronym) – 2,711 pages in all – in a seven and a half year stretch.

Launched on Rosh Hashana, 1923, the Daf Yomi movement has steadily gained momentum. If attendance at a Siyum HaShas celebration is any indication of its popularity, one only need look at the 11th Siyum HaShas in 2005, where approximately 120,000 people made the trek to New York’s Madison Square Garden, New Jersey’s Meadowlands stadium, and a number of satellite locations across North America. Almost double that amount is expected for the 12th Siyum HaShas to be held in August 2012 where Jewish men and women finishing any Jewish text will be among the celebrators.

Indeed, by all historic accounts the 12th Siyum Hashas will be the largest celebration of Jewish learning in over 2,000 years – an world-event not to be missed.

So, are you ready to take on your own Siyum-focused study project and be part of history? MySiyum.com can help you choose a text, and provide a personal over-the- phone teacher to help you study and keep you on track -- at no cost to you!

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There are several reasons why “Siyum-based” learning is a good idea.

An eminent sage once said: “One’s success in a large endeavor correlates very well with the ability he has to sequence a series of small victories.” Making a celebration upon completing a learning project helps a person see and articulate the progress they’ve made, which will in turn motivate them to continue onto their next project.

Another reason for making a Siyum is that it helps motivate others to take on their own study project.

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Click here and you will go directly to the site page with several book and curriculum choices. The ensuing pages will take you through the registration process.

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No, Hebrew is not required. The mentors are nearly all native English speakers and will be speaking with you in English. There may be a verse or selection from a text that is in Hebrew or Aramaic, and if so, your mentor will translate it for you.

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We have been called the People of the Book, and while that can mean different things to different people, many would agree it is meant to convey the idea that the Jewish people approach life with the benefit of the wisdom of our ancestors. These texts contain time-tested principles for improving a person’s character, for leading a moral and ethical life, for having successful relationships and for exploring the deeper aspects of life.

If all this is new to you — not to worry! We can help. Feel free to browse our selection of book and curriculum titles: Begin Your Journey. Once you’ve chosen a book to complete, the ensuing pages will take you through the registration process.

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As a result of the interest in the Siyum-based learning of MySiyum.com, there is a strong need for qualified mentors who can help people complete their learning projects. If you have a half-hour or more available each week to learn one of the book or curriculum choices -- in-person or by phone --with a fellow Jew, then please click Begin Your Journey.

While attending the Siyum HaShas is highly recommended, one need not attend to be part of the campaign. By finishing (or committing to finish) your own learning project, you will be taking part in the largest Jewish learning project in recent in recent history.

Close to 100,000 Jews will be there for the celebration. Parents will be coming, many with their entire family. Tens of Jewish organizations will be attending and sitting together. Children in summer camps will be attending by the thousands. Over 10,000 people will be flying in from across North America, specifically to attend this historic 3-hour event.

There will be strictly observant, marginally observant, and completely unaffiliated Jews in attendance. In all likelihood, the majority of the participants will be from the spectrum of Orthodox Jews – including Chasidic, modern Orthodox and yeshiva-affiliated men and women. Naturally, some people may be concerned about

feeling uncomfortable around such a large number of strictly observant Jews. Unfortunately, this sentiment can only be undone by actually attending the Siyum. The unparalleled atmosphere there, along with the singing and dancing together with so many thousands of fellow Jews of all backgrounds will surely eliminate any potential awkwardness. The large number of people who had similar concerns prior to their attending the last Siyum Hashas will testify that being there was not only comfortable but that it was the most moving experience in their lifetime – one that has had a long-term residual impact on their Jewish pride and Jewish connection.

Separate seating is necessary to accommodate the brief, Orthodox evening Services that will take place during the Siyum.

Yes, you may choose your own text. Be sure to pick one that represents a sizeable but feasible learning challenge for you — one that will give you a strong sense of accomplishment once you’ve finished it. Be sure to let us know what that text is in your registration and to upload the information in your profile.

There are a number of benefits to studying together with another person, among them is a greater understanding of the concepts, discovering new insights, and hearing different perspectives, More importantly, studying with another person with a mentor or chavrusah offers you an opportunity to build a life-long friendship. With over four thousand active learning partnerships studying together each week, we can attest to the fact that most of them have become fast friends.

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